Luke the Evangelist vs. John Donne

Today’s match-up pits two writers against one another. Evangelist vs. Poet. In other words if you’ve ever experienced the agony of writer’s block, this battle’s for you.

No one seemed to experience voter’s block yesterday as Hilda of Whitby held off a feisty Ignatius of Antioch to advance to the Elate Eight. She’ll face the winner of Martha of Bethany vs. Harriet Tubman (good luck with that).

While everyone knows we have the best Celebrity Bloggers in the Celebrity Blogger business, we need to say a word about our own Laurie Brock. Some of you may know that a few days ago Laurie took a spill off her galloping horse and fell onto a fence. While she’s at home and recovering nicely, she did break several ribs and punctured a lung. We invite you, the Lent Madness community, to keep Laurie in your prayers in the weeks ahead. An out-of-commission priest less than three weeks before Easter is not a good thing.

While the SEC got off its duff and wrote yesterday’s write-up for Hilda (one of Laurie’s saints), Laurie insisted on writing today’s entry for John Donne. In other words, she is so dedicated to Lent Madness that she overcame broken bones and internal injuries to fulfill her commitment. While most of us would be crying while curled up in the fetal position and cursing the world (speaking for myself), Laurie has gotten right back in the Lent Madness saddle (um, bad analogy). Of course, this shouldn’t affect your voting choice since the last thing Laurie would want would be sympathy votes for John Donne.

Tim and Scott addressed Laurie’s situation and the inherent hazards of Celebrity Bloggership in yesterday’s edition of Monday Madness along with a response to the accusation that Lent Madness is a liberal religious gambling site. Monday Madness: It’s must see (low production value internet) TV!

And finally, if you haven’t liked Lent Madness on Facebook (and reaped the benefits of all the bonus material) this is the week to do so. We’re on a campaign to hit 5,000 likes by the end of the week. Why? Because we like round numbers and Tim and Scott could use the affirmation as a measure of their self-worth. Thanks to all our new “likers” who heeded the call yesterday — well over 150 of you — to put us at 4,859 as of this very moment.

2-saint-luke-grangerLuke the Evangelist

Luke the Evangelist and author of Luke-Acts gave us many key stories of the New Testament, including stories of Jesus’ birth and the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. But the stories about Luke himself are thin on the ground. What is he hiding? He’s the patron saint of bachelors and brewers, which is suggestive. Was he part of a fraternity? He was a Greek after all.

He’s also the patron saint of painters, based on a legend that he painted an official portrait of the Madonna. Dante Gabriel Rossetti wrote a sonnet about “St. Luke the Painter” that begins:

Give honor unto Luke Evangelist
For he it was (the aged legends say)
Who first taught Art to fold her hands and pray.

It is claimed that both the Black Madonna of Czestochowa and the Madonna Nikopeia were painted by Luke with the Madonna sitting as model, telling him stories of Jesus’ life and ministry.

Luke is often seen with his emblem of an ox, which either symbolizes the priestly aspect of his gospel (since it begins with the priest Zechariah) or the sacrificial nature of Jesus’ ministry. Or someone decided to make the four beasts surrounding God’s throne in Ezekiel 1 match the four gospels of the New Testament canon and Luke got the ox.

There is another story about Luke in the Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine (compiled in the 13th-Century) that claims Luke appeared to the Christians of Antioch who “had abandoned themselves to vice,” and were “besieged by a horde of the Turks.” Luckily, with Luke’s intercession, “the Christians straightaway put the Turks to rout.” And no doubt straightened up their act.

So apparently Luke kept an eye on his hometown of Antioch, which was probably tricky since he’s a bit scattered. In 357, his remains were moved to Constantinople by Constantine, then later taken to Padua, having been stolen by Crusaders. In 1992, the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Ieronymos of Thebes and Levathia requested a bit of Luke and received “the rib of Luke that was closest to his heart,” which is now buried in Thebes. His head somehow ended up in Prague at some point, apparently. Other competing relics include three arms, a knee, two fingers, a tooth, and some miscellaneous bones.

A DNA test of a tooth from the Padua relics, however, suggest the remains are indeed “characteristic of people living near the region of Antioch, on the eastern Mediterranean, where Luke is said to have been born. Radiocarbon dating of the tooth indicates that it belonged to someone who died between 72 A.D. and 416 A.D.” So you know that’s legit.

Laura Toepfer

JD-1855John Donne

John Donne’s life preached the truth that humans are complex, rich texts. Like the stories in our Holy Scripture, one cannot read the section of Donne’s later ordained life as Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in 17th-century England without reading the first chapters of his adventures as a rake and scoundrel. Donne was born into a prominent Roman Catholic family and attended several institutions of higher learning, never attaining a degree. Instead, he jumped ship to the European continent, wrote bawdy poetry, womanized, partied, and lived life out loud while writing even more poetry. After going legit (sort of — he was still one of London’s official playboys), his wit and intelligence landed him a job as the private secretary to one of the highest officials in the queen’s court. He secured a seat in Elizabeth’s last parliament and was on the fast track to fame and fortune. Then he ruined it all for love. He secretly married Ann More and her father and John’s employer were totally opposed to the match. Yet they married. Donne got sacked and landed in jail, along with the priest who married them. Donne summed up the experience in one sentence:  “John Donne, Ann Donne, Undone.”

