Lent Madness 2016 is off to a roaring start. We had huge voter turnout on opening day, with a record number of votes cast in the Matronly Meltdown®. As this post is published, the comments section is filling up with a vigorous discussion on the Slavic Smackdown®. If you haven't cast your vote yet for Cyril or Methodius, go vote now! Our aim is to provide some fun, education, and inspiration throughout Lent as we learn about the saints and share in a global community, and that's certainly happening.
We are glad to welcome thousands of new participants to Lent Madness this year. Many of you watched Lent Madness Voting 101, so you know the mechanical basics of how it all works. But there's more. Because the Supreme Executive Committee cares deeply about you, the Lent Madness Global Voting Public, we have provided The Ten Commandments of Lent Madness.
These commandments will help you keep perspective on the whole thing and maximize your enjoyment. Many churches chant or recite the Decalogue (that's a fancy churchy-word for "Ten Commandments") during Lent, and who are we to stop you from swapping out the script so that the whole congregations gets a refresher on Lent Madness?
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF LENT MADNESS
I. Thou shalt remember that the saints have already received their reward, so the point of Lent Madness is our earthly enjoyment.
Sometimes people get a bit too invested in Lent Madness, and the competition and the comments get a bit heated. While we like friendly competition as much as the next person, it's worth remembering that Lent Madness is only a game. The whole concept of saints competing against one another is, of course, patently absurd. The saints in glory probably don't care much about whether they win the Golden Halo, but they might care if we are joyful in following Jesus.
II. Thou shalt remember that Lent Madness is OPTIONAL.
If for whatever reason you don't like Lent Madness or it's getting in the way of your Lenten devotion, remember that it is purely optional. No one is compelled to play Lent Madness, and some people (especially the humor-impaired) probably shouldn't.
III. Thou art invited, if thou dost not like the World's Greatest Online Lenten Devotion, to start thine own online Lenten devotion.
If you don't like the way Lent Madness is run, we encourage you to start your own online devotion. You, too, can be Supreme in your own online devotion.
IV. Thou shalt vote daily, but only once per person.
If you want your saint to win, rally 1,000 of your friends or co-workers to the cause. We think that's great! But if you vote 1,000 times for your saint (and, yes, it's been done), you'll find yourself banned from Lent Madness.
V. Thou shalt not take the Round of Saintly Kitsch too seriously.
Every year, we have to deal with Kitsch Kranks. These are (easily offended) people who linger for the Elate Eight and then get outraged that we showcase various bits of saintly kitsch for the competitors. How can you prepare? Go to your nearest church goods store and enjoy various statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary or other saints. Or visit a hip, youngish member of the clergy who is sure to have a good-sized kitsch display in his or her office.
VI. Thou shalt shew forth thy love of Lent Madness by wearing purple.
Not much to say here, but we'll provide visual inspiration.
VII. Thou shalt remember that it's not called Madness for nothing.
Sometimes people don't like how a modern saint goes against an ancient saint. Or that two similar saints--or even brothers--face each other down in the Lent Dome. It's called Lent Madness for a reason. So, read the bios, learn what you can, enjoy the comments, and then remember the First Commandment of Lent Madness.
VIII. Thou shalt covet thy neighbor's Lentorium purchases only until thou purchasest thine own goods.
Coveting is bad. So don't do it. If your friends have Lent Madness t-shirts, either demand the shirt off their backs, or just buy your own! If you're jealous of someone's Brigid pint glass or Lent Madness mug, start drinking from your own! If you are steamed you didn't get to buy a printed Saintly Scorecard, get one for your favorite e-device. As a bonus, if you mail your iPad to the SEC, with a self-addressed, stamped return box, they'll gladly sign your device with a purple Sharpie and mail it back.
IX. Thou shalt watch Monday Madness.
If you want the inside story on Lent Madness, tune in every Monday of the season for a new episode of Monday Madness. You can also binge-watch every back episode from the comfort of your couch. You'll find cameo appearances, roving reports, and even a genuine miracle in one episode. Watch them all!
X. Thou shalt promote Lent Madness in thy church and community.
Don't keep the fun and the madness to yourself! Get others involved! Hand out full-color brackets (available for FREE on the Lent Madness website). Or go all out and follow the example of this church: