Monday Madness — January 25, 2021

Have you ever wondered what deli meats have to do with Lent Madness? Gather the kids around the teevee, grab some popcorn — or a hunk of salami, and tune in for this week’s installment of Monday Madness. With Lent Madness 2021 a mere 23 days away, Tim and Scott deftly delve into the bracket by previewing a few of the upcoming battles. One of which involves deli meats.

Of course, because you’ve come to depend on it, there’s product placement. Tim shows off his Harriet Tubman Golden Halo 2020 winner mug. You can grab one of the few Harriet mugs remaining, or maybe you’ll want to drink your coffee out of a Martha of Bethany Golden Halo 2019 winner mug. And don’t forget the travel mug.

Life is more than coffee, we’re sorry to say. The good news is that you can wile away the hours between cups of coffee by studying up on Lent Madness saints with the Saintly Scorecard 2021. Share your picks with the Lent Madness 2021 Giant Bracket Poster.

Like grace, Lent Madness is also free. You can visit the bracket tab to print out your very own bracket, free of charge. There’s also a new feature: a bracket you can download, type in your picks, and then print out. Whoever said the Supreme Executive Committee wasn’t responsive to the requests of the global Lent Madness viewing public?

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Monday Madness — MLK Day Edition

With a mere 30 days until the start of Lent Madness 2021, Tim and Scott are back with an action-packed episode of Monday Madness! Of course, they discuss the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, who memorably appeared in the 2013 edition of Lent Madness. How did he do? Check out this week’s edition of Monday Madness to find out.

Naturally, Tim and Scott encourage you to prepare for Lent Madness by ordering your very own copy of the Saintly Scorecard. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paper. Maybe you want to buy them for your whole church or for all your neighbors. If so, you’ll want the bulk price! Packs of ten are just $20, which means the Scorecards only $2 each. If you are buying three packs or more, the price plummets to just $15 for ten, which makes the Scorecards only $1.50 each. It’s really crazy that they’re that cheap.

If the full-color, fold-out bracket inside the Scorecard isn’t big enough for you, you’ll want to purchase a Lent Madness giant bracket poster. This huge poster is THREE FEET by TWO FEET. It’s only eleven bucks if you buy one, and the price shrinks to just $10 if you buy two or more.

Of course, you don’t need to spend a cent to enjoy Lent Madness. You can read up on the saints on the Lent Madness website once the season starts, and you can print out your own bracket on the Bracket tab of the site. However, you might like to enjoy the free website while you’re sipping a coffee from your Lent Madness 2020 Golden Halo Winner Mug featuring Harriet Tubman. Lots of merch is available in the Lentorium.

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Is Advent the new Lent?

Dear friends in Christ,

Sometimes you hear people talking about how we should all be Easter People. As you know, the Supreme Executive Committee rejects this view. Both of us (Tim and Scott) think we should all be Lent People, and that’s why every single episode of Monday Madness ends with “Happy Lent!” regardless of what time of year it airs.

But seriously, we love Lent not just because it’s the time of year for the Saintly Smackdown. We love Lent because it calls us to renew our walk with Jesus. Lent is a kind of spring cleaning for the soul in which we turn away from all the distractions of the world and turn once again toward Jesus.

2020 has been a year of distractions, and that’s putting it kindly. Thousands and thousands are dead from a pandemic. Political leaders — regardless of your preferred party — have not exactly demonstrated excellence in leadership. We’ve seen racism exposed in new ways. Violence of all kinds seems to be on the rise all around the world. If ever there was a time for us to turn toward Jesus, this is it.

That’s why we’re especially looking forward to Advent this year. Sure, we like it because it’s a purple season and we can wear our team colors. More than that, we are grateful for the arrival of this season, which like Lent, calls us to turn toward Jesus. We’re preparing for Christmas rather than Easter, but both Advent and Lent invite us to turn away from distractions and turn toward the most important things.