While Donne had quietly converted to Anglicanism some time during the 1590‘s, he began more deeply to explore his faith in the early 1600’s. He began to mingle the erotic sexuality of his early poetry with what Donne called the “amorous seeking of Christ.” He quoted Solomon to explain his erotic religious poetry (and probably his earlier erotic not-so-religious poetry), reminding us that Solomon “was amorous, and excessive in the love of women: when he turned to God, he departed not utterly from his old phrase and language, but…conveys all his loving approaches and applications to God.”

His friends began to urge him to consider holy orders. He resisted, noting that some in England considered him a pornographer and that, “some irregularities of my life have been so visible to some men.” King James, however, wanted him to become a priest, and the king’s will was done.  Donne was ordained and soon became known as a great preacher in a era of great preachers.

Many of Donne’s poems, essays, and sermons during this time reflect a fixation on death (many being code for most). During his 10-year tenure as Dean of St. Paul’s the Black Plague swept through London thrice (this is about Donne; I can use thrice). His beloved wife Ann died before he became Dean and 5 of his 12 children died in childhood. He had a painting done of himself in a death shroud before he died. Yet his words focus not on the hopelessness of death, but the embrace of God’s love that awaits us through the gates of death.

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me….
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

Donne’s life — all of it — preached. His sermons, his poetry, his satire, and his essays weave the fullness of human life together. Courageously he did not edit out the distasteful, racy parts, but allowed all the words he lived and wrote to be offered to the glory of God. Donne’s life was filled with love, loss, passion, mistakes, poverty, riches and redemption. No chapter was wasted or ignored by Donne or God.  For Donne, “[A]ll mankind is of one author and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated. God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.”

Laurie Brock


Luke vs John Donne

  • Luke (56%, 2,097 Votes)
  • John Donne (44%, 1,655 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,750

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116 Comments to "Luke the Evangelist vs. John Donne"

  1. March 12, 2013 - 8:04 am | Permalink

    Did you miss the Archbishops’ update video? Don’t forget to watch it.

    Also, please submit them questions for next week videos. Yes, video*s* as we start Daily videos next week.

    • Bernice Dicks's Gravatar Bernice Dicks
      March 12, 2013 - 10:29 am | Permalink

      Oh, this isn’t fair! I’m a John Donne devotee, poems and sermons both. But I voted for St. Luke because he is much more widely known (understatement!) and therefore more influential. I would have voted for both if possible.

    • Kathi Bishop-Mora's Gravatar Kathi Bishop-Mora
      March 12, 2013 - 11:48 am | Permalink

      What is Donne, is Donne.

      • March 12, 2013 - 3:28 pm | Permalink

        LOL! So I suppose if the Evangelist wins, it will be a F-Luke?

    • JenniferThomasina's Gravatar JenniferThomasina
      March 12, 2013 - 5:03 pm | Permalink

      “…tend to bask in the glory of God [image] and pray for the Church Militant [image]” in Q&A made me laugh. Thanks, MapleAnglican!

  2. March 12, 2013 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    Unlike the saintly commentators’ prediction that women will fall for Donne, I am voting for Luke, whose gospel has Jesus upholding women.

    • Beth's Gravatar Beth
      March 12, 2013 - 12:59 pm | Permalink


    • JenniferThomasina's Gravatar JenniferThomasina
      March 12, 2013 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Yes…agreed, to a point — but be a bit wary of this gospeller in that regard. In crafting the stories he received it seems Luke sometimes airbrushes the women a bit. My favourite example is to compare across the gospels the story of the woman who anoints Jesus. In Mark and Matthew an unnamed woman anoints his forehead (like the prophets of old, though Jesus cites it as prophetic of his burial). What she has done is an act to be memorialized “wherever the gospel is proclaimed” (the church has rather a poor track record on that!). In John, Mary of Bethany anoints his feet but still also in an act that Jesus cites as prophetic of his burial. But in the story of an anointing woman that Luke chooses to tell, the woman is named a sinner. She stands behind him and anoints and kisses his feet and wipes same with her hair, weeping, not prophetically but only to obtain forgiveness as a terrible sinner (as women especially are, dontcha know!). She is congratulated for her love, hospitality, and penitence…but what has happened to the power and female agency in the prophetic act? Admittedly, could be different stories involved but why does Luke choose to tell that one? Airbrushing the anointing woman figure to make her less powerful makes her more socially acceptable for the time, easing the spread of the gospel, and still makes a powerful story, but something is lost.

      Donne’s no peach either from a feminist perspective but I voted for him today for the sake of a friend who loves his poetry and finds it deeply inspirational. I do have Luke down as a likely finalist but he, too, has sins to atone for so I’d like him to sweat a bit getting there. : )

      • March 12, 2013 - 3:40 pm | Permalink

        I have to disagree with your perspective, JenniferThomasina. If anything, the anointing woman in Luke is even more prophetic because in her actions she speaks Truth to the Power of the Pharisee Simon who is Jesus’ host. Jesus points out that Simon has failed in the sacred duties of hospitality, whereas the anointing woman has dared to come forward and commit an act that is not only holy, but also has strong sexual overtones to it.

        What we contemporary readers miss in Luke’s telling is the cultural context of the anointing woman story. Historically in Greco-Roman cultures, people reclined on couches to eat from low tables set in a U-shape (see the BBC production of “I, Claudius.”). So Jesus would have been reclining with this feet toward the outside. One of the practices of hospitality was that beggars, foreigners and other needy people were ranged along the periphery around the dinner guests, awaiting whatever food they gave or was left over. The anointing woman no doubt was among these “outsiders.” For her to move from the outside toward the guest of honor was for her “not to know her place,” in other words, she was a prophetic “uppity woman.” And being an “uppity woman,” she made history.

        As to the sexual side, in ancient Middle Eastern cultures, as in Orthodox Jewish and Muslim cultures today, a woman’s hair was considered part of her sexual organs, because it has the power to inflame a man’s passions. For the anointing woman to dry Jesus’ feet with her unbound hair was to commit a blatant act of physical love. While this may not be so “prophetic,” the fact that Jesus accepted this act from a woman to whom he was not engaged or married would have been a tremendous cultural and religious scandal. Breaking such a barrier of exclusion seems pretty prophetic to me, and Luke recounts it all.

        Just some things to think about…

        • JenniferThomasina's Gravatar JenniferThomasina
          March 12, 2013 - 4:30 pm | Permalink

          Indeed! Does portraying women as sexual beings empower or disempower them? And the answer is…yes! (seriously yes – ‘it depends’. I stand by my original post, but I love that you see empowerment in the Lukan woman’s action.)

      • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
        March 12, 2013 - 4:56 pm | Permalink

        JenniferThomasina, I must disagree with you on certain points. First of all, I don’t think the Church
        has done such a bad job telling the story of the Anointing Woman in Matthew
        and Mark. The Church declared those two Gospels to be canonical, thus insuring
        that this woman would be remembered forever. I believe the account of John
        and that of Luke to be two separate incidents. The details of the story differ.
        Plus, it’s not the only time in the Gospels that there are occurrences that are
        similar. Matthew and Mark both have two tales of the Feeding of the Multitudes.
        You said “could be different stories involved, but why does Luke choose to tell that one?”
        My response to that is “Why not?” It happened, so why ignore it? You seem to think
        that calling the woman a sinner somehow tames her and makes her story less
        powerful. What is more powerful than the grace of forgiveness? And she had to be
        pretty gutsy to approach Jesus like she did. Luke was not being sexist when he
        named her a sinner, there are plenty of male sinners in his Gospel: Herod, Pilate,
        Judas, Peter. To be human is to be a sinner.

        • JenniferThomasina's Gravatar JenniferThomasina
          March 12, 2013 - 5:27 pm | Permalink

          Agree 100% – to be human is to be a sinner. Agree also that Luke is justly renowned for his agenda of inclusion, and a fine storyteller. Just suggesting to be wary of his spin sometimes – does inclusion come at a price?
          Comment on church stems from – agreed, again, there is plenty of evidence of both male and female sinners…yet somehow we’ve always heard more about Peter as Rock on which church was to be built than…{who was that again, that He told us to remember forever?}.

          • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
            March 12, 2013 - 6:49 pm | Permalink

            You’re right, Peter is far better known as the Rock than the Sinner.
            But, even though we don’t know the Anointing Woman’s name, we
            are still talking about her two thousand years later.

        • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
          March 13, 2013 - 2:33 am | Permalink

          Thank you, Harlie.

      • Janet Irvine's Gravatar Janet Irvine
        March 12, 2013 - 11:18 pm | Permalink

        I have often thought that having someone wash my feet with greasy stuff and hair would feel kind of gross.

  3. Amelia+'s Gravatar Amelia+
    March 12, 2013 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    I was all set to vote for Luke, after all he is the patron saint of iconographers. However, Donne’s humanity and honesty about who he was got to me and my vote.

    • Rev. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Rev. Lucy Porter
      March 12, 2013 - 10:42 am | Permalink

      “Donne’s humanity and honesty about who he was got to me and my vote.” My thoughts exactly. This does not lessen my devotion to the Order of St. Luke (liturgical reform) or to the Evangelist’s work. It’s just that today Donne’s example is what I need.

  4. Gwin Hanahan's Gravatar Gwin Hanahan
    March 12, 2013 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    I’m with Lois. Luke.

  5. Deborah Anne's Gravatar Deborah Anne
    March 12, 2013 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    As much as I enjoyed Laurie’s piece on Donne and as much as I pray for her swift recovery, I have to go with Luke. Where would we be without Acts?

  6. George Werner's Gravatar George Werner
    March 12, 2013 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Since “no one is an island”, I connect with my fellow Cathedral Dean and huge underdog in LM. I don’t think Luke even spoke English.

    • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
      March 12, 2013 - 12:42 pm | Permalink

      I always say that having 12 apostles speaking 12 languages at once would make everything incomprehensible so what must have happened at Pentecost is that they all spoke English loudly and clearly so that everyone could understand them as if they were hearing their own languages. Luke, of course came along later, so Dean Werner is probably right that he did not speak English.

  7. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    March 12, 2013 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    The choices are getting as hard as choosing a Pope! But Luke wins by a whisker for me – championing the marginalised & vulnerable. My favourite Gospel writer.

  8. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 12, 2013 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Seriously? Pitting one of the Gospel writers against anyone else?

    • Anne of Memphis's Gravatar Anne of Memphis
      March 12, 2013 - 11:15 am | Permalink

      I agree. Luke all the way! Get well soon, Laurie.

  9. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 12, 2013 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    What a choice. I have always adored John Donne, and the write-up emphasized his modernity, his wholeness, his incredible appeal as a man who lived life fully. Yet, Luke has given us similar qualities… in scripture, for heaven’s sake. He clearly got to talk to Mary. (I didn’t know some people think he might have painted her. How cool.) He liked women. And he knows how to tell a good story. So my vote goes to that well-rounded man….Luke!

  10. Peg's Gravatar Peg
    March 12, 2013 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    I do admire Donne (even with all the puns) and am happy to have come to know him better. But it’s Luke the healer, the painter, and the writer for me today–no bones about it. Wishing you swift healing and ample comfort, Laurie. Here’s a little recovery music–’t+Fence+Me+In

  11. Relling Westfall's Gravatar Relling Westfall
    March 12, 2013 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    I looked back at the original write up to remember how many of my favorite stories were written by Luke. I have been a Donne fan for many years, and certainly enjoyed studying him in grad school, but the Bible wihtout Luke would be a much lesser thing, so I’m voting for Luke. In a contest between two writers, the Biblical author has to win.

  12. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    March 12, 2013 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    I always like it when I vote for the person who’s losing. Hit it again today!

  13. Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
    March 12, 2013 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Who are we kidding? In this match-up, I’ll take what I can. Vote for Donne!!! I wrote his entry while lying on the bed in pain, knowing that I had to get his story out there to inspire all. (Actually I was sitting on my couch…in some pain because I was writing to go against Luke, but I appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers).

  14. slfiore's Gravatar slfiore
    March 12, 2013 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    Poor Luke seems more like an icon than a real person, and saints have to have been real, with all the flaws and passions of the rest of us — we imitate them because they give us hope that we too can grow in holiness. Donne for me.

  15. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    March 12, 2013 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    While I love Luke [and have a grandson Luke], I am not yet un-Donne.

  16. Robert Craig's Gravatar Robert Craig
    March 12, 2013 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    Despite the Apostle’s putative role in incessantly interviewing the Mother of God for their post-crucifixion writings about Jesus (see Colm Toibin’s fanciful novella, The Testament of Mary), Luke gets my vote, although I see and admire Donne’s full humanity displayed in a life well lived.

  17. Lauren Stanley's Gravatar Lauren Stanley
    March 12, 2013 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    Luke, because of my dear Theophilus.

  18. Jo Meachem's Gravatar Jo Meachem
    March 12, 2013 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    Ah, well! No choice here for me… My paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Donne, and family legend has it that we are somehow related – albeit on the wrong side of the sheets! Family ties it is!

  19. Gian's Gravatar Gian
    March 12, 2013 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    I fell in love with John Donne’s life.

  20. Laurie Atwater's Gravatar Laurie Atwater
    March 12, 2013 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    I feel great empathy with Donne when he says, “some irregularities of my life have been so visible to some men.” Me, too. I am inspired by the example of his later life.

  21. Russ's Gravatar Russ
    March 12, 2013 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Get well Laurie!

  22. kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
    March 12, 2013 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    This one’s for you, Laurie. Donne. Get well soon.

  23. Nancy Powell's Gravatar Nancy Powell
    March 12, 2013 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    This contest was extra tough, as I really like John Dunne, and I’m sure I’d enjoy his earlier works. But in the end, Luke, the one who tells us most about Jesus, gets my vote.

  24. March 12, 2013 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    Honestly, it was a tough call. I voted for John Donne, though, partly because he seemed the underdog –he was paired up with a Gospel writer!– partly because I don’t know where emo teenage me would have been without Donne and his rather emo poetry!

  25. Hugh Matheson's Gravatar Hugh Matheson
    March 12, 2013 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Poor Luke, in his photo today, it is clear that he has a worse scoliosis than Richard III . He also seems to be riding on the back of a large steer( no balls) It’s no wonder he only got to 24 chapters. 28 in Acts; maybe he lost the beef. However, his most memorable lines were translated into English by people who knew Donne. “O Death be not proud, sans cow still wins.

  26. March 12, 2013 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    I have voted, and will spend the day in quiet reflection, continuously second-guessing my choice.

  27. Kat Gordon's Gravatar Kat Gordon
    March 12, 2013 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    I adore Luke, but I frequently need to be reminded that Jesus manifest himself for the sinners- most especially the fornicators, the tax collectors, and low lifes- and that He redeems us all regardless of our sins.
    Donne is such a marvelous example of a feet-of-clay saint who truly appreciates that redemption is a gift, not something earned. It’s Donne!

