Paul of Tarsus vs. Theodore of Tarsus

In the final battle of the First Round, Paul takes on Theodore in the epic Battle of Tarsus (you get extra Lent Madness points if you can find Tarsus on a map). The winner will do battle with Brigid of Kildare in the subsequent round.

Yesterday, in a hotly contested scrum between Margaret of Scotland and William Temple, Margaret ultimately emerged victorious 52% to 48% in heavy voting and commenting (119). Overall, it was a full day of Lent Madness news as the Supreme Executive Committee announced that they are threatening a lawsuit against some basketball tournament that uses “Madness” in the name. This led to an ensuing “controversy” over which virgin the state of Virginia was named after. Fortunately, this was all put into perspective on our Facebook fan page once a picture was posted of our two favorite voters, eight-year-0ld twins Hope and Skye of Burke, Virginia. Yes, that Virginia.

The Round of the Saintly Sixteen kicks off tomorrow with a fascinating match-up between two powerful and popular women, Joan of Arc and Mary Magdalene. Tickets are currently being scalped at astronomical prices.

Paul of Tarsus (5-67), the most influential Christian convert of the Early Church, is best known for his zeal in spreading Christianity and for writing more New Testament books than anyone else. His conversion story, from persecutor to disciple, involves an appearance of Christ so real that Paul insisted on calling himself an Apostle even though he had never met Jesus during Christ’s lifetime.

Paul was raised a pious Jew. His zeal for the Jewish faith is detailed in the Book of Acts where Paul condoned the stoning of Stephen, Christianity’s first martyr. Paul was then famously converted on the road to Damascus when he was blinded, knocked off his horse, and addressed by the voice of Christ. Following this conversion his name was changed from Saul to Paul. He then set out on full-time missionary activities, helping spread the Gospel to early Christian communities throughout the Mediterranean.

Paul’s journey included incarceration, which is where he wrote several famous letters to his followers, including Galatians and Philippians. Fourteen epistles in the New Testament are attributed to Paul.

Paul took three missionary journeys, the final one ended in Rome where he settled as a tent maker and Christian leader. Christian tradition says Paul was beheaded during the reign of Nero around the mid-60’s. He is often depicted in art with a bald head. He shares his feast day with St. Peter who was crucified upside down, also in Rome, at the same time.

Collect for Peter and Paul: Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you by their martyrdom: Grant that your Church, instructed by their teaching and example, and knit together in unity by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Chris Yaw

Theodore of Tarsus, also known as Theodore of Canterbury (602 – 690) was, according to the Venerable Bede, “the first archbishop [of Canterbury] whom all the English obeyed.” Tarsus was a city in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), part of the Byzantine Empire, the same city that the Apostle Paul called home. At some point, Theodore moved to Constantinople and later to Rome to join a community of Eastern monks. At the age of sixty-six, he was appointed seventh Archbishop of Canterbury, a seat which had been vacant for four years.

Most of the information we know about Theodore comes from the aforementioned Bede, who reported that Theodore first of all had to grow out his hair for four months so he could switch from the Eastern to the Western tonsure. Soon after his consecration, Theodore traveled around England, appointing bishops (there were many vacancies due to the plague) and reorganizing dioceses to make them of manageable size for both pastoral care and administration. Upon his return to Canterbury he drew up a book of canon law to organize the Church in England, a diverse church of Roman, Celtic, and Anglo-Saxon Christians. Theodore, perhaps because he was a Greek who lived in many places himself and was an outsider, was able to bring all the parties together into one Church despite the ill feelings engendered from the Council of Whitby’s decision in 663 to favor Roman over Celtic practices in Britain.

Theodore also established the influential school at Canterbury modeled on the great school in Antioch where Theodore himself may well have studied. Latin and Greek, poetics, computistics (the calculation of the church calendar, which was a big issue in that time and place), astronomy, Biblical exegesis and church music were taught at the Canterbury school. The liturgical use of sacred music as taught at Canterbury (which included Roman chant) spread throughout England during Theodore’s archbishopric.

Theodore served for twenty-two years as Archbishop of Canterbury and died at the age of eighty-eight. He is venerated as a saint in both the Anglican (including The Episcopal Church) and Eastern Orthodox churches. His feast day is celebrated on September 19.

