Lydia vs. John of the Cross

It’s hard to believe but we are now officially halfway through the Round of the Saintly Sixteen. Four more battles and we’re on to the Elate Eight. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. To savor each day and immerse ourselves in the match-up at hand is part of the Lent Madness discipline. Speaking of which, we really do need to update the Ash Wednesday liturgy’s “Invitation to a Holy Lent” to read:

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word; and by participating in Lent Madness.

But we digress. Today it’s the Biblical vs. the Mystical as Lydia takes on John of the Cross.

Yesterday Anna Cooper shocked the G-clef off J.S. Bach 54% to 46% to advance to the Elate Eight. She’ll face the winner of Thomas Merton vs. Charles Wesley. We also learned of the impending cross-marketing deal between McDonald’s and Lent Madness that perhaps fell under the “Fool for Christ” heading.

And finally, you may have been rudely roused from your dreams this morning by a story about Lent Madness on National Public Radio. We apologize.


St. Lydia Thyatira appears only twice in the Biblical text, but her impact is much larger.  

As the first European convert to Christianity, she was baptized by Paul right after he came to Philippi, and there, she started a church in her own household. Early church planter, that’s Lydia! She starts the community that will grow into the church at Philippi, and receive the famous letter from Paul. 

This is a big deal, scholars opine, not only because it indicates that Lydia was clearly calling all the shots for her household, and established one of the first Christian communities in Europe, but also because of what it means for gender roles in the early church: men and women were called, men and women were baptized, and men and women led in ministry. And after his release from prison, Paul and Silas headed right back to Lydia’s house. It served as a de facto home base the entire time they were in Philippi.

It also indicates that Lydia, who had amassed quite a fortune as a dyer, had decided to dedicate her considerable financial resources to Paul and his work. This would be why she is now invoked as the patron saint of dyers, and all fabric workers, and a good thing, too. Obtaining the purple dye for which the city of Thytira was known required the patience of a saint all by itself. 

Purple dye came from a particular secretion from the spiny dye-murex, a sort of carnivorous sea snail. (Yes, such a thing exists). You obtained it in one of two ways: either you ‘milked’ the sea snail and poked the thing until it spat purple goo at you, or you gathered a lot of them together and crushed them into a mass of purple goo. And even then, twelve thousand snails yields only enough dye for the hem of a single garment, which is why purple was reserved for the very rich, for emperors. (This is also why the Church adopted purple for the Lenten array — to emphasize the kingship of Christ. Sorry, snails).

To this day, no one has managed to recreate the special sort of Thyatiran purple exactly as it was back then. The exact recipe is lost to history. But Lydia’s legacy of leadership, ministry, and giving nothing less than her best to Christ endures.

Megan Castellan

 unnamedJohn of the Cross

If you’ve ever endured debilitating periods of loneliness and despair in your life of faith, you have a loving companion in Saint John of the Cross. John of the Cross, a sixteenth-century Spanish mystic, wrote about such experiences in his popular and well-regarded books, The Ascent of Mount Carmel and The Dark Night of the Soul, both of which he wrote while being imprisoned by his fellow friars. John explained that the journey toward union with God necessitated detaching from self and the world. Noting that often times this process felt excruciating and ripe with loss, dejection, and uncertainty, John encouraged believers to remember that God had not abandoned them. As he said,

Faith is a dark night for man, but in this very way it gives him light…God sustains every soul and dwells in it substantially, even though it be that of the greatest sinner in the world, and this union is natural. The supernatural union exists when God’s will and the soul’s will are in conformity. Therefore the soul rests transformed in God through love.

Although John wrote most of his works in his mid-thirties, he had long been a person of deep compassion and faith. When he was 14, he served as a caregiver to hospital patients suffering from mental or terminal illnesses. Doing so helped him realize the richness of life with God and the futility of finding happiness in worldly possessions. For John, happiness was circumstantial, but joy was eternal and rooted in God’s love. He likened someone who settled for happiness alone to a “famished person who opens his mouth to satisfy himself with air.”

John’s works and humble life have influenced people for generations, including fellow Lent Madness competitor Thomas Merton, who wrote about John’s influence in his well-regarded Seven Story Mountain. John’s Dark Night also found voice in the work of T.S. Eliot, who expressed the sentiment of John’s works through poetry:

To arrive where you are, to get from you are not,
You must go by a way in which there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are no
You must go through the way in which you are not.

John’s life of love, poverty, and selflessness reminds us of the joy of seeking Christ and the eternal love of God that always enfolds us –- no matter what we feel or endure.

Maria Kane


Lydia vs. John of the Cross

  • Lydia (58%, 2,994 Votes)
  • John of the Cross (42%, 2,191 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,183

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150 Comments to "Lydia vs. John of the Cross"

  1. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 2, 2014 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    It’s John for me from the get-go. As someone who has had an interesting life recently(divorce), I am grateful and relieved that he was walking hand in hand with God and myself. John, you rock!!
    Peace out

    • Susan Shaw Harris's Gravatar Susan Shaw Harris
      April 2, 2014 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

      I felt the same way in choosing John. This was a hard one, because the woman in me was fighting the contemplative, but John won out simply because we know so much more about him from his writings, and she is more shadowy.

    • April 2, 2014 - 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, it’s gotta be Lydia. She’s in the Bible, fer heaven’s sake. Definitely on a whole ‘nother level!

  2. Elizabeth T. Massey's Gravatar Elizabeth T. Massey
    April 2, 2014 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Magnificent poet, exemplar of faith bringing mystical visions in the midst of darkness when he was imprisoned, beaten, starved in his 16th century monastery. Through God’s providence and his own strong life force and will, he survived to join Teresa of Avila in reforming the Carmelites. A humble yet exalted person who is widely read even today by Protestants as well as Catholics.

  3. Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
    April 2, 2014 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    Tough call today. I decided that we had Mary Magdalene in 2012 for to represent women in the early church, and Frances Perkins in 2013 to demonstrate witness in the political world and justice, so I’m going with John of the Cross all the way for 2014, it’s time for us to uplift the witness of mystics and those who pray for us!

