Lydia vs. Moses the Black

We trust everyone survived their weekend-long bout with LMW (Lent Madness Withdrawal). We realize it’s tough to make it through an entire two days devoid of saintly voting. Yet congratulations are in order as you have all made it through this agonizing “wilderness” experience. The good news is that another full week of intense Lent Madness action begins right now!

Be sure to check out Maple Anglican’s latest video as Archbishops John and Thomas preview the week ahead and answer some viewer mail. And if that’s not enough to get your Lent Madness jets going, we invite you to watch and re-watch the FOX News story about Lent Madness that aired all over the country this weekend.

Today we encounter a Biblical saint baptized by Paul and a fourth-century Ethiopian who embodies the whole idea of “once was lost and now am found.” Lydia was a strong woman in faith and determination; Moses the Black was a strong man both spiritually and physically.

Lydia (st lydia's)Lydia

Lydia is considered the first documented convert to Christianity in Europe. Yet for someone who had such a large impact on Christian history, what we know of Lydia’s story is slight. She appears only in Acts 14, praying by the river near Philippi, as Paul and Silas come by on their mission to Macedonia of preaching the gospel. Lydia listens attentively, volunteers for baptism along with her household, and insists that Paul and Silas stay at her house while they are in the neighborhood. We know Lydia was a God-fearer, a Gentile who worshipped the Jewish God but hadn’t officially converted. She lived in a town that didn’t have enough Jewish faithful to sustain a synagogue of its own, so they met outside by a river. Lydia was determined.

We know she was head of her household: Scholars differ on this, but the author of Luke and Acts never mentions a husband, and it is likely that if she had a husband, she would not have been running the business and making hospitality decisions as she did. Lydia was in charge.

We know she was prosperous. The purple dyes that she made were highly prized, [perhaps because one day it would become the official color of Lent Madness]. Used to color the textiles of royalty, the purple dye came from carnivorous sea snail mucous, and as one might imagine, the retrieval process was arduous and slow-going. (And I imagine it really irritated the snails.) So the resulting dye was incredibly expensive. The colloquialism for children of royalty was “born into purple.” Plus, given the root of her name, it is likely that she and her household moved at some point from Thyatira (located in modern Turkey) to Macedonia (in Greece), where she encountered Paul. That took money.

We know Lydia was hospitable: she welcomed Paul and Silas into her home after she heard them preach, and she provided for them out of her resources. It was out of this small beginning that the church of Philippi was born—and we later get the Letter to the Philippians. From her conversion, hospitality, providence, and generosity, on an entire continent sprung into the gospel.

Today, there is a church dedicated to Saint Lydia on the site where she was baptized, as well as several in Macedonia. She is a canonized saint in the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, with the Orthodox even titling her as “Equal to the Apostles.”

Lydia’s life of determined faithfulness resonates still through the ages, and bears fruit, even to today.

Collect for Lydia (and Dorcas and Phoebe)
Filled with your Holy Spirit, gracious God, your earliest disciples served you with the gifts each had been given: Lydia in business and stewardship, Dorcas in a life of charity and Phoebe as a deacon who served many. Inspire us today to build up your Church with our gifts in hospitality, charity and bold witness to the Gospel of Christ; who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Megan Castellan

Moses the Black (3)Moses the Black

Also known as Moses of Ethiopia, Moses the Black was born around 330. As a young man, he left Ethiopia for adventures in Egypt. He found himself a servant to a wealthy Egyptian landowner. Moses would surreptitiously steal from his boss, lining his pockets with the profits. When the man discovered Moses’ perfidy, he expelled him from his house.

Moses, a large and formidable man, gathered around him other bandits. Together they robbed and harassed people living in the Egyptian countryside. As he was fleeing the authorities, he took refuge among monks in Sketes, a desert community outside of Alexandria. In time, inspired by their contented piety, Moses converted to Christianity and renounced his former ways of violence and carousing. Legend has it that four robbers once assaulted his monastery. Moses stood his ground, and with his bare hands, he unarmed and tied up the would-be thieves. He brought them to the other monks and asked their advice. Moses suggested that it would not be very Christian to repay violence with violence. The bandits were so moved by the compassion of the monks that they too joined the monastery.

On another occasion, Moses was summoned to a council to pass judgment on a brother who had committed a fault. Moses refused. Urged by the priests to join the council, Moses grabbed a leaking jug of water (some say it was sand) and carried it into the meeting. Perplexed by this, the brothers asked him what he was doing. He replied that like the trail of water, his sins follow behind him but he did not see them, and yet he was being asked to judge another man. The brothers were moved by this gesture and forgave the man straightaway.

Moses ultimately became abbot of a community in the desert and was later ordained a priest. In 405, he was warned of marauding Berbers from North Africa who intended to attack his monastery. Moses sent away all but six or seven of the monks and insisted to those who stayed that they not respond to any attack with violence. “Those who live by the sword die by the sword,” he reminded his brothers. He and the monks welcomed the bandits. All of the monks, including Moses, were killed.

Early church historian Samilinius Sozomen wrote of Moses the Black that “no one else ever made such a change from evil to excellence.” Moses is a shining example of the transformative power of the gospel. He is the patron saint of nonviolence.

Collect for Moses the Black
God of transforming power and transfiguring mercy: Listen to the prayers of all who, like Abba Moses, cry to you: “O God whom we do not know, let us know you!” Draw them and all of us from unbelief to faith and from violence into your peace, through the cross of Jesus our Savior; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

David Creech


Lydia vs. Moses the Black

  • Lydia (60%, 3,454 Votes)
  • Moses the Black (40%, 2,320 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,774

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195 Comments to "Lydia vs. Moses the Black"

  1. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    March 17, 2014 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    Moses gets my vote! Talk about turning one’s life around! You go , Mose man!

    • March 17, 2014 - 9:41 am | Permalink

      I too am in awe of a life such as his was could be turned around to be the person he became. There is hope for all of us who try to put our sins behind us.

    • Laura Laws's Gravatar Laura Laws
      March 17, 2014 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Moses got my vote too. He is a shining example of how we can change to direction of our lives. In these violent times we need examples of nonviolence.

    • Etta Eskridge's Gravatar Etta Eskridge
      March 18, 2014 - 12:04 am | Permalink

      The patron saint of nonviolence is losing?? How is that possible? Someone wrote that they only vote for women (ANNA COOPER…who said that?) but when a man converts to nonviolence this is a major event in the history of, well, mankind!!! Come on MOSES!!

  2. Peter Miscall's Gravatar Peter Miscall
    March 17, 2014 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I have to vote for Moses since I’m not sure that Lydia actually existed; Luke could play fast and loose with history.

    • Phil Harrington's Gravatar Phil Harrington
      March 17, 2014 - 9:23 am | Permalink

      But why do I think somehow that Groucho Marx would be voting for Lydia?