Collect for Theodore of Tarsus: Almighty God, who called your servant Theodore of Tarsus from Rome to the see of Canterbury, and gave him gifts of grace and wisdom to establish unity where there had been division, and order where there had been chaos: Create in thy Church, we pray, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, such godly union and concord that it may proclaim, both by word and example, the Gospel of the Prince of Peace; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Penny Nash


Paul of Tarsus vs. Theodore of Tarsus

  • Paul of Tarsus (61%, 925 Votes)
  • Theodore of Tarsus (39%, 598 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,521

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103 Comments to "Paul of Tarsus vs. Theodore of Tarsus"

  1. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 14, 2012 - 8:06 am | Permalink

    There is no horse in the story of Paul. One in many paintings but not in the Bible – wonder why people insist he was on a horse?

    • March 14, 2012 - 8:15 am | Permalink

      Ann – you think he walked from Jerusalem to Damascus?????

  2. March 14, 2012 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    Gotta go with Paul. (Being rector of St. Paul’s Parish and all….)

  3. Mark's Gravatar Mark
    March 14, 2012 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    I didn’t want to vote for Paul. Too obvious. Kind of like asking “Mohammed or Jesus?”. But he was shipwrecked, imprisoned, and had a fantastic and well publicized conversion experience. Paul wins.

  4. don cardwell's Gravatar don cardwell
    March 14, 2012 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    On behalf of every LEM A who must search for Paul’s buried subordinate conjunctions at 8am, a gleeful and heartfelt vote for St Teddy.

    • Cindy Scott's Gravatar Cindy Scott
      March 14, 2012 - 9:46 am | Permalink

      Amen to that!!

    • Ann of York(New)'s Gravatar Ann of York(New)
      March 15, 2012 - 8:34 pm | Permalink

      How true! It constantly amazes me how Paul could write an entire letter with only 2 or 3 sentences! But then again I have not read any of St. Teddy’s letters.

  5. Nancy Baillie Strong's Gravatar Nancy Baillie Strong
    March 14, 2012 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    Always thought Paul needed an editor! (But then, so do I…) Much as I appreciate the enormous contributions of Theodore (and the fact that he accomplished so much on the last two decades of his life), I think I have to go with Saint Paul of the run-on sentences, and barely diagrammable prose.

    • Gian's Gravatar Gian
      March 14, 2012 - 10:32 am | Permalink

      I am convinced that Paul’s grammatical issues in English are due to a conservative translation which tries to be faithful to the original document. And I am telling you this because in Spanish we do not have any problem with Paul’s grammar since the Greek grammar structure is somehow similar to the grammar structure we have. We love long sentences and that is a sign for us of being in front of an educated person.

  6. March 14, 2012 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    I love Paul – he’s such a human Christian, and pastor! And a brilliant writer. A model for Christians in crisis, Christians who care about mission, Christians who struggle with self. He’s where the rubber meets the road, if you ask me.

  7. Eric Ramlow's Gravatar Eric Ramlow
    March 14, 2012 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    I mean really, this would be like David defeating Golith. Paul one of the most instrimental person to help us sinners reconcile between our flesh and how we want to live and how we actually do and he gives us encouragement to keep on Fighting the good fight!!! GO PAUL!!!

  8. Heidi Shott's Gravatar Heidi Shott
    March 14, 2012 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Right you are, Don. It’s not just reading it aloud at 8 a.m. that gets me, it’s the man’s tone. Two thousand years have passed but the ego of the 20th Century television evangelist comes through loud and clear. I’d vote for my rabbit (who is no saint, let me tell you) before I vote for Paul. Go Theo!!

    • Joline's Gravatar Joline
      March 14, 2012 - 8:44 am | Permalink

      I couldn’t agree more Heidi….I’m glad I’m not the only one….

      • Carol's Gravatar Carol
        March 14, 2012 - 11:32 am | Permalink

        Absolutely – while I agree he did a lot to spread the Word, Paul also was one of the most slanted writers of the Bible. I’m trying hard not to say “bigoted” or “misogynistic” because those terms come to mind when I read Paul’s writings if I’m not careful. Yes, I understand he was a product of his times, but so much of his writing has been used to “keep women in their place” that I must vote for Theodore… besides good old Theo’s name means Loves God! How can you go wrong with that?!?

        • Mollie Douglas Turner+'s Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner+
          March 14, 2012 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

          Actually, I think that’s “Gift of God”–glad to know more about him and have an alternative to the Apostle. And wouldn’t it be fun if seminary (or EFM) included astronomy and computistics??? Gotta love that curriculum! Plus, blessed is the peacemaker who got the nod from Bede. Theodore for me.

          • March 14, 2012 - 4:28 pm | Permalink

            We’re talking a good game Mollie but getting beat.

        • Sir Reg's Gravatar Sir Reg
          March 18, 2012 - 12:58 am | Permalink

          But if we hold misuse of one’s statements against them, instead of taking up their intended meaning, then all of us would be in trouble.Yikes! Can you actually understand what I just think I said?

