Dietrich Bonhoeffer vs. Sojourner Truth

Our Lenten journey is rapidly drawing to a close, friends. Yesterday in a hotly contested matchup between Constance and Julian of Norwich, Julian prevailed 55% to 45%. She will meet the winner of today’s Faithful Four battle between Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Sojourner Truth for the Golden Halo.

To make it to the Faithful Four, Bonhoeffer defeated Athanasius, Barnabas, and Columba while Truth made it past Soren Kierkegaard, Frances Joseph-Guudet, and Absalom Jones.

In the last in-season episode of Monday Madness, Tim and Scott discuss the millions of blank mugs sitting in a warehouse just waiting to be graced with the image of the 2016 Golden Halo Winner. Among other things.

After today, the scene will be set for the Championship Round on the Wednesday of Holy Week, aka “Spy Wednesday.” In the meantime, go vote!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

unnamed-2As we begin Holy Week reflecting on the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a man whose lifetime could have overlapped mine if only he had been less courageous and committed to living a fully Christian life, I find myself queasy. Queasy over his gruesome death at Flossenbürg only days before that death camp would be freed by the allied soldiers. Queasy over my knowledge that much as I wish it weren’t true, I wouldn’t have his courage.

Bonhoeffer came from a privileged family where a life of music, scholarship and travel was the norm. Yet when the German Evangelical Church welcomed the Nazi regime into power, Bonhoeffer joined the “Confessing Church” in protest. He began teaching at Finkenwalde, a Confessing Church seminary. But in 1937 the Nazis declared the teaching of these students illegal. After two years of being banned from teaching and even from public speaking, Bonhoeffer left Germany to teach at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Within a few weeks he felt that he had made a mistake and made plans to return to his homeland. His New York friends, fearing for his safety, encouraged him to continue doing God’s work of teaching and preaching far from the threatening Nazi regime. But, he opted to go back to Germany knowing of the dangers.

At about this time, Bonhoeffer’s brother-in-law, Hans von Dohnanyi was employed in the Nazi’s military intelligence office. In 1940, D
dsc_3299ohnanyi arranged for Bonhoeffer’s employment in his office. But while in this role he was assisting with the resistance movement. As part of this work, he and his brother-in-law amassed large financial donations ear-marked to help Jewish people escape Germany and other Nazi-occupied countries. It was by tracking these funds that the Nazis found out about their resistance work and had both men arrested, ultimately leading to their deaths.

After the war, ordinary German people, many of whom considered themselves to be Christians, said that they were unaware of the extermination of millions of people. They didn’t speak out against the atrocities because for years they had been stirred into a frenzy of hatred and fear of the “other.” Did they not really know what was happening to those families who were disappearing? Did they not really know what was happening in those camps?

Of course, they didn’t have 24/7 news cycles and social media as we do today. We don’t have an excuse to ignore those who stir up hatred and fear. As Christians, we must speak out against those who create dissent because of fear of people of another faith tradition or those speaking another language. As we worship in this Holy Week, we are called to follow Jesus. And we have the added benefit of having Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s example to follow. His witness and courage spans the decades, challenging us in this 21st century culture of “us” versus “them.” I pray that we will heed his message.

Beth Lewis

Sojourner Truth

unnamed-3When I started researching Sojourner Truth, I knew about what a 5th grader knows while doing a basic report for Black History Month: she was an ex-slave in early America, and gave a famous speech about women’s rights. She had that catch phrase, “Ain’t I a woman?” which made her sound folksy, like someone you’d want to drink a beer with.

What I did not expect was how stone cold brilliant she was. She spoke Dutch and English fluently. She spoke extemporaneously about political and social issues with more persuasion than men like Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. She carved out a place and a name for herself with little more than her wits. Her words remain as wise, as relevant, and as slyly funny as they were in the 19th century. (“Oh no, honey,” she said once. “I can’t read little things like letters. I read big things like men.”)

Sojourner was so prescient as to be eerie. Her advocacy of prison reform, for the abolition of capital punishment, for the rights of women, and for Black women specifically, reflect concerns that few others were talking about at the time, but would occupy American politics years in the future (and continue to occupy us today). Before the end of the Civil War, she asserted that newly-freed slaves would need reparations, and access to the property that had been confiscated from former Confederates, because otherwise they would be restricted to sharecropping, and other forms of economic slavery. (She was right).

But it would be a grave mistake to relegate Sojourner to being only a social activist. She did everything she did because of her unshakeable faith in unnamed-4Jesus Christ, and in her identity as a beloved and chosen child of God. She walked away from her life in bondage because Jesus told her to go. She changed her name because Jesus told her she had a job to seek the truth. She traveled the country, preaching the Good News of the equality that was the reality in God’s kingdom, and how to make that a reality in the kingdoms of the world. And she fought, tooth and nail, to live her life to make that true. Her every action was grounded in her faith in Christ.

I cannot imagine being in Sojourner’s shoes. Her life was filled with tragedy from a young age; not to mention what she faced from society at large. Yet, in the face of all that was arrayed against her, Sojourner held on to her faith, and her vision of Jesus called this world to, and with her heart fixed on these, she left us an incredible example, leading the way to a new world. After all, in her own words, “The truth is powerful, and will prevail.”

Vote Sojourner.

Megan Castellan

Dietrich Bonhoeffer vs. Sojourner Truth

  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer (52%, 3,836 Votes)
  • Sojourner Truth (48%, 3,521 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,357

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Bonhoeffer: Statue outside of St. Peter’s Church, Hamburg; Bonhoeffer Flossenburg Memorial  
Truth: Statue in Battle Creek, MI

218 Comments to "Dietrich Bonhoeffer vs. Sojourner Truth"

  1. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 22, 2016 - 8:00 am | Permalink

    In 1940 Walter Benjamin wrote that the Angel of History was trapped in the wind of “progress”: “a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them.” In 2009 Leonard Pitts wrote about an encounter between a white man and a black man. One was flaunting a Confederate flag and mouthing yahoo stuff. The other carried a gun. Words were exchanged; a shot was fired. Pitts commented that neither black nor white had a vision in which the other could exist with dignity. A week ago Rebecca Solnit wrote about Alex Nieto, gunned down in San Francisco by police for looking like a “gang” member in his ‘49ers outfit. This very day the Holocaust continues each time the Israeli army pushes a Palestinian Arab family out of their house in the encroachments of the Israeli Occupation and the settlement movement. We live in a corrupt world economic order. Who can help us treat the Other as human and thereby do our small part to usher in the kingdom of God? Bonhoeffer points to the centrality in the gospel of the action of “forebearing.” The ministry of “bearing” is accepting—and rejoicing in—the other person’s freedom to be fully human, with all his tics and flaws. “It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother.” Today our burden—both contemplative and activist—is to turn the angel’s face forward so that we all, together, see a future with justice.

    • John's Gravatar John
      March 22, 2016 - 10:17 am | Permalink

      A little misguided on the Israeli comment…otherwise, well said.

      • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
        March 22, 2016 - 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Agreed, John!

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        March 22, 2016 - 3:37 pm | Permalink

        Here’s a flyer for the Dare I Call you Cousin project, presented at the Havurah Shalom synagogue two weeks ago. Very important issue, very moving, a genuine challenge for our time:

      • TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
        March 22, 2016 - 4:38 pm | Permalink

        Sojourner wins the vote from me. She faced insurmountable odds and kept on keeping on. Bonhoeffer is great, too. It was a hard choice, but in the end, Sojourner won out.

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 22, 2016 - 7:15 pm | Permalink

        May I respectfully suggest that some people — fortunately not St.C, it seems — would take “misguided” as a fighting word. Plain “I think you’re wrong about the Israelis” would actually be less inflammatory. Though I’m sure you meant nothing by it.

        • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
          March 22, 2016 - 10:03 pm | Permalink

          Yes, or just “I disagree with you.” Plain fact, no judgment.

    • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
      March 22, 2016 - 10:27 am | Permalink

      A feel is a deep sadness for the end of Lent Madness.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      March 22, 2016 - 5:00 pm | Permalink

      I think your point on the Israel/Palestinian conflict is quite valid, St. Celia.

      • Nancy Torok's Gravatar Nancy Torok
        March 22, 2016 - 7:04 pm | Permalink

        I agree. Apartheid is wrong no matter where.