      • elizabeth's Gravatar elizabeth
        March 17, 2014 - 9:45 am | Permalink

        now I won’t get that song out of my mind all day long..well done

      • rellingrw's Gravatar rellingrw
        March 17, 2014 - 10:12 am | Permalink

        There is no record of tattoos…

      • Claudia Horner's Gravatar Claudia Horner
        March 17, 2014 - 10:27 am | Permalink

        Somehow I don’t think a Jewish guy would be playing Lent madness, unless of course he was so overcome by the hysteria and simply had to jump in.

      • Dave Hedges's Gravatar Dave Hedges
        March 17, 2014 - 7:54 pm | Permalink

        Oddly enough, while Lydia has the song “Lydia the tattooed lady” on her side, I also have a friend who has a tattoo of Moses the Black!

      • Carol Townsend's Gravatar Carol Townsend
        March 17, 2014 - 9:41 pm | Permalink

        I liked Kermit the Frog’s version too.

        • Peg's Gravatar Peg
          March 17, 2014 - 11:51 pm | Permalink

          Oh, this eases the sting of my man Moses going down. Tonight, Lydia is the champ of them all.

      • Bob's Gravatar Bob
        March 18, 2014 - 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Gotta go belatedly with Lydia because of Groucho the Great’s hymn to Lydia-the-Cross-Eyed-Lady, who is probably not related. So there.

    • Kathy Eppick's Gravatar Kathy Eppick
      March 17, 2014 - 10:06 am | Permalink

      Peter, There are MANY good stories in the Bible that are completely fictional or a bit “fast & loose with history”. They are still good stories and examples to live by. Let’s start at the beginning… was there one Adam and one Eve or is that a metaphorical story. Then there’s Job…

      And here we are voting for who is going to win the “golden halo”?… Perhaps lightening up a bit would be wise…

      I voted for Moses just because he sounds like a cool guy who changed people’s lives.

      • Anna's Gravatar Anna
        March 17, 2014 - 11:04 am | Permalink

        The confusing written word. I thought Peter was being “light”. I chuckled.

  3. Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
    March 17, 2014 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Wow, more publicity for Lent Madness! Although LM is already “viral” by Episcopalian standards, I wonder how big LM will be two years from now. It will be difficult for Tim and Scott to be tongue-in-cheek pretentious about the impact of Lent Madness when they have thousands of fans.

    • Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
      March 17, 2014 - 9:02 am | Permalink

      The tongue-in-cheek part will just have to go!

      • Bonnie's Gravatar Bonnie
        March 17, 2014 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

        No! Never! The tongue in cheek part is the best part!

        • Peg's Gravatar Peg
          March 17, 2014 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

          Amen! And [insert word of rejoicing we can’t say during Lent]!

  4. Holly S.'s Gravatar Holly S.
    March 17, 2014 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    So hard. I totally love that Lydia “leaned in” to Christianity, but then there was Moses’s message of change and nonviolence, and I had to vote for the fuller story.

  5. Gigi's Gravatar Gigi
    March 17, 2014 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    What an inspirational example Moses the Black presents to all of us! He was reborn and truly lived his faith.

  6. Bellla Englebach's Gravatar Bellla Englebach
    March 17, 2014 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    What a tough choice! Two Christians who are wonderful examples for us. I voted for Lydia because of her lasting impact on our scriptures, (and my bracket), but I am so happy to know there is a patron saint of non-violence.

    • jame's Gravatar jame
      March 17, 2014 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Is it better to start off hospitable, gracious (and wealthy), or to start off thoroughly rotten and become hospitable, etc.
      I grew up thinking less of the Older Brother than of the Prodigal Son, but I wonder…

  7. Ann Shelly's Gravatar Ann Shelly
    March 17, 2014 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Lydia is one of the many heroes who has received little attention. Without her support, the church in Philippi would have collapsed. She is indeed the “equal to the Apostles.” She and Dorcas and Phoebe were so brave and so true.

    • Barbara Mays-Stock's Gravatar Barbara Mays-Stock
      March 17, 2014 - 9:31 am | Permalink

      I agree. My vote went to Lydia.

    • Margaret Lovett's Gravatar Margaret Lovett
      March 17, 2014 - 11:46 am | Permalink

      Ditto. It’s Lydia all the way for me.

  8. March 17, 2014 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    I’m with Kermit the Frog – Lydia, oh Lydia…oh have you met Lydia…

  9. Jo Meachem's Gravatar Jo Meachem
    March 17, 2014 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    Another difficult choice! Clearly, Lydia used her wealth and power to further the gospel message, and to bring in many converts. She should be a shining beacon to many in this day and age! But Moses turned his life around so completely, and is such an example for non-violence (and for forgiveness!), that I had to vote for him today!

    • Leroy's Gravatar Leroy
      March 17, 2014 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you here, very tough choice. Ultimately I went with Lydia because she birthed the church of Philippi. I wish I could vote for both.

  10. March 17, 2014 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    Decisions! Decisions! Tough choice whether to vote for Lydia or Moses (not as tough I believe when we vote for the Wesley brothers!). I choose Lydia because she provided a home base for Paul & his followers. Without her support I believe the spread of Xtianity would have had a much more difficult time.

  11. Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
    March 17, 2014 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    Admire Lydia, or anyone who was the first in their area to be converted…it’s not like you have the support of a community, role models, or even a tradition to guide you through that wilderness. In order to be first, you have to be open to something new, or patiently waiting for the one real God. On the other hand…Moses. If you thought Jean Valjean in “Les Mis” was something, here’s the real deal. And his call to non-violence in the face of violence is amazing. I am reflecting for Lent on physical vulnerability, and when God calls us to choose it when instinct says “protect and defend.” In one situation, his non-violence led to conversion, the other martyrdom.

  12. Becki's Gravatar Becki
    March 17, 2014 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    Moses – what an inspiration for transformation.

  13. Peg's Gravatar Peg
    March 17, 2014 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    As Yul Brynner so eloquently put it, “Moses, Moses, Moses!”

    • Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
      March 17, 2014 - 9:01 am | Permalink

      You literally made me LOL this morning. Thank you!

      • Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
        March 17, 2014 - 9:03 am | Permalink

        Don’t spurn her like a strumpet on the street!

      • March 17, 2014 - 9:12 am | Permalink

        Anyone who votes for a monastic makes me laugh since we were so totally dissed last week!

  14. John Jackson's Gravatar John Jackson
    March 17, 2014 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    Lydia gets my vote. Anyone who had to milk snails for purple dye is one tough cookie.

  15. Cricket's Gravatar Cricket
    March 17, 2014 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    The stained glass window on the back wall of my church is of the seaside meeting of Lydia with Paul. As I celebrate at the altar, or simply muse during a choir anthem, I see her lit by the morning sun, and am enchanted. Leadership and hospitality~ I’m voting for Lydia!

