Jonathan Daniels vs. Janani Luwum

Welcome to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen! After 16 bruising battles, we have cut the field from 32 saints to 16. We've already seen our fair share of hotly contested match-ups, blow-outs, and Cinderellas and we're only half-way through the bracket. Lent Madness, like Lent, is part endurance race and we encourage those who have come thus far to buckle down for the duration. As Saint Paul (who was upset by Emma of Hawaii last year) says, "Run with perseverance the race that is set before you."

In this round, we move past basic biographies and delve into what we like to call "Quirks and Quotes." We'll learn some unusual facts about our saints and hear about them, either in their own words or in words uttered or written about them. Some of our holy men and women are quirkier than others and some are more quotable. As always, remember these match-ups are neither fair nor for the faint of heart. If you want a bland Lenten devotion you've come to the wrong place.

The Saintly Sixteen action begins with two modern-day martyrs, Jonathan Daniels and Janani Luwum. In the first round, Daniels defeated Macrina the Younger and Luwum swept past Thomas Tallis. With all of the subsequent rounds you can click on the Bracket 2013 tab and scroll down to find links to the previous match-ups. This is particularly helpful if you need a quick refresher bio when making your decision. Thanks to our unsung Bracket Czar, Adam Thomas, for making this happen!

Yesterday, the final match-up of the second round was set as Dorothy Day slipped past Edward Thomas Demby and will next face Benedict of Nursia. The other Saintly Sixteen pairings are Oscar Romero vs. Lucy, Martin Luther King, Jr. vs. Frances Perkins, Martha of Bethany vs. Harriet Tubman, Luke vs. John Donne, Gregory the Great vs. Florence Li-Tim Oi, and Hilda of Whitby vs. Ignatius of Antioch.

61danielssermon_thumbJonathan Myrick Daniels

Jonathan Myrick Daniels, a 26-year-old seminarian and Civil Rights worker, was killed by a shotgun blast in 1965 when he pulled a 16-year-old African American girl out of the line of fire.

A native of Keene, New Hampshire, Jonathan Daniels attended the Virginia Military Institute.  Though as his yearbook page attests, “The presence of a New Hampshire Yankee in a southern military college has for four years roused the curiosity of his Dixie colleagues,” he was voted Valedictorian of the class of 1961.

After graduation, Daniels began a graduate program in English at Harvard, but the death of his father two years earlier had left him battling depression and a loss of faith. Attending the Church of the Advent on Easter Sunday 1962, he experienced a profound religious experience, inspiring him to leave graduate school and pursue Holy Orders.

Daniels had a similar sense of calling through worship when he decided to go to Selma. After reluctantly deciding “that the idea [of going to Selma] was impractical, and with a faintly tarnished feeling, I tucked in an envelope my contribution to the proposed ‘Selma Fund.’

“I had come to Evening Prayer as usual that evening, and as usual I was singing the Magnificat with the special love and reverence I have always had for Mary’s glad song. ‘He hath showed strength with his arm…' As the lovely hymn of the God-bearer continued, I found myself peculiarly alert, suddenly straining toward the decisive, luminous, Spirit-filled ‘moment’ that would, in retrospect, remind me of others – particularly of one at Easter three years ago. Then it came. ‘He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things…’ I knew then that I must go to Selma.”

This phrase from the Magnificat is included in the collect for the feast of Jonathan Daniels.

From his work in Alabama, Daniels gained a deep understanding of the prejudice that held the whole country in thrall. After speaking to a church group in his hometown, “a militant liberal expressed the wish that I would stop calling the parishioners of St. Paul’s [Selma] ‘Christians’ – ‘churchmen’ would make her happier. Instinctively, I felt defensive for the people of my adopted ‘parish family,’ recalling the painful ambivalence and anguished perplexity some of them were beginning…to feel.” And after being teargassed in Camden, Alabama, “I saw that the men who came at me were themselves not free. Even though they were white and hateful and my enemy, they were human beings too. I began to discover a new freedom in the cross: freedom to love the enemy, and in that freedom, to will and to try to set him free.”

