William Law vs. Columba

After two gut-wrenchingly close battles involving saints named Thomas, the week’s final match-up features an evangelical 18th century Anglican and a man closely linked to Ireland and Scotland.

Thomas the Apostle and Enmegahbowh faced off in an epic see-saw battle that wasn’t decided until the wee hours (or early hours depending on your global location). In the end Enmegabowh prevailed 52% to 48% and will head to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen.

One note on our least favorite topic here at Lent Madness: Voter Fraud. Those who closely monitored the vote totals late yesterday will have noted the disappearance of some votes for both saints. This was not due to Lenten hackers but the keen eyes of the Supreme Executive Committee who noticed some irregularities and quickly acted to remedy the situation. It turns out someone from Overland Park, Kansas, voted 100 times for Thomas. Then someone else voted 50 times for Enmegabowh (equal opportunity cheating!). Scott deleted the repeat votes and banished the rogues into the outer darkness of Lent without Lent Madness. We are completely confident that the end result is fair and reflects the will of the non-cheaters. We will remain ever-vigilant and are even considering hiring Jimmy Carter on retainer as an election monitor.

We’ll all need the weekend off to recover and prepare for Monday’s oedipal match-up between Augustine of Hippo and his mother Monnica! But in the meantime, enjoy today’s election and let’s keep up the spirit and goodwill of keeping a holy Lent Madness.

William Law (1686-1761) was an 18th century theologian and evangelical writer. He was widely known for his book A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, which was a best-selling handbook on pious living and is still available today. Charles Wesley once said that William Law taught him all he knew about religion.

Educated at Cambridge University with plans to become a clergyman, Law would not take the oath of allegiance to George I, so he served as a private tutor to the children of Edward Gibbon (yes, ‘The Rise and Fall…’ Gibbon). Unable to use the pulpit or lecture hall, he preached through his books. This is when he penned, A Serious Call. It was Gibbon who said, “If Mr. Law finds a spark of piety in a reader’s mind, he will soon kindle it into a flame.”

Both peasant and preacher found inspiration in William Law’s writings. Not only Charles Wesley, but William Wilberforce, and George Whitefield described reading Law was a major turning point in their lives.

Law eventually retired to his hometown of King’s Cliffe where he lived frugally, gave generously to the poor, helped to open homes and schools for the needy, and spent generous portions of his days in prayer. This is where Law wrote his second-most popular book, An Humble, Earnest, and Affectionate Address to the Clergy, which is still available today under the title, The Power of the Spirit. He died just a few days after this work went to the printer.

Collect for William Law: O God, by whose grace your servant William Law, kindled with the fire of your love, became a burning and shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before you as children of light; through 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

Columba (521-597), was an Irish monk and founder of monasteries in the rough and tumble dark ages. He was born to royal lineage in the Clan O’Donnell in County Donegal. He entered the monastery at a young age where he distinguished himself as a serious student and devout Christian.

Columba is best known as a founder of three monasteries in Derry and Durrow, Ireland and Iona, Scotland. It was 563 when Columba traveled to the isle of Iona, with 12 companions, which, quickly became home base for the conversion of the natives, the Picts and Scots. Columba spent 32 years there, serving as abbot, and preaching the Christian faith to the local inhabitants of Northern Scotland. He would come to baptize both the king of the Picts and the king of the Scots.

The Venerable Bede says Columba’s example of, “preaching and example,” led many people to Christ. He was admired for his discipline and ascetic lifestyle, including sleeping on a stone pillow. It is said that Columba never spent an hour without study, prayer, or similar occupation. He is credited with writing 300 books.

On the eve of his death Columba was said to be home working on a transcription. Then, at the midnight service, Columba entered the church without assistance, sank before the altar, and, surrounded by his disciples, breathed his last.

Columba’s memory lives on in both Scotland and Ireland. While the buildings were desecrated during the Reformation, Iona still flourishes today as an ecumenical religious community.