          I may fall into the same error and assume your statements label you as a man-hating feminist. Sorry, but you can’t just put Paul “in his place” by saying he is a product of his time. Paul was radically changed. He worked side by side with women, elevated the status of women and honored their roles in family, society and church.

          Your opinion of Paul is obviously “slanted” and sexist. I think you misunderstand Paul by reading him through modern (and postmodern) values. By the way, my egalitarian stance doesn’t require me to abuse Paul. After all, his writings are canonical Scripture, inspired and inerrant. It always bothers me when we try to read the parts of Scripture we like as acceptable and the parts we don’t like as cultural and sociological drivel. Can’t a man get a little respect?

    • Christopher Nimmo's Gravatar Christopher Nimmo
      March 14, 2012 - 2:39 pm | Permalink


      Gosh, it’s almost like he believes what he’s saying, and actually cares what happens to the people he’s writing to!

  9. Jean McLean's Gravatar Jean McLean
    March 14, 2012 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    I love music! The archbishop gets my vote.

  10. March 14, 2012 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    Who has ever risked more than Paul for the inclusion of all people in the Body of Christ (2 Cor 11:21-28)? How would the Church have become a church of all people, and not remained a Jewish sect, without Paul? Who, as much as Paul in the early Church, empowered women like Priscilla and Phoebe as his co-workers (Acts 18:2,26,26, Rom 16:3, Rom 16:1)? What non-fundamentalist scholar asserts that Paul himself wrote 1 Tim, or Ephesians? Yes, he was a flesh and blood human being who was passionate for his beliefs. And he was committed to removing any man-made barriers between Gentiles and the New Covenant. In this exercise of frivolity that is Lent Madness, all this at least entitles him to the Saintly 16.

    • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
      March 15, 2012 - 1:44 am | Permalink

      OK, David, what is the scoop about 1Timothy & Ephesians? Those letters sound like Paul. Ephesians begins, ” Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Epheseus…” 1 Tim just starts by laying down the law, something Paul was famous for doing. I agree with your other assessments. I like this “frivolity”, though it’s sometimes difficult to explain to my family & friends.

    • Sir Reg's Gravatar Sir Reg
      March 18, 2012 - 1:23 am | Permalink

      “What non-fundamentalist scholar asserts that Paul himself wrote 1 Tim, or Ephesians?”

      Answer: D.A. Carson, C. H. Dodd, J. A. Robinson, C. E. Arnold, D. Moo, L. Morris, M. Gorman (Ephesians), G. Fee, D. Stuart to name a few!

  11. Dennis Johnson's Gravatar Dennis Johnson
    March 14, 2012 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Well lets see if I can get two in a row. Got to go for Paul. In recent readings I’ve learned he’s not the misogenist (sp?) woman hater I had the impression he was, in fact just the opposite. I still thing the decision at Whitby was wrong but shouldn’t blame Theodore as he just implemented the changes brought about by that decision. Anyway, go Paul!

    • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
      March 14, 2012 - 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. Misogynist isn’t a fair tag on someone who knew that “in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek… male nor female.” Not everything attributed to Paul was written by Paul (like with JC you can see how the message gets co-opted to suit cultural norms over time). His matter-of-fact acceptance of women in positions of authority as co-workers warms the cockles of my feminist heart. He could probably be an annoying presence in person (opening his mouth = attempts on his life) but for his willingness to turn and see truth when it was thrust upon him and as a passionate advocate for the way of Christ, God bless ‘im.

      For the reminders of the grace of God in Romans, and his beautiful understanding of how love works in 1 Corinthians… Paul!

  12. Sister Mary Winifred's Gravatar Sister Mary Winifred
    March 14, 2012 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    Women shouldn’t speak in chuch? Well, he doesn’t need my vote . . . go Theo!

    • Camille's Gravatar Camille
      March 14, 2012 - 9:22 am | Permalink

      There is a gang of continually gossiping women who sit behind this woman in church. I wish they’d listen to Paul. Go Paul!!!

    • March 14, 2012 - 9:26 am | Permalink

      Greetings Sister. I believe that Paul wasn’t saying that women should not publicly speak in church, especially since in the same letter, he refers to women prophesying. In the context of the passage’s point that the community should worship decently and in order, I think that Paul was simply asking that they not ask their husbands a question during the service, but that they should wait until they get home.

      • Sister Mary Winifred's Gravatar Sister Mary Winifred
        March 14, 2012 - 9:48 am | Permalink

        Then he should have said, no extraneous talking in church . . . or his translators should have. Sorry, but I don’t believe that’s what he meant, but if it makes you feel better then say I voted for Theodore because my cat’s named for him.

