Unsaintly Vibes

Shockingly, not everyone loves Lent Madness as much as we do. As the global media frenzy took hold this week, we've noticed a few online comments that have been less than flattering. It would be easy to get indignant, defensive, etc: "But we have God on our side! And saints! And a whole army of Lent Madness fans!"

But the fact is, we just like these quotes too much to let them go unnoticed, even as today's battle between Joan of Arc and Mary Magdalene opens the Round of the Saintly 16. Thus we offer you a few examples for your reading pleasure.

After reading Sara Pagones' witty commentary in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Maria wrote:

"I'm sitting here with mouth a-gape. It feels like this exercise mocks all that's holy. Is it just me? I would think there would be other "fun" ways to introduce the participants to the lives of the saints without offending the sensabilities (sic) of other Christians."

If we were literally able to "mock all that's holy," I'd say that's a pretty impressive accomplishment, wouldn't you? I mean, there's an awful lot of holy stuff out there. And, as one subsequent commenter put it, "Oh, Maria...Seriously? This is a great way to get people more involved with their faith. Come on, girl--lighten up! PS: Yes, it's just you."

Robin Jarrell posted the following on our Facebook fan page:

"I find this whole endeavor very troubling. Look at the wording: "pits" and "smackdown" recalls the roman gladiatorial games where some of our dearest saints were martyred. Wasn't it the Roman Empire that killed Jesus as non-violent threat to Caesar? I guess this type of genuflecting to the American Empire is what happens when we leave the leadership of the church the hands of a couple of boys."

Our initial reaction to this one was "she called us leaders of the church!" Then we replied: "Actually, the leadership of the Episcopal Church in the USA belongs to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies. They are not boys. On the other hand, Lent Madness is meant to be fun. If it is not fun for you, we're sorry. Really. Others are enjoying the festivities while they learn about God's work in the lives of women and men through history." Plus, it's no longer called "genuflecting." It's Tebowing.

This from "markstra" on the Religious News Service website:

"There is NO scriptural support for Lent nor churches creating “saints” either. Every Believer in Jesus since 30 AD has been a saint and all Believers who follow Jesus’ teachings in modern times are saints."

Well, besides Jesus wandering in the wilderness for 40 days. Sounds like someone needs to take their three-legged stool (Scripture, Tradition, Reason) in for repair.

Ultimately, we realize that Lent Madness is not for everyone. Some might even resent the Colbert-esque pomposity of the Supreme Executive Committee. The good news is that while Lent is not optional for Christians, Lent Madness is. Sure it's their loss and, as we like to say, "There's nothing worse than a humorless Christian." Or, as Tim was quoted eloquently stating in the Toledo Blade, "If God doesn't have a sense of humor, I'm hosed."


* indicates required

Recent Posts



60 comments on “Unsaintly Vibes”

  1. Thanks for this great game. You have energized my morning routine: Morning Prayer, Exercise and Lent Madness. What a way to start the day!

  2. This article is as funny as anything I've read on this whole ride. Keep up the good work, Supreme Executive Committee!

  3. Very subtle bias here on the part of the Supreme Executive Committee. Nothing like drawing attention to the violence of the Roman persecution in order to question the holiness of Joan of Arc's mission. All of the army imagery in this post is clearly linked to an obviously fabricated backlash against the glory that is Lent Madness... (As if folks could be that slow not to recognize the genius of this bracketed sanctity?! Your deft subterfuge will not sway me, or any of Joan of Arc's faithful fans!
    What do you get when you complete an Arc? A HALO, THAT'S WHAT! You'll have to try harder than this, guys! JOAN! JOAN! JOAN!

  4. My grandmother use to say, "If you can't have a good time with the Lord, who else is there?" I hope to start a form of "Lent Madness" with my church next year. It has been informative and entertaining. Thank you!!!

    1. Just remember, if you copy too much of Lent Madness with your church, the Supreme Executive Committee will sue you into oblivion. But that said, enjoy!

  5. Well....I am speechless over the UNSAINTLY VIBES diatribes unleashed on the Executive Committee as unchoice language is actually one..and the only.one. at that, of things I'm striving to give up for LENT. Therefore, I am extremely limited in my response to these.....people...oh! If only you knew the descriptors beong stricken from my lips. And to think, one of the dissenters is from NOLA.....Give me two breaks..PUH-LEEZE. Just ignore them as they obviously don't know stuff from Shinola about our daily fun choosing PEOPLE OF GOD as our choices and we love it ! Love it ! Love it ! And we'll even love it more tomorrow..unless you choose one of ...them !

  6. I love Lent Madness! People need to lighten up. Reading the biographies of the saints each day is very educational. It is a fun way to connect. If it's not your cup of tea, don't do it!

  7. Criticism, Schmiticism. The REAL unsaintly vibe around here is for those of us who didn't get our LM Saintly Sixteen email this morning! Reading the Joan v. Mary commentary this a.m. it looked like I wasn't the only one (although I _did_ get the email for this post). What's up with that?

  8. I"m still giggling over your response regarding the leadership of the Episcopal Church. And the Tebowing thing. That was really good.