    • Alan Medsker's Gravatar Alan Medsker
      March 17, 2014 - 2:02 pm | Permalink

      I was moved by Moses’ example of non-violence (and believe that he did what Jesus would do, when the Bad Guys were coming). So, I had to cancel out your vote, I’m afraid! Maybe someday I’ll visit your church and see that cool window, and change my mind…

  16. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 17, 2014 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    A tough decision today. Both are deserving. Tim and Scott, you have given us two excellent candidates today. So sorry I had to choose. But Moses got my vote today, though Lydia sports the Pantone color of the year.

  17. MaurineRuby's Gravatar MaurineRuby
    March 17, 2014 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand comments that suggest people in scripture are less “real” than others. Was Paul not real? How about Mary Magdalene? Moses? In my opinion, the power of these people’s lives in story does not require secular documentation.

    • Dottie Hoopingarner's Gravatar Dottie Hoopingarner
      March 17, 2014 - 10:54 am | Permalink

      Many of the characters in Bible stories were invented by the author(s) to illustrate a point. The problem is in deciding which ones were real and which were made up by the writer.

      • Marylee Lannan's Gravatar Marylee Lannan
        March 17, 2014 - 11:10 am | Permalink

        Is it necessary to decide? Darth Vadar isn’t “real” but he definitely points to something that is.

        • Dottie Hoopingarner's Gravatar Dottie Hoopingarner
          March 18, 2014 - 8:28 am | Permalink

          Marylee, I agree that knowing whether a person really existed or not does not change the influence of its character on the reader. That is one way to read the scriptures, and that is just fine and good. But as one who is struggling to sift out history from literary creativity, it is important to me to try to make that distinction.

  18. Michele Quinn's Gravatar Michele Quinn
    March 17, 2014 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Moses. Forgiveness is so much more difficult to live into than hospitality.

    • Jeanne Stevens's Gravatar Jeanne Stevens
      March 17, 2014 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you Michele. Moses gets my vote.

  19. Corey's Gravatar Corey
    March 17, 2014 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    Moses, for me, is a patron saint of the fight against Stand Your Ground laws. Not only did he reject violence, but when his monastery was under attack he sent everyone away instead of allowing them to fight back. Meanwhile, he and the few left with him offered a different kind kind of stand your ground as they stood firm in non-violence and hospitality.

  20. Brigid Courtney's Gravatar Brigid Courtney
    March 17, 2014 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    Moses! Love stories of people who turned their lives around!

  21. Betty's Gravatar Betty
    March 17, 2014 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    Hospitality is underrated because it is seen generally as what women do. I applaud Moses an non violence but if everyone was mor hospitable including politicians we might have many mor fruitful discussions that could stop violence before it began. Women have always been the support of the church and continue to be. My vote goes to Lydia.

    • KEW's Gravatar KEW
      March 17, 2014 - 10:28 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your comments, Betty. They really got me thinking. I had been leaning toward Moses, as the patron saint of non-violent resistance (a more potent phrase, I think, than non-violence). But your reminder about the historic and chronic undervaluing of women’s work took me aback — not least because that’s usually my line! And then you took it further to suggest the transformative potential of hospitality to short-circuit the sequence that might lead to the need for non-violence in the first place.

      Making your words even more powerful to me is today’s invitation to reflect on this question, “What acts of friendship have you initiated or received this week?,” from the Brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, whose Lenten programming I’m following alongside Lent Madness.

      Lydia welcomed Jesus’s message and disciples into her heart and her community, and she thrived. Moses and his fellows “welcomed the bandits” and were murdered anyway. The consequences of a choice don’t always indicate its righteousness.

      Now I clearly need more time to settle into this choice and its implications.

      • Anna's Gravatar Anna
        March 17, 2014 - 11:15 am | Permalink

        Thank you Betty and KEW for your comments. My slam dunk for Moses has turned into a little time on the bench for continued reflection on these two admirable candidates.

      • Mary-Eileen's Gravatar Mary-Eileen
        March 17, 2014 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for your thoughts about Lydia and her expression of hospitality. My dear mother in law died a few days ago. She was a true example of hospitality, both in opening her home and her heart. So, to honor her, I cast my vote for Lydia.

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      March 17, 2014 - 11:31 am | Permalink

      Thank you Betty. I reread Paul’s letter to the Phillipians. That ancient church is proof of the power of hospitality! I’m voting for Lydia.

  22. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    March 17, 2014 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    Moses joke here, please bear with me.. . DeMille is filming the 10 commandments. Because he has only one chance to get it right, he has 3 cameras strategically placed. He shoots the scene in question. Asks the first cameraman, did you get it? Guy tells him, sorry cb, didn’t know I was out of film! Second cameraman? Sorry cb, didn’t take the lens cap off! Third cameraman? READY WHEN YOU ARE CB!!!!! Hee hee hee hee!

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 17, 2014 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Hee hee ha ha!

  23. Mary Ann's Gravatar Mary Ann
    March 17, 2014 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Although I had to go with Moses the black because of the way he turned his life around, it was a very hard choice. Lydia helped bring Christianity to Europe.

  24. Mary Ann's Gravatar Mary Ann
    March 17, 2014 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Although I had to go with Moses the black because of the way he turned his life around, it was a very hard choice. Lydia helped bring Christianity to Europe.

  25. Joe's Gravatar Joe
    March 17, 2014 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    Two worthy candidates! Difficult decision?

  26. March 17, 2014 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    I find both these stories inspiring. I write only to appeal to my companions in LM, please, can we call him Moses the Ethiopian? “Moses the Black” would suggest that saints of color were extremely rare as if that could be their distinguishing feature. We say “Elizabeth of Hungary and Margaret of Scotland” not “Elizabeth the White and Margaret the White.” They are, for convenience, identified by where they came from. Of course, they all have many other outstanding characteristics by which to be named. Moses the Non-violent or Moses the Monastic could also be appropriate.

    • Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
      March 17, 2014 - 10:53 am | Permalink

      I favor “Moses the Ethiopian.” Being known by whence we came is quite common, as you point out. Thank you.

      • March 17, 2014 - 11:32 am | Permalink


        • Katie's Gravatar Katie
          March 17, 2014 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

          I originally thought maybe he was Moses the Black because of his race/color of his skin but then I read his story and thought maybe he was Moses the Black because he was such a bad guy before his conversion. Like a bandit name. It would be nice to know for sure . . .

  27. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 17, 2014 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    My vote button does not work. does anyone know of any conspiracies out there?

    • Linda's Gravatar Linda
      March 17, 2014 - 10:19 am | Permalink

      Barbara, Are you in the Email? If so, try clicking on the URL directly below the word Vote. (by Tom’s name). That will take you to the Web site. Then, scroll to the bottom of the stories and you will see the vote buttons there.

  28. Melissa Baugher's Gravatar Melissa Baugher
    March 17, 2014 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    While I’m inspired by Lydia’s apparent role in the early church, the theme I can’t seem to stop encountering this Lenten season is transformation, so Moses gets my vote. His stance on non-violence is a big plus, too.

