David of Wales vs. F.D. Maurice

The battleground is Great Britain as David of Wales goes up against F.D. Maurice of the Church of England. A bishop beloved by the Welsh vs. a social activist and theologian beloved by Anglo-Catholics. The winner advances to take on Julia Chester Emery.

In yesterday's match-up, a controversial pairing that brought together two ancient Egyptian ascetics, Antony of Egypt squeaked past Mary of Egypt 51% to 49%. People had a lot to say about this battle with a record number of comments recorded and if you thought your vote "didn't really matter," Antony prevailed by a mere 150 votes out of nearly 6,000 cast. He'll go on to face Basil the Great in the next round.

Speaking of voting, you should know that the Supreme Executive Committee keeps former President Jimmy Carter on retainer as an impartial election observer. This is just a reminder that Lent Madness suffrage entitles you to ONE vote per day. Big Brother (in the form of the technophile member of the SEC -- who used to work for IBM!) is watching. If you have more than one person (not including dog, cat, ferret, etc) in your household he/she/it can obviously also cast a vote on another device.

The elections so far have been clean but this is just a friendly reminder in light of yesterday's very close battle. So, your Christian duty this Lent is to vote. Just don't sin against God, the SEC, and the Lent Madness faithful and do it more than once.

davidDavid of Wales

The patron saint of Wales, David was a bishop of Menevia during the sixth century. Originally called to the monastic life, he ended up as a well-known church leader, teacher, and preacher. He founded numerous monasteries and churches throughout Wales and the surrounding areas. David also presided over two synods against Pelagianism (a heresy that denied the existence of original sin). The first synod was at Brefi around 560 and the second was at Caerleon (the “Synod of Victory”) around 569.

Legend has it that a miracle took place at the Synod of Brefi. While David was preaching a sermon in the village of Llanddewi Brefi, the place where he was standing rose up to form a hill, and a white dove landed on his shoulder. Commenters jest that the location of the miracle was already rather hilly, but the story is cherished as his best-known miracle. The white dove is seen as a symbol of his ministry. David is also associated with the leek, a symbol of Wales.

David lived a disciplined and ascetic life. His strict monasticism was modeled after the earliest Christian ascetics: hard manual labor without even the use of draught animals, silence, long hours of prayer, and a diet of bread and herbs without any meat and alcohol. No personal possessions were allowed.

Some accounts claim that David lived past the age of 100 years. His biographers described that the monastery was “filled with angels as Christ received his soul.” One biographer cited David’s last words to his community: “Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed, and do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.” This entreaty is remembered as a well known Welsh saying: “Do ye the little things in life” (Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd).

Through the leadership of David, many evangelists journeyed throughout the British Isles and Brittany, spreading the gospel.

Collect for David of Wales
Almighty God, you called your servant David to be a faithful and wise steward of your mysteries for the people of Wales: Mercifully grant that, following his purity of life and zeal for the Gospel of Christ, we may with him receive our heavenly reward; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

-- Amber Belldene

FDMauriceFrederick Denison Maurice

Frederick Denison Maurice was born in 1805. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge, with the intention of becoming a barrister or lawyer. He was ultimately unable to receive his degree, because as a Unitarian and a dissenter from the established church, he refused to subscribe to the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, which defined the doctrine of the Church of England. Maurice moved to London, where he began to write in support of social reforms.

It was during his time in London that Maurice converted to Anglicanism. In 1830, he left London to study at Exeter College in Oxford. By 1834, he was ordained as a priest and four years later he wrote his seminal work The Kingdom of Christ, in which he held that the Church was a united body, transcending individual sects, denominations, and disputes. While Maurice’s work would ultimately be an early source of Anglican ecumenism, it also roused suspicion among more conservative wings of the church. In 1846, he became a professor of theology at Kings’ College, London.

European society changed rapidly in the first half of the nineteenth century, as advances in industrialization ultimately led to the rise of a new middle class, which created new social tensions. During the same year that socialist Karl Marx famously called religion “the opiate of the people,” Maurice wrote, “we have been dosing our people with religion…when what they want is...the living God.” Later, inspired by the Revolutions of 1848, a wave of political upheavals across Europe, Maurice became one of the organizers of the Christian Socialist Movement, seeking to, as he said, engage in the conflict with “unsocial Christians” and “unchristian Socialists.” The Christian socialists sought to apply Christian principles to laissez-faire industrialism, advocating for a collective responsibility for the poor and those in substandard factory working conditions.

