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 must cast my vote in honor of my dear mentor and friend, Rev. David Keller (whose patron saint is David of Wales).

  2. I was ready to vote for David (name of my son) until I read "he held that the church was a united body, transcending individual sects, denominations, and disputes." YES!!! I have long been a proponent of ecumenism (yes, that's a word), so that's what won me over.

    The "unsocial Christians" and "unchristian Socialists"-- a true zinger--helped, and the comment about people wanting "the living God" rather than any particular outward show really speaks to our time.

    David was right, though, about doing the "little things"--and I think Julia Chester Emery would agree.

    1. Verdery, You are exactly on target. I am sure that David did many wonderful things, and we certainly need those folks. There are many more folks who need to be convicted to greater works in the name of Christ, so I vote for FDM.

    2. I agree about the ecumenism. How badly this is needed today and the idea that all may be one. I don't want to de-saintize David. I'm sure he was a great man of the church and we all stand on their shoulders. I just voted for FD because I pray we can all do greater things through Christ, and I think there is lots of work to do in the world. Separately, we can do little things. Together we can do great things.

  3. While I'm extremely sympathetic to Maurice and originally considered voting from him when filling out my bracket, I opted for sentimentality and nostalgia, my affinity for all things Celtic, and my enjoyment of leeks and cheese-on-toast and cast my vote for Dewi Sant.

  4. Hard choice today--St. David's emphasis on the "little things" is close to my heart, but in this time when so many so-called Christians are fierce in their opposition to caring for those in need, F. D. Maurice's Christian Socialism is sorely needed, so he gets my vote.

  5. I will be cast out of the St. Davids' Society of the Wyoming Valley if I don't vote for Dewi Sant. Cymru am byth.

  6. Toss-up for me on the merits so decision came down (for this retired Marine) to our close association with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (23rd Foot) and the exchange between our Commandant and theirs on 1 March, "... and St. David."

  7. Couldn't get past David's suspicious "association" with leeks, whereas F.D.'s efforts on behalf of the working class are stellar.

  8. Living in Wales as I do, I feel love and respect for Dewi Sant, but my vote has to go to F D Maurice, for his work, huis insights and his deep soirituality. "We have been dosing our people with religion…when what they want is…the living God" should be on the desk of all church leaders.

  9. Haitian culture is abundant in symbolism and metaphor, a result of a community denied reading, writing and, as slaves, speaking. So, too, early Christian history is also steeped in repeated symbols and metaphors. It is my thought that symbols such as doves, olives, wine, and metaphor such as walking on water, 40 days and nights, etc., conveyed a specific concept or principle universally understood by largely illiterate community during that time. As beautiful and useful as this story tradition is much of the original meaning has been lost and, indeed, is often stagnant. I think this explains my increasingly apparent tendency to vote for reformers, educators and those relevant to their time in Christian evolution. I vote Maurice.

  10. Well, I finally finagled around the "little things" to vote...getting better at technology, I guess. I am disturbed by the creeping petulance and disrespect creeping in....do we not need breakfast or brunch, dear ones? A little more compassion and respect for personal choices? Also remembering that it's the MADNESS in LentMadness that's the fun part. There's also an OFF button. Be kind..it's more fun!

  11. I live in a part of Kansas settled by many Welsh families. (Keeping up with the Joneses has real meaning here!) We've just celebrated St. David's Day, so I'm voting for the Welsh saint as part of my regional heritage.

  12. My husband's name is David, and today is his birthday. As much as I admire FD, David gets my vote.

  13. As much as I admire the writers of the 19th century who pushed the church outside its comfort zone, David is a sentimental favorite. I know him by his Welsh name of Dewi. The four patron saints of the British isles (Patrick, David, Andrew and George) are all sentimental favorites, and we are only a few days from Patrick's feast day.

  14. I applaud you choices today, if indeed you intended to take a referendum on the popularity of the traditional church vs the emerging church. I will be very interested in the out come

  15. F. D. Maurice, "…beloved by Anglo-Catholics"?
    I thought he was Broad Church.
    Be that as it may, this Anglo-Catholic voted for him.

  16. It is so difficult to relate the events and people of the early church to those whose lives are documented in the post printing-press area. What was reported as mystical and miraculous then often has a very matter of fact text for someone who lived in the past few centuries, even if what they did and achieved was no less miraculous. In this case, I voted for St. David, for without his work, there would not have been the structure for Maurice to ultimately operate in; both to the glory of God and in Christ's footsteps.

  17. David for his simplicity and devotion. But what's the deal about that hill? The dove is a nice touch though.

    1. I'm liking the hill and the dove. So reassuring to have the cosmos confirm spiritual greatness. Or, it could be that my background in television loves when abstraction can be visualized and in a charming way. In either case, voted for David.

  18. David of Wales it had to be, if for no other reason than to honor my dear friend Rev. Petra, who is from Wales. I also appreciate “Do ye the little things in life”.

  19. Remember just because the link in the email is bad, you can always go to the very easy to remember LentMadness.org & vote on the most recent match-up posted there. You can even bookmark the site, which works better on smartphones than certain news media sites I could name.

  20. I have yet to receive an email. No sign of one anywhere. Please advise.....and fix!

  21. What's with the "beloved of Anglo-Catholics" remark? Maurice wasn't an Anglo-Catholic. Whoever wrote that has a very broad definition of Anglo-Catholicism, it seems to me.

    1. Think theology, not liturgy. Think slum priest, and urban reform, and social justice.

  22. If you say voting for ___ is a no-brainer, do I have no brain if I vote the other way? Keep in mind that we are expected to be loving faithful people throughout this Lent Madness 2014. Reread your comments to be sure they are kind. We are all following our hearts in our choices, and none of us are wrong.

  23. Please contribute to the legal defense fund we have set up to help David file his election tampering lawsuit. I'm sure he is behind in the polls because of the broken VOTE button. David supporters were clearly more likely to be early risers, so may have gone about their days unable to vote and unaware of the repair.

    1. 9AM Eastern Time is midmorning here in Atlantic Canada and I voted for F.D. Now if only I could vote often as well as early.....

      1. Link to the page wasnt broken - looked like it went to a URL that included the text "lent_madness_party_paypal_fund"

        1. Has someone already posted on the definition of "a house of virgins" at that time in history? If it was a convent, what more noble way was there for a woman to live out her life, and maybe even her own call, than in a chaste community of religious?

          1. Type in: Monasticism: the Apostolic Life.
            It briefly discusses the "house of virgins". It was an early form of convent.

  24. I went with F.D. Maurice. I think a little heterodoxy goes a long way, as unquestioned orthodoxy can lead to stagnation. As a systems analyst, nothing strikes dread into my heart more than the response, to the question of why a process is done a certain way, of "Because we've always done it that way." My Celtic heritage wanted to go with David, but I just thought Maurice was too important.

  25. David, because , as Chesterton said, "Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved. "

    Yesterday's comment in which I identified Antony as patron saint of pigs disappeared. I didn't mean to be irreverent. I love the sometimes odd chains of association that assign a friend in Heaven to every earthly concern, including pigs. (Not so different from the strange ways in which we end up doing jobs we never imagined on earth.) Antony fought the devil in the shape of a pig, so he gets to be in charge of real pigs, and by extension other farm animals.

  26. Today's line-up presented a difficult choice for this loyal Welshman & Christian Socialist. But a 19th century Christian Socialist has to trump a semi-legendary 6th century Bishop, Welshman or not. By the way, your definition of the "British Heresy" Pelagianism, is rather an over simplification.