    • LauraG's Gravatar LauraG
      March 17, 2014 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

      I agree. And it love that he is the patron saint od non-violence.

  29. Marty Garwood's Gravatar Marty Garwood
    March 17, 2014 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    “Lydia was determined.” “Lydia was in charge.” “Lydia was hospitable.” I think I know several Lydias.

  30. Barbara Beliveau's Gravatar Barbara Beliveau
    March 17, 2014 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    The leaky pitcher story is my favorite of all the stories of the desert Abbas and Ammas, so Moses!

    • rellingrw's Gravatar rellingrw
      March 17, 2014 - 10:14 am | Permalink

      Yes, the leaky pitcher is a great story and metaphor

  31. Kerry's Gravatar Kerry
    March 17, 2014 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    Love both of these! I had to vote for Lydia though. My New Testament professor was once crushed to discover how few of us had actually heard of Lydia – a woman who played a crucial role in the church.

  32. Marj's Gravatar Marj
    March 17, 2014 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    I always liked Lydia a lot. Strong woman. Now I get to vote for her.

  33. Susan Fiore's Gravatar Susan Fiore
    March 17, 2014 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    Very tough decision! I treasure the leaking jug story, and am an ardent pacifist. But Lydia’s main qualification, in my opinion, is not her hospitality, but her risk-taking for Christ. She was a woman of significant prominence and apparently a shrewd businesswoman. What did people in her ‘circle’ think when she precipitously adopted an unknown faith (Christianity) from an alien culture (Judaism)? How many prominent business people (let alone a business woman) today would risk being labeled gullible or ridiculous for doing something so counter-cultural? Lydia gets my vote.

  34. Carol Burke's Gravatar Carol Burke
    March 17, 2014 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    I taught a 4 year old class, mainly boys. Then came the rather uninspiring lesson introducing Lydia, the hospitable business woman, plus Purple. The little girls came alive, eyes sparkled. Who would have thunk it! I will never forget their dancing with purple paper chains around their necks. Lydia: I owe you!

  35. March 17, 2014 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Okay, it’s official, I hate the SEC. Just kidding. But honestly — what a pair of saints! How am I ever going to decide? I know agony is appropriate to Lent but ow.

  36. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 17, 2014 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    Very tough choice! As my former Associate Rector once said, when we were discussing Lydia, Dorcas, and Phoebe: “Women bankrolled Christianity.” Certainly her participation in the early church is undervalued today. Yet, I can’t help but vote for Moses, given his transformation from violence to non-violence, even under severe duress.

    Besides, by his affiliation with the Skete monks he has that whole dog-lover vibe going for him 🙂

  37. Betsy Heilman's Gravatar Betsy Heilman
    March 17, 2014 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    So little is known about Lydia where we have these great stories about Moses. This was a tough choice to be sure, but I went with Moses because he is such an example of the power of repentance. LM is doing a great job of teaching us about the saints–I had not heard of him before.

  38. Elizabeth Carey's Gravatar Elizabeth Carey
    March 17, 2014 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    Thoroughly modern Lydia.

  39. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    March 17, 2014 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    My vote went to Lydia. She, Dorcas, and Phoebe are some of the unsung heroes of the Bible. I had suggested Dorcas as a bracket possibility so am happy to hear the three ladies mentioned.

  40. Bowman's Gravatar Bowman
    March 17, 2014 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    Easy choice. Moses had a transformative experience, acquired a rare spiritual gift, and spent his life helping others to it. Lydia had a great first century business beautifying the powerful but used her wealth generously. Those voting for themselves in dozens of disguises will vote for Lydia. Those voting for a challenge will vote for Moses. Moses.

  41. March 17, 2014 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    I voted for Lydia because I remember reading about her and her purple cloth when I was a little girl. But I did not know that Moses the Black was the patron saint of nonviolence. Very cool.

  42. March 17, 2014 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    Wow – this was a tough one, primarily because I didn’t know much about either of these saints. Lydia, a woman who defied the conventions of her time and seemed to live outside of many of society’s standards, who helped to found one of the earliest Christian communities, and one that truly seemed to “get it.” Or Moses, who changed his own life around, convicted by the Gospel, and then preached and practiced a non-violent way of confronting the powers and principalities. It’s a toss up! But, in my parish right now we are studying MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and so given that I’m reading so much about non-violence right now, I think Moses is getting my vote!

  43. March 17, 2014 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    Excellent match up today. I loved getting to know Moses better, but my vote felt more at home with Lydia. I agree with the Orthodox assessment about her, and I would like to see her honored with a win (and perhaps a few new friends). As for forgiveness being harder than hospitality, I’m not so sure. I have seen many a church fail miserably at heartfelt hospitality to those different or threatening to them. I think both can prove quite difficult, and I believe both candidates are worthy of a win today and our remembrance throughout the year.

  44. Joy Segal's Gravatar Joy Segal
    March 17, 2014 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    Lydia for me today.

  45. Anne Wrider's Gravatar Anne Wrider
    March 17, 2014 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    I’m with Paula about the Moses’ title. More than a little dated. And as p0werful as his story is, I had to go with Lydia. The mothers are underrated.

  46. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    March 17, 2014 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    My vote is for Lydia. I was actually blessed in the waters by the church dedicated to her in Greece 18 months ago. it was such an incredible experience. Everyone of us on that trip felt that we had shared a very special moment. We even sang a chant inside the church; the acoustics of the place brought tears to your eyes.

  47. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    March 17, 2014 - 10:34 am | Permalink

    For next year, I hope the Supreme Executive Committee will consider adding a “like” button to comments–so many great ones! I went with Lydia. Although Moses’ story is also inspiring, I agree that she is an unsung hero. I imagine that converting to a faith your neighbors didn’t have and setting the example for the community was not an easy thing to do.

    • Marylee Lannan's Gravatar Marylee Lannan
      March 17, 2014 - 11:14 am | Permalink

      This is a “like” for adding a like button.

    • March 17, 2014 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

      But just liking something is so over-rated and common . . . it’s much better to make an actual comment.

      • Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
        March 17, 2014 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

        But my finger hurts from scrolling over so many messages… 😉

  48. Carol Virginia's Gravatar Carol Virginia
    March 17, 2014 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    I thoroughly enjoyed the impressive saintly bios of both candidates but I particularly loved the determination, enterprise, kindness and spunk of the lady with the purple fingernails. Lydia gets my vote!

    • Ann's Gravatar Ann
      March 17, 2014 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Mine too. Imagine Lydia making such strides in a world of men.

  49. Patricia Blair's Gravatar Patricia Blair
    March 17, 2014 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    Another contest between two excellent candidates. I will honor our church secretary Lydia by voting for her namesake but loved the leaking jug metaphor!

