Mary Magdalene vs. Evelyn Underhill

Welcome, friends, to the Round of the Elate Eight. As we get deeper into the madness, the tone changes  from the educational to the whimsical as we focus on saintly kitsch. At this point, we’ve learned about 32 saints — 16 in even greater detail. Now is the time to see what popular culture has done to/for them. We don’t view such items as sacrilegious but merely fascinating — see Meredith Gould’s footnote below. But, then again, if you’ve stuck with Lent Madness to this point you know that we have a great reverence for the saints even as we keep our sense of humor intact.

In yesterday’s final battle of the Saintly Sixteen Emma of Hawaii surged past Paul of Tarsus 56% to 44% with over 2,000 votes cast. Later this week Emma will face Thomas Cranmer with a trip to the Faithful Four on the line.

To make it this far, Mary Magdalene defeated John Huss and Joan of Arc while Evelyn Underhill bested Nicholas and Monnica. Click on the links to see the previous write-ups by our fabulous Celebrity Bloggers and check the updated bracket for future match-ups.

When considering the following items inspired by Mary Magdalene, it’s probably good to remember this adage when labeling something as kitsch*: “One person’s trash is another’s treasure.”  Consider this nod toward situational taste as my way of apologizing if any of the following Mary Magdalene-branded trash is something you’d treasure. Please note that I’m not including images of reliquaries out of respect for those who reverence such things.

Also note how popular depictions of this Apostle to the Apostles contain a mash-up of myth and legend.  In no special order – so don’t try to figure it out – I offer for your amazement and amusement the following items:

Hello Dolly!

From sales copy for the Mary Magdalene WisdomDoll: “… long, wavy auburn hair,  sunned skin tone, hand-painted face …. simulated leather boots, a sign during her time of ties to a wealthy family.  Her deep purple dress is regal and majestic. The color suggests wisdom and knowledge.”  Read the whole description here to learn more about the “powerful imagery” of the hand-made attire for this award-winning, 16” doll priced at $129.

Feeling manipulated? Then regain your power by getting the Mary Magdalene puppet instead. It’s 28” tall, has a workable mouth, comes with one rod that can be attached to either hand for movement, and currently on sale for $45.

Need some blessed super-bas relief? Go for this statue:

Now Who’s Light of the World?

Preparing His body? Woman of Sorrows bathing His feet with her tears and hair? Anointing His head with precious salve? Yummy-smelling Temple prostitute? This candle includes 100% natural essential oils of Frankincense, Ylang, and Spikenard, so you decide which Mary Magdalene is being honored.

A garnet is embedded in it. Why? Among other things, it’s a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice.  But why a fleur-de-lis, a symbol of Mary, Mother of God appears on Mary Mag’s third eye is beyond me.  (Enlarge the picture to behold her wild-eyed look of WhatEver.)


Love praying the Chaplet Prayer or The Rosary of St. Mary Magdalene in Seven Mysteries?  May I suggest that these earrings would make a suitable substitute for schlepping beads and medals?

At $78.95 for solid sterling silver or $280.95 for white or yellow gold, they’re pretty pricy kitsch, but remember: you’re honoring the person to whom Jesus the Risen Christ first appeared. Worth it!

And so what if this goodie is supposed to be a Christmas tree ornament? Consider  giving it to a loved one on St. Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day (July 22). The description of this $33.50 bauble makes my point about myth mash-ups, read it here.

*Definition of kitsch: “something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste.”

Meredith Gould

Who better to inform the world of Evelyn Underhill kitsch than Dana Greene, the president of the Evelyn Underhill Association? Surely Evelyn Underhill merchandise abounds at the annual  Day of Quiet Reflection at the National Cathedral. However, in response to an email asking about Underhill kitsch and photographic evidence thereof, Dr. Greene replied, “Glad to help, but not absolutely sure what you want.”

Clearly, Evelyn Underhill products are not prevalent at Association events, leaving the path open for an enterprising person who wishes to capitalize on this lack—though further research shows that the field is far from clear.

First there is the (copyrighted) Underhill family crest, also available on a mug or keychain, linking you not only to Evelyn but to other notable Underhills such as Walter Underhill, a 19th-century Congressman who served on the board of managers of the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents in New York City. (No hobbits are mentioned among the notables listed.)

More specific Evelyn Underhill items do exist, such as the T-shirt, mug, mousepad, magnet, greeting card, tea towel and keychain featuring a portrait by Mary Evans, which seems rather pedestrian as far as kitsch goes.