    • mary w's Gravatar mary w
      April 2, 2014 - 10:49 am | Permalink

      thanks! I was undecided andthis gave me clarity!

    • Bet Byrd's Gravatar Bet Byrd
      April 2, 2014 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

      My thought too–only you said it better!

  4. Rev. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Rev. Lucy Porter
    April 2, 2014 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    Another tough pair to deal with: as a female clergy, veteran of serving two parishes who had had only male pastors before, I am drawn to Lydia. As a mystic, often plagued with depression, John of the Cross has been one of my valued companions. I have to go with John, who has helped me in the past and been such a blessing.

  5. Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
    April 2, 2014 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    And teach us how to pray, therefore bringing our awareness to our relationship to God.

  6. L Hildrey's Gravatar L Hildrey
    April 2, 2014 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    A woman that could hold her own with St. Paul?! Go Lydia! (Sorry snails!)

  7. Kathleen McCleskey's Gravatar Kathleen McCleskey
    April 2, 2014 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    As much as I admire John, I had to vote for Lydia – not only was she a strong woman in the early church, but as a knitter and crocheter, I am drawn to the patron saint of fabric workers. I am sorry for all those snails, though.

  8. April 2, 2014 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    John — in honor of the Episcopal Carmel of St. Teresa, Rising Sun, MD.

  9. April 2, 2014 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    I had a tough time deciding on this one. However, given where I am in my own spiritual journey at the moment, John of the Cross (and T.S. Eliot) really spoke to my soul.

  10. Joy's Gravatar Joy
    April 2, 2014 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Love both these saints. Must choose…sigh. John OTC has been there for me in my dark nights. Lydia – what an inspiration for her day and ours! Okay, my vote goes to Lydia today for her willingness to be part of something new and to use all her gifts to help this newborn along.

  11. Lynda Moses's Gravatar Lynda Moses
    April 2, 2014 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    Yesterday I should have commented about how much Bach helps those, like me who have trouble talking – music speaks where the mouth can’t. Today being a working stiff, I am inspired by someone who was successful in business, AND had a heart for God and passing on the message of God’s love.

  12. Tom Connolly's Gravatar Tom Connolly
    April 2, 2014 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    As important as Lydia was, it’s John of the Cross whose work has helped many people over the centuries. Another tough choice, but John wins this one by a hair.

  13. Peter's Gravatar Peter
    April 2, 2014 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    Yes, very tough choice today (again), but I had to go with St. John, for reasons clearly articulated above. One comment about the Lydia’s “bio”–this did not affect my choice (or should I say, “set the dye”), but I am not sure “crushing” millions of snails to get some exotic dye is a Godly choice.

    • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
      April 2, 2014 - 9:07 am | Permalink

      I also think there’s something really mean about crushing poor defenseless snails simply for esoteric purposes(hey, I have a little bit of St. Francis in my dna)!

  14. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 2, 2014 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    Peter…”set the dye”……good one!

  15. aleathia (dolores)nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores)nicholson
    April 2, 2014 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    Shocked outta my gourd that Anna Cooper bested the venerable JSB! I’m voting for Lydia who financed Paul’s ministry in spite of his having been the most sexist “disciple”, as he liked to describe himself, walking the face of the earth. It’s fascinating that no one has ever been able to duplicate Lydia’s recipe for the purple dye. A whole lotta snails gave up the ghost for that dye. Guess some of the grumps will have a field day complaining about Bach’s loss. It seems hard for many people to realize and then admit that women got short shrift during the days of Christ’s ministry and the early church before that because men dominated life…just the way it was. That included writing everything that exists and women were largely omitted, thus the need for secretaries to take minutes notating exactly who was there and who did what.
    Oh well, no use beating that dead horse! Coffee time is long overdue…caffeine jitters.

    • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
      April 2, 2014 - 9:13 am | Permalink

      I know Aleathia, I can’t believe it either!!!! But as you pointed out, that train already left the station.

    • Anne T's Gravatar Anne T
      April 2, 2014 - 11:13 am | Permalink

      Bach’s loss seems to me a bad omen for music in the church. Bring on the bouncy ball on the screen up front, hiding the cross. But we got lost in the gender wars, how many children he had, and so on. Very sad, people.

      • Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
        April 2, 2014 - 7:36 pm | Permalink

        I’m still wincing after Schereschewsky’s loss…however I voted FOR Anna, not against Bach. Subtle but strong difference.

        • April 2, 2014 - 10:13 pm | Permalink

          Agreed (voting FOR Anna). Fortunately for me, I have yet to attend an Episcopal Church with “follow the bouncing ball” on a screen for music. Don’t forget: this is called Lent MADNESS.

  16. Harriet's Gravatar Harriet
    April 2, 2014 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    Just heard the piece on NPR about Lent Madness. Glad for the exposure it provides.
    John for me today although will probably have the opportunity to go with Lydia in another round.

    • Another Peg's Gravatar Another Peg
      April 2, 2014 - 9:34 am | Permalink

      It was a great story–well reported and good contributions from the interviewees. It moved me to the sin of pride. It also took some of the sting out of yesterday’s de-Bach-cle. P.S. Vote for John, and thereby avoid Kitsche Round links to “One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater.”

      • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
        April 2, 2014 - 11:03 am | Permalink

        Oh, Another Peg, don’t give Tim any ideas! I think Scott might be a little too dignified for that old song.

      • linda's Gravatar linda
        April 2, 2014 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

        that was the 1st record i ever bought! but i voted for john…

  17. April 2, 2014 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    John for me today. The compassion he showed towards the mentally ill is sorely needed in our time.

    • Sandy's Gravatar Sandy
      April 2, 2014 - 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Amen. That is the same reason I had to vote for John.

  18. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 2, 2014 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    I also can identify with caffeine jitters, I am not addicted to coffee, I just drink it so I won’t get headaches…..uh huh….