  9. Wonder if the Supreme Executive Committee has seen the book "Between Heaven and Mirth" by James Martin, SJ? I have not read it, but I like one of his other books... sounds like a book you might enjoy!

  10. Well! Ahem (cough). Everyone at my church LOVES Lent Madness! We are CRAZY about it! What is that warm sensation I feel? Oh, look, my toes are roasting in hell. Whatever!

  11. Thank you, Supreme Executive Committee, for your fine work. Something confuses me, though in this report of unsaintly vibes: The photograph bears a remarkable resemblance to King Friday XIII from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Is he wielding power behind the scenes?

    1. I knew he looked familiar! Younger, but I'm 95% sure it is indeed King Friday. I'll be 100% sure if he makes a guest appearance (and royal pronouncement) on Monday Madness.

  12. Lent Madness detractors's children will be punished to the third and fourth generation. (Maybe those who voted against St. Nicholas too... not as sure about that one).

  13. My dear, if God doesn't have a sense of humor we're _all_ hosed! But I'm confident She does. I'm loving the whole thing. And, as a sports-blind person, I'm finally understanding that whole bracket/seed thingy.
    thanks so much!

  14. You guys ARE like Colbert! I knew there was a reason I like this blog or whatever you call it!

  15. I saw the Facebook post when it appeared and loved your response. Well done, SEC! We are all having good, clean fun here learning about and discussing saints from all eras and I am grateful for the efforts of all those behind Lent Madness. Thank you!

  16. I just wish there were some way for Lent Madness to continue year 'round. That's not possible — so I will content myself by enjoying a number of months' inspiration from the life and times of the winner of the 2012 Golden Halo. I will remain hopeful that Tim and Scott are able and willing to schedule a tour for the spirit of madness.

    1. If CNN found a way to spawn dozens of 24/7 news networks, and ESPN figured out how to get people to sobscribe to "vintage" sports rehashing, then surely in their boundless wisdom, the Supreme Executive Committee could find some way to extend our MUCH needed education and edification beyond the limits of Lent.

      1. Great thought! Before our Vicar was Vicar, he had classes on multiple people of faith, active in the world taking God's message to everyone they thought should know Jesus. I'm sure you can continue this fun way to provide us with church history and who took the "word" where.

        Keep on with the fun and insight!

  17. Thank you, GOD, for creating us in YOUR image ...

    And Jesus, thank you for being fully human & fully God ....

    I do not doubt that God has a great sense of humor, laughing often and heartily!

  18. Ah, she's just cranky 'cuz her favorite saint lost in the first round. Or perhaps she's never seen a platypus. God is a funny, funny God.

    Thank God. Keep up your wholly holy work!

  19. Thanks for livening up my daily routine and introducing me to some of the saints I had not read about prior to this. (yes I know all members of the body of Christ are Saints).

  20. I think maybe we need a Lent Get-A-Sense-of-Humor site. I think Lent Madness has been great and has encouraged a lot of folks to learn a few things about the saints. I look forward to it each day.

  21. Grace Episcopal Church, Norwalk, CT supports Lent Madness! It is brilliant! My Lenten discipline is to laugh more. It's good for the soul that spends way too much of life fretting and worrying and planning and trying to get things right. Thanks, Supreme Ones!

  22. Tebowing!
    So glad you brought in the 3 legged stool.
    LOL, I enjoyed every comment. Thank God for humor and so many things.

  23. Love Lent Madness, folks need to lighten up! I have found this to be a great teaching tool as well for my parishioners about the saints. thanks for putting this together!

  24. If they don't like it they don't have to become part of the experience. They don't have to even follow it on facebook.

  25. Keep on "dancin' before the Lord", BOYS!

    If it was good enough for David, it's good enough for us.

    And replacing the worn out term "genuflecting" with "Tebowing" is brilliant.

  26. I came to the Episcopal Church late in life after being born and raised Methodist. I remember when I attended United Theological Seminary, The Methodist one of course, I had a professor named Dr. Ed Burtner. Dr. Burtner taught the class that I still refer to as Preaching 101.

    In class Dr. Ed was an elderly gentleman who both looked and sounded a lot like Billy Graham. He gave us several pearls of wisdom such as these;
    "The good lord could stand up in the pulpit on Sunday and preach a sermon and there will be some in the congregation who will disagree with the message"

    "A sermon should have three points and at least one funny story"

    "There is a difference between preaching and nagging and it happens at 15 minutes. You are preaching for the first 15 minutes and then you are probably nagging. At 20 minutes you have passed nagging and you are starting to *itch."

    I take from all of this that some who consider themselves Christians might just be a bit full of themselves. In addition a little bit of fun goes along fine with being a Christian.

    I wish that Lent Madness' detractors could have sat beside me in Dr. Ed's class. They might see things a bit differently.

  27. When asked what St. Teresa would do if she met the devil, she is reported to have said: "Laugh at him!" Laughter & taking ourselves lightly's just what this is all about! Carry on friends!

  28. Wow. I sure hope nobody thinks THAT Maria is THIS Maria. She's kinda grouchy when it comes to God having a sense of humor!

    P.S. This Maria is having a lot of fun with your witty repartee.