    • Sharon's Gravatar Sharon
      March 22, 2016 - 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Ok. I get that this is a good way to educate people about many courageous heroes, and all in good fun, but does the end justify the means that we should have to judge and deem one more worthy of wearing “the golden halo” (ugh) than the other? This makes the sacred profane, i.e.a misuse of something that should be held in reverence.

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 22, 2016 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

        Oops — sorry. Theses comments are anything but profane and the persons are held in great reverence. A little humor never hurt anyone or anything.

      • March 22, 2016 - 8:49 pm | Permalink

        As has been written elsewhere: Lent Madness is optional!

  2. Sue D's Gravatar Sue D
    March 22, 2016 - 8:06 am | Permalink

    Go SOJO.

  3. oliver eight years old's Gravatar oliver eight years old
    March 22, 2016 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    I voted for Sojourner Truth because she was a slave and knew Abram Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas

    • Steven Niccolls's Gravatar Steven Niccolls
      March 22, 2016 - 9:26 am | Permalink

      Oliver, I am voting with you. I am impressed that a person as young as you is taking interest in this activity. (Guessing you are the top student in your class.)

    • March 22, 2016 - 10:17 am | Permalink

      I am voting with you too, Oliver! It was hard to choose between Dietrich & Sojourner because each of them are Heroes in my heart but Ms. Truth received my vote.

    • tonip1's Gravatar tonip1
      March 22, 2016 - 11:35 am | Permalink

      Going with you today Oliver. Standing up for The Truth. This was particularly difficult because both of them speak so clearly to the troubles of the world today and both of them were tireless in their devotion to living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Whichever of them wins today, we are all winners to have both of these saints as witnesses for our lives and our journey.

      • Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
        March 22, 2016 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

        I so agree that this was tough and we are truly blessed to have learned about both of them.

    • Lesley Hildrey's Gravatar Lesley Hildrey
      March 22, 2016 - 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Me too Oliver, because her work still isn’t finished either.

    • Joyce Rush's Gravatar Joyce Rush
      March 22, 2016 - 1:39 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you, Oliver. This was a tough choice though. Both were so special.

  4. Alan Justice's Gravatar Alan Justice
    March 22, 2016 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    Who could choose between the two?

    • david's Gravatar david
      March 22, 2016 - 8:47 am | Permalink


    • Liz Parmalee's Gravatar Liz Parmalee
      March 22, 2016 - 9:02 am | Permalink

      It is very hard

    • Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
      March 22, 2016 - 9:40 am | Permalink

      I have been cheering for Bonhoeffer, suspecting that it would be a close race. I looked at the results and even at the vote of Oliver, Aged 8, and still voted for Bonhoeffer. It was the closest race so far, but I voted for Bonhoeffer because he returned to Germany voluntarily, following the call of his Lord, who said, “Greater love has no one than to lay down his life for his friends.” Bonhoeffer did so, knowing that it might require him to flesh out the title of his most famous book.

      • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
        March 22, 2016 - 3:30 pm | Permalink

        Both Deitrich Bonhoeffer and Sojourner Truth faithfully followed the One who is the Truth and the Life. And both stood for the truth, in the face of evil. But I am voting for Bonhoeffer because he stood for truth in the face of the apostasy of the majority of the Church in Germany, because he heeded God’s call to return to Germany even though he knew exactly what he would face when he returned, and because he was faithful to the true gospel and to the Lord even unto death. As inspiring as the faith, life, and ministry of Sojourner Truth is (and I am still amazed that she won a court case against her former owner!), I have to vote for a 20th century martyr. May we all have the courage to stand for the truth of the gospel and to be willing to pay “the cost of discipleship,” as he did!

        • Tom Canham's Gravatar Tom Canham
          March 22, 2016 - 9:57 pm | Permalink

          Your thoughts mirror mine.however, I believe that Sojourner Truth potentially faced the same fate that Bonhoeffer ultimately paid. She must have understood that what she was doing was likely as dangerous as what Bonhoeffer chose to do. Both risked death because of what they did and said. My vote went to Dietrich because he paid the ultimate price for his conviction. Both are worthy of the Golden Halo and in my opinion are the two in this round that are most worthy of that title.

    • Tracey Henley's Gravatar Tracey Henley
      March 22, 2016 - 10:29 am | Permalink

      Exactly. I don’t know one can choose between these two, but I am choosing Bonhoffer, because he knew exactly what he was returning to when he came back to Germany. He faced down the worst kind of evil human beings have produced — as did Sojourner, whose faith was such that I am sure she too would have given her life for all if faced with that necessity.

  5. Mike of Kenton's Gravatar Mike of Kenton
    March 22, 2016 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    I had to go with DB. To lay down one’s life is the greatest sacrifice of all.

  6. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    March 22, 2016 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    Both of these saints are amazing and I’m so happy I’ve learned more about them, but I’m going with the sisterhood today. Very very tough choice.

  7. Elizabeth Massey's Gravatar Elizabeth Massey
    March 22, 2016 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    What a difficult choice! The similarity in their proactive ministries to save and serve the marginalized from abuse and death strikes me as never before. And what’s more, both were trying to save people from ethnic discimination – save the victims and convert the perpetrators from their evil. And so it is that I vote for Sojourner who was for her entire life up against terrible odds and yet always kept the faith – she did not just survive, she prevailed. And as a Black woman. Today she is my heroine.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      March 22, 2016 - 3:36 pm | Permalink

      I voted for Bonhoeffer, but I agree with your comment about the similarity in their ministries, in that both sought “to save the marginalized from abuse and death.” Against almost anyone else, I would have voted for Sojourner Truth, but I had to vote for Bonhoeffer, one of the most courageous martyrs for the Lord to the evil that was Nazi Germany. May we all have the courage to stand against evil, as both Bonhoeffer and Truth did!

  8. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 22, 2016 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    I keep thinking about how we “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” Sojourner Truth really did that. I pray we do too.

  9. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 22, 2016 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful way to start the fray!

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 22, 2016 - 8:16 am | Permalink

      (I was replying to St. Celia, but the rest of you are great as well!)

  10. Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
    March 22, 2016 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    I hate this part of Lent Madness where the choices become harder and harder. Arrgghhh!!!

  11. Frederick's Gravatar Frederick
    March 22, 2016 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    This was a truly very difficult choice. Both were such incredibly gifted and passionate witnesses to Truth. I think because if where our culture finds itself at this time, Bonhoeffer spoke most deeply to me…thus I voted for him.

    • Ann's Gravatar Ann
      March 22, 2016 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      My thoughts as well. We also must have their courage, in each of their arenas. My fears surrounding current politics tipped my vote to Bonhoeffer.

    • Tracey Henley's Gravatar Tracey Henley
      March 22, 2016 - 10:31 am | Permalink

      What Frederick and Ann said.

  12. March 22, 2016 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    I voted for Sojourner Truth also. I am sorry I couldn’t vote for both her and Bonhoeffer, but in this particular election, thanks be to God, the choices are not glaringly stark. Although in Christ there is no East or West, no North or South, I want at least one Sainted Someone from this hemisphere.

  13. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    March 22, 2016 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Their words and their actions speak to us this very day on every side, in every newspaper, on every e-page. There are no losers this day unless we each fail to heed the example of one of these great heroes of the faith. Then we are the losers as is our world.

    • Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
      March 22, 2016 - 8:24 am | Permalink

      Well said, Donna.

    • Ann's Gravatar Ann
      March 22, 2016 - 8:38 am | Permalink


    • Charlene's Gravatar Charlene
      March 22, 2016 - 8:59 am | Permalink

      Amen, and amen!

    • Mary Robert's Gravatar Mary Robert
      March 22, 2016 - 9:25 am | Permalink


    • LauraT's Gravatar LauraT
      March 22, 2016 - 10:37 am | Permalink


    • March 22, 2016 - 10:59 am | Permalink


    • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
      March 22, 2016 - 11:05 am | Permalink

      Another “Amen!”

    • Kim on the Bayou's Gravatar Kim on the Bayou
      March 22, 2016 - 12:36 pm | Permalink


      • andrea's Gravatar andrea
        March 22, 2016 - 10:41 pm | Permalink

        Yet another “Amen!”

    • lucretia's Gravatar lucretia
      March 22, 2016 - 1:10 pm | Permalink

      As I prepare for Good Friday both of these saints speak to me as people following Christ to the cross by facing down the forces of evil. We need their examples more than ever today!
      Too bad they both can’t get our golden halo to add to the ones they already have.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      March 22, 2016 - 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Amen, Lucretia!