Collect for Columba: O God, by the preaching of your blessed servant Columba you caused the light of the Gospel to shine in Scotland: Grant, we pray, that, having his life and labors in remembrance, we may show our thankfulness to you by following the example of his zeal and patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 — Chris Yaw


William Law vs. Columba

  • Columba (76%, 1,132 Votes)
  • William Law (25%, 368 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,499

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108 Comments to "William Law vs. Columba"

  1. Cori Olson's Gravatar Cori Olson
    March 2, 2012 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    Today I was the second voter and the first for William Law. Why Law over Columba? Well, first I liked what I read about Law and understand people who have difficulties on the road to being a priest. Second, ascetics make me “itchy”. Third, I think Law is the underdog in this match-up. Of course, I thought that both of the last two days and the underdog won. However, with no mid-western tied, I don’t expect a big rally for Law and I know MANY people who truly love Columba, especially at St. Columba’s in Marathon, FL. Remember, one person, one vote!

    • zig's Gravatar zig
      March 2, 2012 - 8:54 am | Permalink

      Oh dear hearts! When “underdogness” becomes the quality that gives you an advantage there is no end of mischief!! When one of the men Jesus himself selected is turned back because he is a “favorite” you have to wonder just who it is we’re hoping will win the coveted halo. Should we hope that Lucifer wins? Surely HE is the biggest underdog of them all. Or maybe Judas?

      • Cori Olson's Gravatar Cori Olson
        March 2, 2012 - 9:08 am | Permalink

        “Shame, shame, shame, shame, shame,” she said with a laugh! “An underdog among holy people is nothing like an evil person. It is only a person whose holiness is less well known in the larger world.” She shook her head and went about her business, thanking God for the silliness of Lent Madness which helped to lighten the burdens of the day.

        • Heidi Shott's Gravatar Heidi Shott
          March 2, 2012 - 9:25 am | Permalink


        • March 2, 2012 - 11:47 am | Permalink

          Thank you for the laugh!

        • Holly's Gravatar Holly
          March 2, 2012 - 2:44 pm | Permalink

          Like! I voted for Law also. 😉

      • March 2, 2012 - 9:34 am | Permalink


      • March 2, 2012 - 9:48 am | Permalink

        Actually, Zig, I have a soft spot for Judas–although I probably wouldn’t vote for him.

        • Cori's Gravatar Cori
          March 2, 2012 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

          I came to faith largely through the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. Because of that I’ve always felt that I understood how Judas did what he is said to have done. I have a friend, a Catholic nun, who believes that Judas remained a true follower of Jesus. She believes that Judas only meant to press Jesus into revealing his true nature. I’m not sure I believe as she does, but it was nice to have a friend with such a generous heart. Even so, I don’t think I could vote for him to win such a prestigious and important award as the Golden Halo! (The heavenly choir sings an appropriate chord!!)

      • Gian's Gravatar Gian
        March 2, 2012 - 10:55 am | Permalink

        I do not think we need to be judgmental of other people choices, even less when we are choosing among two people who devoted their lives to Jesus’ cause. Well, this is my opinion. And by the way, I do not think that all Christians believe in Satan. For me it is a metaphor that encompasses evil, but by no means a creature with exceptional powers. There is only one God and all the Glory and the Power are His.

  2. Patsy White's Gravatar Patsy White
    March 2, 2012 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    I am sad and shocked to think that voter frauds are casting irregular and excessive votes for Saints! Is nothing sacred? How clever of the Supreme Executive Committee to have detected this mischief. The frauds deserve to be deprived of their Lent Madness.

    • Tom McAfee's Gravatar Tom McAfee
      March 2, 2012 - 10:18 am | Permalink

      What in the world would compel someone to cheat on this poll in the first place? The guilty parties should seriously consider getting a life . . .

  3. Gillian B's Gravatar Gillian B
    March 2, 2012 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    I was really impressed by William Law. I would like to read his book at some point; it sounds truly inspirational. However, getting back to Iona has always been a dream of mine. I went there during my non-church years and even then found it a “thin place”, with a sense of holiness. I had to vote for Columba.

    • Diane Amison-Loring's Gravatar Diane Amison-Loring
      March 2, 2012 - 10:13 am | Permalink

      If you do get William Law’s book, don’t read it at bedtime. 🙂
      As a survivor of required daily spiritual reading, I remember reading “A Devout Call…” . I fell asleep with it many times.