  28. March 12, 2013 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    I recall a story a prof told in a 17C lit class years ago: After some ecclesiastical dust-up, Donne – to prove he was penitent and fully re-committed to the whole Jesus thing – took the chalice when offered to him and downed it in one go. There’s a holy badass factor there that I love love love. Donne – the real live gifted flawed human merely being – is the man to vote for today.

  29. Anne's Gravatar Anne
    March 12, 2013 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    AGAIN a difficult choice! First, prayers for Laurie. And despite her eloquent appeal for Donne I am voting for the physician since his descendants are essential to her recovery. Both contestants were such marvelous writers-to my shame I’ve read little Donne & intend to remedy that. Also I think perhaps he could be the patron saint of those in recovery (if only from our own foolishness.) Still, bachelors need all the help they can get in this man-bashing age so as to embrace their good caring souls rather than following Donne’s womanizing influence.

  30. Phil Harrington's Gravatar Phil Harrington
    March 12, 2013 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    On a huge hill,
    cragged and steep,
    Truth stands,
    and he who would find it
    about and about must go.
    -John Donne

    As for Luke getting the ox, it’s not as bad as getting the axe.

  31. Karen McLeod's Gravatar Karen McLeod
    March 12, 2013 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    “And when Thou hast Donne, Thou hast truly done,

  32. Nancy Mott's Gravatar Nancy Mott
    March 12, 2013 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    It’s Luke! I’m a member of one of many “St. Luke’s” parishes; he’s a frequent choice of patron of African American parishes because of his gospel’s extraordinary emphasis on the universal inclusion of outcasts, women, foreigners, sinners. Only Luke tells Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, in which the one who shows himself “neighbor” is a member of a people most despised by Jesus’ society. Also of the four gospels, Luke puts the strongest emphasis on women, including many stories and parables featuring women that are found in no other gospel.

    Luke highlights his understanding of “gospel” by making Jesus’s inauguration of his ministry (Luke 4) the reading (and rejection) in the Nazareth synagogue the Isaiah passage: “God’s Spirit has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to captives, recover sight to the blind, let the oppressed go free,” and to proclaim Jubilee.

    • Michele's Gravatar Michele
      March 12, 2013 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Well said!

  33. Karen McLeod's Gravatar Karen McLeod
    March 12, 2013 - 10:34 am | Permalink

    I have no more.”

  34. Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson
    March 12, 2013 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    No way in —-I’m voting against a Gospel writer. No siree bob!!! My mama didn’t raise no fool! Luke! Luke! Luke!

    • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
      March 13, 2013 - 1:24 am | Permalink

      What she said.

  35. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 12, 2013 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    Much as I appreciate Luke’s stories and sympathetic view of women, something about John Donne’s life spoke to me, especially this Tuesday after the Fourth Sunday in Lent. His story is similar to that of the Prodigal Son, showing that no life is beyond the Grace of God. (Haven’t we all known people like Donne?)

  36. March 12, 2013 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    This I have Donne. I can do no More. I be not proud of my vote, but consider my toll for me. (Shameless, I know.)

  37. The Holy Fool's Gravatar The Holy Fool
    March 12, 2013 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    Woe is me…. Lent madness is challenging me once again. Luke has that final four mentality…A great leader, terrific motivater, a ferocious defender, a total team player. By only a free throw, the Holy Fool goes with LUKE.

  38. Zeiglarre's Gravatar Zeiglarre
    March 12, 2013 - 10:49 am | Permalink

    Let’s face it: Luke was a two-hit wonder. Maybe only 1 1/2. You’d think a guy with three arms could have written more. Donne was in it for the long haul.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 12, 2013 - 7:08 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure Luke and Donne are both rolling on the floor of Heaven laughing at what you

  39. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 12, 2013 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    This one was easy for me; Luke’s my main man. Thinking of you anyway, though, Laurie.

    (Interestingly, Donne wrote a poem that nearly fits this year’s liturgical situation – a rare one: “Upon the Annunciation and Passion Falling upon One Day”: )

  40. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    March 12, 2013 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    The Evangelist has to take this one, right? I mean…what are we anyway?

  41. Joy's Gravatar Joy
    March 12, 2013 - 11:01 am | Permalink

    The Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, the Healing of the Crippled Woman, the Rich Man and Lazarus, Cleansing of the Ten Lepers, and on and on. Where would we be, what would think of Jesus and the Kingdom without this Evangelist? Have to vote for Luke. Love Donne for sure, but love the message that includes all more.

  42. March 12, 2013 - 11:07 am | Permalink

    ARGH! I am an artist. What a conundrum! You folks are tough and pull no punches!

  43. March 12, 2013 - 11:19 am | Permalink

    I decided to get in on the Acts and vote Luke today. For me and my bracket, Donne is done. Don’t get me wrong. I love his work, but Luke’s is my favorite gospel.

  44. Jay's Gravatar Jay
    March 12, 2013 - 11:19 am | Permalink

    Tough match. But scoundrel? Priest? I can understand this guy. Gotta be Donne this time.