  19. Kathy Schillreff's Gravatar Kathy Schillreff
    April 2, 2014 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    I’m sticking with Lydia. We don’t hear about many women in the ancient world who were independent, heads of households. And she heard Paul preach and became a disciple. This was a tough pairing, John of the Cross is an amazing guide as well.

  20. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    April 2, 2014 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Lydia…what can I say? I love purple!

  21. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    April 2, 2014 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Without Lydia, would the newborn faith have continued to spread while St. Paul was in Prision? She not only received his letters, but she was courageous to hold meetings in her home and spread his word. She was the true Mother of our first church. Thank God for her faithful strenght and belief in Jesus Chris and what St. Peter had to say. Go Lydia!

  22. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    April 2, 2014 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    I’ve been really surprised by some of the outcomes…clearly there’s more going on in the minds of the voters other than lives lived in glory to God. Still can’t get over the advancement of Harriet Beecher Stowe…really????? Anyway, just because I’m a woman involved in ministry doesn’t mean that I have to vote for a woman. John of the Cross clearly deserves a shot at the Golden Halo. Lydia deserves a Purple Heart medal for putting up with Paul. JOTC all the way!

    • Andrea Ford's Gravatar Andrea Ford
      April 2, 2014 - 10:24 am | Permalink

      I agree with the surprises! Based on the results of the polls, I am worried that our “Church of Reason” is turning into a “Church of Political Correctness”.

      • Bowman's Gravatar Bowman
        April 2, 2014 - 11:11 am | Permalink

        The Church of Reason did not give people with high ethical sensitivity an ideal of life to follow. Something had to fill the vacuum. For many, the Church of Political Correctness fills that vacuum with an ideal that would be fine if it were… better grounded in Christ, less socially polarized, and more spiritually mature.

      • JenniferThomasina's Gravatar JenniferThomasina
        April 2, 2014 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

        Church of Reason? Church of Political Correctness?
        I thought this was Lent Madness…

      • Johannas Jordan's Gravatar Johannas Jordan
        April 2, 2014 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

        Are these mutually exclusive? I think not.

        • JenniferThomasina's Gravatar JenniferThomasina
          April 2, 2014 - 2:21 pm | Permalink

          I also rejoice in the Lent Madness madness of being able to vote e.g. in defense of the Snails of Thyatira, or because one likes the colour of a saint’s fancy dress in their accompanying image. (Note that in historical/ecclesial circles this most certainly does NOT exclude men from the running!)
          : )

    • Bowman's Gravatar Bowman
      April 2, 2014 - 10:25 am | Permalink

      Some of the outcomes and comments do seem narcissistic, but even traditional devotion to saints was somewhat like that. Germans like German saints, Russians like Slavic saints, etc. Women who care about social justice vote for women who care about social justice and they happen to outnumber everyone else here. This would also happen if LM were in Greek and Greek voters picked Greek saints over obscure Northern Europeans and Americans who were nothing like them. Better informed Greek voters would grimace to see some obscure saint from a big island picked over J S Bach, just as better informed voters here grimace at the same thing.

      The difficulty is not that social justice candidates are advancing but that– if their LM bios do them justice (which I doubt)– they are not saints at all in any sense for anyone because they do not set a heroic example of personal holiness in Christ. Harriet Beecher Stowe plainly had a principled inner life of some kind, but her bios just tell us what she accomplished as though she were a candidate for the Board of Overseers at Harvard. It propagates a bad way of life encourage a disconnect between spirituality and spiritual fruit, as though doing great works of philanthropy (eg The Godfather) were the same as sanctity in Christ.

      My votes are all easy, because with few exceptions, a simple rule settles it– no soul, no vote. But rather than see social justice candidates, I’d rather see some that actually look like saints.

      • Bowman's Gravatar Bowman
        April 2, 2014 - 10:28 am | Permalink

        Sorry– the last sentence should read: “But rather than see social justice candidates LOSE, I’d rather see some that actually look like saints WIN.”

      • Anne T's Gravatar Anne T
        April 2, 2014 - 11:18 am | Permalink

        Bravo, Bowman.

      • Mark Howard's Gravatar Mark Howard
        April 2, 2014 - 11:39 am | Permalink

        Judging by yesterday’s comments, there were some obvious very poorly informed votes against JS Bach. This contest has essentially become Female Social Justice Madness, which is fine, but not something in which I wish to participate.

        • Another Peg's Gravatar Another Peg
          April 2, 2014 - 12:11 pm | Permalink

          Wait, Mark, hang in there. There’s no way of knowing who is voting or why, unless the voter posts a comment. There are good points made here about what might motivate some voters, but there are many other unknown fingers clicking circles for unknown reasons. If you have six car crashes, and in each one both drivers were carrying umbrellas, that doesn’t mean umbrellas cause car crashes. Please stay around, because the blend of voices and the sharing of facts, factoids, and opinions has value. Comments help inform the uninformed, even if they don’t always change the results. Think of the minds and hearts sharing in this communication, please consider remaining one of them.

          • Another Peg's Gravatar Another Peg
            April 2, 2014 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

            And please imagine a semi-colon in place of the comma in my last sentence.

        • Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
          April 2, 2014 - 7:39 pm | Permalink

          It’s getting hot in here….

      • Johannas Jordan's Gravatar Johannas Jordan
        April 2, 2014 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

        And how does a saint look? I think there is a hymn in the 1982 Hymnal that addresses and this—

        • linda's Gravatar linda
          April 2, 2014 - 3:16 pm | Permalink

          well then since i am a saint of God i should be on the bracket-therefore mr. rogers is also a saint of God, and if we go by the 1982 hymnal then he should be on the bracket. besides, i’m not dead!

  23. Walter Gladwin's Gravatar Walter Gladwin
    April 2, 2014 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    Not really a contest. I voted for Lydia before took on John. She is a wonderful model fro Christian women in the Church. But John ‘s writings transcends every Christian’s model. Got any women who wrote like him?

    • Bowman's Gravatar Bowman
      April 2, 2014 - 10:47 am | Permalink

      My guess is that many who voted for St John of the Cross would have voted for his contemporary St Teresa of Avila. Her writings are equally valuable, and her life of cultivating prayer, fighting off enemies of reform, building a new monastic order, and guiding souls was closely comparable to his.

      • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
        April 2, 2014 - 11:05 am | Permalink

        Has Teresa been a candidate in a previous Lent?

        • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
          April 2, 2014 - 11:06 am | Permalink

          And hit “send” too soon, sorry. If she hasn’t been a contender before, she certainly merits consideration for Lent 2015.

          • Bowman's Gravatar Bowman
            April 2, 2014 - 11:18 am | Permalink

            Tessa, I could not agree more.

            St Teresa is as close as LM could likely come to a consensus saint.

    • Lucretia Jevne's Gravatar Lucretia Jevne
      April 2, 2014 - 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Don’t foret Julian of Norwich and Hildegard of Bingen

  24. April 2, 2014 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    For those still mourning Bach’s loss, a requiem by his son: Now, onto today’s event. I so appreciate John’s spiritual expression, but I have always admired Lydia. I’m voting purple today, but I’ll be happy with whomever moves forward.

  25. Michele Quinn's Gravatar Michele Quinn
    April 2, 2014 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    This was a tough choice, not because I like them both but because in the first round I didn’t vote for either.

  26. EHCulver's Gravatar EHCulver
    April 2, 2014 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    Another coin tosser. John OTC gets my vote today because of his caregiving at age 14 and his distinction between happiness and joy. The latter reminds me of C. S. Lewis’s writings on this subject.
    All honor to Lydia, but I can’t help thinking about those snails.

  27. April 2, 2014 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    The author of Prozac Monologues would have to go for John of the Cross. BTW, did you realize that Dark Night tells you how to make a differential diagnosis between clinical depression and the Dark Night?

    • Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
      April 2, 2014 - 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Fascinating! I will have to pick that up ASAP! I have always been interested in the distinctions and connection of mental health/psychology and spiritual health.

  28. Meredyth's Gravatar Meredyth
    April 2, 2014 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    I’m a weaver, dyer and textile artist. Lydia, you have my vote!

  29. Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
    April 2, 2014 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that women do much better in these male/female contests….I voted for John of the Cross today. Lots more time for him to pull out this win!

  30. Denise Erickson's Gravatar Denise Erickson
    April 2, 2014 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    Sorry, John. You were a courageous saint to persevere even while seriously depressed (He did have a valid reason to be down.). I’m still hanging in there with Lydia, a woman who faced death if caught preaching the Good News. It didn’t help that she harbored Paul and company, all fugitives from Roman law. Besides, she’s the patron saint of dyers, a clan I’m a member of. I don’t know how to make purple dye from snails either.

  31. Ann Shelly's Gravatar Ann Shelly
    April 2, 2014 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    Lydia is an exemplar, not just for her own day but for our day. Her devotion and her practical focus are really inspiring to me.

  32. James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
    April 2, 2014 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    “Lydia, oh Lydia! Have you met Lydia? …”
    “While her muscles she’s relaxin’,
    up the hill comes Andrew Jackson…”
    Vote for the crusher of thousands of poor snails?
    I think not!
    Go Johnny!

    • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
      April 2, 2014 - 10:25 am | Permalink

      I hear you, James!! Champions of the poor downtrodden snails, arise!!!!!!

  33. Bowman's Gravatar Bowman
    April 2, 2014 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    Easy. We know almost nothing about Lydia, another example of a character sainted just for being in the New Testament. St John of the Cross is one of the greatest exemplars of the contemplative way in world spirituality generally, and voters can verify this for themselves with his writings. Set out to pray like Lydia, and you will become a menace to snails. Set out to pray like St John and… see comments above. St John of the Cross.

  34. Susan Fiore's Gravatar Susan Fiore
    April 2, 2014 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    Working for a just society does not in itself require that one have faith — some of the most passionate social justice activists I know are atheists. My vote goes to John, who has been a profound support for many people’s faith in dark times.

  35. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    April 2, 2014 - 10:49 am | Permalink

    I have a fondness for mystics anyway, but one who has influenced both Thomas Merton and T. S. Eliot gets extra credit. I might claim to have suffered a “dark night of the soul” myself, but I imagine that is more spiritual than simply depression. (Spain had a few other mystics, e.g. Teresa of Ávila, and Tomas Luis de Victoria has been called a mystical composer. Wonder why.)

  36. billfleming's Gravatar billfleming
    April 2, 2014 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    John is my choice with his selflessness and compassion.

  37. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    April 2, 2014 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    Today’s a toughie! Both are halo-deserving but had to pick Lydia.

  38. Lauren Stanley's Gravatar Lauren Stanley
    April 2, 2014 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    Lydia, because she was willing to believe when almost no one else would, because she was willing to believe and work for the Gospel when it was dangerous, because she looked danger in the face and said, “I believe.”

  39. billfleming's Gravatar billfleming
    April 2, 2014 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    John’s love, charity and selflessness is an easy choice

  40. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    April 2, 2014 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    It will bust my brackets, but today I vote for Lydia. JOTC means a lot to me, as does Teresa of Avila. But Lydia was a founder in the days of founders of the new Way. Joseph of Arimathea struck me the same way. Sometimes actions are so profound and so consequential that inference about an inner life is appropriate. Lydia!

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      April 2, 2014 - 11:39 am | Permalink

      Barbara, you just swung my vote for Lydia. And that last statement you made is so true.

  41. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    April 2, 2014 - 11:04 am | Permalink

    When I got here, I KNEW I was voting for John. Until I read Lydia’s essay.

  42. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    April 2, 2014 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    Ended up voting for John, with a shout-out to Lydia.
    Now I’ll have to look up Tomas Luis de Victoria, having sung some of his music long ago.

  43. patricia's Gravatar patricia
    April 2, 2014 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    loved the npr interview except for snarky tone from the interviewer. also love the comments every day-informative and entertaining!

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      April 2, 2014 - 11:57 am | Permalink

      How was the interviewer’s tone snarky? Sounded perfectly respectful to me! Maybe I don’t know the definition of “snark”. Please explain.