  4. Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
    March 2, 2012 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Going for Wm. Law. Columba’s legacy is imperishable, but Law speaks to the Lenten condition. And the cheating leaves me speechless…….

  5. March 2, 2012 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    I’m a sucker for Irish saints. And Donegal is a place that makes my heart sing. So it’s Columba for me today.

  6. March 2, 2012 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    I have to vote to Columba. My time on Iona was beyond incredible and will stay with me my whole life. My only association with Law is studying him in a boring class and not doing so well on the midterm.

  7. Barbara A. Cadwell's Gravatar Barbara A. Cadwell
    March 2, 2012 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    As one with a strong Scottish heritage and plans to take the Isle of Iona off my bucket list this summer, I have to go with Columba.
    Those cheaters deserve to be cast into outer Lent Madness darkness with weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.
    Now, about that tatoo.

    • Diane Amison-Loring's Gravatar Diane Amison-Loring
      March 2, 2012 - 10:16 am | Permalink

      What about that tattoo? Where are you going to put it? Inquiring minds want to know… 🙂

  8. Steve Putka's Gravatar Steve Putka
    March 2, 2012 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Tough one! I’m a United Methodist, and Law reminds me a lot of John Wesley without the church’s ordination… That said, Columba is a GIANT and likely had a more direct and immediate impact where he served. He was an evangelistic pioneer. Plus, I think my wife is a Pict. 🙂 Columba in a close one…

  9. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    March 2, 2012 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    I’m going with Law. The church rejected him for his refusal to swear allegiance to the king, yet he kept the faith. That’s what’s it all about after all.

    Plus, I will never understand anyone who insists on a stone pillow.

  10. Nancy Baillie Strong's Gravatar Nancy Baillie Strong
    March 2, 2012 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    Glad to vote for Columba! Celtic heritage and all…

    What would be the merciful way to deal with ballot-box stuffers? Just askin’…?! (since it seems that’s one of the opportunities of Lent…)

    • Fr Bill Loring's Gravatar Fr Bill Loring
      March 2, 2012 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

      The Church never rejected Law — it wouldn’t ordain anyone who would not follow the rules. Perhaps it was a silly rule but it wasn’t just made for Wm. Law, and for whatever reason he chose not to follow it (I really would like to know why).
      I voted for Columba because of his foundational work for British Christianity.

  11. Cynthia Hallas's Gravatar Cynthia Hallas
    March 2, 2012 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    I was ordained to the tradition diaconate on the feast of St. Columba; that’s where my (one and ONLY) vote goes!

  12. Cynthia Hallas's Gravatar Cynthia Hallas
    March 2, 2012 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    TRANSITIONAL diaconate! (Not that it isn’t a tradition, as well)

    • March 2, 2012 - 8:45 am | Permalink

      It certainly isn’t scripture or reason….!

  13. March 2, 2012 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    One of my very favorite quotations is from William Law, and it is the sole reason he gets my vote over the wonderful Columba:
    “There is no surer sign of a confirmed Pride than when one thinks one is humble
    — enough.”

    • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
      March 2, 2012 - 11:34 am | Permalink

      Wicked — but true that!
      Still undecided.

    • Gian's Gravatar Gian
      March 2, 2012 - 3:50 pm | Permalink

      I am taking note of that quotation. Thank you.

  14. Ann Johnson's Gravatar Ann Johnson
    March 2, 2012 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Iona touched my soul. I’m for Columba!!

  15. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    March 2, 2012 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Ditto, Laura

  16. Beth Royalty's Gravatar Beth Royalty
    March 2, 2012 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Wonder what advice and help Law would give clergy today? Hmmm. Today, Columba is my vote.

    • March 2, 2012 - 9:35 am | Permalink

      I covet your last name.

      • March 2, 2012 - 10:29 am | Permalink

        Meredith, I thought you were going to give up coveting for Lent? Oh wait, that was me. BTW, Beth Royalty was one of my priests back in the day and was instrumental in my becoming a priest myself. Her dad was a law partner of my husband’s. Small world, isn’t it?

        • Mollie Douglas Turner+'s Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner+
          March 2, 2012 - 5:18 pm | Permalink

          And Beth was a bartender at my daughter’s wedding at Sewanee in 1998–before her ordination! I’ve always enjoyed her name, too: very memorable!

          My vote is for Columba…a no-brainer, as Iona is one of the holiest places on the planet, and one I want to go back to for a long, long third visit. But he was no total paragon…don’t forget about that book deal he blew, and needing to get out of Dodge…uh, Donegal.

  17. George Werner's Gravatar George Werner
    March 2, 2012 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    Monday- Augustine vs. his Mom? What is next for you sadists? Oedipus vs. Rex?

  18. Mark's Gravatar Mark
    March 2, 2012 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Columba today. My vote almost always goes to saints who actively took risks to spread the gospel. I do, though, have a greater respect for Law from today’s reading.

  19. Rosemary Beales's Gravatar Rosemary Beales
    March 2, 2012 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Columba, who loved books, and loved people, for God
    (from a Godly Play saints lesson!)

  20. aleathia nicholson's Gravatar aleathia nicholson
    March 2, 2012 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    A sure sign of a confirmed pride surely must be rooted in the ned to sleep on a stone pillow….Heavens to Murgatroyd!!!! What could possibly be more indicative of the need to prove one’s piety and saintkiness…..NOT !!! How-some-ever, I voted for him. Columba was truly too saintly. Also, it’s easy to understand the Freudian(?) slip about the diaconate slip-up as there should be direct ordination. Yes, I am a vocational deacon. Thanks for asking.

  21. Vicki's Gravatar Vicki
    March 2, 2012 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful way to die, Saint Columba!

  22. Lauren Stanley's Gravatar Lauren Stanley
    March 2, 2012 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    Columba – because of my sainted Irish grandmother, Nana. Need I say more?

    • Gary Goldacker's Gravatar Gary Goldacker
      March 2, 2012 - 11:05 am | Permalink

      St. Nana? I’ve heard of her!

  23. March 2, 2012 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    Columba gets my vote – affection for Celtic spirituality and fond memories of some associated with St. Columba’s in Washington, D.C.

  24. aleathia nicholson's Gravatar aleathia nicholson
    March 2, 2012 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    Oooooo! Two misspelled words….Pardon…(need), not “ned” and (saintliness) not “saintkiness”. That’s due to no breakfast yet. I’m awaiting Cynthia’s reply that “Once a deacon, always……” unless she’s she’s truly saintly and decides she’ll forgive or ignore me

  25. Heidi Haverkamp's Gravatar Heidi Haverkamp
    March 2, 2012 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    I had a feeling Columba would be winning, but I was really moved by William Law – his refusal to pledge allegiance to a king, his acceptance of humble work, his commitment to live in a simple way, and his writing. Made me want to take a look at his books! He sounds like a character for a new PBS series – some mix of Jane Eyre, Downton Abbey, and The Vicar of Dibley?

    • anisa willis's Gravatar anisa willis
      March 2, 2012 - 10:14 am | Permalink

      For this one I wish I could vote twice, because I want to vote for each of them. I love “A Serious Call” but Iona……Good grief this is a hard one.

  26. Ann Case's Gravatar Ann Case
    March 2, 2012 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    I voted for Columba … and now I feel sorry for William Law. Sorry enough to read “A Serious Call”? Probably not. And I do like his not taking the oath of allegiance.
    Once again, I wish we could vote by half-votes, one half for each. I hate to have to choose. Sigh.

  27. Laurie Atwater's Gravatar Laurie Atwater
    March 2, 2012 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    300 books!

  28. Taylor's Gravatar Taylor
    March 2, 2012 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Columba is winning and the blog doesn’t even mention the Columba and Nessie story!

    • Adam's Gravatar Adam
      March 3, 2012 - 7:18 am | Permalink

      Don’t worry! If Columba moves on to the next round (pretty likely) there’s plenty more time for more stories. We celebrity bloggers have to hold some stuff back for later rounds!

  29. Heidi Shott's Gravatar Heidi Shott
    March 2, 2012 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Sigh is right. I’ll have to ponder this match up throughout the day before voting (once). As a lay professional, Temple is tempting. But my heart is with Columba, and I have a little crush on Philip Newell. What to do??!!