  45. michelle's Gravatar michelle
    March 12, 2013 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    I love Luke and I love Donne. I am undone! (sorry, English major). You didn’t mention that Donne inspired Sting!

  46. Sonia's Gravatar Sonia
    March 12, 2013 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    1Solomon, Augustine, Francis, done, no Donne!

  47. St Patti's Gravatar St Patti
    March 12, 2013 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    It had to be Luke.

  48. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 12, 2013 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Luke for me. If for no other reason than for the story of the Good Samaritan.

  49. Martha's Gravatar Martha
    March 12, 2013 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    OK, like lots of folks, I love the Gospel of Luke. But I don’t have any sense of Luke the man. Donne, on the other hand, is fully human. I always find it easy to vote when we have a real human being against a shadow. Donne for me.

  50. Susan Chacon's Gravatar Susan Chacon
    March 12, 2013 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I thought Donne promised better kitsch, but after seeing that icon of Luke, I’m not so sure.

  51. March 12, 2013 - 12:44 pm | Permalink

    After all our beloved Celebrity Blogger, Laurie, has done to make Lent Madness such an awesome experience, I can not understand why the entire Lent Madness Worldwide Community has not cast it’s collective vote for Luke. With all due respect to Laurie for her excellent write-up of John Donne, Luke is, after all, “The Physician.” It’s the least we can do for her – she needs Luke’s virtual “Laying on of Hands” for healing. Each voter should examine his/her conscience to discern whether a vote for Donne is for truly selfless reasons (or for a better chance to win a contest) and I am sure each will find that the Godly thing to do is to cast your vote for the Patron Saint of Physicians!

    Absolution will be given to those who, unwittingly, voted for John Donne prior to this post – but for those tempted to click the button next to his name from this point forward, know that you will win my prayers.

  52. Rich's Gravatar Rich
    March 12, 2013 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Donne must have been a truly extraordinary person, but Luke, well content and context.

  53. Johannas Jordan's Gravatar Johannas Jordan
    March 12, 2013 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Prayers for Laurie! She wrote an excellent piece on Donne, even after being thrown and injured. Or maybe helped by??? Drugs can sometimes help more than pain and infection. Just a thought. And I envy her having a horse and riding full gallop. That is a lesson in all pleasure has risks and over coming adversity. Ok enough on Laurie.
    Voting for Donne as he seems more human and accessible to me.

  54. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    March 12, 2013 - 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I did not vote for either one in the first round so I see little reason to vote for one of them now. Therefore in memory of my Scots-Irish heritage I think that a write-in vote for St. Patrick is the best route to take. After all his big day is coming up this weekend a fact that the Bracket Czar obviously overlooked.

  55. dr.primrose's Gravatar dr.primrose
    March 12, 2013 - 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Donne’s done.

  56. Jody Gebhardt's Gravatar Jody Gebhardt
    March 12, 2013 - 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Having once been thrown or fallen from my horse 3 times in one afternoon (learning to jump) I have to go with Laurie and John Donne. Luke will win, but all that rich poetry has been with me forever. Besides, I like the underdogs best, and I am trying hard this year to call attention to lesser known or more modern saints in my parish newsletters.

  57. Cricket Cooper's Gravatar Cricket Cooper
    March 12, 2013 - 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I wish there were a Donne translation of Luke, and then we could vote
    for 2-in-1!!!

    But I caved to “Fear not! For behold I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Donne could have written that….

  58. Mary Lou's Gravatar Mary Lou
    March 12, 2013 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Couldn’t let go of Luke, despite having been undone by Donne at times.

    Get well, Laurie!

  59. Cornelia+'s Gravatar Cornelia+
    March 12, 2013 - 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Laurie Brock, I just have to say, you totally rock! Thank you for that magnificent write-up. You can feel proud of yourself when it’s all Donne.

    Happy healing!

  60. Mollie Douglas Turner's Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner
    March 12, 2013 - 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Oh, so so so hard–so not fair! Laurie, be healed!!

  61. Diana Wilcox's Gravatar Diana Wilcox
    March 12, 2013 - 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Laurie, my prayers are with you for a quick recovery. Many thanks for being such a Lent Madness trooper and providing a great write-up for John Donne. He would have loved it, I am sure. Peace.

  62. Diana Wilcox's Gravatar Diana Wilcox
    March 12, 2013 - 2:51 pm | Permalink

    As for my vote – I have to give it to Luke. The first of his two part work is my fav gospel. The focus on prayer, the poor, women, and the Holy Spirit really speaks to me.

  63. Sally from Magnolia's Gravatar Sally from Magnolia
    March 12, 2013 - 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Barbara, for that marvelous Donne poem you pointed out. Never read it before, but it is a wonderful example of his fervor, and his love of wordplay. And I voted for Done even before I read it.

  64. Allison Askins's Gravatar Allison Askins
    March 12, 2013 - 3:30 pm | Permalink

    First, Laurie, you are indeed a trooper. May healing come swiftly.
    And while I know Luke is a Gospel writer who shed much light on our understanding, I am struck by Laurie’s last line from Donne’s work that
    “God employs several translators.” I do so hope that is the case because we each need all the help we can get! I’m going for the man whose understanding of our humanity jumped off the page for me.