Though most people think of us as Lentologists, we do know a few things about Advent and especially about turning toward Jesus. Here are some suggestions to savor the gift of Advent. We hope you’ll think about how you’ll approach Advent ahead of time, so you can be ready to make space for the still, small voice of God. Yes, we’re saying this is the Advent for Advent.

Without further ado, here are some suggestions.

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Monday Madness…on Tuesday

Everyone keeps saying 2020 is bringing unprecedented this and that. Well, here’s one to add to the list. The Supreme Executive Committee is bringing you a brand-new episode of Monday Madness…on a Tuesday. Why? Because reasons.

In this action-packed episode, Tim and Scott discuss the all-new bracket for Lent Madness 2021. Yes, it has 32 saints — that’s nothing new. But this year’s bracket offers groundbreaking (unprecedented!) new quadrants. Gather the kids and neighbors (outdoors, wearing masks, six-feet apart) around your computer and behold the new cinematic brilliance, which includes a new (very brief!) intro.

It wouldn’t be a Monday Madness if you didn’t hear about the Lentorium. Watch to get details on this year’s Giant Bracket Posters, a bargain at $11. Buy two or more, and save! Also, this year’s Saintly Scorecard includes tips for safely enjoying Lent Madness during a pandemic with full social distancing in your home or church. You can pre-order individual copies or buy them in bulk and save. Single copies are just $5, and if you buy in bulk, the price drops to just $1.50 per scorecard if you purchase three bundles of ten or more.

Of course, like the grace of Jesus, Lent Madness is free of charge. If you don’t want to spend any money, you can visit the bracket tab of the Lent Madness website and print out your own bracket.

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October Surprise: It’s All Brackets’ Day!

In the ultimate October Surprise, the Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness has declared TODAY All Brackets’ Day!

Normally, we announce the new bracket for Lent Madness at the conclusion of the Autumn Triduum: All Saints’ Day on November 1, All Souls’ Day on November 2, and All Brackets’ Day on November 3. The United States Congress wouldn’t return our phone calls about rescheduling the general election to accommodate our big day, so we decided — as a magnanimous gesture — to move our big day.

So All Brackets’ Day, one of the most highly anticipated holy days of the entire year, is here early. Surprise! And, by the way, with the other “madness” (the one involving bouncing orange orbs) having been suspended back in 2020, Lent Madness is now the world’s longest continuously-running bracket competition. *

Some would say that in the midst of tense political times, we should avoid distractions like Lent Madness. For a few people, that may be true. But remember the Great Commandment of the world’s largest online Lenten devotion*: Lent Madness is optional. For those who enjoy the annual Saintly Smackdown, the unveiling of the Lent Madness 2021 bracket offers a reminder that God works in all kinds of people. As always, in devotion to the saints, we find both inspiration by example and the comfort of knowing that the great cloud of witnesses is ready to cheer us on.

With that all said, we hope you enjoy seeing next year’s bracket. You’ll find the usual diversity of saints, with a variety of race and gender, laity and clergy, ancient and modern, prophet and pastor, young and old. But you’ll see Christ’s light burning brightly in each of their lives.

Here’s the bracket (click to enlarge):

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Voting When There is No Bracket

With just 128 days until Ash Thursday, the world is watching for Lent Madness news. It won’t be long until the 2021 bracket is revealed, and soon it will be time to order your Saintly Scorecards and bracket posters to get ready for the World’s Largest Online Lenten Devotion and also the World’s Oldest Continually Running Bracket Competition.

Until then, we’re left with other news. Our US-based readers will have seen the constant chaos that is the US political scene. While it’s true the Lent Madness sometimes hangs in the balance as Tim and Scott squabble as the sworn archnemeses they are, even the Supreme Executive Committee has nothing on the yellfest that was the recent “debate” between leading presidential candidates. No, the rumors are not true. Neither Tim nor Scott offered coaching on how to be an archnemesis.