  30. Merrilee's Gravatar Merrilee
    March 2, 2012 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    I am grateful for the Supreme Committee’s constant diligence for voter fraud. But why should we be alarmed or afraid? Sin is among us and in us. Some of us just need a little more help to get on the right path. Isn’t that what these saints are teaching us?

  31. Joe Stroud's Gravatar Joe Stroud
    March 2, 2012 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    OUCH!!!!! “There is no surer sign of a confirmed Pride than when one thinks one is humble – enough.” (In case I had forgotten about my constant struggle with that idea, I just CAN’T RESIST pointing out to Aleithia that “We’ve we’ve” got to be careful about casting stones at other peoples’ typos!) 😉 That said, this is a TOUGH one, but my affinity for Scotland tipped it for Columba. (And, Iona is on MY bucket list, too, but not likely to come off soon!)

  32. Ken Campbell's Gravatar Ken Campbell
    March 2, 2012 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    I had the joyful privilege of spending the month of June on Iona with the Iona Community, a ‘thin place,’ where one senses the presence of the Holy Trinity and Columba as real as the salt air surrounding the tiny isle. The Iona Community, in my view, has it just right in terms of where God is calling us to go in the contemporary world. Columba!

  33. Gretchen R. Chateau's Gravatar Gretchen R. Chateau
    March 2, 2012 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    Tough call today for me. Columba is a bit more colorful, but I think I have to go with slow but steady Law.

  34. March 2, 2012 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    I voted for Law because he was out amongst the regular peeps doing good works and loving the Lord – very much following the example of Jesus.

  35. Nate Prentice's Gravatar Nate Prentice
    March 2, 2012 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    I voted for William Law because I know how hard it is to minister to others in the way that he did without wearing a collar around one’s neck (society’s stamp of approval and license) while being true to oneself. This is a man who was true to his baptismal calling and found a middle way to minister in any case. Columba is Columba and will get votes because he’s Celtic, It’s March, and he’s Columba.

  36. March 2, 2012 - 10:14 am | Permalink

    Columba here. I*m on the waiting list for a pilgrimage to Iona.

  37. Tom McAfee's Gravatar Tom McAfee
    March 2, 2012 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    One possible caveat on the cheating scandal; if I wanted to change my vote after reading a particularly insightful and persuasive comment, what if I were to vote twice for the opposite candidate? Would that get me banished?

    • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
      March 2, 2012 - 11:55 am | Permalink

      I feel your pain. I’m trying to vote late on my undecideds because you’re right — the comments can really make a difference.
      Waiting until the last minute to vote reminds me a bit of the folks who waited until they were on their deathbeds before being baptised so they didn’t wind up with any unpardoned sins — because who wants to make a mistake that gets counted against you until the end of time? Yes, Lent Madness matters THAT MUCH! (but not enough to cheat of course — that’s just silliness.)

  38. Toni Ponzo's Gravatar Toni Ponzo
    March 2, 2012 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    Impressed by Law’s refusal to pledge allegiance to George I. Shows a lot of character but Columba just speaks to me for some reason. Never been to Iona but it’s on my bucket list too.

  39. Toni Alvarez's Gravatar Toni Alvarez
    March 2, 2012 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    This is a tough one. Law was very important for both Evangelicals and High Churchmen. He choose to follow his conscience and for that he was deprived of a career in the Church of England. In the end he got my vote.

  40. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    March 2, 2012 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    If you are Googling these saints, I must advise you that there is another William Law who was one of the original Latter Day Saints and whose bio is somewhat alarming. The dates don’t match. He is not OUR William Law.

  41. Hamp's Gravatar Hamp
    March 2, 2012 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    What a tough choice. In fact none of these has been easy. In the end I voted for Columba, for his connection with Iona, a spot I want to spend some time in.

  42. Alice's Gravatar Alice
    March 2, 2012 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    Worthy men both – but since I have dual citizenship with Eire and can feel Columba’s call to setting out in his little coracle and seeking green martydom, Columba will be my guy for today.

  43. March 2, 2012 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    This is a tough one. Columba was influential in the shaping of the Celtic church that gave us such treasures. But William Law (who I hadn’t previously heard of) influenced Wesley and Wilberforce, who did too! Off to ponder…

    • March 2, 2012 - 11:58 am | Permalink

      WSS. Pondered and voted for Law.