-- Laura Toepfer

Archbishop Luwum with Idi Amin

Archbishop Luwum with Idi Amin

Janani Luwum

As a young boy, Janani Luwum (1922-1977) tended goats. As a young man, soon after his conversion to Christianity, he climbed a tree to preach a sermon to children in the courtyard of a school. As a newly ordained priest, he served twenty-four congregations with only a bicycle on which to get around. So it seems that Archbishop Luwum was only a little quirky.

The strength of his faith is reflected in his words.

Quote from the day he embraced Christianity:
“Today I have become a leader in Christ's army. I am prepared to die in the army of Jesus. As Jesus shed his blood for the people, if it is God's will, I do the same.”

Quote about that conversion:
"When I was converted, after realizing that my sins were forgiven and the implications of Jesus' death and resurrection, I was overwhelmed by a sense of joy and peace.…The reality of Jesus overwhelmed me – and it still does."

Quote from his epilogue to a centennial history of Ugandan Christianity:
“What will happen in the next hundred years or so?…we have seen that the Church is founded on the belief in the sure foundation who is Jesus Christ, the Saviour. He is the sure Rock of our Salvation and therefore we will not fear any evil.”

Quote explaining why his participation in those centennial celebrations would be limited:
"I do not want to be the Archbishop of a dead church, but of a live one."

Quote in response to criticism of his willingness to meet repeatedly with Idi Amin:
"I do not know for how long I shall be occupying this chair. I live as though there will be no tomorrow. I face daily being picked up by the soldiers. While the opportunity is there, I preach the gospel with all my might, and my conscience is clear before God that I have not sided with the present government, which is utterly self-seeking. I have been threatened many times. Whenever I have the opportunity I have told the President the things the churches disapprove of. God is my witness."

Quote whispered to fellow Anglican bishop Festo Kivengere as Archbishop Luwum, like Jesus, was mocked by the soldiers of a dictator before he was executed:
"They are going to kill me. I am not afraid."

Quote spoken to a young lawyer named John Sentamu, who decided to become a priest on the day that Archbishop Luwum was martyred and who now serves as the Archbishop of York:
"We must be Christ to these people: be our advocate and take up their cases. The local prison is filled to capacity with innocent people suspected of opposing the government."

-- Neil Alan Willard


Jonathan Daniels vs. Janani Luwum

  • Jonathan Daniels (62%, 2,284 Votes)
  • Janani Luwum (38%, 1,425 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,704

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111 comments on “Jonathan Daniels vs. Janani Luwum”

  1. This is by far the hardest vote I have ever cast in Lent Madness. Went with Janani Luwum because I learned about him here!

  2. Tengo una rara sensación. Ninguno de los dos propuestos me mueve los cimientos, pero no se me mal interprete, son vidas meritorias y como tal las alabo. Ahora, me pregunto si de haber llegado con vida Janani Luwum a nuestros días, ¿no sería parte de esa ala conservadora africana de la Iglesia que se aferra a lo que a mí me parecen absurdas tradiciones que ya no se justifican en nuestros tiempos? ¿Estaré teniendo pensamientos errados?

  3. Both of these men faced the evil of their time and gave their life following Jesus, I hope I would choose as they did. My daily life brings me new small chances to choose Christ's way; I hope my choices will offer one person a chance to glimpse Christ's blessed caring for this needed world.

  4. The toughest choice for me so far. Jonathan Daniels, perhaps because he would be my age now, and because the memory of those times is still so fresh in my mind. I was a Georgia girl living in Arlington, Massachusetts then. Although I had been raised by unprejudiced parents (and I thank them for that) I knew how deep the feelings of fear and hate ran in the hearts of some Southerners.

  5. Today's match-up is a tough decision. Both Daniels and Luwum risked and lost their lives standing up to injustice and oppression. Luwum was the leader of the church in Uguanda, and he could not escape coming into confrontation with Idi Amin; as a white Northerner, Daniels was not personally subject to or affected by segregation and the Jim Crow laws. Luwum bravely accepted a conflict forced upon him but Daniels freely chose to associate with the oppressed and marginalized and gave his life when he had no personal self-interest in doing so.