  65. Day Smith Pritchartt's Gravatar Day Smith Pritchartt
    March 12, 2013 - 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Be well, Laurie, and thanks for all you have Donne.

  66. Greta's Gravatar Greta
    March 12, 2013 - 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Maybe next year we can agree that NO ONE from scripture can be in the race! Or at least no one from the accepted canon. Thomas, anyone?

  67. Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
    March 12, 2013 - 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Nobody knows who wrote the text of Luke and Acts, so I guess the name Luke is as good as any. We have only the writing to go on in evaluating Luke, so that’s all I can use as a guide, and in that sense, I have to give the laurels to the man whom we know actually existed and actually was named John Donne.

    Not to say that the gospel editor (he compiled what others wrote in much of the text) was not important, but if we really compare the two on the basis of what they wrote (and in the case of the un-named author of Luke-Acts, this is all we have), I have to give the vote to John Donne, whose work is huge and wonderful to a degree the gospel writer cannot approach.
    You could say, “But Luke’s writing is canonized!” and you’d also be showing that Luke already HAS his reward, so, as I was saying, give this one to John.

    • Relling Westfall's Gravatar Relling Westfall
      March 12, 2013 - 3:51 pm | Permalink

      There’s just no comparison between the impact of Luke and the impact of Donne. Many, many Episcopalians have not even heard of him, much less has their faith been enlivened by reading him. Some of Donne’s writing is justly famous, but most of it has long since been forgotten. And some of Donne’s work is too clever and precious by half…..there..

      • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
        March 12, 2013 - 4:20 pm | Permalink

        No doubt those who have never heard of him will vote for the un-named editor. Go for it, by all means.
        Then get that old volume down, dust it off and read some great stuff.

        • March 13, 2013 - 12:50 am | Permalink

          I doubt there are many, many Episcopalians who haven’t heard of Donne — he’s even in the Hymnal for heaven’s sake! But there are a lot of non-Episcopalians voting in Lent Madness, and obviously some Episcopalians who are voting for Luke, as well.

  68. Cindy Selby's Gravatar Cindy Selby
    March 12, 2013 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Well, I was all prepared to vote for my favorite Gospel writer, Luke, when I read Laurie’s piece on John Donne and changed my mind. I do love Donne’s story and his writing. Now that I’ve voted for Donne, I see that Luke is in the lead. I haven’t gotten it right in days! But Luke WAS my first choice, so hooray for Luke.

  69. March 12, 2013 - 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Donne’s beginning is not his end. His story is of transformation from scum-bag to repentant redeemed scum-bag. It’s my story too. This part of his last sermon at St. Paul’s shines a light for me –” There we leave you, in that blessed dependency, to hang upon him, that hangs upon the cross. There bathe in his tears, there suck at his wounds, and lie down in peace in his grave, till he vouchsafe you a Resurrection, and an ascension into that Kingdom which he hath purchased for you, with the inestimable price of his incorruptible blood.” – While I am fed and taught by Luke’s memories, I am filled with hope that the real-life reclamation project that is Donne’s life shows what may be possible for me.

  70. Alene's Gravatar Alene
    March 12, 2013 - 4:14 pm | Permalink

    For that last image of all the leaves of our books being open to one another, I vote for Donne.

  71. Michele's Gravatar Michele
    March 12, 2013 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Had to go for Luke since I attend a church named after him and my father is a physican. But the poetry of John “50 Shades” Donne is beautiful and almost made me think twice.

  72. Heidi E's Gravatar Heidi E
    March 12, 2013 - 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Woe is me! I am un-Donne. My vote went for Luke-

  73. Rev ALF's Gravatar Rev ALF
    March 12, 2013 - 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Almost didn’t vote for Luke because of the unfortunate placement of body parts. Yeah, I don’t understand the obsession with relics. 🙁 Makes me queasy. But in the end I agreed with the comment “Where would we be without Acts?”

    • Diane Amison-Loring's Gravatar Diane Amison-Loring
      March 12, 2013 - 11:13 pm | Permalink

      If you really want to get queasy, when I entered an Episcopal convent back in the mid 60’s, they were still reading the martyrology at breakfast. One had to sit quietly and look at the hard boiled egg in its egg cup on the plate while hearing about what had happened to the various martyrs and what had been done to their bodies after their death. Only after the martyrology was read, could one begin to eat a cold breakfast. Truly a memorable experience.

  74. Eric's Gravatar Eric
    March 12, 2013 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Great write up Laurie. Your “Donne’s life was filled with love, loss, passion, mistakes, poverty, riches and redemption.” sounds like a perfectly saintly description to me. My vote is for Donne. And my prayers for a quick recovery for you, Laurie.

  75. Cheribum's Gravatar Cheribum
    March 12, 2013 - 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Although the three-armed saint of brewers presents a strong case, I am swayed by a man who lived a flawed/kick ass life and found Jesus. Vote to Donne today.