  44. Melodie's Gravatar Melodie
    March 2, 2012 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    In reference to Overland Park, Kansas — there is an Episcopal church there dedicated to St. Thomas the Apostle. One would hope they’d find 100 people to vote once rather than one person who votes 100 times, but they do love their saint!

  45. Corey Sees's Gravatar Corey Sees
    March 2, 2012 - 11:37 am | Permalink

    Confession: for most of my adult life, I inexplicably thought Columba was a woman. How did I come to this erroneous conclusion? No clue. This is especially hard for me to explain, because the big Catholic church downtown is St. Columba’s, and there is a big, masculine statue of him out front.

    • Taylor's Gravatar Taylor
      March 3, 2012 - 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Maybe because Columba has a feminine ending? I thought Columba was a woman based on the name until I was assigned a research paper on him.

  46. Greta Getlein's Gravatar Greta Getlein
    March 2, 2012 - 11:43 am | Permalink

    Are you kidding? With a death scene straight out of a “B” movie script, Columba gets my vote! Really, who wouldn’t want to go out like that? I’m just sayin’

  47. Dennis Johnson's Gravatar Dennis Johnson
    March 2, 2012 - 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Go Columcille (it would be nice if you got his name right)!

  48. Peggy Thompson's Gravatar Peggy Thompson
    March 2, 2012 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Another Grannie from Scotland here and I just happened to have worn her tartan yesterday. I do indeed believe our way of life leaves a spiritual footprint on where we dwell and so many have been touched by being at Iona that Columba has my vote.

  49. dr.primrose's Gravatar dr.primrose
    March 2, 2012 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

    No contest for me here.

    I’m partly Scottish. I’ve been all over Scotland, including our medieval clan castle in Argyle and Iona. And one of my favorite places, Inverewe Gardens in the far northwest, where it’s actually warm enough to grown palm trees! It’s all incredibly beautiful and Iona is indeed a thin place.

    I’m also very fond of the Scottish Episcopal Church. I have always found Scottish Episcopalians to be warm and welcoming and in so many ways much more like American Episcopalians than English Anglicans. The cathedrals in Edinburgh and Aberdeen are beautiful. And of course the Scottish Episcopal bishops ordained our first bishop, Samuel Seabury.

    “Devout and Holy Life” is a great book. But Columba it is!

  50. March 2, 2012 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Columba for me too, despite my admiration for Law. Iona truly is one of the thin places and I love the hymns and liturgy which are being written by the present day community. Wonderful stuff!

  51. Johannas Jordan's Gravatar Johannas Jordan
    March 2, 2012 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

    For many years I thought Columba was a Native American from MN. There is a church named St. Columba on the White Earth Reservation in Northern MN, and every time I hear that I thought it was named after someone from the reservation.
    And I have on several occasions slept on a stone pillow and really they can be comfortable.

  52. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 2, 2012 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I am having a hard time deciding this one.
    Meanwhile, what if I wanted to read something by Thomas Merton (since we won’t be hearing more about him in Lent Madness.) What do you Merton fans recommend as a good one to start with?

  53. Alene's Gravatar Alene
    March 2, 2012 - 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Inspiration to Wilberforce who helped get slavery repealed in England + someone who continued to follow his call despite being turned away from the priesthood for following his conscience. I have to go with Law.

  54. Alan Bobowski's Gravatar Alan Bobowski
    March 2, 2012 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

    St. Nana? Perhaps you meant St. Nina, equal to the apostles (another one!) and enlightener of Georgia?

  55. March 2, 2012 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Alene and the rest of the Law minority, despite the romance and allure of Iona and all the other wonderful things connected with Celtic spirituality/Columba.

  56. Ben Varnum's Gravatar Ben Varnum
    March 2, 2012 - 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Goodness! I serve a parish in Overland Park, KS! It’s strange — I haven’t even heard anyone mention the Lent Madness thing, or seen it on facebook from anyone around here. You’ve got me wondering who in the church ’round here might have felt so moved as to vote 100 times! I thought I was about as historically-nerdy as anyone around, but there must be some ringers in the shadows down here!