        • Diane Amison-Loring's Gravatar Diane Amison-Loring
          March 14, 2012 - 9:36 pm | Permalink

          Hi Sister,
          I remember Thomas…
          Theodore sounds like a great name. Is he an orange cat, too?

    • Pete Haines's Gravatar Pete Haines
      March 14, 2012 - 10:13 am | Permalink

      Paul is generally given a bad rap regarding women. During studies in the Education for Ministry (EfM) course offered insight which turned the tables in the understanding of Paul by both men and women alike. Priscilla was a missionary with Paul. Junia was an apostle. Paul’s scribe may be to blame for Paul’s centuries-long reputation against women.

    • Rev. Cynthia Pape's Gravatar Rev. Cynthia Pape
      March 16, 2012 - 11:57 am | Permalink

      I am with you , St. Winifred. No, wives should submit to their husbands jazz for me. Paul suffered for the gospel, yes. He was devoted to his Lord, yes. And he was impossible to please. No one could match him. It’s St. Ted for me.

  13. March 14, 2012 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    I know it’s a long shot but my money is on the saint with hairdo issues. Overcoming those indicates an ability to stay in the game at any cost until the buzzer.

  14. Brianne Willard's Gravatar Brianne Willard
    March 14, 2012 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    More Greece! Less Rome!

  15. Steve's Gravatar Steve
    March 14, 2012 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    I had to vote for the saint whose life actions did more to edify and praise God, while enlarging a global community of believers. When I was a wee boy keenly interested in getting to know God through Jesus, I was taught Bible versus in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. As I matured in my personal walk with Jesus, Paul’s writings nourished me. When I share the Word (and word) of God with friends and strangers, I use many passages attributed to St. Paul. No doubt, he is well loved by our Lord; I know I love and appreciate Paul! I think I just committed myself to being a loyal “Team Paul” member! All the way with Paul!!!!

  16. Wendy H H's Gravatar Wendy H H
    March 14, 2012 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Have to go with St. Theo – while Paul was a great man, there is value in learning about the lesser known saints. They are more approachable to ordinary folks (like me).

    • Tarheel's Gravatar Tarheel
      March 14, 2012 - 9:49 am | Permalink

      As an “ordinary folk”, I totally agree on the lesser knowns. Paul is a biggie in the church. Add in Paul’s comments on women and I cast my vote for Theo.

  17. Ann Case's Gravatar Ann Case
    March 14, 2012 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    Reading Paul, I still want to smack him. “I’m so humble, but don’t forget I did baptize so and so and all his family including great aunts … but who’s counting?” A little like the comedian that holds up a restraining hand to the applause and with the other hand is waving it on. I sometimes
    fantasize what the followers of Jesus might have become without him. But, he was a great PR man.

    • Christopher Nimmo's Gravatar Christopher Nimmo
      March 14, 2012 - 8:33 pm | Permalink

      “fantasize what the followers of Jesus might have become without him.”


  18. March 14, 2012 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    Having given up the internets for Lent — with one or two obvious exceptions — I find I have time to READ of all things! So after years of intending to, I have just finally started and finished Garry “Wills’s *”What Paul Meant,* and I like Paul a LOT more than I did two weeks ago. He gets my vote.

  19. Marian Willard's Gravatar Marian Willard
    March 14, 2012 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    I have to go with some of the other women who have commented. I understand Paul was instrumental in the spread of Christianity but his comments about women and women’s roles make my blood boil every time they are read in church! Go Theo!!

    • Christopher Nimmo's Gravatar Christopher Nimmo
      March 14, 2012 - 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Go read Romans 16

  20. Lauren Stanley's Gravatar Lauren Stanley
    March 14, 2012 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Gotta go with Paul. You spend enough time with him, you try to do what he did, you get to understand him a whole lot better. I’m willing to wonder about some of the things attributed to him, as in, Did he really write those particular letters, or did someone else in his name? His push to include everyone resonates so very much; as the artwork on facebook says right now, “All means ALL!” I admire Theodore and what he did; I admire Paul for how he lived, risking it all for his belief in the Risen Lord.

  21. Katherine Schroeder's Gravatar Katherine Schroeder
    March 14, 2012 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    Paul’s remarks about women make me feel itchy and cranky, but then I read Romans 8 and the sheer, soaring poetry of it is just so undeniable that I have to give my vote to Paul in spite of it all. Sigh. I’m a fool for an eloquent guy.

    • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
      March 14, 2012 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Amen, Sister! Romans 8:38-39 is my theological bedrock.