  14. Katharine K.'s Gravatar Katharine K.
    March 22, 2016 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    This year has been particularly agonizing, and I think today is the the most agonizing (for me) yet. Both of these tremendous people stood up, at the very real risk of their own lives, for the common humanity of us all, and for Jesus’s call that we act upon that knowledge, no matter the personal cost.

  15. Carol Townsend's Gravatar Carol Townsend
    March 22, 2016 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Just a side note for posterity. I voted for Dietrich (love his writing!!)…and the tally became 180 votes for DB and 178 votes for SJ. If I’d voted the other way, it would have been an exact tie. This is gonna be a good race to watch today!

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      March 22, 2016 - 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it is going to be an exciting race to watch. And, unlike the presidential race, no matter who wins, he or she will be worthy of the honor.

  16. Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
    March 22, 2016 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    A difficult decision for sure. I came into this round planning to vote for Sojourner as I have all along. Ms. Lewis made that decision a little tougher with her excellent blog on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. But I remain a Sojourner fan.

  17. Kirk Bonamici's Gravatar Kirk Bonamici
    March 22, 2016 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    As we sat in front of the TV this morning watching the news from Brussels, we questioned if there was ever a time where the world was truly at peace. Both Bonhoeffer and Truth exemplify the best of what we can be, but even in this day, we struggle with how to get there. Ultimately, the vote was cast for Bonhoeffer, but both provide inspiration in a world today that needs their wise counsel more than ever.

  18. Debbie Northern's Gravatar Debbie Northern
    March 22, 2016 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Again a tough choice! I voted for Sojourner Truth for her work toward dignity for all people, especially the oppressed. However, I also feel that the witness of Bonhoeffer is very important in this time of casting groups of people as “less” and the temptation to ignore actions against immigrant groups or religious groups.

  19. Olivia's Gravatar Olivia
    March 22, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    The Truth must prevail. Sojourner Truth lived every day in a society that was not friendly to her sex or race. And she mustered the strength to stand up for what was right. Go SOJO!

  20. CatherineF's Gravatar CatherineF
    March 22, 2016 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    As Holy Week 2016 continues, we, here in America have much to be grateful for. However, we are remiss as children of God if we turn our eyes from those who are in harm’s way or don’t have access to clean water, housing and safety from the dangers of the world. Both of these would be saints (in my eyes it is too hard to make a choice– are saints to me), they give us hope that in today’s crazy world, we will evolve as people of strength, who will REALLY hear the words of Jesus.. To love each other, and to hep each other on the journey.

  21. SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
    March 22, 2016 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Oh there is much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth in my house this morning. I’m totally paralyzed in my decision-making. Husband has cheerfully voted for Dietrich and gone on about his day, but I am a mess!

    And there is a about to be a huge Lent Madness-shaped hole in my heart. Lordy, Lordy, Lordy!

    • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
      March 22, 2016 - 11:07 am | Permalink

      Take heart, SusanLee! “50 Days of Fabulous” are beginning to help ease our post-LM pain.

  22. Jean Scott's Gravatar Jean Scott
    March 22, 2016 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Ever since I read the wonderful bio of Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas a few years ago he has been my personal hero. Because of his very personal impact on me there is no contest, no matter whom he faces. What a witness for Jesus!

  23. Sheila's Gravatar Sheila
    March 22, 2016 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    I voted for St. Clare…oops….knocked out pretty early. So, I have so enjoyed the bios for this season of LM. Today’s were very compelling for both worthy candidates. Sometimes, when the choice is difficult, I let Oliver 8 years old lead me. I voted for DB today but would also be delighted with ST for the win. I suspect that the winner of today’s vote will also take the Golden Halo. I am a Lent Madness fan and have only missed one vote all season. May all have a wonderful Holy Week and Easter.

  24. Jessica's Gravatar Jessica
    March 22, 2016 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    I want to see Sojourner wearing the Golden Halo!

  25. Martha Berger's Gravatar Martha Berger
    March 22, 2016 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    The most difficult choice of this voting madness to date. I could not imagine either one as “the other” relegated to a lesser position, both deeply committed to Jesus and to living out the gospel, no matter the cost..

    In the end I voted for Sojourner Truth because I think she’d look better on a Lent Madness Golden Halo Mug. It had to be superficial, as no other contrast showed one rising over the other. No wonder the early voting is tied 50/50.

  26. Melanie Mitchell's Gravatar Melanie Mitchell
    March 22, 2016 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    It was an agonizing decision, but ironically, the tipping factor in favor of Sojourner Truth was in Bonhoffer’s essay: “Bonhoeffer came from a privileged family where a life of music, scholarship and travel was the norm.” When I considered where Sojourner Truth came from, and how she labored under the dual disadvantage of being an African-American woman, my choice was clear.

    • Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
      March 22, 2016 - 10:46 am | Permalink

      I voted for DB because he passed through the eye of the needle, and gave up all to walk the talk.

    • March 22, 2016 - 11:09 am | Permalink

      I was thinking the exact same thought.

      And in this age in our culture when racism continues to wreak havoc with our democracy, I had to go with Sojourner. I can’t help but think that Bonhoeffer would have, too.

      Both are amazing examples of the faith, but the added weight of race makes Sojourner all the more impressive. I preached a sermon about race recently (long story as I’m a lay person) and borrowed a beautiful line from Walter Brueggemann about obedience.

      Brueggeman says obedience is “engaging in a life that embraces the large intentions of YHWH, which are marked by compassion, mercy and forgiveness.” I love that definition and so admire how both of these saints lived their lives embracing “the large intentions of YHWH.”

      • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
        March 22, 2016 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

        I love your comment, Allison, especially the last paragraph.

  27. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    March 22, 2016 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Hard, harder, hardest, but ultimately I did go with the superlative Sojourner.

  28. Dan Mueller's Gravatar Dan Mueller
    March 22, 2016 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    What happens in case of a tie? This is indeed a difficult decision. I am led to vote for Bonhoeffer. Having had family who lived in Europe during the Holocaust, he is a powerful example for me and for all of us. If we forget the past, history WILL repeat itself. I would hope that we can learn from the past, and learn to accept ALL people as members of God’s Family.

  29. Edna's Gravatar Edna
    March 22, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    SusanLee, I wish I were more like your husband and could just make this impossible choice and get on with my day, but I will come back a later this evening to cast my vote.

  30. Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
    March 22, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    A tough, tough choice, but as with yesterday I just go with the one who has shaped my journey for many years, Bonhoeffer. If he wins today, I have no idea how I will choose between him and Julian. But Sojourner is very worthy, too.

    • Nancy Torok's Gravatar Nancy Torok
      March 22, 2016 - 7:10 pm | Permalink

      I struggled with this one. Considering the state of the nation and the world right now, I came down on the side of Bonhoeffer whose example is so very needed.

  31. Johanne Hills's Gravatar Johanne Hills
    March 22, 2016 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    I am a Canadian and watch the social and political landscape of theworld, particularly the United States from that perspective. Over the past months I have begun to understand what might have been going on in Germany that permitted and assisted the rise of Hitler. The sense the Germans had that they were betrayed in the peace negotiations after WW1, the loss of national pride that rankled, the economic upheavals of the times leading to the world wide Depression, all those factors, which from this distance, mirror some of the lives of the disaffected and dissatisfied in the United States. It is scary to see the Front running Republican nominee stirring up the same fear and anger that Hitler channeled in his rise to power. I voted for Bonhoeffer because he reminds all of us that we are called to resist evil and proclaim Justice, with compassion.
    No matter who wins thank you all for the ideas and conversation of faith through Lent

    • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
      March 22, 2016 - 11:05 am | Permalink

      After wavering back and forth, I came to your post. Thank you for the clarity and strength of your writing. I have been perceiving the historic parallels of our current political situation since before anyone in the press started writing about them. Then came the additional terrorist acts I heard about on the radio during breakfast. Then I fead the fine essays of the celebrity bloggers, and all the posts. I am so grateful for both of these saints, but I vote for Bonhoeffer. Thanks to all who contributed to our mutual pondering this Lent.

      • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
        March 22, 2016 - 11:06 am | Permalink

        sorry, “read” not “fead”

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      March 22, 2016 - 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Johannes, it is very, very frightening from where I sit here in Georgia as well. (Our legislature just passed another one of those so-called “religious freedom” bills in the last week.) The political landscape on a national level looks very reminiscent of pre-WW2 Germany to me as well. We should never think that it can’t happen here.