  44. Martie Collins's Gravatar Martie Collins
    April 2, 2014 - 11:37 am | Permalink

    Bowman I’m not a radical, but if we pray increasingly through our work social action is prayer.

    • Bowman's Gravatar Bowman
      April 2, 2014 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

      “…if we pray without ceasing through our work social action is prayer.”

      Martie, are you suggesting that ‘social’ action– unlike all other action– needs no spiritual foundation prior to itself? Probably not, but let me explain my concern with ‘bios’ that are not ‘hagios.’

      The relation between contemplation and action is quite clear in saints like St Basil, St John of the Cross (& St Teresa of Avila), Thomas Merton, Phillips Brooks, and J S Bach. In each of these cases, the growth from spirituality to its fruit is easily traced. And– very importantly– we honor them as saints for that growth despite the fact that none of them was wholly successful. That sanctity what we want to emulate, if we understand the Beatitudes, not the success itself, which is in God’s hand and not ours.

      The link from spirituality to fruit should be equally clear in candidates whose sphere of action happens to be social justice (eg Martin Luther King Jr). When it is not clear, we encourage some unhealthy disconnects unworthy of Christ– between inner life and outer action, between motivation and fame. In this sphere, a broken link tells socially active Christians that they can overcome obstacles entirely on their own, and that what matters is not following Christ but achieving spectacular and obvious Success. This is not only faithless, but discourages the Christ-driven determination that social ministries of all ministries particularly need to persevere in the darkness. Only the enemies of man rejoice at this.

      Finally, Christ’s ministry is reconciliation in a very deep, actually cosmic, sense, and his reconciling work is what opens the way for social ministry.
      It is when– and only when– Christians are faithfully joined to Christ’s reconciling work that they are being saints. One can’t choose causes from a secular menu, and plunge into ordinary partisanship, and then see the result as the fruit of a connection to him. In saints, spirituality organically, not arbitrarily, grows into the right fruit.

      Some apparent failures are of high spiritual worth, and bigger success is not holier than smaller success. Apparent compromises can be holier than hardline positions. Struggles are valuable when they are in Christ no matter how they turn out in the short run. All this is counter-intuitive to many posting here, but the lives of saints have mattered to Christians as a way of detaching from worldly illusions, and learning the values of the Kingdom.

      • Andrea Feist's Gravatar Andrea Feist
        April 2, 2014 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Thank you Bowman for articulating this distinction between “bio” and “hagio”. Discussions like these are one of the reasons I enjoy Lent Madness. I hope you stick with us.

  45. Martie Collins's Gravatar Martie Collins
    April 2, 2014 - 11:41 am | Permalink

    I meant without ceasing. Auto correction strikes again.

  46. aleathia (dolores)nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores)nicholson
    April 2, 2014 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I discovered Lent Madness during it’s second go-round. It was a lot of fun as readers/voters seemed to remember that the prime elements were #1-knowledge about people who could be considered as saints, #2-respect for readers/voters personal opinions and choices, and #3-the element of “madness”, as in “it’s all in fun folks so have a good time and try not to be judgemental about the choices other people make, especially when they don’t jibe with yours. Remember, if it’s not to your liking, there’s an OFF button on your computer or whatever you’re using to record your vote. It’s really not worth getting in a snit about it! Ultimately, the SEC, whether you think they’re a tad demented, quirky, “out there”, or whatever, have the final say-so as they invented the whole kit and kaboodle…well, one did and the other brought it into the 21st century…at least, that’s the spiel they preach. They also decide who will be in the line-up…and don’t get mad with me, Madeleine B about FR ! It’s not my call as I clearly think Eddie Murphy’s Mr. Robinson should count, too…”He-wo, boys and guls!” More caffeine needed ASAP !!

  47. Alty Grae's Gravatar Alty Grae
    April 2, 2014 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Next time I’m reading comments before voting. It will help me have a better informed opinion.

    • Bob Corey's Gravatar Bob Corey
      April 2, 2014 - 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Exactly what I decided to do this round. I’m not sure it’s helping too much. I’m leaning Lydia, having heard 3 different sermons (Including Bishop Susan Goff’s) on her lectionary day. Mysticism has no appeal to me — nor John’s writings, but I may just relent — perhaps against the gender tide — perhaps because I’m sometimes persuaded to give John’s writings another chance. — Nope — Lydia, because I’ve not seen anything in the comments to move me closer to that second chance for John. I remain unsold on the mystic path, though drawn to via negativa in the abstract.

      • Alty Grae's Gravatar Alty Grae
        April 2, 2014 - 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Here’s a though I just had relating to some of the comments made about the female slant to the voting so far: One of the reasons there is so little mention of women in the Bible is because men were the authors and editors and had their own gender bias.

        To me that means fewer mentions of women in the Bible and, if they are mentioned, their roles are downplayed or not fully formed. Thus we tend to know much about the men, have quotes and samples of writings and reasoning while we tend to know very little about the women’s thinking other than that which is painted with broad strokes or seen through the fog of time.

        • Phil's Gravatar Phil
          April 3, 2014 - 12:05 am | Permalink

          Actually there are quite a few women mentioned in the Bible, many of them play key roles: Eve, Sarah (Abraham’s wife), Lot’s wife, the Egyptian princess who saved Moses, Ruth, Naomi, Esther, …. Elizabeth, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Martha, Anna the prophetess, Lydia …. Just to name a few!

          • Phil's Gravatar Phil
            April 3, 2014 - 12:08 am | Permalink

            Oh, and I left out the woman at the well! And that’s only a few that I could think of off the top of my head without looking up additional ones in my Bible!

  48. Harry W's Gravatar Harry W
    April 2, 2014 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

    My vote goes to Lydia. Lydia is a successful Greek (Lydia is a Greek not Jewish.) businesswoman and a part of the church’s counterculture. Her “place of prayer” is at the center of the church in Philippi with her as the center authority and support. I see Lydia as an important part of the early development of the church when both men and women have an equal part and value.