Unlike Marx, the Christian Socialists would advocate for the active involvement of the Church in improving the lot of the working class. Maurice’s book Theological Essays, published in 1853, ultimately cost him his job as a professor when it was viewed as being heterodox—too much at odds with the established Church. Using his existing knowledge and teaching experience to improve the lives of the working class, he founded the Working Men’s College to promote his ideals. Ultimately he returned to the academy, teaching in Cambridge from 1866 until his death.

Collect for F. D. Maurice
Almighty God, who restored our human nature to heavenly glory through the perfect obedience of our Savior Jesus Christ: Keep alive in your Church, we pray, a passion for justice and truth; that, like your servant Frederick Denison Maurice, we may work and pray for the triumph of the kingdom of your Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

-- David Sibley


David of Wales vs. F.D. Maurice

  • F.D. Maurice (54%, 3,351 Votes)
  • David of Wales (46%, 2,878 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,227

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199 comments on “David of Wales vs. F.D. Maurice”

  1. I will "do the little things in life" and vote for beloved David of Wales, the patron saint of my beloved!

    1. This is a terrible match-up for an early round, a bit like Duke vs. Kentucky in the 1st round of that other little bracket.

    2. I grant that we'll all be speaking Welsh in heaven and that there is no better place on Earth than Wales for a good walk, BUT I just can't pass up the chance to vote for F.D. Maurice. Unmentioned was his important influence on John Ruskin and George MacDonald!

      1. There are a couple of links that didn't work from the email that was sent out. I needed to exercise diligence to get here today, which is perhaps part of the Lentend devotion?

        1. I have been having the same problem. It would be nice to be able to vote from your e-mail.

          1. For the first time, I also had trouble getting here today. The links aren't working and error marks showing. Truthfully all was great before it was 'fixed'....lol. I am loving Lent Madness! I hope in all the confusion my vote was only registered once. Maybe we can get things 'fixed' again tomorrow.

      2. Since the hyperlink in the email that went out this morning was incorrect, voting in this round could well be affected. Many folks might not know alternative ways to vote today. This seems unfair to the voters. I strongly suggest that today's vote be nullified and that steps be taken to conduct a fair re-vote.

        Don M.

      3. I haven't been getting my LM emails. I checked my spam folder, and they're not there. Do you think that former President Carter could help me? Thanks in advance.

      4. The link still doesn't work. I'm getting the dreaded 404 -- page doesn't exist. The vote from Wales may be greatly affected as evening is approaching there!!!

        1. I just tried it again and got the 404 page again as well. I think the e-mail with the link on it finally worked!!

      5. Don't know if anyone else has had this problem, but I haven't been able to vote from ANY of the LM morning emails. Not a huge issue for me, since the LM page is bookmarked in my browser, but it is a small annoyance. A Lenten reminder to "go with the flow," perhaps?

    1. I also had problems - got an 'error' notice - kept clicking around looking for a way to call in Jimmy Carter to check on things and lo and behold, was able to vote. Also worried about the effect on the bottom line.

  2. I voted for FD Maurice because of his treatise. It is important to remember that the Church is one.

    1. Totally agree! That's why he gets my vote. That and the social justice and the church idea. It makes us what we are today to the world.

  3. "Do ye the little things in life," vs. a man who honored and sought to elevate those society regarded as of little account. Hmm, this is a tough one, and I admit I did a little extra research. I think David would be proud of my vote for F.D. Maurice.

    1. well said. David would have been upset by the society of the era. Remember, this was also the time of British novelist Charles Dickens.

    2. Well put. I started to vote for David and realized that simplicity was my reason. I am tired (literally) of keeping track of the needs of the world. Little things had great appeal, but conscience won out. The many have many little needs. I think David would have admired Maurice.

      1. Yes, Bet! In this age of information I often feel "the world is too much with us", or as Jesus said through ALWebber, "there's too little of me." So here's to doing the little things and praying that all shall be well in the Ukraine, Somalia, Sudan, Congress.....

  4. This was tough! My Welsh heritage calls for one thing, but F.D. Maurice is a fine person. Either way, a vote from me seems to be a Kiss of Doom. Not since Basil the Great has my vote found Lent Madness glory . . .