There is, however, a great niche market left untapped: namely, the Evelyn Underhill™ personal home mystic kit! Searching in vain for such an item unearthed only the Mystic Tan Perfect Tan Kit, both body and face. Now all we need is someone to develop the Mystic Tan Perfect Soul Kit. Surely Evelyn Underhill would lend her name to such a worthy product. Other Evelyn Underhill™ franchisees may have further ideas for this untapped market, which would be wonderful to see in the comments.

Laura Toepfer


Mary Magdalene vs. Evelyn Underhill

  • Mary Magdalene (77%, 1,179 Votes)
  • Evelyn Underhill (23%, 349 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,528

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121 Comments to "Mary Magdalene vs. Evelyn Underhill"

  1. kai ryan's Gravatar kai ryan
    March 27, 2012 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    I love Evelyn, but she never would have gotten to her humbly lofty place without Mary Magdalene!

  2. March 27, 2012 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    While I appreciate a little kitsch, I was hoping for more info and quotes. Disappointed today.

  3. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    March 27, 2012 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Well, in the genre of Mary Magdalene kitsch, my son has promised me the Mary Magdalene video game (once he becomes a video game designer). He assures me that Mary M. will get all the cool weapons to kick the boss disciples’ (like Peter’s) butts and show the world who really best got Jesus. Ah, a son’s love for his mother!

    Also, I have a secret kitschy love of barbie dolls and who really to fit within the epitome of Barbie than Mary Magdelene – a woman with a profession and vocation who still is curvy, tan, perfectly coiffed, in a dress and lusted after by all men – even the most holy of them – for millenia. I don’t see an Evelyn Underhill Barbie making a lot of waves.

  4. David's Gravatar David
    March 27, 2012 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    OK all you underdog voters, here is your big chance, with Ms Underhill! Calling all Harfoots, Stoors, and Fallohides! Hobbits Unite! Vote Evelyn!

    • Jim Begley's Gravatar Jim Begley
      March 27, 2012 - 6:34 pm | Permalink

      I like this, but this is the Elate Eight. Mary held hands with Jesus, that’s big!

  5. Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
    March 27, 2012 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    “Now who’s the Light of the World?” FTW

    • March 27, 2012 - 8:39 am | Permalink

      The Holy Spirit made me write that!

      • Anne Lane Witt's Gravatar Anne Lane Witt
        March 27, 2012 - 9:13 am | Permalink

        Ah, the Spirit is good! Love it.

  6. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    March 27, 2012 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    I think I need Mary Magdalene earrings! I am having such a great time participating in Lent Madness. I even wrote my vestry article for our church newsletter about Lent Madness and about how it’s been the perfect lenten devotional for me this year. Thanks for Tim, Scott and the celebrity bloggers!

  7. Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
    March 27, 2012 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Because I stopped believing long ago that too much is just enough, it has to be Evelyn today. Although that Barbie is tempting…

  8. Gillian Barr's Gravatar Gillian Barr
    March 27, 2012 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Went back and read the biographies from the first round, and I just have to vote for Evelyn in this round. As a former library worker and academic who is now a priest, and who constantly struggles against the temptation to too much rationality and order in my faith life, this paragraph got me:
    “Her tea-sipping librarian appearance belied her gifts as a powerhouse of spiritual thought, and as someone who understood both the blessing and the danger of standing in God’s presence. In a letter, she gently suggested to former Golden Halo winner C.S. Lewis that “perhaps…your concept of God would be improved by just a touch of wildness.” “

  9. Cheryl Parris's Gravatar Cheryl Parris
    March 27, 2012 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    I was for Mary until I saw the dolls. Total turnoff. Of course Mary was a snappy, opinionated Black woman . . . at least in MY mind :)!!!!

  10. Dr. T's Gravatar Dr. T
    March 27, 2012 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    You failed to mention the kitschy song “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from JC Superstar (“and I’ve had so many men before, he’s just one more”). Don’t like the kitsch round so far, too queasy to vote.

    • March 27, 2012 - 10:38 am | Permalink

      I don’t know how to vote now…

      Take it away, someone cleverer than I!

    • March 27, 2012 - 3:32 pm | Permalink

      I love that song!

    • Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
      March 27, 2012 - 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Yep, Dr.T, I agree with you. I am just a bit uncomfortable about the kitschy thing, I love a good time, but as you said, I think I am going to wait a bit to cast my vote. We could have done without the Barbie and puppet.
      Still, I have learned a lot from Lent Madness.