But seriously, we know that many of our Lent Madness fans are distressed by the state of discourse in American politics. We long to be able to connect with people with whom we disagree, and we yearn for the deep peace of Christ. Whatever our political persuasion, we believe things could be better. Whatever our views, we hope for peace.

Our sponsors at Forward Movement are offering two resources that might be helpful.

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Happy Nominationtide!

What’s up? On Ascension Day, it’s Jesus! And also it’s the start of Nominationtide!

For ten full days, the Supreme Executive Committee will be accepting nominations for Lent Madness 2020. The nominating period will remain open through the Day of Pentecost, Sunday, May 31, at which point this brief exercise in Lenten democracy will go up in smoke like the hair of the disciples when the tongues of fire descended upon their heads.

Usually we only allow a week for Nominationtide, but this year we are generously allowing you ten days. We know that conferring on nominations might take longer in a time of social distancing. Please note that the Lent Madness website has been thoroughly disinfected, so there is no risk as you read this post or browse the online Lentorium.* Unfortunately, all Lentorium store locations remained closed at this time.

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Monday Madness — Eastertide Edition

Happy Easter Lent from the Supreme Executive Committee! Tim and Scott are back with one last episode of the 2020 Lent Madness season to celebrate the victory of Harriet Tubman, winner of the 2020 Golden Halo. They also tell you how you can toast this great season of Lent Madness by raising a mug of your favorite warm beverage in a commemorative Harriet Tubman 2020 Golden Halo winner mug. They’re just $11, so pre-order now to get your mug in a few weeks.

And, remember, Nominationtide is coming up at a day and hour no one knows. But it will be sometime this Eastertide. So visit the Lent Madness website several times a day until you see the post inviting you to make ONE nomination for the 2021 Lent Madness bracket. It’s the only way to make nominations.

Finally, we realize you might be facing some sadness now that Lent Madness is over. Don’t worry, you can relive all the great moments from the last few years by enjoying the complete nine-season Monday Madness catalog. Enjoy!

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Harriet Tubman wins 2020 Golden Halo!

Harriet Tubman Gold Halo winner

The Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness congratulates Harriet Tubman for winning the 2020 Golden Halo. Harriet became the 11th saint to wear the highly coveted crown by defeating the always-inspiring and statuesque runner up, St. Joseph. She joins previous Golden Halo winners George Herbert (2010), C.S. Lewis (2011), Mary Magdalene (2012), Frances Perkins (2013), Charles Wesley (2014), Francis of Assisi (2015), Dietrich Bonhoeffer (2016), Florence Nightingale (2017), Anna Alexander (2018), and Martha of Bethany (2019).

Harriet Tubman mugWhat’s nearly as important as announcing the Golden Halo winner? Sharing the Lentorium link to the winner’s swag! Be the first one on your block to order the official Harriet Tubman 2020 Golden Halo mug. Your brand new mug will ship later this spring in plenty of time for you to serve your friends warm beverages (from a safe distance and without touching anything).

Want to nominate a saint for Lent Madness 2021? Tim and Scott will be opening up the week-long nomination process (aka Nominationtide) in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Finally, blessings to all as we head into the Triduum and enter into the death and resurrection of our Lord. It’s been a privilege to have you join us on our Lenten pilgrimage. Stay safe out there, folks, and know that you remain in our prayers.

What is Spy Wednesday?

The entire world quivers in anticipation of the announcement of the winner of the epic Golden Halo battle between Harriet Tubman and Joseph. In regular Monday Madness episodes, Tim and Scott have often said this final round takes place on “Spy Wednesday.”

spywednesdaypaintingSeveral of you have asked us about this unusual name for the Wednesday in Holy Week. The Supreme Executive Committee are always glad to SECsplain things, so herewith we offer some background on the name Spy Wednesday.

Spy Wednesday gets its name because this is the day on which Judas betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin. Because Judas is thought to be sneaky, his actions conjured up the image of a spy. The synoptic gospels all include an account of the betrayal — Matthew 26:12-14, Mark 14:10-12, Luke 22:3-6.

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