  32. Tim Dewart's Gravatar Tim Dewart
    March 22, 2016 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    This may be the most difficult choice yet. I almost didn’t vote because both are so worthy. In the end I chose Bonhoeffer with a clear conscience but could just as easily voted for Sojourner Truth. I’d like to cast an offsetting ballot, but I know the wrath of the SEC would come down upon me.

  33. Sue Harris's Gravatar Sue Harris
    March 22, 2016 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    I voted for Dietrich Bonhoffer because he could have had an easy, pleasant life, but he chose to put himself into harm’s way – into the jaws of a death machine. And his writing strikes so many chords with me.

  34. david's Gravatar david
    March 22, 2016 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    this decision as tough as yesterday’s… and tomorrow will be more difficult still

  35. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    March 22, 2016 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    I could have voted for either one and at 8:41 EDT the score is 50-50, so others feel that too. But given how eerily similar are times are to Bonhoeffer’s, I had to go with him. Oh that Bonhoeffer had had our current day social media! He is an example to us of never allowing evil to slither around behind the scenes unchallenged. Dietrich, we need you today!!

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      March 22, 2016 - 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Amen, amen, and amen! May the Lord raise up Bonhoeffers in our day!

  36. Sarah- 15 years old's Gravatar Sarah- 15 years old
    March 22, 2016 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    TRUTH, really opened my eyes this year. I just loved her ways in fighting for her rights as a independent black woman. She was so devoted to the lord an Jesus Christ. She allowed them both to guid her through tough times, and she still came through strong. I have to go with Truth because she reminds a lot of strong women and men I know who are going through hard times.

    Go TRUTH!!!!

  37. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    March 22, 2016 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    It strikes me that if Soujourner had lived in Nazi Germany, she would have done as Dietrich did, working in all ways possible to preserve the lives and safety of those around her. Likewise, Dietrich, had he been born into Truth’s America, would have devoted his life to uplifting the oppressed and nurturing the dignity of every human soul. I don’t know who will win the most votes today, but I know each saint is touching each of us, illuminating our lives with their words and deeds and holy example.

    • Sandy's Gravatar Sandy
      March 22, 2016 - 10:30 am | Permalink

      I love this idea Peg S. picturing each of them just as inspirationally living the life of the other one. Somehow that is comforting while having to make this impossible choice.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      March 22, 2016 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Peg, I think you are right that, if their circumstances had been reversed, Dietrich and Sojourner would each have lived a life that resembled the life the other actually lived.

      • andrea's Gravatar andrea
        March 23, 2016 - 1:31 am | Permalink

        Peg S., I agree with you too. Both Would Go.

  38. Cheryl's Gravatar Cheryl
    March 22, 2016 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    This was the hardest choice to make!

    • Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
      March 22, 2016 - 9:02 am | Permalink

      I don’t think I can choose today. I love them both.

  39. Katharine K.'s Gravatar Katharine K.
    March 22, 2016 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    I’ve decided that, much as I adore Julian, the only reasonable solution is a double-faced mug — Sojourner AND Dietrich. Come on, SEC!!! 🙂

    • Charlene's Gravatar Charlene
      March 22, 2016 - 9:01 am | Permalink

      I second that one!

    • Venitra DeGraffenreid's Gravatar Venitra DeGraffenreid
      March 22, 2016 - 9:46 am | Permalink

      Hear, hear!

      • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
        March 22, 2016 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

        Me, fourth!

  40. Barbara S.'s Gravatar Barbara S.
    March 22, 2016 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    In this Holy Week, I see in my mind’s eye Bonhoeffer hung, naked, on the gallows at Flossenburg. I love Sojo, but can’t get that image out of my mind…..

  41. Lynda Jungkind's Gravatar Lynda Jungkind
    March 22, 2016 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    Both are so deserving. But, for Dietrich to go back and risk his life to help innocent people that were being persecuted because of their religion is true bravery and service to others. This is what Jesus is about. We must remember that many people turned their backs on the Jews including prominent Americans and our own country. Many of these lives could have been saved, but people chose to turn their backs and say it’s not happening or that’s ok; they’re Jewish. More so, Christians turned their backs because these people in need were not Christians, they were Jews. A sad time for all. Don’t you know Jesus was weeping. Let’s remember that Jesus helped many people who were different and who were considered outcasts. Shouldn’t we do the same today?

  42. March 22, 2016 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    I am honestly not sure who will get my vote this round. I had Columba going all the way. Sojourner is to be greatly admired for her humble seeking after the truth of freedom in Christ and Dietrich for his standing up to a political system which had the people in thrall. I shall have to wait, read the comments, and make my decision later in the day.

    • Venitra DeGraffenreid's Gravatar Venitra DeGraffenreid
      March 22, 2016 - 9:44 am | Permalink

      I will have to do the same.

  43. Liz Parmalee's Gravatar Liz Parmalee
    March 22, 2016 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    Both are awe-inspiring, but I went with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Very difficult choice

  44. March 22, 2016 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    This was the most difficult choice yet, and I will be happy with the outcome because these two are not just worthy to win the Golden Halo; they are perfect role models for us today. I was a little surprised at the suggestion that Soujourner Truth being a “social activist” required a follow-up to explain her Christian credentials in that role. I think being a Christian requires all of us to become “social activists” and it’s been the reluctance of the Church to engage more meaningfully and fully in the struggles for justice and equality for all people that has been such a huge turn off for many of us in the Generation X…and younger…demographics. If you believe in Soujourner Truth’s life and witness, then get engaged in breaking down the barriers that keep people in poverty. Both Truth and Bonhoeffer are not lives to simply be read and admired. Follow them to the cross, and make the world better for all.

    • Grace's Gravatar Grace
      March 22, 2016 - 11:59 am | Permalink


  45. March 22, 2016 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    Such a hard choice; they are both totally worthy. I voted for Bonhoeffer because his words on separation have always stayed with me; there is such honesty and faith in them. I trust that he and his fiance are together in heaven.
    Nothing can make up for the absence of someone whom we love, and it would be wrong to try and find a substitute; we must simply hold out and see it through. That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time it is a great consolation, for the gap, as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bonds between us. It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; he doesn’t fill it, but on the contrary, he keeps it empty and so helps us to keep alive out former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain.

  46. Greg Eischeid's Gravatar Greg Eischeid
    March 22, 2016 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    Like most of this years choices, very difficult. But I am biased toward the one that will lose tomorrow’s golden halo round…

  47. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 22, 2016 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    A desperately difficult decision today. How do you distinguish between two such remarkable people? In the end, I too was swayed by where each came from. Bonhoeffer is a much needed light for today, but he achieved all he did from the starting point of a world of privilege and education, whilst Sojourner Truth overcame slavery, prejudice and discrimination with passion, energy and humour. For Sojourner Truth to have accomplished all she did from her beginnings swayed me to vote for her.

  48. Diane R.'s Gravatar Diane R.
    March 22, 2016 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    Today’s results will no doubt be close. So thankful we don’t have to be concerned about hanging chads. God has given both a golden halo!

  49. Suzanne Hurst's Gravatar Suzanne Hurst
    March 22, 2016 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    I have never commented before but DB is so relevant to what is going on today that I had to vote for him. I hope we learn tolerance and not to let others pray upon our fears. We truly need to learn to live together.

  50. Susan C.'s Gravatar Susan C.
    March 22, 2016 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    I truly wanted Sojourner Truth to win the Golden Halo, yet love Bonhoeffer as revealed in the excellent stories of our Supreme Executive Committee. I meditated on the teachings of Jesus, who told how hard it is for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Sojourner Truth was forged in the crucible of slavery, thrived through her faith in God and Jesus Christ, achieving amazing accomplishments and great works. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a rich man who was able to follow in the steps of Christ even to his own cross, seeing evil that many people refused to see, and acting. He did what was harder than putting a camel through the eye of a needle. I believe that we desperately need more Truths and Bonhoeffers today and wish I could vote for both, but today I must cast my vote for Bonhoeffer.

    • Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
      March 22, 2016 - 9:43 am | Permalink

      I shall miss LM, particularly thoughtful comments such as this one. Thank you all.

  51. Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
    March 22, 2016 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Go Truth!!