  57. Timothy Dombek's Gravatar Timothy Dombek
    March 2, 2012 - 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Beth and I were married on St. Columba’s Day–this was a no-brainer.

  58. Ben's Gravatar Ben
    March 2, 2012 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Both Saints had massive impact on the Church but ultimately I do not believe that William Law would have even had the opportunity were it not for Columba who not only was a major actor in the spread of Christianity in the British Isles but was also a major actor in the salvation of Christianity in the known world during the dark ages. The Irish Christians after him would go on to reintroduce Europe to Christianity and other knowledge.

  59. Alec's Gravatar Alec
    March 2, 2012 - 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Having been to Iona it is obvious that Colomba’s spirit is alive and well there inspiring those who involve themselves in the ecunemical community. It is truly a special place

  60. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    March 2, 2012 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m voting for Law because he was a layman who nevertheless had a tremendous influence on the church.

    Looks as if Columba will win. Happy with that. Glad the stone pillow didn’t put too many people off. It was a different world back then and mortification of the flesh (to a point) is a valid religious practice. Who told me so? Thomas Merton. Boom.

  61. Mollie Williams's Gravatar Mollie Williams
    March 2, 2012 - 5:22 pm | Permalink

    I appreciate and am in full agreement with everything that has been said about the importance of Iona on Christianity in Scotland and with all the testimonies of those who have spent time in Iona(as I have, also). No doubt about the power of the place and the ministry of Columba. But there is more than little information about Columba’s early history, killing an opponent in Ireland and leaving Ireland for Iona as part of an “plea bargain” to avoid prosecution for murder. So, effective as he was, pure lilly-white he was not. John Law seems to have been who he said he was. And his writing was enormously effective. That’s one vote for John Law.

  62. Fr Bill Loring's Gravatar Fr Bill Loring
    March 2, 2012 - 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Re multiple voting:
    It occurs to me that those 100 votes just might have come from a group using a parish or other institutional computer, rather that from a single cheater. Scott tells me that I once cast 17 votes, but I don’t think I could have had the patience to do 100 all by myself even if I had figured out the secret before I agreed to mend my ways!

    • March 2, 2012 - 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Bill, one of the offenders yesterday cast over 50 votes in about two minutes. That is clearly the result of a script, run from a residential computer. It wasn’t a parish, as the voting took place after 1:00 a.m. Local time.

      There is multiple voting, and there is multiple voting. We’ve seen everything from 10+ votes coming from a house to one person who voted 502 times. Until yesterday, when we adjusted the vote count, none of this activity has affected outcomes.

      It’s also true that I inadvertently shut down a parish and a seminary because they looked like residences. But out of all the blocking we have done, we have gotten more than 15 correct and made two errors.

      Anyway, please note that we are keeping an eye on things to ensure that the votes are fair. Next year, we clearly need to think about a more complex voting system. Lent Madness must go on, free, fair, and fun.

      • Alice's Gravatar Alice
        March 2, 2012 - 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Com’on folks, let’s not mar such a great opportunity and all the hard work by being tacky, tacky, tacky, really is this what Jesus would do?? One person, one vote let’s set the example.

        • Sister Mary Winifred's Gravatar Sister Mary Winifred
          March 2, 2012 - 9:10 pm | Permalink

          Well, fortunately Jesus just calls . . . no committees, no commissions, no voting! One benefit of the comments in Lent Madness is to show just how fickle people can be when it comes to voting for or against even a saint.

      • Fr Bill Loring's Gravatar Fr Bill Loring
        March 3, 2012 - 12:06 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the clarification, but I’m glad to hear that my suggestion was not totally far-fetched.

  63. Melissa's Gravatar Melissa
    March 2, 2012 - 5:33 pm | Permalink

    As impressed as I truly am by Law, recollections of childhood of hearing the poem about St. Columba’s cat always endear me to St. Columba.

    • Vicki's Gravatar Vicki
      March 2, 2012 - 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Melissa, PLEASE tell me where I can find that poem!

  64. Noel's Gravatar Noel
    March 2, 2012 - 5:37 pm | Permalink

    I went with Law…..but after reading all of your posts, I want to visit Iona.