    • Dorothy's Gravatar Dorothy
      March 28, 2012 - 12:42 am | Permalink

      I love that song, and the lyrics of that show were instrumental in my becoming a Christian. The point is that he was a man, fully human, but not JUST a man, and unlike any other man she had met.

    • March 28, 2012 - 1:29 am | Permalink

      Kitschy? The whole musical depends on this number. No one knew how to love Jesus, but only one person would admit it. Singing this song, admitting the doubt, was the opening for the transformation in Mary Mag’s life.

  11. March 27, 2012 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    I just want to say that the addition of kitsch exhibits to these posts was a fantastic idea. Thanks for making Lent so much fun!

  12. Ann Ely's Gravatar Ann Ely
    March 27, 2012 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Go Mary!

  13. Margaret Smist's Gravatar Margaret Smist
    March 27, 2012 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    Go Evelyn!

  14. Rosemary Beales's Gravatar Rosemary Beales
    March 27, 2012 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    (John 20:16)
    Jesus’ choice for the first person to see him Resurrected must be my choice today, too!

  15. Vicki's Gravatar Vicki
    March 27, 2012 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Am reading Underhill because of LM (wonderful) but it’s not the kitsch that impels me toward MM this round, but the sublime fresco of her by Piero della Francesca in the Arezzo cathedral (peeking out from behind some Renaissance megalomaniac’s superimposed tomb). Wish I were techie enough to include it.

  16. Joe Stroud's Gravatar Joe Stroud
    March 27, 2012 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    While I have to admire a woman who could credibly tell C.S. Lewis (another favorite of mine) to “lighten up!”, and Lord knows sometimes he needed to be told that, Mary’s example of keeping the faith, no matter how far down the chips are, and her devotion to Jesus, for whatever were her reasons, carry the day for the Lady from Magdala.

  17. fran's Gravatar fran
    March 27, 2012 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    Can’t believe I’m voting on the strength of available kitsch of incredible kitschiness vs. completely untapped market.

  18. Heath Missner's Gravatar Heath Missner
    March 27, 2012 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    As we approach Holy Week, and today’s match-up is a daunting one, your casual irreverence, with the kitsch, feels very ‘off’ to me. I approach this voting choice with reverence for both Mary Magdalene and Evelyn Underhill.

    • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
      March 27, 2012 - 11:49 am | Permalink

      I’m glad you’ve been able to carve out an oasis of reverence and calm in the Madness. I see a lot to commend in voting a ‘dignity’ ticket, whatever else is going on around. Good practice for living in the world but not (only) of it! I look ahead at Bonhoeffer and shudder to think that there could even be kitsch available. But that is the world we live in.

      The theme of mockery and irreverence can be great food for thought heading into Holy Week. Our tradition reads a Passion on Good Friday, with congregation acting as jeering crowd. Our “jeers” are usually pretty pious-sounding – or just get mumbled – because it is very uncomfortable to do, but in how many more subtle ways do I make mockery of Jesus year-round? (Christ in my neighbour…those I ignore or dismiss…)

      Sorry. Got all serious there for a moment.

      • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
        March 27, 2012 - 8:36 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Jennifer! I think I’m angry at the Very Idea that SomeOne would even Think to Create ‘saintly kitsch! Humpf! Then, I just laugh at such ridiculousness!! Still, I find the kitschy collection somewhat disturbing. Your “mockery & irreverence” theme for Holy Week reminds me: not everyone was sorrowful at the Crucifixion. There were herds of unpleasant people. Jesus’ friends were hard to find. Even the ‘unfortunate’ Pilate morosely asked, “What is truth?” (He didn’t know.) What a MESS!

        You are, I think, wise to be “all serious”.

      • March 27, 2012 - 10:48 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Jennifer – this was very helpful. I too was disappointed at the kitsch because somehow I expected each round to go into more depth (even though I did read the description so I should have known what was coming).

        I’m not opposed to kitsch in general – I once saw a production of Moliere’s Tartuffe that brilliantly featured among its kitschy props a larger-than-life flat plywood cutout of Jesus with a purple glowing neon halo that just made the scene, and stands forever in my mind as the epitome of religious kitsch! It’s just not quite what I was looking for here.

        But the impending jeers of the Passion, together with Peg’s utterly inspired putting the ha in hagiography slogan, helps create the proper perspective. 🙂

  19. mary wueste's Gravatar mary wueste
    March 27, 2012 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    I like the Mary Magdalene Christmas tree ornament! I’m sticking with Mary, no matter who she’s up against. And everybody–read Tim’s comment above. We’re not really judging the saints! That would just be wrong. This is good, educational, I-love-my-faith fun!