  50. Grace Cangialosi's Gravatar Grace Cangialosi
    March 17, 2014 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    The VOTE spot isn’t always clickable, nor are there the two choices to vote on. Frustrating!

  51. Grace Cangialosi's Gravatar Grace Cangialosi
    March 17, 2014 - 10:43 am | Permalink

    If Moses is truly the patron saint of nonviolence, I’ll have to go with him!

  52. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    March 17, 2014 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    It’s hard not to vote for the patron saint of non-violence but I have to vote for Lydia thanks to the comments supporting her and the 2 Lydias I know who are very special people.

  53. Rev. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Rev. Lucy Porter
    March 17, 2014 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    Today I got into the website in time to vote for one of my favorite Biblical women–Lydia!

  54. David Creech's Gravatar David Creech
    March 17, 2014 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    I’m not biased at all… but… Moses is my favorite saint that I wrote on. I think he has so much to bring to contemporary conversations on race, let alone his principled nonviolence. Lydia is great, but she has been canonized. Let’s hear Moses’ story! (Amazing things to share in Round 2. Promise!)

  55. Linda M's Gravatar Linda M
    March 17, 2014 - 10:49 am | Permalink

    Another tough choice, but my vote goes to Moses. Maybe we need more Moses’ in the inner city and they could take all the gang members to a monastery.

  56. Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
    March 17, 2014 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    For my two Ethiopian sons, I must vote for Moses of Ethiopia! I’d probably vote for him anyway. After all, he’s the patron saint of nonviolence.

  57. Carol Virginia's Gravatar Carol Virginia
    March 17, 2014 - 10:57 am | Permalink

    awaiting moderation? okay…gracious lady with the purple fingernails…

  58. March 17, 2014 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    This was a really tough decision today, but I had to go with Lydia. Without her support, hospitality, and nurture, the churches is Europe would not have been as successful. A strong resourceful woman, like Lydia, has always been needed to make a church successful!

  59. Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
    March 17, 2014 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    Tough choice, however I’m not convinced that Moses’ last action was the wisest thing to do. Welcoming in the bandits and allowing the marauders to slay the monks would seem to encourage further inroads — the attackers presumably thought “hey, easy pickings here!” and benefited from whatever goods and foodstuffs remained in the monastery, plus gave the invaders a base from which to launch further raids. Why stay and be killed? Either fight or evacuate everyone and take (or torch) whatever the raiders might be able to use, so they don’t benefit from the spoils of the monastery.

    With that thought, my vote is for Lydia, who used her resources to further the fledgling movement in her city.

    • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
      March 17, 2014 - 8:39 pm | Permalink

      Tessa, you write like an historian! Thank you! And, how might MtB have influenced a change of heart had MtB not been martyred ? We can not say. Perhaps there was no other way for MtB to go at that moment in history. Then, on the third hand, as a master teacher said, “Am I going to die on this hill? Or live to fight another day?” She referred to policy, not fistacuffs.

  60. Susan B's Gravatar Susan B
    March 17, 2014 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    Voting today for hospitality – the hospitality that Moses offered as his only defense against violence. But it was hard to not vote for Lydia – her story has always been a favorite of mine, and I’ve been so inspired this past year by a church named for her – St. Lydia’s Dinner Church in Brooklyn ( ) – even working locally to begin something similar.

  61. Joan Smoke's Gravatar Joan Smoke
    March 17, 2014 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    Admirable as they both are, I must vote for Moses, because of my dog named Moses who was transformed from a near starved “un-rescued” puppy-mill dog into a lovable well-fed and happy non-violent presence in my life when he was accepted into the sacred order of Holy Smoke and the Prophets. And didn’t some one say earlier something about by virtue of his monastic community, he was indeed a dog-lover?!

    • March 17, 2014 - 3:09 pm | Permalink

      . . . New Skete Monastery in NY raises and trains German Shepherds — I think the connection to this Moses is a stretch.

  62. Phil's Gravatar Phil
    March 17, 2014 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    Luke and other New Testament writers did not have video cameras to record “history”. Even in these days where we do have such devices, talk to multiple eyewitnesses at some event and they will tell different stories. That does not make their accounts false. Paul and Silas are well-known to be real persons, why would Lydia not be? Suggestions that she was not do NOT meet the test of Ockham’s razor! (Look up William of Ockham — he should probably be in this Lent Madness, he was a Franciscan Friar and philosopher).

    This was not an easy choice, but Lydia did not have it easy either — a woman doing the things she did was not well-accepted, it was a patriarchal society! And on top of that becoming a believer in the Jewish God and then a Christian in a world that did not accept all that ….. That’s why I voted for Lydia!

  63. Everett H. Klein's Gravatar Everett H. Klein
    March 17, 2014 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    I wonder about Lydia and assuming that she does not have a husband. Reading through the Book of Acts teaches me that there is a difference between a woman’s place in Greek Society and a woman’s place in Hebrew Society. Paul treats women in each society differently. Lydia was in a position within her society to spread the Gospel of Christ. I sense she would be a force to be reckoned with – whether she was married or not.

  64. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 17, 2014 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    I want to vote for both (would be nice if secular elections were like that), but since I can only vote for one, I decided to go with the martyr.

  65. Jayne's Gravatar Jayne
    March 17, 2014 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    How could Moses be losing?

    • Ellen Lincourt's Gravatar Ellen Lincourt
      March 17, 2014 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

      I know…. I can’t believe it either. I can totally relate to having my sins trail me….. His story is a story for our time. We all need forgiveness.

  66. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 17, 2014 - 11:37 am | Permalink

    I love Lydia! A strong, intelligent, sensitive and faithful lady. “Equal to the Apostles.” I feel so much RESPECT for her. I’m having a ball with this year’s Lent Madness. I learn something new every day. Hats off and many thanks to the SEC, the Archbishops and our learned bloggers!

  67. Dan Donoghue's Gravatar Dan Donoghue
    March 17, 2014 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    I thought for sure we would have St. Patrick to vote for today! I guess he didn’t win his conference tournament… So sad…

    • Mary Smith's Gravatar Mary Smith
      March 17, 2014 - 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Good one!

    • Phil's Gravatar Phil
      March 17, 2014 - 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Apparently St. Patrick lost in the first round a few years ago. …. As a real honest-to-goodness 1/4 Irishman, I find that hard to believe. We’ll have to get them to put him back in next year, and get an organized Irish vote! Irish forever!!!!!!

  68. Carrie W.'s Gravatar Carrie W.
    March 17, 2014 - 11:47 am | Permalink

    Thanks to the FOX news story ! I love learning about saints and inspiring people. And you guys are hilarious! Only wish you didn’t take yourselves and this Madness thing so seriously 😉 Can’t wait to read and vote every day!