  22. Gian's Gravatar Gian
    March 14, 2012 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    I did not know Theodore of Tarsus so I thought that my choice today was going to be easy even when I have not been a fanatic of Paul of Tarsus ever. However, now that I learned about his achievements and his important role in the Church of England and consequently in the Anglican Communion thereafter and knowing that his feast is celebrated the day of my birthday along with Saint Januarius, patron saint of Naples, Italy; there is no doubt to whom my point (because it is only one) goes. In addition, I do not stand Paul’s disdain for sex which has created so many problems along history.

  23. Harry W's Gravatar Harry W
    March 14, 2012 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    I question the chances of having two saints from Tarsus facing off against each other. Paul gets my vote, and I expect him to win hands down. The knowledge
    of and sources of information about give Paul the upper hand before the contest
    begins. I however will be watching the comments to see if I am wrong.

  24. Michael Cudney's Gravatar Michael Cudney
    March 14, 2012 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    In spite of the convoluted syntax of the letters, Paul has my vote. We should all be so zealous in spreading the good news.

  25. Barb's Gravatar Barb
    March 14, 2012 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    I was wondering what I would do when this duo popped up on the scene–I’m still wondering.

  26. Margaret Smist's Gravatar Margaret Smist
    March 14, 2012 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    I voted with Theodore – anyone who could bring the Brits together after the Council of Whitby gets my vote.

  27. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    March 14, 2012 - 10:14 am | Permalink

    If the past matchups in Lent Madness are any indication today’s winner will be decided by the number of people named Theodore who vote versus the number of people named Paul who vote.

    I am off to watch CNN, I need a break.

  28. Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
    March 14, 2012 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    All honor to Paul of Tarsus, whom I love and respect beyond measure. However, I’m voting for Theodore of Tarsus because of the school of music at Canterbury. Anglican chant and the late sixteenth centuries’ greatest hits (music by Tallis, Byrd, et al.) are some of the jewels in the crown of the Anglican worship, and I believe that we have Theodore of Tarsus and the music school at Canterbury to thank for this.

  29. Frank's Gravatar Frank
    March 14, 2012 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    Tarsus!? It’s in Asia Minor, Turkey!

  30. Janis's Gravatar Janis
    March 14, 2012 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    The choice of Theodore of Tarsus does not negate the importance of Paul. It simply says that someone who came in after the plague and Whitby probably suffered illnesses, ill will, and drew people together much like Paul. I vote for Teddy because without him, we may not have the beauty of Anglican worship. And, any priest/Archbishop who has a bad hair day shares my challenges!

  31. barbara's Gravatar barbara
    March 14, 2012 - 10:49 am | Permalink

    This woman loves Paul, run-on sentences and all (completely understandable to me, since he was dictating and it’s unlikely his scribe had access to White-Out).

    What an incredible heart, and what tenacity! And given the overall shape of his writings – “no Jew nor Greek, no slave nor free, no male nor female in Christ Jesus” – and his close work with, and admiration for, women (and given the stuff about prophesying, etc,, and the fact that a female Apostle is *called* to witness to others), I can no longer understand him as a misogynist and am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt (remembering, too, that we don’t have the letters *from* the Corinthians, and deciding that he was addressing a particular pastoral issue of that congregations, as he usually was, and was not creating a general rule, as he usually wasn’t).

    Paul: yes. Yes: ALL!

  32. March 14, 2012 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    For you 8 am lectors, I would suggest almost memorizing the passages. Paul dictated his letters. You need to present the lesson as a talk to a friend, not as a written treatise. At least that is how 8 am best worked for me.

    As I grow older, I recognize the politics behind some of Paul’s passive-aggressive ways of controlling people and why he did it. I give him a pass.

    With regards to the treatment of women, remember that Paul placed some pretty steep requirements on men, too. Of course. Male preachers don’t emphasize those passages.

  33. Michael Merriman's Gravatar Michael Merriman
    March 14, 2012 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    Hey folks. Paul was his Greek name, Saul was his Hebrew name, not uncommon among the Greek speaking Jews of the diaspora. When is in Jerusalem with the Jewish Christians he is referred to as Saul, when he is with Gentile Christians (or writing to them) he is Paul. His name was not changed when he became a follower of Jesus.

  34. Susan Allen's Gravatar Susan Allen
    March 14, 2012 - 11:15 am | Permalink

    This one wasn’t an easy choice for me, but Paul got my vote since his work set the ground for Theodore’s.