  20. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 27, 2012 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    I am disappointed that the women get this sort of treatment — remains to be seen if the “humor” carries through the rest of the finalists.

    • March 27, 2012 - 10:46 am | Permalink

      I’m just stricken, Ann, that you don’t find my snarkasm endearing. If I can’t laugh at the drek that gets generated to “reverence” the saints, I’d cry. I’d rather laugh.

  21. March 27, 2012 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    Got in trouble with a fellow-parishioner whom I inadvertently dissed for dissing Lent Madness but it was worth every lash of the whip. What is exciting is the challenge ahead to top this year. What is discouraging is that we are moving toward the Golden Halo. Maybe a tie and a playoff-anything to prevent the end of so much good, humerous commentary. And we may have learned a little in the process to boot. Great work, Tim and Scott!

  22. Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
    March 27, 2012 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    Oh dear. Oh DEAR. When they said “things might get ugly” I had no idea…

    However, since I one of the reasons am rooting for Mary Magdalene is as corrective to how she has been treated over the centuries in more serious arenas, these present indignities (horrors?) are just fuel to the fire of Camp Magdalene.

    Love what I’ve learned of Underhill and plan to get to know her better. Voting MM today.

  23. aleathia nicholson's Gravatar aleathia nicholson
    March 27, 2012 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    I thought I could come up with some out-of-the-realm-of-sanity(?)…no…no…_mysticalism but you guys and these guest authors/collators defy the realm of pure believability and I tip my hat to you. I love it! I love it! I love it! Some of my predecessors this glorious AM need to lighten up a bit and get their tights out of a wad that’s preventing a bit of lightheartedness. Oh,yeah! MARY MAGS all the way !!!!!

  24. Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
    March 27, 2012 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    The Underhill tanning line is genius, though.
    Needs to come in various strengths to ramp up the protection as your mystic journey takes you closer and closer to the intense glow of the Godhead… SPF 3, SPF 7, SPF 10, SPF 12…(SPF = Shekinah Protective Factor).

    ….perhaps also an SPF666 for those who take a seriously wrong turn, and wind up facing a h*ll of a lot more heat than originally anticipated…

    • March 27, 2012 - 10:47 am | Permalink

      Shekinah Protective Factor!!!! LOLOLOL… beyond brilliant.

    • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
      March 27, 2012 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Jennifer, that was some Strong coffee in your LM mug ! Inspired !
      Remember, C.S. Lewis said, “The devil hates to be mocked.”

  25. Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
    March 27, 2012 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    Mary gets my vote today. And you get my vote for the “kitschy” posting in this round. The ornament has already been ordered!

  26. March 27, 2012 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    I love Lenten Madness and I’m a huge fan, but I’m disappointed with this post. I could never be accused of being either faint of heart of humorless and I think most religious kitsch is worthy of at least a laugh and a half but I’m with Ann in hoping that this kind of humor is shared across gender lines. Other than Jesus and, perhaps the ABC, ABY and Desmond Tutu, I’m thinking you won’t find the same kind of kitsch for men. I’d love to be surprised. Being in the midst of the War On Women probably makes some of us a little more sensitive than usual. Bad timing.

    • March 27, 2012 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Had St. Nicholas made it to this round, I think you would have found a surfeit of Santa kitsch. It all has to do with name recognition and commercial viability, I think, not male or female. I’ll be curious what they can dig up for Cranmer!

  27. Michelle C. Jackson's Gravatar Michelle C. Jackson
    March 27, 2012 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    Don’t you think the two of them are somewhere ‘up’ in heaven laughing about this whole thing? But I will vote for Evelyn Underhill, because I slogged through her humungous book and she deserves a tip of the hat for being so thorough and methodical……but Mary Mags is so cool….oh dear, what shall I do? I have to think more about this

  28. Gary Goldacker's Gravatar Gary Goldacker
    March 27, 2012 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Kitsch is good! Somewhere there must be a treasure trove of humor of the saints. At least the modern day ones I’ve met have wonderful senses of humor (think, Desmond Tutu!) Thanks for the well-rounded nature of Lent Madness!!!

  29. Lisa Hamilton's Gravatar Lisa Hamilton
    March 27, 2012 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    All this talk of kitsch, and, I admit, Mary Mag, reminds me of the time I went to get my nails done (perhaps a pre-Maundy Thursday pedi?) and saw that the new line of nail polish was branded “SPIRITUAL.” The nail tech was quick to point out my error; the brand is actually “SPA RITUAL.” Sigh.