  69. Karis's Gravatar Karis
    March 17, 2014 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    Lydia, because my principle for my bracket is to give preference to the women. There is a woman walking right now on pilgrimage to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed! Women continue to be systematically overlooked . And I agree (fwiw) with the person who commented that Moses should be known as “the Ethiopian” rather than as “the black”…

  70. aleathia (dolores)nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores)nicholson
    March 17, 2014 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    Jayne, Moses is losing because not all voters write thoughts for us to read. Nevertheless, he gets my vote as I hope some who are inclined to see violence as the first resort will read his bio and to change their minds and reform. God willing, a miracle could happen and the example of this saint just overwhelm them and cause them to turn their lives around. Stranger things have happened.

    • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
      March 17, 2014 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

      I liked how MtB “subdued” the monestary robbers and then converted them! I sort of wish the incident with the Berbers had turned out differently. More converts for Jesus Christ.

  71. Cori Olson's Gravatar Cori Olson
    March 17, 2014 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    I went with Moses today. While I agree with an earlier poster that his last act might not have been wise, I imagine it came from the knowledge of what violence is really like and how hard it had been to give up. We have so few examples of what non-violence really is like. I’m happy to give him my vote!

  72. Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
    March 17, 2014 - 11:57 am | Permalink

    All honor to Moses for his conversation to non-violence and the courage to live by his convictions. Nevertheless, Lydia gets my vote today. Having anything to share requires a sense of responsibility and generosity, and Lydia had both in abundance.

  73. Colette Clark's Gravatar Colette Clark
    March 17, 2014 - 11:58 am | Permalink

    I won’t vote for someone because they are male or female, but I do refuse to penalize Lydia for not starting out bad.

  74. Mary Jane's Gravatar Mary Jane
    March 17, 2014 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I love this!

    My brother has been a correctional officer, weapons and self-defense instructor for California in a maximum security prison for 25 years. He is well respected by prisoners and as instructor to other security personal because of his fairness and his devotion to the exercise of Christian principles in all of his relationships. When asked why he chooses to work in this field, he says “I had a choose which side of the bars I wanted to live my life”. As a young man, he was truly “a wide and crazy guy”! I admit a special appreciation for Moses the Black; however, I vote Lydia.

    By voting Lydia, I wish to celebrate the more quiet following of those whose lives did not require a startling transformation. Sounds like Lydia’s life was well in order and full of the abundance without a compelling need to change. I think it a good thing that we celebrate the serenity and comfort offered to strangers and guests by those of a softer footprint on the Christian landscape.

  75. Heidi Shott's Gravatar Heidi Shott
    March 17, 2014 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Lydia is inspiring and all but I want Moses to win today. I want to read his quirks and quotes in the next round. #MoreMo

  76. Bonnie's Gravatar Bonnie
    March 17, 2014 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Non violence would normally get my vote. However, I heard through the grapevine that Lydia used the purple dye for the wealthy and the poor ate escargot. I like that.

  77. Corry W.'s Gravatar Corry W.
    March 17, 2014 - 12:11 pm | Permalink

    A very tough choice, yes. I love Moses’ story. But I voted for Lydia because of her support of the church in its risky, embryonic stage–and probably well beyond. What a great example to us rich Americans of sacrificial giving, and the enormous benefit such support can be! Some of the quiet ministries of giving and serving are overlooked, as are women’s nurturing roles. Good on you, Lydia and people like her!

  78. Marie's Gravatar Marie
    March 17, 2014 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

    The Girls Friendly Society study Lydia as part of their learning of women of the Church.
    So glad to see her in Lent Madness.

  79. Adam's Gravatar Adam
    March 17, 2014 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I did a little pre-vote research on these two over the weekend and was prepared to vote for Moses based on his personal turn around. The more I thought about it though, the more I leaned toward Lydia. In the end Moses wasn’t able to spread the word and influence the invaders, whereas Lydia contributed to the conversion of a continent.

  80. Margaret Moran's Gravatar Margaret Moran
    March 17, 2014 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that it would have been more sensible to stand alone to the killers, letting the others flee or hide. So I am voting for the generous Lydia, who used good sense in supporting the new church.

  81. Katherine's Gravatar Katherine
    March 17, 2014 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Lydia. What a leap of faith! To be the first is always hard, but especially for a woman in that time. And she seems to just realize this is right and go forward.

    However, I also have to say I was moved by the story of Moses. That’s what is great about Lent Madness. We learn about so many great people of faith.

  82. March 17, 2014 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Des anyone else get confused this time of year? I was in my fantasy baseball draft the other night and caught myself thinking, “Do I take Clayton Kershaw, or hold out for one of the Wesley brothers?”

  83. Denise Erickson's Gravatar Denise Erickson
    March 17, 2014 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Lydia’s my hero – I’m a dyer of fabric also. She courageously preached the Gospel, ran her own business, and was head of her household in a time when a husband would likely not permit such life choices. Moses the Black is a strong contender, but Lydia had a longer run at living as a Christian and no murderous behavior to repent.

  84. Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
    March 17, 2014 - 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Another tough choice, but after reading about both saints again just a few minutes ago, my vote has gone to Moses. Lydia was a generous and kind woman, but Moses really took charge of his life and made a dramatic change.

    • Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
      March 17, 2014 - 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Or what would you say to “Moses turned his will toward God and God really took charge of his life and made a dramatic change?”

  85. Miranda's Gravatar Miranda
    March 17, 2014 - 1:01 pm | Permalink

    While I greatly admire Moses for his personal transformation, I’m not convinced that allowing himself to be murdered was a wise choice. He could have fled, leaving emptiness for the invaders and continuing to set an example for others. Lydia made a clear choice and lived by her choice, despite personal risk and without allowing herself to be martyred. While I am humbled by Moses’ story, my vote today goes to Lydia.

  86. Jane Cox's Gravatar Jane Cox
    March 17, 2014 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

    How about pairing Moses the Black and Antony of Egypt some day? Do you want to vote for the one who impoverished his sister and sent her to the House of Virgins* or the one who chose a half-dozen monks to stand his (but maybe not their) ground and be killed? Please spare me the contestants who make such drastic decisions about others’ lives. My vote goes to Lydia who seems to have impacted lives in a more positive way.
    *I had to do it! No one else dared to reference the H of V today.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 17, 2014 - 7:47 pm | Permalink

      According to “Martyrdom of the Great Saint Anba Moses the Black” (found at Moses told all his monks “Whoever wants to escape, let him escape.”
      So the monks who remained with him must have chosen to do so. And as for the house of virgins, the fact that Antony’s sister went on to become “the leader of other virgins” shows that she embraced that lifestyle ( Athanasius Antony) [paragraph 54]

  87. dr.primrose's Gravatar dr.primrose
    March 17, 2014 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    More stories about Moses from the website of the Orthodox Church in America –

  88. Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
    March 17, 2014 - 1:31 pm | Permalink

    On my system it is imperative to go to “see all comments” and then go back up ţo the top to get the vote option. People having problems voting might try that.