  52. Steven Niccolls's Gravatar Steven Niccolls
    March 22, 2016 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    This one is the toughest to choose. I am deeply impressed with DB. However, I also am impressed with Ms. Truth. The final decision came down to growing up in a church that did a lot of activities with a sister Presbyterian Church named for Sojourner Truth. I am really hoping for overtime in this match up (maybe even a 4 overtime match.

  53. Mary Robert's Gravatar Mary Robert
    March 22, 2016 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    I find myself weeping over the words many of you have written this morning about both saints. I thought I was sure about my vote before I started; now I just wish I could vote for both of them.

  54. Heather's Gravatar Heather
    March 22, 2016 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    Just wow. I voted for one of them, but I hope to honor both of them. I have read more about Bonhoeffer, but now I’m going to seek out a more extensive bio of Sojourner. What amazing people, inspiring Christians.

  55. March 22, 2016 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    I voted SOJO. It was a very hard choice, but I think today, with fascism on the rise here at home in the US, we have to look within first, to take the log from our own eye before we seek to instruct others on how to be humane. The Truth will set you free!

  56. Venitra DeGraffenreid's Gravatar Venitra DeGraffenreid
    March 22, 2016 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    I am an African-American woman whose late husband was a German man. I have an acquaintance whose father, a young man in the Nazi era, was named after Boenhoffer. I really want to vote for both, and I am so very torn.

    • Katharine K.'s Gravatar Katharine K.
      March 22, 2016 - 9:46 am | Permalink

      Oh my goodness! Doesn’t get much more personal than that, Venirta! (Love your name, btw). Join with me in clamouring for a double-winner mug??

  57. Eileen C. Fisher's Gravatar Eileen C. Fisher
    March 22, 2016 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    As one commentator put it, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and Hell. He knowingly faced Evil and became a martyr. Sojourner Truth, for all the amazing things she accomplished in her lifetime, was no martyr. This was not a difficult choice for me. Bonhoeffer all the way to the GH! Hoffentlich! Stimmen Sie wieder fuer Bonhoeffer! Vielen Dank.

  58. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    March 22, 2016 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    Well…….all of us “old timers” knew it was going to come down to this as it has done so each and every dad-burned year thanks to the SEC. However, I agree with Martha Berger and also can’t imagine either Bonhoeffer or Truth as “the other”. It’s simply punching the blue circle for the one you finally choose and, believe it or not, I ain’t telling ! Both are as close to sainthood as you can get as far as I’m concerned and the bloggers obviously felt the same way.

  59. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    March 22, 2016 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    Tough choice, but in light of current presidential politics, I have to go with Bonhoeffer.

  60. NJ's Gravatar NJ
    March 22, 2016 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    Difficult choice today, sorry I can’t vote for both now (though I voted for each one in earlier rounds). My vote goes for Bonhoeffer, no doubt influenced by the current political climate. This is not a reflection on Sojourner Truth’s contributions or viability as a Golden Hali winner. The SEC won’t let us vote for two people in one vote, just the hardest this time.

  61. Mcobb's Gravatar Mcobb
    March 22, 2016 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    Going with the Underdog! We all know Sojourner Truth maybe a Golden Halo will make Bonhoeffer more of a household name.

  62. March 22, 2016 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    This was the most difficult choice today. Both are so deserving of this honor but in the end, I had to go with DB because he chose to go back to Germany, knowing that it was extremely dangerous. His writings speak to us in the chaotic, dangerous world we are living in today.

  63. Michael DeVine's Gravatar Michael DeVine
    March 22, 2016 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    Like all folks, this is a hard choice. I lean to D.B. simply because he was courageous and faithful in times when many could not see the dangers. Sadly, there are echoes of D.B.’s time in our society’s heart today that are equally dangerous, but subtle if you chose to ignore them.

  64. Dutton Morehouse's Gravatar Dutton Morehouse
    March 22, 2016 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Impossible choices once again. Drat! Can’t vote against Bonhoeffer, one of my moral heroes; but I finally cast my vote for Sojourner. I appreciate and agree with the earlier suggestion that,were she in Bonhoeffer’s place, she would done the same.

  65. Deacon Marcia's Gravatar Deacon Marcia
    March 22, 2016 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    As others have said, really tough choice. I voted for Bonhoeffer, but either is deserving of the golden halo.

  66. Danielle's Gravatar Danielle
    March 22, 2016 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    I think this is our closest contest this year. Both of their stories are alive in our world today. It is hard to make a choice between the two. The rising, open hatred and intolerance makes advocating for compassion, tolerance , equality and love a risky venture; one that might ask for great sacrifices from us, sacrifices that we have become unaccustomed to offer. What a powerful reminder for this week and every week.

  67. Martha Frances's Gravatar Martha Frances
    March 22, 2016 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    Hardest choice yet. Both are heroes to me. I grew up looking to Bonhoeffer & Paul Tillich as 2 German theologians who each served Godde & the crazy world of WWII. Both chose honorably, & I read their work & respect their life choices. Having said that, I must vote for Sojourner, mostly because of my concern for the ongoing horror of inequality in this country but also because I pray that women today do not forget the sacrifices that women & men made/make toward equality for women, for all of us. May we never forget. May our younger sisters build on their “mothers” successes & move forward, not back.

  68. JE Kaufman's Gravatar JE Kaufman
    March 22, 2016 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    It’s true — how difficult it is to vote for one or the other! From a different perspective, I know that I will rejoice in whoever gets the most votes today (and tomorrow) because they are inspiring and amazing people of God. I give thanks for them all.

  69. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 22, 2016 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer all the way. I knew little or nothing about him. Bravo, Beth for such a moving essay. It brought me to tears!

  70. Pat Floerke's Gravatar Pat Floerke
    March 22, 2016 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    All four of the Faithful Four blogs have been great, as are the saints on whose behalf they were written. If I hadn’t already decided to vote for, those blogs would not have made the decision easier.

    • Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
      March 22, 2016 - 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Pat: You are so right! Cheers to the wonderful Celebrity Bloggers in this year of Lent Madness.

      • Lucy A's Gravatar Lucy A
        March 22, 2016 - 9:33 pm | Permalink

        I agree totally – the Celebrity Bloggers have done a super job. And the whole Lent Madness experience this year has been wonderful – so many truly inspiring saints, and I have learned so much. Thank you SEC and the entire team! All four of the Faithful Four are truly worthy of the Golden Halo. The only problem is deciding which to vote for……..

  71. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 22, 2016 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    People!!!! GO JULIAN!!!!!

  72. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    March 22, 2016 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    Some days I wonder if the “older” saint might have been an example for the “younger”.

    Sojourner for the win!

  73. Robert Corey's Gravatar Robert Corey
    March 22, 2016 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    A closer vote than I had imagined. I voted for Sojourner because God uses base vessels for exalted purposes. Not to debase Ms. Truth. But we are reminded in scripture that God is glorified when the unlikely occurs. There must be a divine hand in action. Perhaps also for Dietrich — he was the camel through the needle’s eye. But I’m drawn more to the capstone, drawn from the rubble pile that the builders had rejected……

    Maybe not a battle of prisoners in the final (I’d have preferred a battle of martyrs). Maybe a battle of one who stood still and one who went wandering, both to tell the story of a vision granted them, perhaps by God.

  74. Lorna Worley's Gravatar Lorna Worley
    March 22, 2016 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    How can you choose between one who had everything and gave it up for Jesus and one who had nothing and followed Jesus anyway?

  75. Gloria's Gravatar Gloria
    March 22, 2016 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    For the first time in Lent Madness history I read the comments before voting hoping to find a comment to help me choose…I did not find one. So I settled it by reflecting on the consequences of actions; Bonhoeffer lived the last months, days, and hours of his life with dignity…in the horror of a concentration camp. I became a nurse at Montefiore Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA in the late fifties, early sixties. It took only a few images of people with numbers tattooed on their arms and memories of their stories to make my decision.

  76. meggan's Gravatar meggan
    March 22, 2016 - 10:39 am | Permalink


  77. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 22, 2016 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    I really want Dietrich to win the Golden Halo. I also want Sojourner to win the Golden Halo. And I ALSO want Julian to win the Golden Halo. That makes it very hard to vote! On the other hand, actually, this way I can’t lose, huh? Today I decided I would vote for Sojourner. But as my cursor was hovering over her button, I just couldn’t face not voting for Dietrich. So I moved my cursor, and then I couldn’t face not voting for Sojourner! As long as I felt so equally torn, I decided to vote for Sojourner in the hope of having a person of color wearing the Golden Halo. Black Lives Matter.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 22, 2016 - 11:02 am | Permalink

      ALL lives matter!

      • Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
        March 22, 2016 - 11:16 am | Permalink

        It is because all lives matter that the Black Lives Matter movement has found it necessary to form. All lives DO matter, but in actual practice it seems that very little attention is paid to the value of Black lives. So saying Black Lives Matter is important, precisely because all lives do matter. (Incidentally, I am Caucasian myself.) However, I don’t think LentMadness is the appropriate place to discuss this. I tried to find you on Facebook, but there are a number of Donna Devlins. I am Kathy Floerke — I think there’s just one of me if you want to continue this dialog elsewhere.

        • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
          March 22, 2016 - 11:20 am | Permalink

          Goodness! Several of me? There really is only one of me and I’m not on Facebook.

      • Louise's Gravatar Louise
        March 22, 2016 - 5:32 pm | Permalink

        That is the truth! Just ask these saints.

  78. LI Beth's Gravatar LI Beth
    March 22, 2016 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    My mother was a teenager during WW II. They truly did not know what atrosities were done to the Jews, only that they were taken away. Why did Western leaders, who were informed, not do anything sooner? The land where the synagogue stood was barren and bordered up as of 2006 when we went back to visit relatives. They lived on “Jew Alley” before the Nazis renamed it. My grandfather risked everything to help Jews and the resistance, narrowly avoiding arrest many times solely on his quick wit and quicker bicycle peddling. As much as I admire Sojourner Truth, a martyr outranks a preacher in my book every time.

  79. mjk's Gravatar mjk
    March 22, 2016 - 10:49 am | Permalink

    Dietrich would go, and he did,returning to Germany from the safety of the US. If we lost Constance, maybe we can have Dietrich. I am married to the son of Holocaust survivors, so am biased.

  80. Christina Thom's Gravatar Christina Thom
    March 22, 2016 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    People knew but were powerless. People fought but were nameless. Everyone’s name was Johann Smith. People worked great deeds behind closed doors in the night. Even after the last bullet flew and the hate lived. No written record exists of what happened behind those closed doors in the dead of night. Remember the person who most people were afraid of was there neighbor who was also doing things in the dead of night. The SS had ears.

  81. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 22, 2016 - 10:57 am | Permalink

    Sojourner Truth is the ideal evidence that the “soft bigotry of low expectations” should be forever banished. Slavery wasted so much talent. We are blessed by those brilliant people who rose above it and bequeathed such a great legacy. May it be so with the racism we have not yet escaped. Sojourner!

  82. March 22, 2016 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    I agree, Kathy. In the United States, today, Sojourner is a more appropriate winner, though both are heroes for sure. I’ve only been a player for a short time, and I wonder how the male-female balance of winners has stacked up?

    • Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
      March 22, 2016 - 11:10 am | Permalink

      6 previous Golden Halos — 4 men, 2 women. And 1 woman won the only Silver Halo.

  83. Deborah Sampson's Gravatar Deborah Sampson
    March 22, 2016 - 11:04 am | Permalink

    It was a tough choice. I am thrilled to have learned more about Sojourner Truth and in awe of what she accomplished. But I am German, my biological parents spent time in an SS prison. I must vote for a person of such conviction as Bonhoeffer.

  84. deacon georgia's Gravatar deacon georgia
    March 22, 2016 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    Today in Lent Madness we have to chose between the two, a decision good for 2016. The choice we need to make is to follow either one of them, a choice that gives Christ the victory.

  85. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 22, 2016 - 11:23 am | Permalink

    I was all ready to vote for Dietrich, until Megan wrote of Sojourner’s intellect–“stone cold brilliant” are the exact words. So was Dietrich, but that was already known and expected. But for a woman who had been a slave to have been so brilliant, to have stood up for women’s rights–that was unexpected.
    Sometimes God is in the unexpected.

  86. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    March 22, 2016 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    What was STruths name before she changed it? Both did great things. DB was about to get married but he was killed so he gets my vote

    • Carol G's Gravatar Carol G
      March 22, 2016 - 9:48 pm | Permalink

      The woman we know as Sojourner Truth was born Isabella –she changed her name in the 1840s as a result of a vision. This is based on reviews of two biographies.

  87. March 22, 2016 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    It was hard to choose today! I go with Sojourner Truth because her life was chronically difficult, where Bonhoeffer’s life was acutely difficult.

    I’ll be happy either way.

  88. don cardwell's Gravatar don cardwell
    March 22, 2016 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    In the year and a half he was imprisoned, DB was interrogated regularly by the Gestapo and never gave away his friends. At night, during the Allied bombing of Berlin, prison guards left their bomb shelter to huddle in DB’s cell. They gave him paper and smuggled out letters to his former students, pastoring to the young pastors serving as soldiers in the army. Many of them are the ones who corrupted the East German leaders, and made possible the restoration of Germany. His theological writing, also smuggled out, may well restore our church in our postmodern time. To remember Dietrich only for “the plot” is to ignore his life, his service, and devalue the life of this good man and martyr for our time. And I think he, surely, would vote today for Sojo. Praise God for our heroes.

  89. Debby Thomas's Gravatar Debby Thomas
    March 22, 2016 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    Dietrich had different mountains and valleys to travail, but they were as difficult for him as for the other saints including Sojourner. He would be the first to uphold Sojourner for her gifts and sacrifice…he knew what it meant for the “first to be last”. A very difficult choice….but must admit a long time affection for Bonhoeffer.

  90. Mark A. Dofflemyer's Gravatar Mark A. Dofflemyer
    March 22, 2016 - 11:58 am | Permalink

    For myself, this was the hardest selection to make.

  91. Robert E. Lewis's Gravatar Robert E. Lewis
    March 22, 2016 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    For me, Bonhoeffer. Because he challenges us to grow up and live in the “real” world of ugliness and pain and refuses to let anyone escape into any kind of sweet by-and-by. We have to live in the world as if there were no God supporting it– “etsi deus non daretur”.

  92. March 22, 2016 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Kudos to Beth and Megan for such compelling writing today. Made it even harder to choose. Both of these choices seem so relevant to current times.

    • March 22, 2016 - 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Great and wonderful celebrity bloggers, we appreciate your fine work… and in Holy Week too. Thank you.

  93. Yvonne's Gravatar Yvonne
    March 22, 2016 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I still haven’t decided, but I want to thank Megan for the end of her essay. I don’t think I have really thought about Sojourner through this lens of strong faith before and it makes her courage and her accomplishments all the more inspiring.

    “She did everything she did because of her unshakeable faith in Jesus Christ, and in her identity as a beloved and chosen child of God.” That sentence just says it all, and I find it incredibly moving this holy week. May we all do the same.
    Thanks to both bloggers. You did such a great job, I may not be able to choose! But I loved the learning.

    • March 22, 2016 - 4:05 pm | Permalink

      I’ve just made that quote my screen saver. Thank you Megan and Yvonne.

  94. March 22, 2016 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

    If I were a betting man, I would put my money on Bonhoeffer.

  95. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    March 22, 2016 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Very difficult choice today.
    Thank you Beth Lewis for your post about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the comparison between his world and ours today. I too hope and pray we Americans will heed his message.

  96. Kim on the Bayou's Gravatar Kim on the Bayou
    March 22, 2016 - 12:48 pm | Permalink

    SOJO gives me hope, comfort, and courage today.

    “I feel safe in the midst of my enemies, for the truth is powerful and will prevail.”

  97. Dan Mueller's Gravatar Dan Mueller
    March 22, 2016 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Unlike other days, this day I have been obsessed with reading all of the comments. In God’s eyes, both are equally worthy. But as I look at the current political climate, I have too look deeply at Bonhoeffer. He came from privilege and wealth. It would have been easy to “go along with the crowd.” But as a wealthy educated person who had the choice of living out his life in freedom in the United States, he instead chose to return to his own country embroiled in evil. He knew that when good people do nothing, evil thrives. He also had to know that this might not end well for him. Someone earlier mentioned Black Lives Matter. That is true. But in fact ALL LIVES MATTER. The Black churches in the USA had a profound influence on Dietrich. He willingly chose to give up his freedom in this country to fight evil in his home country. He knew that All Lives Matter. In the end, because of his decision, he bore a heavy cross; a “cross unto death” for what he knew to be right. I can think of no higher example, consdidering what is happening to different ethnicities in our current time, and the political climate in which we live. Dietrich truly practiced the ultimate cost of discipleship: He became a martyr for the faith.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 22, 2016 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Thank you.