    • Katherine Schroeder's Gravatar Katherine Schroeder
      March 27, 2012 - 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Good one! 😀

    • Dorothy's Gravatar Dorothy
      March 28, 2012 - 12:40 am | Permalink

      Ha, the lipstick shade I wear is called Spiritual!!!! For real.

  30. March 27, 2012 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    Wow! You should’ve mentioned all the other statues of Mary Magdalene available on that website! I think I see a new collection in my future. But I’ve got to say that for kitsch factor, I would have chosen the one of Mary with Jesus! Some would call it tacky, but I love it! And BTW, you can get all sorts of other “goddess” goodies on that site – Kali or Isis anyone?

  31. Peg Sheldrick's Gravatar Peg Sheldrick
    March 27, 2012 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    I’ve found Lent Madness informative, thought-provoking, and even inspirational. It puts the “ha” in hagiography.

    • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
      March 27, 2012 - 11:56 am | Permalink

      You’ve totally got my vote for Lent Madness 2013 motto!!

    • Jill Cox's Gravatar Jill Cox
      March 27, 2012 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

      I second that vote for the 2013 motto! Awesomeness!

    • Mollie Douglas Turner+'s Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner+
      March 27, 2012 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

      And I third it!

      • Eve's Gravatar Eve
        March 27, 2012 - 8:08 pm | Permalink

        Fifth it! (And I’m starting a line of Underdog Saint Kitsch immediately! Watch for it in a gift shop near you!

  32. Gretchen R. Chateau's Gravatar Gretchen R. Chateau
    March 27, 2012 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    Underhill for moi. Mysticism over Maudlin. Baffles me, though, what “maudlin” has come to mean given what a powerful, clearly ahead-of-her-times womon Magdalene.

    • Mollie Douglas Turner+'s Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner+
      March 27, 2012 - 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Gretchen, I think a look at lots of Renaissance art depicting the Crucifixion will help: Mary is often pictured with wildly loose red hair, bawling her eyes out in histrionic fashion–about as over-the-top “maudlin” as you can imagine. Awful–and totally influenced by all the scurrilous legends about her history. I like better the beautiful picture of her restrained, totally genuine grief in The Fourth Gospel.

      I’m for Mary Magdalene all the way, though Evelyn is also magnetic to me….

      • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
        March 27, 2012 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Or – worse – she came by her tearful reputation because her identity was conflated with the especially sinful woman in Luke 7 who wept and begged at Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. Which is not to say that Jesus doesn’t love especially sinful women right along with rest of us. The interaction between Jesus and that woman is a beautiful thing. The problem is that tagging Magdalene as that prostitute relegates her to a certain category of …disrespect… and seems designed to take the mickey out of traditions that saw her as an important leader in the early church. (Hate to bring up the recent “slut” controversy, but see how that label works as a dismissive, then as now?)

        Go MADLY (Magdalene Anti-Defamation Leaguers Yu-nite)! Or something like that…

  33. Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
    March 27, 2012 - 11:43 am | Permalink

    I checked out the Mary Magdalene doll- “authentic first century costume”?
    Looks awfully medieval to me!

    • March 27, 2012 - 4:43 pm | Permalink

      I know, right? I thought the whole outfit was completely weird and not even close to 1st century.

  34. Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
    March 27, 2012 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I have to go for the person who stuck with Jesus through the entire Passion (when most of the disciples had fled), to the one who didn’t go into hiding when Jesus died (and, in fact, was bold enough to keep visiting his tomb!), to the one who was first entrusted with the Great Commission, and to the inspiration for the best hymn ever (“In the Garden” – try singing it with your best buddies after you’ve all quaffed a few beers, and you’ll see what I mean). Go Mary!

    • March 27, 2012 - 10:37 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know the hymn, and my SearchEngine-Fu was insufficient to find it. Can anyone offer a link to lyrics & sheet music, or failing that, something I can listen to? Thanks!

      • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
        March 27, 2012 - 11:07 pm | Permalink

        With pleasure –

        It has a warm spot in my heart because a) it was a friend’s favourite and b) it is the inspiration for my favourite clean joke:

        Little kid asks parent if “God” is God’s first name or last name. Parent answers that “God” is the whole name, one of many, but no first or last really, just “God”.
        Kid’s sibling pipes up “No, that’s not true. God is His last name. His first name is Andy.”
        “What makes you think that?” asks parent, puzzled.
        “From the song. You know — Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am His own…”

  35. Evelyn's Gravatar Evelyn
    March 27, 2012 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    My grandmother Evelyn (not a saint) had a very confusing saying when I was a lass.
    “Shoe the horse. Shoe the mare. But let the little colt go bare.” confusing because she was putting my shoes on when she said this. But it got me thinking about maybe a line of shoes to go with that first picture we had of dear Evelyn Underhill. (Or sandals for the Hobbits)

  36. Alec's Gravatar Alec
    March 27, 2012 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Like Charlie Brown, I am inclined to respond “Good Grief!”

  37. sharon's Gravatar sharon
    March 27, 2012 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Lisa, I’m disappointed too with this round. I would rather learn more about the saints then the kitsch

  38. Barb's Gravatar Barb
    March 27, 2012 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    If all those writing somewhat negatively about kitsch would take a walk into any “religious” goods store you would be shocked. The most kitsch is about Jesus-like the pencil toppers or the pen knife or……..Just enjoy the fun the sadness is coming all too soon.

  39. March 27, 2012 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Paul lost to Emma, so I’m jumping on the “underdog” bandwagon this year and voting for Evelyn.

  40. March 27, 2012 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Next year we should have bumper stickers. Go Mary!

  41. Jill Cox's Gravatar Jill Cox
    March 27, 2012 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m loving this round! Perhaps we should all learn from Evelyn Underhill.. Go Mary!

  42. ann hunt's Gravatar ann hunt
    March 27, 2012 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

    this is worse than having Kansas play Baylor in the final four… would that I could follow both to the final game. I voted with my heart and it belongs to the 2 Mary’s. Magdeline and the Blessed Mother. But I love Evelyn as well. Her mind (and heart) are shining diamonds, in a dark sky… I voted for Mary… I wish the voting were closer… Evelyn deserves better for she has been an inspiration to many of us and guided us well and left books that will last for a long time in the libraries of the faithful and the seekers…

  43. dr.primrose's Gravatar dr.primrose
    March 27, 2012 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

    For those criticizing the Mary Magdalene kitsch as sexist – you’re grossly underestimating the amount of kitschy religious stuff on the web that people are willing to sell you. My favorite so far in a brief web search are the 10 plagues finger puppets – though I’m not quite sure how you use those in Sunday morning nursery except as a warning to misbehaving toddlers.

    At any rate, since Paul is coming up, there are a variety of Paul puppets that you may order including – (1) and (2) (Paul is the puppet on the left).

    As for me, I’m voting for Evelyn in support of my newly established campaign to get an Evelyn puppet on the market.

    • Mary-Elise's Gravatar Mary-Elise
      March 27, 2012 - 1:59 pm | Permalink

      What about an Evelyn Underhill, mysticism game akin to the Paul game I found on Amazon.

      The journey back to the beginning of Christianity, The time: 60 A.D. The place: the pagan Roman Empire, angry mobs, political unrest, roman soldiers, shipwrecks. All these are included in this exciting, fast-paced game which blends strategy, skill, and chance while providing great fun. The game begins immediately after Paul completed his famous four journeys during which he spread the Gospel and established the first churches in the Roman Empire. Each player in the game is a missionary who, like Paul, travels through the Roman Empire attempting to start churches in several key cities. The game simulates the difficulties and challenges confronted by Paul and his companions. You must be daring and cunning, strategic in thought and a good manager of resources as you race against your friends and family to the mighty gates of Rome. Let The Journey Begin. No bible knowledge needed, no trivia questions, full color original artwork, 50 event cards, 60 opportunity cards, 30 city cards 23″ by 36″, historically accurate map, and 6 sets of playing pieces, rule book, attractive packaging: 24″ by 3.5″, and diameter map tube. Ages: 10 and up 1-6 players and playing time: 1 – 3 hours.

      • Christopher Nimmo's Gravatar Christopher Nimmo
        March 27, 2012 - 2:15 pm | Permalink

        That game is actually amazing (speaking from experience)! It’d be a great way of introducing people to Paul.

      • dr.primrose's Gravatar dr.primrose
        March 27, 2012 - 2:45 pm | Permalink

        When I was growing up, one of our favorite board games was Going to Jerusalem. The board pieces were the disciples that you moved in a path around the board that roughly followed Jesus’ ministry in Galilee until you got to Jerusalem. You drew cards that had a Bible verse listed, which you read in the handy New Testament that came with the game. The card also had a highlighted number that showed the number of spaces you were to move. (No Satanic dice with this game!!).