  35. Briony's Gravatar Briony
    March 14, 2012 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks that Paul was the inevitable ‘bring on the lawyers’ part of the early Church that set some pretty pathetic ‘standards’ for all that came afterwards. Particularly Paul’s virulent misogeny. I’d vote for anyone else just so I never have to read that blasted Roman’s ‘circumcision’ passage at the lectern again! Did he write that on a dare? Inquiring minds….

    • March 14, 2012 - 11:35 am | Permalink

      Take out 1 Tim and Ephesians, which most non-fundy scholars believe Paul himself didn’t write, and add in his sharing of ministry with women like Priscilla, Phoebe, Chloe and Junia (whom Paul calls an apostle), and I don’t believe that Paul was a misogynist.

  36. aleathia nicholson's Gravatar aleathia nicholson
    March 14, 2012 - 11:31 am | Permalink

    We all know Paul is going to win hands-down if no more than for these simple reasons: Everybody who attends a St. Paul’s church will vote for him out of some misguided loyalty,,,Yes, I said it, so sue me !/ He wrote so many NT things, never mind, many are attributed to him/ He suffered so much for the Lord…Well, who wouldn’t if you got knocked blind off your horse, and I agree with the writer who said he couldn’t have walked all that way. BUT…he watched Stephen be stoned to death and I don’t care how sorry he was afterwards AND a bigger misogynist (sp !) never walked the face of the earth
    AND the supposed thorns in his side..or wherever? Come on, pipple…let’s be adults here, OK? Always for the underdog I am, so THEODORE ! You got my vote, especially as A of C in the C of E.

    • Christopher Nimmo's Gravatar Christopher Nimmo
      March 14, 2012 - 11:00 pm | Permalink

      SO. Let’s try to make sense of this comment shall we? You’re saying that A) Paul didn’t write all of his letters, then B) You DO believe enough of the Bible to say that Paul only became a really devoted follow of Jesus because he had a really significant experience then C) He was a terrible person because he held the cloaks at Stephen’s stoning, then D) You don’t believe in repentance and forgiveness then E) Based on an incredibly narrow reading of a handful of passages (particularly from letters which theologians largely believe he did NOT write – see your point A), and ignoring the high respect and authority he placed in a substantial number of (named) women you assert that he is the world’s greatest misogynist

      Then you say something bizarrely ambiguous but which I THINK equates to point F) “Paul was gay”

      I’d continue scratching my head in confusion, but I’m afraid that I might bore right through my skull.

    • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
      March 15, 2012 - 1:40 pm | Permalink

      I do challenge the point that Paul was misogynist – that’s why it matters that not everything attributed to him is likely authentic. Instead of being distracted by phrases in pseudonomic letters, look at how he conducted himself (eg his address to female co-workers in Romans 16).
      I can’t hold Paul responsible for what people writing after him in his name said. That would be like saying Jesus — who charged Mary Magdalene with the first telling of the gospel, and affirmed Martha’s sister Mary of Bethany in her commitment to learning — thought that women should not preach or teach…as some that came after Jesus writing in His name have said. THOSE people are far bigger misogynists than Paul ever was! (IMHO)

  37. Joe Stroud's Gravatar Joe Stroud
    March 14, 2012 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    The music. . . . . THE MUSIC!!! Paul gets enough attention (and, I DO find that, in spite of Paul’s obviously good points, Heidi’s “televangelist” comment resonates with me), so Theo it is.

  38. March 14, 2012 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Theodore gets my vote because I want to support the underdog and he did wonderful things for the folks of the British Isles. I’ve come to admire Paul over the years and understand that he is actually very much a supporter of women and their leadership in the church, but I still always see him as sort of a Danny DeVito kind of character.

  39. Jim Begley's Gravatar Jim Begley
    March 14, 2012 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been waiting for years to switch from Eastern to Western tonsure, it just won’t grow…Gotta vote for a man with a full head of hair. Theo’s my man!

  40. Beth Royalty's Gravatar Beth Royalty
    March 14, 2012 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I think that beloved Paul, who I absolutely adore, would be horrified to know that he might win the coveted Golden Halo. His deep humility would advise us to vote for Theo. The truth is, Paul already has the Golden Halo, and always will have it, so he can step aside on this one. He is my favorite character in the scriptures. (Love the idea of Danny DeVito playing him in the movie, Joan; thanks for that image!) And, Theo, who was “the first archbishop of Canterbury that all the English obeyed”, and was also probably the last Archbishop that all the English obeyed, deserves a shot at this.

  41. Paul Rosbolt's Gravatar Paul Rosbolt
    March 14, 2012 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Have to vote for Paul, regardless of any real or perceived warts. Without him, Christianity might very well have been a “cult of Jesus” within Judaism, rather than a great religion.