  6. These matchups don't get any easier. What a choice. The Holy fool goes with Jonathan Daniels.

  7. I've been thrilled to learn about both of these men. To me, it's purely wonderful that the Magnificat plays such a central role in Jonathan Daniels' story - and of course, so is his faith and courage. And then there's Janani Luwum's powerful faith and witness: "I am not afraid."

    I chose the Archbishop this time, but it could easily have gone the other way. Both stories are incredibly moving, and both men an inspiration. (Great photos, too!)

  8. Tough choice as I've read and heard about both men. Yet, I remember the terror of Idi Amin and knew people of Indian descent who had to flee Uganda during that time so Luwum's ability to speak truth to power during such terror is amazing to me.

  9. This is the toughest choice for me yet. Once again I have to thank the SEC for bringing information about those whose witness I might never have known. I think I have to go with Luwum because I don't think he is very well know in the U.S. and deserves to be.

  10. Tough match up and, as several have said, I am beginning to second guess my choice. I went for JD because I too love the beauty of the Magnificat and his truly selfless act of taking a bullet for someone is an inspiration to me. I try to aspire to be as selfless as that and it is just so hard.... That said Archbishop Luwum was a brave and courageous man and a holy and blessed saint.

  11. Although from New England, I first learned of Jonathan Daniels while I was a cadet at VMI (1982-1986). As an English major (like Daniels), I sometimes studied in the Jonathan Daniels library in Scott Shipp Hall, called by cadets, "the Daniel's Den." I had instructors who knew him. It was during my cadetship, I saw an increased attention to his life and witness. This evolved into an humanitarian award given in his name (first givent to President Carter in 2001). I have grown through the books and stories I have read and heard about him through the years, and I am sure it has helped shape me. As inspired as I am by Janani Luwum, I went for the one I have had the most connection to over these many years. In fact, thanks partly to Lent Madness, I introduced him to my congregation in our March newsletter. The article is posted here:

  12. A very hard call!

    Admins, would it be possible to use tags or add links to earlier entries for those of us who either missed the original posts or forget easily. I know that I can use the search, but since blog platforms tend to allow for tags, it might offer a simple solution.

    1. I met Bishop Kivengere a number of times when I was in college. He smuggled young teens out of the country into Mexico where my college (Westmont in Santa Barbara, CA) Arranged for them to obtain student visas and study on full scholarship. These students never talked about their lives "back home' or about the family and friends they left behind. They understood that their leaving may have caused the death squads to find their families and kill them.

      1. I, too, met and worshipped with Festo as a teen in Santa Barbara. He visited All Saints by the Sea, Montecito, on a few occasions. At that time, All Saints was a lily white parish; Festo may have been one of the few men of color to set foot inside. Nevertheless, he was the first person many of us had ever encountered who was visibly Spirit filled -- love for humanity and joy at the opportunity to share stories of the Living God at work among his countrymen effervesced every time he spoke. It has been over 40 years, but that conviction was so contagious that I feel its impact to this day when I remember those encounters. In honor and appreciation for Festo's own ministry, I must endorse his friend and fellow bishop Janani Luwum.

    2. I, too, made the Luwum-Bonhoeffer connection and so my vote went to him. But, like everyone else, I wish I could have voted for both. I don't know that I could do what both of these men did. The cost of discipleship indeed.

  13. I had both of these men in my bracket in the first round and now have to choose one over the other. I chose Janani Luwum. I believe that Jonathan Daniels is the person that many of us can more readily identify with. He is from America and gave up his life fighting the evil that is racial bias. Janani Luwum was from a country that most of us know little about and gave up his life in a struggle against a dictator, a struggle that does not affect us as much as racial inequality but to the people of Uganda was just as important. Like John said I too would love to see this matchup end as a tie.

  14. At the risk of being provincial about this, I love the concept of a saint from Keene, NH.

  15. Toughest decision yet! I am voting for Luwum for the probably irrational reason that he was sure his perseverence would have him killed. Although Daniels is good, holy, true to his faith, etc, I don't think he was expecting to be killed. I'm sure they both have "real" haloes!