  98. Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
    March 22, 2016 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Sojourner Truth was a prophet.

  99. Arnold's Gravatar Arnold
    March 22, 2016 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I believe that Sojourner’s Truth’s faithful witness is most relevant to the world today and to my own life. In part, this is because we all need more exposure to the witness of Christians who aren’t white, especially women. The write-up on her today was also excellent, and that reenforced my decision.

  100. Christi Hill's Gravatar Christi Hill
    March 22, 2016 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Bonhoffer as a means of keeping his name and the horrors in Nazi Germany
    during World War 2 in front of us. Hitler singled out a single religious group for

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 22, 2016 - 6:31 pm | Permalink

      I agree, Christi. Lest it happen again, we should never forget the Holocaust. Hitler singled out for destruction not only the Jews, but also the Roma, Communists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, pacifists, homosexuals, and many others, into the millions.
      Let us always remember.

  101. Story's Gravatar Story
    March 22, 2016 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    They both are amazing, but come on people you have to vote for Sojourner Truth! I want her to win the whole thing. I’ll be so sad if she doesn’t. (Okay, I know that is not the most compelling reason, vote for this person because I want you to, but still…)

  102. Susan A's Gravatar Susan A
    March 22, 2016 - 12:58 pm | Permalink

    This was so hard. I love Sojourner Truth, and her responsiveness to God, and her ability to articulate her wisdom; when I knew she was in the bracket, I had her pegged for the Golden Halo. But in the end, I find myself voting for the charism I think I need, which is the ability to run to danger rather than away from it. How can I, like Bonhoeffer, be an ally? As always, my Lent Madness vote is one that chooses the Saint whose work and ministry calls me out of my complacency. (Which, to be fair, both do. But there’s something about Bonhoeffer returning to Germany that moved me.)

  103. Galveston Tam's Gravatar Galveston Tam
    March 22, 2016 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

    What a joy to read such rigorous debate on two individuals so worthy of their saintly designation! I determined to vote for Bonhoeffer as long as possible back in round one, because I believe his life and message deserve to be spread further and wider in our part of the world. I am thankful Sojourner Truth does not need the vehicle of Lent Madness to launch her to prominence. She is a central figure in our country’s history – and happily someone most U.S. children now appropriately learn about in school. Not so with Dietrich, although it’s just as important our youth hear his wisdom and learn from his actions. With great respect and thankfulness for the life of Sojourner Truth, I confess I’m simply thrilled to see the distance widen in Bonhoeffer’s favor this morning!

  104. Lesley Hildrey's Gravatar Lesley Hildrey
    March 22, 2016 - 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Ahhh! Lent Madness you have succeeded in driving me crazy: I really love both of these! Having voted for S.T. I regret not voting for DB as on reflection, neither of them were doing work that has been completed.
    #BlackLivesMatter and Beth Lewis’ poignant words about prejudice and not supporting leaders that incite it.

  105. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    March 22, 2016 - 1:19 pm | Permalink

    This was a tough decision, but ultimately I went with Bonhoeffer. This man left certain safety to return to Germany. Once there, he went into the lion’s den to work, with his brother-in-law, right beneath the enemy’s nose. Such courage.

  106. Michael ArkAnglican's Gravatar Michael ArkAnglican
    March 22, 2016 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

    One reason that I had to vote for Mr. Bonhoeffer over Sojourner Truth is the political climate of the USA today.
    The campaign of Mr. Trump especially makes me fearful for the “other” here and in the world.

    • Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
      March 22, 2016 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

      You & me both!

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 22, 2016 - 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Me three.

  107. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    March 22, 2016 - 1:56 pm | Permalink

    “His witness and courage spans the decades, challenging us in this 21st century culture of ‘us’ versus ‘them.’ I pray that we will heed his message.” Amen. And thank you, CB Beth Lewis. Sojourner Truth is a remarkable woman, but Bonhoeffer gets my vote. My family’s history is entangled with that of WWII Germany, so his story hits very close to home. As the daughter of a refugee and someone who lives outside my passport country, my mind is occupied by the current refugee crisis and all the fear and anger revolving around that. Bonhoeffer’s witness speaks to that.

  108. Art's Gravatar Art
    March 22, 2016 - 1:59 pm | Permalink

    What has been left out of Bonhoeffer’s biography, is his involvement in the plot to kill Hitler. It was for this action he was executed.

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      March 22, 2016 - 5:52 pm | Permalink

      It has been discussed in the comments. Apparently, Bonhoeffer had friends who were involved in the assassination plot. He was not a conspirator but was considered guilty by association. His “crimes” were humanitarian acts to save lives of Jewish people, not efforts to take the life of Hitler–regardless of what the charges said. Given the timing of his execution and the circumstances of his death, it’s clear his actions mattered little. He was a victim of vengeance and fury. His endless faith and gentleness only fueled the anger of his captors.

  109. L. Norris's Gravatar L. Norris
    March 22, 2016 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Both undeniably extraordinary saints but Sojourner Truth wins my vote. Bonhoeffer made a noble choice to return to Germany and support the resistance, ultimately paying with his life but Sojourner Truth had an uphill battle her entire life.

  110. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    March 22, 2016 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

    God is the winner with saints like these.

  111. Emmy's Gravatar Emmy
    March 22, 2016 - 2:13 pm | Permalink

    What a contest! I have voted for both in all prior rounds, but I voted for Bonhoeffer today because his story is less well known in America; perhaps the Golden Halo will improve his exposure! Thanks to all the CBs, but especially to those who have done a terrific job with the Faithful Four, and most especially to Beth Lewis for reminding us today that “As Christians, we must speak out against those who create dissent because of fear of people of another faith tradition or those speaking another language.”
    That threat is as real today in America as it was 75 years ago in Bonhoeffer’s Germany. I can no longer say Go, Constance, but today I say Go, Dietrich! God give me the courage to be on your team.

  112. March 22, 2016 - 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Toughest choice of the contest, in my opinion. I finally just had to make a choice. I went with Sojourner, but with no specific reason other than I had to make a choice.

  113. Sue D's Gravatar Sue D
    March 22, 2016 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

    To everyone who wants SOJO to win the Golden Halo: Rally your friends and relatives! Go on Facebook and ask your friends to vote for SOJO!! Ask your office mates to vote for SOJO!!

  114. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    March 22, 2016 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

    An impossible choice. Two real modern saints. I voted for Dietrich Bonhoeffer because he died a martyr’s death for what he believed. If I only had a teaspoon of his courage…

  115. Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
    March 22, 2016 - 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I continue to be vaguely offended by the insistence of folks who it seems ought to know better that there is something incredibly “folksy” about the comment “ain’t I a woman?” As I’ve written here before, I’ve had the pleasure of working next to a bunch of folks of various types, many of whom would have matter-of-factly said the same thing this great lady did (or her biographers suggest she did), years ago.
    All of us have been using the term “ain’t” for decades now, if not centuries. I think I recall Alistair Cooke commenting (introducing “Upstairs Downstairs”) on it having crept into the usage in England in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, the term “folksy” takes on the form of a code for “not like us.” I disagree. I feel a real kinship with the many women this lady represents. I am a much better man than I could have been because there were some amazing women in my life.
    I feel a real pull toward Dieter as well, having stood in the classroom dedicated to his memory. However, it’s hard not say to Sojourner, “You go, Ma’am!” After all, just try to picture her reaction if she knew that at the State University of New York at New Paltz (not terribly far from where she was born, I believe), the library is named after her. I think she would maybe giggle a little and grin and make some observation about boys and girls borrowing books in a library named for a lady who could not read.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 22, 2016 - 4:48 pm | Permalink

      I think I remember from an earlier round that everything we have of what Sojourner said was written down, quite possibly by white men who may have used expressions like “ain’t” as a kind of folksy blackface so she would sound as their readers expected. She reportedly spoke excellent English and Dutch by the standards of the time, whatever that might mean: maybe that itself carried a subtext of “for one of her race and station,” or maybe not.