  49. Justin's Gravatar Justin
    April 2, 2014 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Another male vs female matchup, another female victory, coincidences I suppose, every time

  50. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    April 2, 2014 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Tough choice, because I voted for both of them in Round 1, but I think I will have to stay with John of the Cross this time. Great respect for both of them, though.

  51. Nina Nicholson's Gravatar Nina Nicholson
    April 2, 2014 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Having a really tough time choosing between these two…

  52. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    April 2, 2014 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Lydia wins my vote for inspiring the Philippians to grow spiritually.

    The debate over spirituality/faith vs. good works is fascinating. Several commenters have said that they’re voting for those contenders who are social activists because they’ve done so much to improve society. Other commenters say that they’re voting for the saints with the best inner spiritual life.

    I believe that I can understand a person’s inner spiritual life only through their actions and words. The writings of John of the Cross are not only windows into his soul, but they are also his social activism. Meanwhile, Lydia’s hospitality and church building are not only public service, but these works also reflect her inner spiritual life.

    Tough choice, but Lydia’s faith inspires me more today.

    • Bowman's Gravatar Bowman
      April 2, 2014 - 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Kim, I voted for mystical, poetic, pastoral St John rather than the silent slayer of snails for wicked imperialists 😉 but I like your succinct statement of the preferences involved. And as you have seen, the discussion itself is not about voters’ choices, but about the bios on which they are based. Our beloved social activists may all have had deep lives of prayer and insight in Christ that guided their every move; we just have little reason from their bios to see anything more than praiseworthy secular reformism. Some like the Lenten and some like the Madness, and to the former, the bios’ odd silence about the spirituality of our social witnesses could matter.

      Postscript– St Lydia reminds me that there is a largely forgotten category of saint in which women have long excelled— benefactors. Like her, they were rich, if not super-rich, but there are some examples of deep spirituality among them. One Roman woman of the fourth century– was it St Melania the Younger?; her grandmother St Melania the Elder?– became a monastic herself, endowed several monasteries, freed 100,000 slaves, and gave the rest of her wealth to the poor. With staggeringly immense wealth, she quite literally did what the Rich Young Ruler was afraid to do.

      • Kim's Gravatar Kim
        April 2, 2014 - 8:16 pm | Permalink

        Bowman, I see… your concern is with the bios (written by the poor celebrity bloggers, toiling away without recompense or thanks), not with the subjects of the bios. Might I suggest that you write bios yourself next year? 😉

        Thank you for the link to the dissertation that discusses Melania the Elder and Melania the Younger. I haven’t had a chance to read all of it yet because I’ve been reading a chapter on Lydia in “The Lord Opened Her Heart: Women, Work, and Leadership in Acts of the Apostles” by Teresa Jeanne Calpino.

        • Bowman's Gravatar Bowman
          April 2, 2014 - 9:22 pm | Permalink

          Kim, double thanks!

          (1) Thank you for even sarcastically suggesting that I write for this. I am neither a celebrity nor a blogger, but I suspect I would write a ‘hagio’ about a known or knowable saint du jour. (BTW neglect of the spirituality of the modern American women seems to me to be a template flaw, not a mistake of the individual writers. I have thanked one of the writers for quoting her saint directly.)

          (2) And thanks so much for the dissertation link. I studied women in Roman law an age ago, and this looks like a worthwhile update.

          Postscript– If you like somewhat feminist NT scholarship, you may enjoy Marie Noonan Sabin’s ‘Reopening the Word’ on the second gospel. In contextualizing St Mark in Jewish context, she relates Jesus to Wisdom and the wisdom literature, and opens the way to a hermeneutics of midrash.

  53. Anne T's Gravatar Anne T
    April 2, 2014 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    John had me at Dark Night of the Soul. But I imagine the outcome will be the same this time as in all the others.

    • Victor of Sturbridge's Gravatar Victor of Sturbridge
      April 2, 2014 - 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Anne, I agree that Lent Madness, which used to be great fun for me, is becoming something of an exercise in predictability — though the two Harriet’s, likely to come up, will be harder to forecast! Bowman’s comment above is perceptive and sympathetic, much appreciated by those of us who respect social works, but who look also for some indication of spiritual depth.

  54. Debby's Gravatar Debby
    April 2, 2014 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Purple and New beginnings….

  55. MatthewSully's Gravatar MatthewSully
    April 2, 2014 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    This one was killer-diller hard, but I had to go with JotC for his lesser-known story of compassion and identification with those who walk in the valleys of life. No greater Golden Halo than being included in the Scripture, so Lydia is set.

  56. JayBee's Gravatar JayBee
    April 2, 2014 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    John of the Cross. He wrote the masterpiece of Spanish poetry known as the Dark Night of the Soul. It would be a toss up if he was pitted against Theresa of Avila.

  57. April 2, 2014 - 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Eesh, tough call. John of the Cross is one of my main spiritual beacons, but purple cloth and positive mention by Paul in Scripture? Lydia. Sorry, John, you know I still love you.

  58. Katherine's Gravatar Katherine
    April 2, 2014 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Late as usual this am, I was happy I made itin to the car in time to hear the story on NPR about Lent Madness. Hard choice as usual today.

    • Karen's Gravatar Karen
      April 2, 2014 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

      I too heard the NPR story while in the car! It didn’t make the choice any easier today.

  59. Birdbike's Gravatar Birdbike
    April 2, 2014 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Aarrggg! This is getting harder and harder…Love them both.sigh. I guess I decided based on the fact that although Lydia may have brought people into the church, I think JOTC has orobably jept a lot of us IN the church during those interminable “dark nights”…

  60. April 2, 2014 - 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Oh my … Birdbike’s last comment almost has me changing my mind about my initial choice to go with Lydia. But I’ve recently learned to sew and am fascinated by all things fabric and stitching and the creative blessing this has been in my life due to a very spiritual friend who took me on as a student … i do feel for the sticky snails and for those who had to create dye from them. Ick.

  61. April 2, 2014 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

    P.S. Congrats on the Golden Halo the SEC received today … a story on NPR! Let’s see how celebrity influences the future.