  16. Is it possible to have a tie? Both of these men speak to me, but since I must pick one, I vote for Jonathan Daniels. He honestly lived his faith. The epitome of selfless love! "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." Matthew 7:12

  17. I've listened to the podcast with the friend who knew Luwum and I've read Daniels' valedictorian speech in which he said: "I wish you the joy of a purposeful life." And I still do not have a decision. Both men led purposeful lives, but for a young college senior to write so eloquently, he must have been something from early on. And yet to fight a battle in a land that is so foreign to most of us, standing up to evil and knowing you would die doing so -- Lent Madness indeed! I am haunted by what both did, but think I shall go with Luwum, trusting that Daniels would understand. But as a native Southerner, I am grateful for Daniels' work here and so glad to learn about both of these men.

  18. Very tough choice! Just about reduced me to tears. I went with Daniels because of his feelings for the Magnificat, but Luwum's story is just as inspiring, and if anything he was able to do good on an even larger scale...Praise God for both of these saints!

  19. This one was nearly impossible. I voted for Luwum because he is behind in the voting right now, and I want it to come out a perfect tie. There's rational for ya!

  20. As I keep telling myself, a vote for one is not a vote against the other. In fact, I welcome the tough choices here, because they make me think, and this particular tough choice does not have potentially devastating consequences. No one loses; both saints, secure in their golden halos, are probably rolling their eyes in amused laughter at us then going off arm-in-arm for a cup of ambrosia. (Does it come in cups?) And we win, whoever we vote for, because we have been touched with two more Christian lives and given the Holy Spirit one more opening to sneak in and show us what it might mean for our own lives.

    1. Irene,
      You have the spirit of Lent Madness. You have just said what it is all about! Thank you for your insight!
      Still not sure for whom I'll vote, but as you said they are drinking ambrosia, from a goblet I imagine, and we are the better for them and this madness.

  21. "Nearly impossible" indeed. I very nearly voted for Archbishop Janani, partly because he's trailing, partly because--as someone earlier pointed out--Jonathan had the freedom to leave, partly because he stood up to such a terrible person.
    But I voted for Jonathan, partly because he listened to the Spirit (in a time before such things were "kosher"), and mainly because he went and did that which some of us college students only admired and applauded.

  22. I have been trying to observe all the ways racism affects the way I see things... This pairing has been interesting in this regard... my natural thought is to vote for Daniels, after all I was shaped by the civil rights struggles of the 50's and 60's in the south the are landmark events in my heart and psyche and as a white woman it's easy to fall into a pattern of saying oh what a good man he was for doing this for this child and he was... But here also is Luwum, an African who stood against the principalities and powers of an oppressive regime on behalf of powerless people, and to die doing and saying what needed to be said... We make the one a hero here in America and until the first round I did not even know Luwum's name... I vote for Luwam, We seem so much more comfortable with northern Africa and with South Africa, but the Africa that lies between is like a dark hole we do not see, except to report a litany of it's alleged failures... It remains a stranger to us and perhaps there are lessons there for us to see and learn from...

  23. However I vote today, I'll be voting through tears. Such amazing stories! Such beautiful souls! God bless us every one.

  24. Oh dear, what a dilemma! Both stood up against pure evil and died as a result. I considered tossing a coin, but then thought how idealistic we all were back in the 60's -- until the horrors of the civil rights movement were behind us, we didn't realize how inhumanely people could treat others. Daniels had the courage to do the right thing, without the realization that it could cost him his life. Luwum, on the other hand, had seen plenty of the horrors at the hand of Idi Amin and was fully aware that his life was on the line. Flawed as it may be, this logic led me to vote for Archbishop Luwum.

    1. Woot! Woot! and Huzzah! to the Bracket Tsar for these handy links. Would like to cast a vote today for Adam Thomas in appreciation for his excellent work and beautiful bracket design & maintenance. (That's also much easier than trying to decide between Luwuum and Daniels.)

  25. I was at General Convention and signed the petition to add Jonathan Daniels and his day is my birthday.

  26. Geesh... Choosing keeps getting harder and harder. Both men who died for their faith and fellow man.

  27. Archbishop praying the Lord's prayer at the extremis of torture and demands of renunciation makes my little life different forever. Thank you.