      I don’t use “ain’t” myself but wish I felt free to do so: it can be very useful, especially as Sojourner reportedly used it, to replace the nonexistent “amn’t.” Unfortunately countless generations of doubtless otherwise admirable schoolteachers have beaten it out of too many of us. The same is true in England, where in polite usage it only ever was an affectation of the Lord Peter Wimsey set and died out with them. It’s alive and well among British working folk, though, as I learned from a summer’s work on a construction site where no one, me included, would have dreamed of saying anything else.

      [Replying to Jim Oppenheimer ‘s comment at 3:55 — the system of Chinese boxes to house substrings of discussion doesn’t seem to work all the time.]

  116. Mama J's Gravatar Mama J
    March 22, 2016 - 4:00 pm | Permalink

    There are no ‘losers’ today. . . either choice is excellent for sooo many reasons! The arguments of my brothers and sisters are all valid and praiseworthy. Blessings on those who think so deeply and earnestly.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 22, 2016 - 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Thank you.

  117. Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
    March 22, 2016 - 4:37 pm | Permalink

    In his sermon at the Chrism Mass for the clergy of the Diocese of NJ today, our Bishop Chip Stokes said more than once that present trends in America had made him think of Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church, and I don’t think the Bishop is following Lent Madness. He was reflecting, in part, on the Word to the Church recently issued by the House of Bishops (if you haven’t yet read it, do: as well as on the passion of Jesus. I voted for Bonhoeffer this morning, or I would do so again — and I say that full of great admiration for Sojourner Truth. These two certainly deserve to be in the Faithful Four!

  118. Claire o' Quincy's Gravatar Claire o' Quincy
    March 22, 2016 - 5:14 pm | Permalink

    This was a tough, tough choice. I went for Ms. Truth. Off topic as this may be, you folks are the perfect group to ask. I am a UU raised as a an Irish Catholic who works for a florist. Today, I took an Easter order with a message for on its card, “Happy Resurrection Day”. I’ve never heard such a greeting. Can anyone help me with this one? Just curious….

    • John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
      March 22, 2016 - 6:25 pm | Permalink

      This message might be a reflection of Eastern Orthodox liturgical practice, in which one name for Easter is “Sunday of the Resurrection” or “Resurrection Sunday.” Another fact: Orthodoxy recognizes 12 Great Feasts but does not include Easter in the list because that would detract from its unique status. No Easter, no Christianity! As Episcopalians we are indebted to Orthodoxy for the form of our Great Thanksgiving, which differs sharply from the English BCP in certain key respects. I can’t tell whether the floral arrangement was ordered by an Orthodox Christian or an Orthodox sympathizer, and of course there may be another reason altogether, but this is an educated guess on my part, whatever it’s worth! Peace and joy be yours this Eastertide, ~jl

      • Claire o' Quincy's Gravatar Claire o' Quincy
        March 23, 2016 - 7:11 am | Permalink

        Thank you for this helpful information. I will share it with my boss

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 22, 2016 - 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Well, according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, that name is “preferred by some Protestants.” Perhaps that’s because “Easter” was the name of the pagan spring festival named for the Germanic dawn goddess, which the Church unblushingly repurposed without bothering to change the name. In doing so they expressed a common Christian attitude toward pagan customs, but it’s quite understandable that other Christians might find it excessively tolerant.

      Meanwhile we converted pagans may show that we do know the difference by singing “O Day of Resurrection” on that happiest of mornings.

      • Claire o' Quincy's Gravatar Claire o' Quincy
        March 23, 2016 - 7:15 am | Permalink

        Thank you for offering another possible source for the phrase. I didn’t think of going to the Wiki as I knew LM participants are a fount of knowledge.

  119. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 22, 2016 - 6:13 pm | Permalink

    At some point in the Madness it quite suddenly became apparent to me — not in any absolute sense, just to me — that Sojourner Truth was a monumental figure in the history of the Church and the world, on the plane of the greatest saints of history. I can’t even say any more clearly what I mean by that — and no, I make no claim to special insight and no hazelnuts were involved — but there it is. So my vote goes to Sojourner today and — spoiler alert, O waiting world! — tomorrow as well.

  120. March 22, 2016 - 6:29 pm | Permalink

    I continually return to Bonhoeffer’s book “Life Together”, especially the confessional material (mutual confession). This is one of the many reasons I have voted for Bonhoeffer all along. And because of the Barmen Declaration….but most of all, I consider what an agonizing decision it must have been to join the plot…and what a terrible tragedy it is that he died so close to liberation days. Since Madness is coming to an end, perhaps I will turn to the writings of the wonderful saints we have met this season, starting with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And I will miss all of your commentaries.

    • Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
      March 22, 2016 - 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Wonderful plan! I will be checking our “library” to see if we still have Bonhoeffer titles.
      On the Hitler plot, Wayne Floyd (general editor of Augsburg Fortress series) would be a source to consult.

  121. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 22, 2016 - 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Sojourner Truth for me. Bonhoeffer’s extraordinary heroism is undeniable, but at this moment in Lent Madness I’m thinking of the ordinary heroism we need in America today. Perhaps that’s a parochial outlook, but at the moment it’s how I feel.

  122. March 22, 2016 - 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Well I flipped a coin. Heads: Dietrich; Tails: Sojourner.


    But, then I looked at the vote thus far. Went for Sojourner…

    They are both worthy.

  123. Jane's Gravatar Jane
    March 22, 2016 - 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Oh I’m so excited Dietrich won this crucial round! But it’s frustrating too because I really liked Sojoiner too…she was wonderful. Although I went with Dietrich, it is SO rough voting, both deserve to win.

    • March 22, 2016 - 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Did he win? I thought there was another ten hours or so to vote!

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 22, 2016 - 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Till midnight.

        • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
          March 22, 2016 - 8:55 pm | Permalink

          Not till Tim finishes his morning run around 8?

  124. Lucy Sue's Gravatar Lucy Sue
    March 22, 2016 - 8:05 pm | Permalink

    This is a bit of a digression but, please, Tim and Scott, send us a prayer for the people of Brussels and those there but not from there –

  125. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 22, 2016 - 8:54 pm | Permalink

    It really is time we eliminated “all lives matter” from the discourse of this community. That may happen naturally if tomorrow’s contest proves to be between two Caucasoids, unless some Bonhoeffer supporter should be so indelicate as to state that Jewish lives matter; but let’s try and remember next year.

    Why? Because “All lives matter” is a truism: a truth as to which all agree, and therefore meaningless as an assertion. Who denies that all lives matter? No one in this community, I trust. In the wider culture, only the deeply wicked and the gravely deluded. Certainly not those who assert that Black Lives matter, which is only a corollary of the truism.

    What does it mean, then, to shout “ALL lives matter!,” capital letters and all, as if it were a meaningful retort? It may be an indirect assertion about the persons addressed: that they are so wicked, or so ignorant, as to have to be told such a thing. Or worse, hurled in opposition to “Black lives matter!,” it may not unreasonably, whether rightly or wrongly, be taken as code for “Black lives DON’T matter!”

    Of course all lives matter: Black lives matter, Jewish lives matter, children’s lives matter, women’s lives matter, the lives of prisoners and the poor matter. But unlike the first of those statements, the rest have meaning because in each case there are those who deny them in word or deed. That, not because they would devalue other lives, is why people make such statements. That is why Jesus made them.

    So it’s more than understandable that such people are angered and offended when “ALL lives matter!” comes flying across the parapet. Those that launched the catapult, whatever their intentions, shouldn’t be surprised by such reactions and would do well to forbear, lest they give further offense and sow discord where agreement should naturally prevail.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 22, 2016 - 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Well, excuse me!

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 22, 2016 - 9:53 pm | Permalink


    • Susan A's Gravatar Susan A
      March 22, 2016 - 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Well said, Davis. Ironically, it is my sense of the call from Black Lives Matter, to try to be an ally, that led me to vote for Bonhoeffer!

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 22, 2016 - 10:46 pm | Permalink

        Makes perfect sense.

  126. Marilyn's Gravatar Marilyn
    March 22, 2016 - 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Today we have the hardest choice of all to make. As I write this, I’m still deciding which saint, Bonhoeffer or Truth, (and both were Saints with a capital S to me) to give my vote to. I have waited all day hoping for inspiration and still I want BOTH to win.

  127. Izzie's Gravatar Izzie
    March 22, 2016 - 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Sojourner Truth

  128. elizabeth pennington's Gravatar elizabeth pennington
    March 23, 2016 - 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Oddly enough the site wouldn’t allow me to vote but I probably was better off that way this time….

Comments are closed.