        Our favorite verse was Luke 6:38 — “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.” For some reason we thought that verse was hilariously funny and it always brought out hoots and paroxysms of laughter.

  44. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 27, 2012 - 1:44 pm | Permalink

    My sister’s birthday is July 22.
    Our childhood parish was St. Mary Magdalene. We attended there for Grades 1–8, including First Communion and Confirmation.
    Today’s vote: no contest!
    @Vicki: You’re in Glastonbury? ::straining to avoid being jealous::

    • Vicki's Gravatar Vicki
      March 27, 2012 - 5:19 pm | Permalink

      I just live about a mile away from the one in Hingham – not the original!

  45. Brigid Courtney's Gravatar Brigid Courtney
    March 27, 2012 - 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I vote for Mary Magdelene, she is one of my favorites

  46. Lauren Stanley's Gravatar Lauren Stanley
    March 27, 2012 - 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I love and admire both of them, but the kitsch … oh, the kitsch!!!! (However, you may spare me the Barbie doll … all other kitsch is welcome!)

  47. peter fluchere's Gravatar peter fluchere
    March 27, 2012 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I have a small cross purchased at the church in the grotto in Provence, where Mary Mag was carried up the hill by angels, having rowed across the Med in a little boat. Angels are a good thing, it is quite a climb. And with a wrought iron staircase up the cliff itself from the 1800’s. Very nice. Went there as a cousin was losing her battle with cancer. Good and bad, Mary Mag-very important.

  48. March 27, 2012 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I was going to post a link to the hymn of Linda Wilberger Egan, “The first one ever.” Alas and alack. Egan’s copyright seems to be safe, as Google failed to return a link to even the words in a reasonable search, let alone a video of someone singing this hymn.

    See Hymn 673 in the Hymnal 1982 for this delightful hymn, which ends with a verse about “Mary, Joanna, and Magdalene.” This was going to be my pennance for voting for Underhill.

    My motorcycle license plate is a vanity plate drawing upon Lord of the Rings. How could I not vote for an Underhill?

    “Oh, blessed are they who see.
    “They were Mary, Joanna, and Magdalene,
    “and blessed are they, are they who see.”

  49. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    March 27, 2012 - 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Fully expect Magdelene to win this one, but I voted for Evelyn, just because she means so much to me.

  50. Christopher Nimmo's Gravatar Christopher Nimmo
    March 27, 2012 - 2:13 pm | Permalink
    • Susan's Gravatar Susan
      March 27, 2012 - 7:41 pm | Permalink

      And it’s only $7.77. Such a bargain!

  51. Marilyn Wall's Gravatar Marilyn Wall
    March 27, 2012 - 2:14 pm | Permalink

    If you want Non-kitsch for Mary Magdelene, check out the Icon of Mary Magdalene holding a white egg commissioned by Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to commemorate the 1988 election of Barbara Harris 1st woman Bishop in the Anglican Church. Available at Trinity store.

  52. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 27, 2012 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Evelyn because I downloaded her book to my Kindle & I have not yet started reading it.
    Can we take the concept of Lent Madness and do this for other seasons? Advent Adversaries perhaps? How about Epiphany Epistlers when we vote for those who wrote church documents? I am sure the SEC can come up with more!

    • Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
      March 27, 2012 - 6:14 pm | Permalink

      I support Carol’s request for “Advent Adversaries and Epiphany Epistlers.” The thought of waiting a full year for Lent Madness to come round again is creating dreadful withdrawal symptoms in me.

      • March 28, 2012 - 12:26 am | Permalink

        So, when is Fr. Gunn supposed to edit if he is having fun like this all year?

  53. Leigh Hollis-Caruso's Gravatar Leigh Hollis-Caruso
    March 27, 2012 - 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I think the Mary Mag doll is wonderful. Would make a great pairing with a +++KJS doll that I once saw on facebook. Someone had made vestments for women priest dolls and included ones for the very right reverend herself. Does anyone remember that? It was making the rounds a few years ago.

  54. March 27, 2012 - 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Is there are Thomas Cranmer cigarette lighter out there? Or rather, candle lighter. Now that there are so few smokers, any number of worship services have started late when nobody could find the matches. Now with Enmegahbowh coming up, you guys are REALLY going to regret the kitsch round!