  42. March 14, 2012 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Can’t quite believe I’ve done this – much though I hate how Paul’s writing has been used and abused (particularly with regard to the role of women), I still am captivated by his humanity (when it seems to sneak out of his writing), his flexibility of approach to different situations, and his preparedness to turn around and follow the way of Christ.

  43. dr.primrose's Gravatar dr.primrose
    March 14, 2012 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Paul, because he struggles with so many of the same questions I struggle with.

    It’s a bit out of season, I suppose, but this Lent I’m struggling with the concept of “resurrection of the body/dead,” which probably gets much the same scoff now as it did when Paul was preaching about it in Athens. So I struggle with I Cor. 15, trying to understand what he thinks it means.

  44. Judith Crossett's Gravatar Judith Crossett
    March 14, 2012 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m an Anglican, and Anglophile, and a geriatrician (day job). Theodore went to England–can’t have been easy–and built the English Church into a shape to hand on and persevere. My vote goes to the older guy for whom life is not over. Go Theo!

  45. March 14, 2012 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Just because I don’t think we use the title Venerable enough any more, I’m sticking with Bede and voting for Theo. If he was good enough for Bede, he’s good enough for me!

  46. ann hunt's Gravatar ann hunt
    March 14, 2012 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

    another challenge for this voter… two saintly attributes… “grace” in Paul of T (where would we be without his capture of this insight) and the “willingness to follow God any where he leads” even into the heart of conflict as it must surely have been in England with the Celts, Anglo-Saxon’s & Romans with their own visions and priorities for the faith and to manage sainthood across the divide of the english church and the eastern church. Still I think we would not be much of a church without the theology and witness of Paul, inspite of his not being perfect… so today the apostle gets my vote …

  47. Alene's Gravatar Alene
    March 14, 2012 - 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Having spent considerable time studying Paul’s writings, both as a student and a teacher, I am convinced that it is not Paul’s writings that I have problems with but the way in which his writings have been misused and abused. Besides, I’m feeling a little less kindly these days to ABCs who are so focused on unity that other things like inclusion of all believers and differences of opinion slip to the side.

    • David Barbrow's Gravatar David Barbrow
      March 15, 2012 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

      What’s an ABC?

      • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
        March 15, 2012 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Arch Bishop of Canterbury. : )

  48. Margaret Pereira Albert's Gravatar Margaret Pereira Albert
    March 14, 2012 - 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I’m a career musician. Theodore gets my vote. He was also my favorite chipmunk. Seriously, St. Paul gets entirely too much attention.

  49. Brigid Courtney's Gravatar Brigid Courtney
    March 14, 2012 - 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I too, have difficulties with Paul and some of his viewpoints. I guess that’s they way a lot thought in those times. As a reader, I too find Paul difficult to read. (P.S. Sometimes I want to smack him too, but sisters are supposed to be kinder than that, I’d I’d refrain) I vote for Teddy ( as in Bear)

  50. Fr. Bill Loring's Gravatar Fr. Bill Loring
    March 14, 2012 - 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Another difficult one. But as Peter once remarked, Paul is too difficult to understand. I actually enjoy puzzling out Paul but today Ted’s my man.

  51. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 14, 2012 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Having been on the road to Damascus-albeit Maryland- have to go with Paul

  52. Hope and Skye's Gravatar Hope and Skye
    March 14, 2012 - 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Skye and Hope are keenly interested in the name change from Saul to Paul and wonder if he ever traveled to Gaul. Hope then asked if she could change her name to Justina Bieber. Mom said no. Paul gets their vote today.

    • Susan Allen's Gravatar Susan Allen
      March 14, 2012 - 4:26 pm | Permalink

      We need a “Like” button here!

    • March 14, 2012 - 5:25 pm | Permalink

      I still think that name change was just a typo…

    • March 14, 2012 - 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Rachel and Adam were done after the beheading…. Paul had their vote. Rachel is far more concerned about tomorrow’s match-up.

  53. James's Gravatar James
    March 14, 2012 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

    So all of you “uncomfortable” with Paul’s first century views on women, how many women did St. Ted appoint and ordain as bishops and priests in merry old England?

  54. March 14, 2012 - 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Here’s Tarsus:
    Location of Tarsus
    Coordinates: 36°55′N 34°54′E

    Please forward my bonus points to “The Most Exalted Scorekeeper-Michael T”. at Saint Matthias’ Episcopal Church in Minocqua, WI (

    I need them to break a tie after the first round.