  65. Lin Knight's Gravatar Lin Knight
    March 2, 2012 - 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I carry at all times in my pocket a small stone I picked up on St. Columba’s beach where he landed in 563. At night it even glows in the dark (only kidding!) But Iona is truly a ‘thin’ place. This vote was a slam-dunk!

  66. Margaret Smist's Gravatar Margaret Smist
    March 2, 2012 - 6:48 pm | Permalink

    This may be the biggest upset yet if William Law fans don’t get themselves together to vote……once (per person).

  67. Barbara A. Cadwell's Gravatar Barbara A. Cadwell
    March 2, 2012 - 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Melissa, are you referring to the cat poem written by a monk from Leinster, Ireland, written in the 9th century and found in the Scriptorium of the monastery in St. Gall, Switzerland. If it is a different poem, please share. Here is the one I found:

    I and Pangur Ban my cat,
    ‘Tis a like task we are at:
    Hunting mice is his delight,
    Hunting words I sit all night.

    “Tis a merry thing to see
    At our tasks how glad are we,
    When at home we sit and find
    Entertainment to our mind.

    “Gainst the wall he sets his eye,
    Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
    “Gainst the wall of knowledge I
    All my little wisdom try.

    So in peace our tasks we ply,
    Pangur Ban my cat and I;
    In our arts we find our bliss,
    I have mne and he has his.

    Pangor Ban, what a great name for a cat. I wonder what it means in Gaelic.
    (I found this on the web site stcolumbasandiego.com) and thought you guys would like it.

    • Taylor's Gravatar Taylor
      March 3, 2012 - 4:19 pm | Permalink

      I think Pangur is the cat’s name, and ban is just the Gaelic word for white but it kind of got attached to the cat’s name (I guess they liked epithets). I loved this poem when we read it in my Celtic Studies class, but I’d completely forgotten about it!

  68. Skye's Gravatar Skye
    March 2, 2012 - 7:18 pm | Permalink

    If Bede was a fan, then our family supports him too. Go Columba! Also please note that my sister, Hope, has spotted another golden halo.

  69. Sister Mary Winifred's Gravatar Sister Mary Winifred
    March 2, 2012 - 7:42 pm | Permalink

    I found this on the web site mudcat.org
    Subject: RE: Pangur Ban – meaning ?
    From: GUEST,Robbie ó Daimhín
    Date: 17 Nov 01 – 12:17 PM

    . . . love Columba and Iona, but had to vote for William Law today!

    Pangur is an old irish word which means white. Bán also means white. The poet is trying to convey that the cat was pure white or bright white.

  70. March 2, 2012 - 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Only one vote here for Law.

    It would be nice to know the one who wins the Golden Halo was not manipulated into that position by stuffing the ballot box in a cleverly designed and delightful contest of the saints who have gone before us. Perhaps posting the names of the offender(s), if possible, would act as a deterrent and encourage adhering to the spirit of the race. I had suggested burning at the stake earlier, but…..

  71. Paul Rosbolt's Gravatar Paul Rosbolt
    March 2, 2012 - 10:28 pm | Permalink

    My vote to the guy who converted my “let’s paint ourselves blue and run around the the spruce trees” ancestors!

  72. Patty Reichert's Gravatar Patty Reichert
    March 2, 2012 - 10:38 pm | Permalink

    I can not believe someone would take the time to vote 100 times and another person 50 times. Or were there multiple cheaters. Get a life. I still support St. Thomas, even if he did not win. Call me a sore loser,

  73. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    March 3, 2012 - 1:52 am | Permalink

    Columba’s conversion of the Picts & the Scots was HUGE. Those were some of the wildest, uncivilized in the world at that time. Also, from the storehouse of books & by the scholarly Christians of Iona, Europe was re-Christianized . We could use a little more Iona in the world today. (Ionization?)

  74. Barbara A. Cadwell's Gravatar Barbara A. Cadwell
    March 3, 2012 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    Thank you Sister Mary Winifred

  75. Brigid Courtney's Gravatar Brigid Courtney
    March 5, 2012 - 3:17 pm | Permalink

    It is too late to vote now, but I would vote for Law . If he’s good enough for Wesley and Wilberforce, he’s good enough for me!

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