  76. Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
    March 12, 2013 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Laurie, feel better soon!

  77. Skip's Gravatar Skip
    March 12, 2013 - 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Get well soon Laurie; I had to vote for Luke, although I had to smile at your shameless plea to vote for Dunne. It is also nice having the Archbishops’ commentary back. Keep up the good work Maple Anglican.

  78. JenniferThomasina's Gravatar JenniferThomasina
    March 12, 2013 - 5:07 pm | Permalink

    It’s close, but m’man Donne is lagging. In case he doesn’t rally I’m preparing to loop a psalm of mourning:

  79. Laura Campbell's Gravatar Laura Campbell
    March 12, 2013 - 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I cast my vote for John Donne earlier today and tuned in to see how things are going. I have great respect for whoever wrote Luke/Acts, but much affection for the flawed man whose imagery I love. Alas, the bell may toll for John tonight.

  80. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    March 12, 2013 - 6:10 pm | Permalink

    I agree that whoever wrote Luke/Acts deserves our respect. I also agree with most biblical scholars who have concluded that Luke did not write Luke/Acts. The Gospel of Luke is mostly a retelling of Mark and could have had any munber of authors. Biblical scholars now agree that Acts was most likely written by a Jew and Luke was purportedly a Gentile. Add in the fact that dates do not add up and that Luke did not actually witness events that are reported in that gospel and I think that the verdict is in. Far better to vote for the actual author as it seems that too many “saints” have a padded resume.

  81. Lynda's Gravatar Lynda
    March 12, 2013 - 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Regardless as to who wrote Luke and Acts, I vote LUKE.
    Oh, should I ever write a book, I hope my name continues to be attributed to it. Mmm, I wonder what Luke would make of this hearty discussion?

  82. Jason's Gravatar Jason
    March 12, 2013 - 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Man, I wanted to vote for the patron saint of brewers since I will be bottling this weekend, but Donne rocks!

  83. Paul Rosbolt's Gravatar Paul Rosbolt
    March 12, 2013 - 7:37 pm | Permalink

    With apologies to and prayers for Laurie, I had to go with Luke.

  84. March 12, 2013 - 7:55 pm | Permalink

    This is one of those happy match-ups where I’m perfectly content with either party winning; I’m in a Bible study for Luke right now and absolutely loved Donne when I worked with his writings in college.
    I do, though, add my voice to the chorus of prayers and well-wishes for healing, Laurie. And, as ever, congratulate you on a beautiful write-up!

  85. March 12, 2013 - 8:06 pm | Permalink

    John Donne. Ann Donne. Un-done.
    But wouldn’t Ann be More-Donne?

    Get well, Laurie…

    To help you feel better…just think of our skit back at the GTS Follies…no, wait, I don’t want you to laugh!

    Grace and Peace,

  86. Carole+'s Gravatar Carole+
    March 12, 2013 - 8:54 pm | Permalink

    St. Luke — our parish’s patron Saint — how could I NOT vote for him????

  87. Molly R's Gravatar Molly R
    March 12, 2013 - 10:18 pm | Permalink

    I just Donne’t know what to do. This match-up is almost unholy! My heart cannot choose between Emmaus, Pentecost, and “so that they would search for God and perhaps grope an find him” and this poem about the feast of the Annunciation falling “on the Passion” (Good Friday, Palm Sunday?).
    It reminds me of the day a few years ago when I found out that one high school friend had just died from a brain tumor, then one hour later got an e-mail from another high school friend was surprisingly, miraculously pregnant.

  88. Molly R's Gravatar Molly R
    March 12, 2013 - 10:46 pm | Permalink

    This poem has always been a top 10 favorite
    But I’m not Donne-for, because the last two times I have see my spiritual director, she has given me Acts 17:27 as my meditation, so it is in thankfulness for her wisdom (and a little crossing the fingers that this falls under the spiritual discipline of obedience), I humbly cast my vote for Luke. The Rev. Donne, I will rejoice upon our meeting in the eternal communion, and look forward to hearing even more glorious songs.

  89. Molly R's Gravatar Molly R
    March 12, 2013 - 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Luke it is, even though I always like to vote for the sexy saint in these match-ups. Alas, sexiness in this case was not enough for a Donne deal!

  90. Harry W's Gravatar Harry W
    March 12, 2013 - 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Laurie, my prayers are with you for a complete recovery, and on that note I find
    Luke the winner of my vote today. Luke’s healing is still going on today –
    Empowering God’s people throughout the world with Jesus’ healing ministry.

  91. Hope and Skye's Gravatar Hope and Skye
    March 13, 2013 - 6:42 am | Permalink

    Donne for Skye and Hope, though the picture of Luke was quite enticing. The girls hope that the celebrity blogger is feeling better from her fall. They hoped that her horse didn’t get hurt too….

  92. Billie Jo's Gravatar Billie Jo
    March 13, 2013 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

    This was tough. I am pretty much a “vote for the woman” woman. Frances Perkins is a fantastic role model especially for women in politics. However … MLK started his journey with no status, no connections, but with incredible faith in God and people, black & white, who needed a leader. Thank God for Martin Luther King, Jr

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