CBW (that’s the hipster acronym we just coined) continues with veteran Celebrity Blogger, Megan Castellan. When Megan first started with us she was a priest in Arizona. Now, she’s in her second year of life and ministry in Kansas City, Missouri.
See, we told you Lent Madness was transcontinental! Unless, of course, it’s illegal to transport Lent Madness across state lines, in which case forget this little conversation ever happened.
The Rev. Megan Castellan is Assistant Rector, and Chaplain at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Day School, Kansas City, Missouri. She is excited to be one of the few clergy to have a title (ARC) that is also a geometric figure, though why this fact has proved less amusing at parties, she can’t imagine. Her ongoing adventures and strong opinions are chronicled in her blog Red Shoes, Funny Shirt and on Twitter @revlucymeg. (She also writes on Mondays for the Episcopal Cafe, though the snark factor is significantly lower there). In her spare time, she enjoys singing, cooking, being obsessive about television comedy, and marshaling the forces of the Ginger Rescue Squad, otherwise known as her rescue dog and rescue cat.
What do you most love about the extraordinary honor of being a Celebrity Blogger (besides global adulation)?
There are precious few times that I can emulate Tobias Funke, but Lent Madness is one such time. I enjoy proclaiming to the world at large, when asked to explain the size of our audience for this rather odd phenomenon, that “there are dozens of us! DOZENS!!!” (I would also recommend painting your face entirely purple, for the full Tobias-Does-Lent effect.)
To put that more seriously, I have loved the unexpected ways that Lent Madness has introduced me to so many different people, in so many different ways. When I first moved to Kansas City, I went to the local retirement home to do the weekly Eucharist. To my surprise, a resident approached me afterwards and inquired if I was the same Megan from Lent Madness. He had made a habit of reading the matchups to his wife each day, whose eyesight was failing, and that had become their Lenten devotion. I was very moved that such a quirky thing as an online contest between long-dead saints could prompt a show of such devotion.
What is the quirkiest thing you’ve learned about one of your saints and how does this inspire your faith?
Every year, it’s the saints I think will drop out the fastest that go the furthest. I had a heck of a time last year trying to figure out what I could say for Lydia, and ended up learning more about ancient dye-producing snails than a reasonable person should know.
But what amazes me and humbles me each year is not only what I learn about each saint, but how people of faith, over the years, have interacted with that saint and their story. A large part of what creates recognized saints, after all, is grassroots popular devotion, and especially in hierarchical churches like the Roman Catholic, or Orthodox church (or, you know, anyone prior to the modern era), the making of saints was one of the few ways for the average pewsitter to have a say in the direction of the church. So I find it inspiring to witness the centuries of devotion to someone like Lydia, or (spoiler alert!) someone like Balthazar, who begins to take on enormous significance for people, above and beyond what their initial story might suggest.
Downton Abbey or The Walking Dead and why?
I don’t currently watch either of these, and I realize this admission will probably result in the forfeiture of my Episcopalian card. But while we’re discussing television, let me introduce you to the delightful, and now award-winning, show, “Jane the Virgin”! It’s a riff on the telenovela, about a young woman who was accidentally artificially inseminated, and now finds her life way more dramatic. It sounds like an insane premise, but so far, the show has used the traditionally crazy plot twists of the soap opera to deal with stuff like class inequality, immigration reform, religion through generations, changing family structures, etc. While being consistently hilarious, well-acted and prominently using a snarky omniscient narrator. So, TV gold, basically.
Besides Lent Madness, what do you most look forward to in the season of Lent?
I am looking forward to an opportunity to refocus on what is important, and the wonderful, wonderful day when people stop wantonly adding ‘Alleluia, alleluia’ to the dismissal when I have not said it first.
SEC NOTE: In the photo above, Megan is holding the only two pieces of saintly kitsch found in her office: a how-to guide of Jesus dances and a bottle shaped like the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is clearly a cry for help. Send Megan more saintly kitsch!