  5. I'm a member of an Anglo-Catholic parish with a long history of service to the poor. While I never knew F.D. Maurice's name before Lent Madness, it's clear that we have been inspired by his work. It also seems that the problem of "unsocial Christians and unchristian socialists" (and capitalists) is alive and well today; we continue to have work to do.

  6. Pelagius got a bad rap, and since our own catechism relies heavily upon the idea of free will, it's probably time to re-examine his "heresy." His own writings stress God's divine grace as motivating good works and that humanity is God's good creation at base rather than solely defined by original sin. I think Augustine was just ticked that someone challenged him. So my vote has to go to Maurice... sorry, David!

    1. Chana, you state what I've long wondered about--Pelagius' getting a bad rap because of Augustine's dominance, however well-deserved that dominance might have been. And it helps me move past my Celtic roots (well, they're Scottish, anyway, not Welsh) and leanings to honor FDM's great contribution to the church's conscience. This is a really tough one, SEC!

    2. Chana, you said what I was afraid to say because I didn't want to identify as a "heretic".

    3. I agree, Chana. I find myself agreeing with some of the heresies that have been beaten down in the past, even Arianism. I still wanted to vote for David because of my Welsh roots, but cast my lot with Maurice because of his social activism. A kind and loving heart always means more than defending religious orthodoxy, in my opinion.

  7. I wanted to vote for David because I like leeks, but I had to vote for FD because I like his advocacy for the Church's involvement in working class issues.

  8. Dewi Sant! My Welsh ancestry demands it, but for most of my life he's been high on my list of personal favourite saints.

  9. I loved "Do ye the little things in life." A great reminder that even the small things we do can make a difference. Besides my husband is 1/3 Welsh!! Go David!!

  10. The bloggers are making voting extremely difficult. I have to admit my heart was torn on this one, but as other have said "Do ye the little things" won me over. However, "unsocial Christians and unchristian Socialists" will be making me grin all day!

  11. I voted for Maurice because while the work of St. David brought Christianity to many, the work of Maurice will help it be relevant and continue today and the future. It was a tough choice, like most of them have been!

  12. Could not vote for F.D. Maurice because I see today how such admirable missions as he had are distorted through time.

    1. Based on one's teachings being distorted over time by others, I imagine you'd vote against Jesus!

    2. As Alan C said, Jesus' teachings have also been distorted! For me, the point is that we need social activists in every generation to do Christ's work of ministering to all who need help, material or spiritual. Sure, "the world" will always try to mock/derail/distort/co-opt the work, but it still needs to be done! If we could all live this way, Earth would be much closer to God's Kingdom. Had to vote for Maurice.

  13. I always hated the battle between Church and state, especially in the Episcopal Church. It is the little things that count. Thanks to David.

  14. Argh, this one is tough. As an Orthodox Christian, St. David's icon is set right behind my pew ... my finger is just itching to vote for him. As an all-things-shared Canadian (and I learned so much about FDM! Thank you!), I really want to cast my vote for him. (Yesterday's vote was so easy ... ) Praying, pondering, going to Liturgy tonight ... will await the "fullness of time."

  15. For me, the choice of F. D. Maurice was clear cut as I see more now than ever before the importance of ecumenicism (is that a word?) and of the role of the church in addressing systemic social and economic inequity and injustice.

  16. It was a no-brainer for me after I read the biographies. One of the founders of ecumenicalism and the need for the church to be involved with the treatment of the working class. Also, his statement “we have been dosing our people with religion…when what they want is…the living God," really spoke to me. I loved it. Thanks for letting me learn about both saints.

  17. Both made this world better through their work and faith. I decided to go with the old timey sainty saint today, but at the moment he's the underdog. It's another case where I think these "opponents" would like one another and maybe share a piece of toast, if not an actual toast--some social little thing like that.

  18. Yet another difficult choice, but decided on David in honor of the Welsh descendants in my community.

  19. Sounds like David of Wales did a whole lot of nothing... FD Maurice wouldn't be out of place in today's fight for the working poor! Vote FDM!

  20. David of Wales. For the elderly & homeless with whom I work, doing the little things is what we advocate. For them it is important to recognize that ministry is made up of the little things of life and even at their ostation in life we can all continue to do the little things.