  89. James Hale's Gravatar James Hale
    March 17, 2014 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I also have to vote for Moses. It appears that when he converted, he completely left behind all of his old ways and truly “turned the other cheek”. Lydia, while a good and christian woman, also appears to have been “able” to entertain Paul and Silas in her home. She more than likely would have been wealthy by the times standards because of the purple dye business. I am not doubting her christian beliefs, but to me, she didn’t appear to make as big an impact to Christianity, IMHP.

  90. Lauren Stanley's Gravatar Lauren Stanley
    March 17, 2014 - 1:38 pm | Permalink

    In my bracket, I chose Lydia because she is such a strong symbol for women – but today, I read a powerful post about the need for Christians to pray for Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Church that promulgates hatred, as he lays dying ( I do not like Mr. Phelps. In fact, I despise everything for which he stands. And yet, I am called to show mercy, to pray for him, and to remember he is a beloved child of God. That post struck me to the core. And so, this day, I cast my vote for Moses the Ethiopian, who exemplified that to which we are called: a life of mercy, forgiveness and grace. (And as a missionary who lived in a violent place where religious hatred is endemic, I totally understand why Moses did what he did in the end – you cannot simply talk the talk; you have to walk the walk.)

  91. Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
    March 17, 2014 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

    If there was a SNAIL LOBBY they’d vote Moses. me too.

    • Heidi Shott's Gravatar Heidi Shott
      March 17, 2014 - 2:32 pm | Permalink


  92. Sharon's Gravatar Sharon
    March 17, 2014 - 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Lydia is in Acts 16, not 14–but I voted for her nonetheless. I like them sitting by the river–stream of living water?

  93. justin's Gravatar justin
    March 17, 2014 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I see a consistent thread of women-centric voting here, so far it seems the vast majority of time that a woman is paired with a man in this “bracket style tournament” that the man in defeated. I wonder if that is a coincidence, I question whether each of the victorious women were deserving or whether the main element of their win, was their gender? I also see in the comments that people are saying some nasty things about some of the contestants involved, I really question whether that is necessary.

    • justin's Gravatar justin
      March 17, 2014 - 1:56 pm | Permalink

      I just reviewed the brackets, apparently I have gone mad, please disregard my previous post, it is not such a disparity as what I thought it was,. I thought I would post my retraction before I get beaten down by the angry hordes who will be upset with my characterizations. I maintain my comment that we should not be saying nasty things about contestants involved.

      • kew's Gravatar kew
        March 17, 2014 - 4:13 pm | Permalink

        I agree that nasty comments have no place — how hard it is to say, “well, for me this was a no-brainer”? — but I had to chuckle at your hasty retraction. 🙂

        • Phil's Gravatar Phil
          March 17, 2014 - 5:12 pm | Permalink

          Maybe people should not take offense where no offense is meant ……

  94. Sharon's Gravatar Sharon
    March 17, 2014 - 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Thinking about Moses the Black reminds me of a Danish movie we just saw–Adam’s Apples. I recommend it.

  95. March 17, 2014 - 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Lydia is one of my favorite women in the Bible, and I have her winning The Golden Halo, so today was a no brainer for me. Of course I’m going with Lydia, a business woman (who was NOT the “biblical” stay-at-home mother) who was the first European Christian convert, and the first house church met in her home. She was possibly the first pastor of a Christian church in Europe. I’ve done a lot of study and writing on Lydia. You can find all my reasons for thinking she should The Golden Halo here:

  96. Holy Fool's Gravatar Holy Fool
    March 17, 2014 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I will shed some light on Moses the Black, and vote for him. The holy Fool.

  97. Helen's Gravatar Helen
    March 17, 2014 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m an old peace loving hippie, so Moses is my kind of guy. He got my vote.

  98. Dorine's Gravatar Dorine
    March 17, 2014 - 2:17 pm | Permalink

    It was a really tough call to make! Both Lydia and Moses have wonderful qualities and serve as wonderful examples. I finally chose Lydia because she has been one of my heroes for a very long time, and because I have been inspired by her to be as hospitable as I can be, and to do a good job in my profession as well.

  99. Alene's Gravatar Alene
    March 17, 2014 - 2:22 pm | Permalink

    When nearly 1 out of every 100 people in the US are incarcerated, we need a saint who embodies restorative justice. Moses, pray for us!

  100. Mark's Gravatar Mark
    March 17, 2014 - 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Lydia almost had me at carnivorous sea snail mucous, but I was most impressed by Moses’s apparently spontaneous ad lib analogy with the leaky jug.

  101. Rebecca's Gravatar Rebecca
    March 17, 2014 - 2:30 pm | Permalink

    I have always been a big fan of Lydia and think she is great role model. This is the first I have learned of Moses the Black – but he definitely gets my vote. What better role model for us today than the patron saint of nonviolence, a man who started life as a bandit and became one who taught others how to forgive sins and transform their lives, even laying his down rather than fight again?

  102. Liz's Gravatar Liz
    March 17, 2014 - 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Lydia is great, but I’m voting for Moses in honor of my Ethiopian-born daughter.

  103. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 17, 2014 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Finally had to go for Lydia, though I hope it ends up a closer race, because they are both admirable.
    In Lydia I found someone who stepped out of what we nowadays would call her “comfort zone” in order to provide support for those who were doing a great work.
    Moses should be the patron saint (if he isn’t already) of those–of any ethnicity–who renounce gang life and put their energy toward living out a different kind of community.

  104. Fred's Gravatar Fred
    March 17, 2014 - 3:35 pm | Permalink

    How can Moses NOT get your vote. He turned his life around and influenced others in non-violence. Lydia was a wealthy head of a household who did not seem to make any sacrifices or influence others. Give me a break!

  105. Kathy Schillreff's Gravatar Kathy Schillreff
    March 17, 2014 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Lydia gets my vote. I had a genuine spiritual experience next to the stream in Philippi. Plus I like knowing about powerful women in the 1st C.

  106. Alexandra's Gravatar Alexandra
    March 17, 2014 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Initially I thought my vote would go to Lydia, the story of a man who saw the error of his ways and inspired change and compassion in others as well, now that is a man I can believe in. Yes, Lydia did the right thing and was a god-fearing person, but Moses was not originally but turned to that side. I know his story personally, in that of friends own lives, so I cannot give my vote to anyone but.

  107. Emily Agnew's Gravatar Emily Agnew
    March 17, 2014 - 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I found this one really difficult. Moses the Black’s total commitment to nonviolence–being willing to die for it–is inspiring to me. His practice of forgiveness reminded me of Ramana Maharshi’s question to his students who wanted to pursue and beat thieves who had beaten him: “When you bite your tongue, do you knock your teeth out?” In the end, Lydia’s leadership as a first convert–and as an independent woman–really spoke to me personally though. And the purple snail mucus–that really takes the cake.