  62. Sandy's Gravatar Sandy
    April 2, 2014 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed the NPR link, but wasn’t it Charles Wesley, not John, who wrote all the hymns?

    • Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
      April 2, 2014 - 5:23 pm | Permalink

      That’s exactly what I said!

  63. Bob Mayer's Gravatar Bob Mayer
    April 2, 2014 - 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I have to go along with Lydia because she also has been made famous by Groucho the Great in the lyrics of his chant “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  64. Holy Smoke's Gravatar Holy Smoke
    April 2, 2014 - 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Heard that interview on NPR this morning!! Way to go! Only one question, I thought, and I may remember this wrong, but thought I heard some on who just learned about John Wesley and that he wrote some 6,000 or more hymns, and here all these years (a fair percentage as a Methodist) I thought it was Charles that was the author of great numbers of hymns. Hmmmmmm! I’m voting for St John of the Cross.

    • Victor of Sturbridge's Gravatar Victor of Sturbridge
      April 2, 2014 - 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Right you are. And I hope that nice 12-year old learned something about Catherine of Siena in addition to the fact that she was some kind of nun!

  65. Brigid Courtney's Gravatar Brigid Courtney
    April 2, 2014 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Yep can’t handle the snail thing. Can’t imagine poking a living bring to make a pretty color.

  66. Ann Willis Scott's Gravatar Ann Willis Scott
    April 2, 2014 - 3:34 pm | Permalink

    My grandfather was a master dyer, both in Kidderminster, England, and later for early Mohawk Carpets in Amsterdam NY. Lydia’s my choice, for sure!

  67. Lorna Jordan's Gravatar Lorna Jordan
    April 2, 2014 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Had to choose Lydia. It is a little known story but certainly shows the place of women in the early Church.

    Just loved the story on NPR. (It was about time)

  68. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 2, 2014 - 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Oh purple schmurple !!!!! I like purple too but you won’t see me killing innocent harmless creatures for it. Sheeeeesh.

  69. Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
    April 2, 2014 - 4:46 pm | Permalink

    After re-reading the original bios & today’s information, like so many of you I am finding this another difficult choice. Interesting comments from everyone and I have given lots of thought and prayed and finally have come to the decision to vote for John of The Cross. At our Bible Study this morning we talked a great deal about our feelings where God and Jesus are concerned and know Johns love for them, I find that my vote needs to be for John. Nothing against Lydia, but John it is.

  70. Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
    April 2, 2014 - 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Loved the NPR interview and have printed the text off for future reference. I am hoping to bring Lent Madness to Grace Church in Bath, ME next year. My parish pries and several of my friends are 100% behind the idea.

  71. madamesenora's Gravatar madamesenora
    April 2, 2014 - 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Lydia was a wealthy lady who used God’s creation (snails!) for her own personal gain – which is probably what gave her the means to start a church. Just sayin’.
    John is the complete saintly package.

  72. Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
    April 2, 2014 - 5:46 pm | Permalink

    “To this day, no one has managed to recreate the special sort of Thyatiran purple exactly as it was back then.” Please note that several people have recreated the dye using snails by the old method. Also, the color is mainly due to a compound whose structure is known (6,6′-dibromoindigo) and which has been synthesized in the lab so no more snails need to die/dye. In my dark times, remembering someone who helped build up the church in spite of possible persecution (and maybe wore purple) is still a more uplifting reminder of G-d’s good work on earth – going for Lydia.

    • Nanalee Raphael's Gravatar Nanalee Raphael
      April 2, 2014 - 6:39 pm | Permalink

      As a costume designer, and someone who has often had my hands stained with colors from the dye pot, I’ll go with Lydia as a planter of the church, even though John’s story is compelling.

      BUT, on to an absolute heresy that was perpetrated upon listeners of NPR this morning. I too was awakened to the story about Lent Madness and was Shocked, Shocked I tell you not to hear any credit given to Scott Gunn! (or was I still sleeping?)

  73. Joan's Gravatar Joan
    April 2, 2014 - 6:33 pm | Permalink

    surprise surprise, the woman wins again.

  74. Laura Dejmek, OP's Gravatar Laura Dejmek, OP
    April 2, 2014 - 6:48 pm | Permalink

    This was, for me, the hardest vote to date. I could easily have gone either way. Read the comments, re-read the bios. Voted for Lydia, as I expected she would be the underdog, but SO impressed that it WAS probably her household and her that received Paul’s letter to the Philippians (my favorite Pauline letter). That had never occurred to me before. Thank you Lent Madness.

    BTW, Vote Catherine of Siena tomorrow! She was a Lay Dominican (not a nun)–my Dominican patron.

    • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
      April 2, 2014 - 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Whoa there girl, let’s leave the voting, or the suggestions pertaining thereto, for tomorrow which is 3 hours, 46 minutes away(here in Michigan anyway). “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”..

  75. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 2, 2014 - 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Hi Aleathia,
    Madeleine here, no I am not mad at you, remember that I too like Eddie Murphy and his spin on Fred Rogers! I think they should go after the golden halo as a duo. I can just see them both smiling, arm-in-arm, wearing golden haloes, with a nice background faintly reminiscent of the Mona Lisa. Ahh, art.

  76. Dcn. lisa's Gravatar Dcn. lisa
    April 2, 2014 - 7:07 pm | Permalink

    As a lover of fabrics, art, and color I enjoy the banter about the snails. It’s a good thing then that in the Eastern world a plant based purple dye was found and popularized. Squishing or milking snails sounds just awful. My vote goes to Lydia for her example in the community and for not just talking her faith but backing it up with all her resources,which in that time had to take considerable courage.

    • Janis Rosebrook's Gravatar Janis Rosebrook
      April 2, 2014 - 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Dcn Lisa: I too am a lover of fabric art, and Lydia (the purple maker) has always spoken to me as a strong women of the bible. A woman before her time; before it was common for a woman to be a leader in her community, much less in the church. I agree she showed incredible courage in leading by example. Lydia is one of my heroes of the bible.