  55. March 27, 2012 - 4:32 pm | Permalink

    I have a technical question: so far, I have only been able to vote for the two saints at the top of the site, i.e. Mary Magdalene and that other one. The others all say Vote! at the end of their descriptions but there is no way to vote. What gives? Thanks for your help,

    • Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
      March 27, 2012 - 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Kay, click on the blue title in the first email and that will take you to a second one where you can vote at the bottom.

  56. Hope and Skye's Gravatar Hope and Skye
    March 27, 2012 - 4:42 pm | Permalink

    All about imagery here: Skye likes the Barbie and Hope likes the puppet so we’re voting for Mary Magdalene today. As a side note to yesterday’s Emma v. Paul vote, Hope woke up in the middle of the night (10:30pm for her) and ran downstairs to let her slacker mom know we’d forgotten all about the LM vote. Whilst her sister snoozed, Hope considered her options carefully and voted for the golden halo’d Paul. Sorry Emma … but you beat him anyway!

    • Susan Allen's Gravatar Susan Allen
      March 27, 2012 - 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Are there others besides me who look forward to seeing how Hope and Skye vote each day? I love reading their rational for voting!

      • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
        March 27, 2012 - 5:54 pm | Permalink

        You betcha — hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church! : )
        (And a saintly thumbs up to Hope for her Paul vote.)

    • March 27, 2012 - 6:30 pm | Permalink

      I am laughing at the thought of your little one waking up with LM on her mind. 🙂
      minimal appreciation for kitsch around here (except for me!) but when asked to vote on earlier information, Rachel and Adam agreed (for the first time this evening) on Mary M.

  57. Grace Matthews's Gravatar Grace Matthews
    March 27, 2012 - 6:02 pm | Permalink

    For those of you who never figured out how to get past the first day’s vote… when the exact same thing shows up the next day, go down and click on Tim or “who IS that other guy?”‘s name and the new match will magically pop up so you can vote on that day… keep repeating this process daily. It works

  58. March 27, 2012 - 6:40 pm | Permalink

    voting for Evelyn because i think Monica/Nicholas is a tougher bracket than Joan/John.

  59. Jim Begley's Gravatar Jim Begley
    March 27, 2012 - 6:43 pm | Permalink

    I like Ms Underhill a lot, but this is the Elate Eight. Mary, truly a member of the A-team held hands with Jesus, that’s big!

  60. Sue Blais's Gravatar Sue Blais
    March 27, 2012 - 7:06 pm | Permalink

    I know why the fleur de lis is on the candle. In some Cathar beliefs, especially in the Southern part of France, this symbol is used for Mary Magdalene. It is supposed to symbolize her union with Christ and the three children they supposedly shared. The middle part of the flower is for the daughter, Sara and the two sides are for their sons, John and David. ( I and sure of the daughter’s name but not 100% on the sons’ names.) Also the lily is a symbolic flower for the Magdalene.

  61. kathi ferris's Gravatar kathi ferris
    March 27, 2012 - 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Although I supported Evelyn in past rounds (and intend to read some of her stuff) I had to go with MM this time–there is something appealing about a woman who stuck by Jesus those final hours and was the one to whom he first appeared after the ressurection. I am not sure I could have done it–I’d probably have beat the rest of the disciples into a safe hiding place. Go, Mary! You have real grit.

  62. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    March 27, 2012 - 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Mary was branded a prostitute and repentant sinner by the church. While like all the rest of us sinners I am sure that she was a repentant sinner I am not so sure that I buy the prostitute story.

    In seminary I was exposed to some texts commonly referred to as the gnostic gospels. Before anybody worries too much it was a Methodist seminary but before you take askance remember the Wesley boys were born and died Anglicans. Anyway the Gospel of Mary and to a lesser extent the Gospel of Thomas portrays Mary after Jesus’ death as a teacher in the church very much the equal of Peter. I do not want to accuse our Roman brethren of dissing Mary in favor of Peter but I know she has my vote today.

  63. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    March 28, 2012 - 12:10 am | Permalink

    Both women are so impressive! Voting for Mary.

  64. Paul Rosbolt's Gravatar Paul Rosbolt
    March 28, 2012 - 1:07 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Mary….but thanks Lent Madness for turning me on to Evelyn!

  65. Susan Youmans's Gravatar Susan Youmans
    March 28, 2012 - 1:59 am | Permalink

    MM for me. She touched Jesus. She listened to Jesus. She believed he would save her.
    Thanks Tim and Scott for all the new knowledge of our Saints. TBTG.

  66. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 28, 2012 - 7:21 am | Permalink

    Looking forward to Thomas Cranmer kitsch and offer this for consideration:,228617746

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