  55. Dia's Gravatar Dia
    March 14, 2012 - 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Paul needs the golden halo. He really likes being number one. Chief among sinners — give me a break! I mean maybe you sin some, but surely there are those who are just a bit worse.

    • March 14, 2012 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Remember what Jesus said about those who said the didn’t sin versus those that asked for foregiveness. Then consider what Saul did before he became Paul.

      Chief sinner may not be hyperbole.

  56. Jeff Harre's Gravatar Jeff Harre
    March 14, 2012 - 6:20 pm | Permalink

    After 4 years of Education for Ministry followed by 7 years as an EfM Mentor, I’m of the opinion that there has been too much emphasis placed on Paul. My vote goes to Theodore.

    Tedd-y! Tedd-y! Tedd-y!

  57. Janet's Gravatar Janet
    March 14, 2012 - 6:20 pm | Permalink

    “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
    – Paul’s letter to the Romans 8:38-39

    Why is there even any discussion over who deserves the vote today?

  58. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    March 14, 2012 - 7:11 pm | Permalink

    I was torn, but I think Paul gets enough appreciation for his prodigious gifts to humanity, week in, week out in the Episcopal Church. Since I am a new Vestry member at St. Bede’s in Mar Vista, CA, I must cast my vote for the V.B.’s favorite, and hope to shine the spotlight in a different corner of the realm this time.

  59. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    March 14, 2012 - 8:05 pm | Permalink

    I understand how people can be put off by Paul. I lector at my church and, after many years of reading his words, I can see his massive intellect, his self-doubt, and his care for his churches. I voted enthusiastically for Paul.

  60. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    March 14, 2012 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Look. A man who is knocked off his A** and lands on his A** in the middle of the road deserves a little compA**sion.

  61. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    March 14, 2012 - 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Theo betook himself from the sunny Mediterranean to wet, chilly England, where he no doubt tromped around the muddy countryside on foot and lived in drippy thatched buildings. He lived to a ripe old age in spite of it all. He’s got my vote

  62. Heidi Shott's Gravatar Heidi Shott
    March 14, 2012 - 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Gee, I went away and had a real life for six hours and return to find Theo’s still trailing miserably. He needs his own personal Diocese of Hawaii.

  63. Alec's Gravatar Alec
    March 14, 2012 - 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Paul of Tarsus–it’s that simple

  64. Mary Ellen's Gravatar Mary Ellen
    March 14, 2012 - 10:29 pm | Permalink

    The guy had a terrific conversion story, wrote a TON and died for the cause. Although I don’t appreciate some of his ideas, I must go with Paul.

  65. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 14, 2012 - 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Looks like Paul is going to trounce poor Teddy… but that will put him up against Emma of Hawaii, and we know how those Hawaiians rally to their girl’s cause. So I’m not going to worry too much about this one, even though I voted for ol’ Theo… because in the next round, Paul is gonna get his clock cleaned!

    • Carol's Gravatar Carol
      March 14, 2012 - 11:34 pm | Permalink

      Um…guys? You said this:
      “…The winner will do battle with Brigid of Kildare in the subsequent round.

      But in your calendar you’ve got the winner of this match going up against Emma.

      So who is it? Emma or Brigid?!?

  66. March 14, 2012 - 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I was going to vote for Paul, because I’m going to be studying him this summer and have started reading this very promising looking book about him.

    But there was a lot in Theodore’s story that attracted my attention. He travelled around England reorganizing dioceses to make them of manageable size for both pastoral care and administration? Would that someone would do that today!

    He set up a school based on the school at Antioch? He brought together Christians of different rites.. and is honored as a saint by both Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox?

    I’ve got to go with Theodore!

  67. Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
    March 15, 2012 - 12:39 am | Permalink

    There’s no denying Paul is a Giant in the history of the church and everybody knows him. But my wife and I voted for Theodore because we feel that the lesser known saints deserve recognition. Sad to say, some Episcopal parishes don’t observe ANY
    saints days . As a result, so many holy men and women are unknown to their sisters
    and brothers here on earth. Thank God for Lent Madness and its efforts to correct this.

  68. March 15, 2012 - 12:49 am | Permalink

    i learned where Tarsus was in my Church of Christ days.

    i also heard words that seemed to burn the air: “Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?” “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” not said by Paul, but to him: compelling somehow, even if i can’t agree with every verse of the letters.

  69. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    March 15, 2012 - 2:29 am | Permalink

    Theodore took Paul’s teaching & ran with it. Along the way, he organized dioceses, staffed plague depleated churches, started schools and introduced new music in the English church. Too bad we don’t have Theodore’s writings! Nothing against Paul, though he could use a few extra commas & semi-collens.

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