  108. Alec Clement's Gravatar Alec Clement
    March 17, 2014 - 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Moses impressed me but Lydia left her mark on her community and her Christian charity seemed to have few limits. I would wager that her hospitality was not just a one time thing.

  109. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    March 17, 2014 - 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Moses, the Black for me.

  110. Christine CO's Gravatar Christine CO
    March 17, 2014 - 5:42 pm | Permalink

    I find it frustrating that some of the pairs include one person about whom we have very little evidence, like a few verses in the Bible, and one person about whom we have a lot more information, even if some or much of the information about both may be apochryphal (sp?).

    It would have worked out much better if, for example, Lydia had been paired with Joseph of Arimathea, as we have about the same amount of information about each.



  111. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    March 17, 2014 - 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Another thing I love about Lent Madness is that I am NOT in charge. I just have to go with the flow of the SEC or not participate, not read, not enjoy. I have a choice here, and can vote with my humor, or with my passion, or with sense of righteousness or education (but not all four at the same time because that would be stuffing the virtual ballot box). I just have to relinquish the pairings to the SEC and let the growing numbers of participants enjoy this in the same way I do – and they can judge me in casting their vote.

    This is a very FUN, ENTERTAINING, TONGUE IN CHEEK, EDUCATIONAL game. Let’s play it that way. No whining.

    • Bonnie's Gravatar Bonnie
      March 17, 2014 - 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Can any body say AMEN!

    • Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
      March 17, 2014 - 7:33 pm | Permalink

      I soooo agree with Susan!!

  112. Julie McCord's Gravatar Julie McCord
    March 17, 2014 - 6:38 pm | Permalink

    You do like to pour the hurting on, don’t you? I’m deeply moved by Abba Moses, and I will make it a point to remember his example; but I have a standing personal commitment to increased visibility for the under-celebrated women of the Bible, of whom Lydia is certainly one.

  113. Ann Willis Scott's Gravatar Ann Willis Scott
    March 17, 2014 - 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Lydia gets my vote. She was a real woman and used her power effectively in a time when most women were just about chattel. Moses was exciting and excitable, but I’ve known a lot of men like that…haven’t you?

  114. JenniferThomasina's Gravatar JenniferThomasina
    March 17, 2014 - 8:14 pm | Permalink

    My LM tie-breaker strategies if Celebrity Blurbs and prayerful consideration of values and themes still leave me undecided (like today):
    1. Read Comments for inspiration
    2. Vote for the underdog, just because
    3. Consider What Would Hope and Skye Do?
    4. Look to lions for endorsements (eg spontaneous burials or nom noms)

    Today, it’s an underdog vote for Moses (nonviolence and amendment of life) with an attagirl to Lydia (hospitality and the ministry of ministry support).

  115. MaurineRuby's Gravatar MaurineRuby
    March 17, 2014 - 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Jennifer, I love your strategy, and I love LM!!

  116. March 17, 2014 - 9:13 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe Moses is loosing… (now I feel like Karl Rove…) This guy was the MLK of his age… come on folks vote for the black civil rights leader!

    • elizabeth's Gravatar elizabeth
      March 17, 2014 - 11:05 pm | Permalink

      can we please keep this gracious

  117. Eileen's Gravatar Eileen
    March 17, 2014 - 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Lydia has my vote. Don’t know what kind of carnivorous sea snails she dealt with, but check out this YouTube video of one from NZ. Gutsy lady!

  118. Patty's Gravatar Patty
    March 17, 2014 - 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Another vote for Moses the Ethiopian!

  119. MaurineRuby's Gravatar MaurineRuby
    March 17, 2014 - 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Eeewwww! Snail predators? Saints, preserve us!

  120. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    March 17, 2014 - 10:55 pm | Permalink

    I am voting for Lydia, “a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God.” Acts 16:14. I am a sometime spinner, weaver, dyer, knitter and understand her work. Prepping for dyeing is complicated, moreso with certain hard to get colors, such as purple. I’m guessing Lydia had staff—-employees; perhaps learned her craft from relatives; and, probably, was well compensated. She was religious even Before Paul and Timothy arrived in Philippi and quickly accepted the gospel. No stranger to hospitality, she prevailed on Paul and Timothy to stay at her home. Probably, she helped establish the church in Philippi.
    I am happy that good old MtB turned his life around and had a Positive influence in his community. Though I don’t want to mention it, I really dislike purple (I do love Red and Blue); I am still voting for lovely Lydia.

  121. Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
    March 17, 2014 - 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Lydia in honor of Cordelia Burt and the hard working team at St.Jude in Ocean View, HI for exemplifying her virtues so beautifully.

  122. Louise's Gravatar Louise
    March 17, 2014 - 11:24 pm | Permalink

    My vote goes to Moses as the patron saint of Non-violence…because that’s what our world needs right now!

  123. Mike's Gravatar Mike
    March 17, 2014 - 11:28 pm | Permalink

    While I appreciate the desire to do good works and avoid harming others, it seems to me that allowing oneself to be killed misses the point. To my mind, dying in defense of one’s beliefs is true martyrdom. Standing there saying, “I’m a Christian, kill me” is not defending a belief. Maybe I missed the point of the whole turn the other cheek thing. Or, maybe it am (or was before I became old and fat) one of those people moving in the dark giving others the opportunity to turn the other cheek.

    • Mike's Gravatar Mike
      March 17, 2014 - 11:31 pm | Permalink

      Oops, it is late and the iPad keyboard is uncooperative. That should have been “I am” not “it am.”

  124. Paul Kelley's Gravatar Paul Kelley
    March 17, 2014 - 11:46 pm | Permalink

    A very difficult decision but I went for Moses because made such a dramatic change and was pacifistic as a final choice.

  125. March 18, 2014 - 12:48 am | Permalink

    I have to vote for Lydia, because she was an important church mother who I’d never really learned about until about ten years ago.
    But I am very glad to have learned about Moses, his teaching, and his non-violence. In reading the early part of his story, I really wanted to vote for the monks who took him in!! Think how powerful their example must have been, to have had the effect that it did.

  126. Martha Frances's Gravatar Martha Frances
    March 18, 2014 - 1:28 am | Permalink

    I’ve long been a fan of Lydia’s & her leadership in NT time & her open hospitality. Then, I realized that Moses the Black is the patron saint of nonviolence, & that is where the rubber meets the road, esp. since we in Texas seem to find increases in excuses for capital punishment & ways to deny more & more people basic human rights. So I’d like to vote twice, but choose to go w/ the peacemaker.

  127. Fiona Haworth's Gravatar Fiona Haworth
    March 18, 2014 - 6:33 am | Permalink

    Love the story of Moses the Ethiopian. The story of the leaky jug has always been one of my favourites from the Desert Fathers. We need a patron saint of non-violent resistance more than ever. However I am voting for Lydia for all the women in the C of E still waiting to see a woman wear the purple cloth of a bishop.

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