  77. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    April 2, 2014 - 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t vote to Lydia – was afraid I would set myself up for buying a LM mug with a picture of a squshed snail on it… and just cannot stomach that. John is so inspiring!

  78. Donald Lowery's Gravatar Donald Lowery
    April 2, 2014 - 7:43 pm | Permalink

    It was tough, but I do speak Spanish, so Juan de la Cruz had to get my vote. Besides as an Episcopalian, I try to take the Bible seriously without always taking it literally. Not that that has anything to with any of this.

  79. Brock's Gravatar Brock
    April 2, 2014 - 8:01 pm | Permalink

    John of the Cross got me through my own “dark night of the soul” and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

  80. Bob Corey's Gravatar Bob Corey
    April 2, 2014 - 8:04 pm | Permalink

    periwinkle tinkle stink
    — I remember that as part of +Susan’s sermon contrasting two images of this cypher of a woman. Why was she at that riverside? Because unwelcome in close company? Recall Simon the tanner (Acts 9:43) I like my saints in debased, not exalted circumstances. I vote for that Lydia. The one stained, not dressed, in purple. John is a cypher of many words. Best one of few.

  81. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    April 2, 2014 - 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Because I’m a therapist who deals with those in places of emotional and spiritual turmoil–and because I’m a little discomfited by the notion that men are being overlooked for being men, despite the profound impacts they’ve had on the world–I’m going with John of the Cross. Those who live in solidarity with the poor always seem saintlier to me.

  82. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 2, 2014 - 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi Bob,
    I tried to Google ” periwinkle tinkle stink” and the closest thing I found was a website for nail polish. I don’t think that was what you were referring to… to shed some light on this? 🙂

    • Bob Corey's Gravatar Bob Corey
      April 2, 2014 - 9:23 pm | Permalink

      A sainted tradeswoman named Lydia
      Whose townsmen said “Glad to be rid o’ ya”
      In need of deodorant
      Met an itinerant
      Named Paul whom she showed no perfidy. Ya!

      As for the tongue twister — I was trying to recall a Naked Archaeologist episode about making Tyrian purple — from a Murex snail, I’ve since found out — not a periwinkle, which is what someone told me I was actually eating when I ordered snail salad in Warwick RI.

  83. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    April 2, 2014 - 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Just to keep things up-to-date — it was discovered that, when the snail supply was getting pitifully small, there was a way to remove the purple without crushing the little guy and he was returned to the sea to purple again. Archeologists have ezamples of murex snail shells that were tapped for their purple two and three times, at least.

  84. Christine's Gravatar Christine
    April 2, 2014 - 9:25 pm | Permalink

    If Lydia wasn’t running against John of the Cross, i would have voted for her.
    However, -my Confirmation name is Theresa (of Avila), and my pet name for my husband is John (of the Cross). Theresa and John were spiritual soul-mates, so i had to vote for John for personal and sentimental reasons.

  85. llr's Gravatar llr
    April 2, 2014 - 9:25 pm | Permalink

    I just wanted to mention there is an icon in Gravity. Who is it? And I love being Episcopal. And I love the different images included in Lentmadness. They might help me decide my votes.

  86. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 2, 2014 - 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Bob, for both the clarification and the chuckle!
    Good night y’all.

  87. Anthony's Gravatar Anthony
    April 2, 2014 - 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Where’s the collect?

    • Bob Corey's Gravatar Bob Corey
      April 2, 2014 - 9:35 pm | Permalink

      Collects given in initial round of 32. Click BRACKETS tab to get there.

  88. LJG's Gravatar LJG
    April 2, 2014 - 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Lydia, not out of feminist “a woman at all costs!” rigidity but because she played a vital role in the foundation of the faith. I appreciate St. John of the Cross’ contributions, but without the earliest saints, he might never have developed the deep faith that has inspired those who came after him.

  89. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    April 2, 2014 - 11:31 pm | Permalink

    J’accuse! The Lent Madness wizards have sent a none too subtle subliminal message to sway our judgment by drenching this page in a paene-Thyatiran purple! Worked on me–as did our Bible study group’s current immersion in the letters of Paul.

  90. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    April 3, 2014 - 1:54 am | Permalink

    I vote for Lydia because of her readiness to accept Jesus as the Christ, because of her hospitality, and because of her great enthusiasm—the Greek enthusiaum!

    Thank you, Bowman and Alethia for your cogent comments.

    Thanks to NPR & Fr. Tim for the informative (and syspathetic) interview. Yes, I noticed the errors. Perhaps the man (should be Charles, not John) was rattled by the microphone, or something. Perhaps the girl needed a bit more time to think about C of S and make a clearer statement. However, how many in the listening audience would recognize those two glitches? At any rate, the LM-ers would. “Saints are worth talking” about could be our theme (song)!

    • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
      April 3, 2014 - 1:57 am | Permalink

      Oops! That should say: “Saints are worth talking about”. I put the quotation in the wrong place. Sorry.

  91. Germaine's Gravatar Germaine
    April 3, 2014 - 6:26 am | Permalink

    Though I am a woman, I cannot understand how Lydia, great as her service to God and his kingdom was, is handily beating St. John of the Cross, one of the Doctors of the Church…a title that has been given to only 33 of the Saints – for their holiness, understanding and interpretation of Scripture, and contributions in the development of Christian theology.

    John’s holiness, love for God, humility, discernment, intimacy and union with the Divine, and ability to teach God’s truth cannot be matched by most of this year’s bracket saints. And it would be much easier to attempt to walk in Lydia’s shoes than in the shoes of St. John of the Cross…oh, that’s right…John was a discalced Carmelite and did not wear shoes. Well, ok…than to try to walk in John’s footsteps.

    If more folks knew of John’s story, personal challenges, humility and love, he would have certainly made it to the final four, if not further.

  92. Germaine's Gravatar Germaine
    April 3, 2014 - 6:32 am | Permalink

    However, John would not care one iota about winning Lent Madness. It just has no meaning for a God lived life.

Comments are closed.