Martin Luther vs. David Oakerhater

“It’s not fair!” We sometimes hear such complaints about Lent Madness. And..of course it’s not fair. Which is why we call this little devotion Lent MADNESS and not Lent FAIRNESS. Thus, we end up with matchups such as today’s that pit a well-known Reformer of the Middle Ages against a lesser known late 19th, early 20th century Native-American convert to Christianity. So while all may be fair in love and war, all is decidedly not fair in Lent Madness.

Yesterday, to further illustrate this point, was the Battle of the Augustines aka Augustine Anarchy. Going into this matchup one thing was crystal clear: Augustine would emerge victorious. In this case Augustine of Canterbury bested Augustine of Hippo 57% to 43% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen.

And if you missed yesterday’s epic edition of Monday Madness, you can watch it here. Tim and Scott discuss the week ahead and answer some very pertinent viewer mail.

Martin Luther

Just before the beginning of the twenty-first century, the Arts & Entertainment Network (A&E) compiled a list of the 100 most influential people of the millennium. A sixteenth-century former monk from a small town in Germany would have been very surprised to find himself ranked number three on this list!

Born in 1483, Luther’s parents encouraged him to study law. But in 1505, he was caught in a terrible thunderstorm while returning to the university from a trip home. Fearing for his life, Luther pledged to become a monk if his life were spared. He survived the stormy night and honored his commitment.

Luther served as a monk, university professor, and parish priest. As he studied, taught, and preached, he became increasingly distressed by what he saw as pernicious failures of the Roman Catholic Church. Among the most troubling were the selling of indulgences (paying to receive pardons for sins), a focus on vocation as being under the sole purview of those called to religious life, the insistence upon clerical celibacy, and the crippling lack of faith formation among the common people.

The posting of his 95 Theses on October 31, 1517, is commonly regarded as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Five hundred years later, we can clearly see his legacy. He was intent on making worship the center of the life of the Church, including excellent preaching and music, and focused his teaching and preaching on God’s grace. He admonished priests to teach parents how to make their homes the center of childhood faith formation by using his Small Catechism. Luther called for an end to corruption in the Church, especially through the sale of indulgences, and translated the Bible into the German vernacular, allowing common, literate people to read the word of God in their mother tongue.

His marriage to former nun Katarina von Bora and the lively home they created together offered a space for Luther and other scholars to debate around the kitchen table while enjoying Katarina’s generous hospitality. Martin Luther died in 1546, but his influence continues to echo mightily across new generations, as they discover his theology of a grace-filled God.

Collect for Martin Luther 
Almighty God, gracious Lord, we thank you that your Holy Spirit renews the church in every age. Pour out your Holy Spirit on your faithful people. Keep them steadfast in your word, protect and comfort them in times of trial, defend them against all enemies of the gospel and bestow on the church your saving peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

— Beth Lewis

David Oakerhater

Making Medicine (O-kuh-ha-tuh), also known as David Pendleton Oakerhater, was born into the Cheyenne nation (Oklahoma Territory) around 1847. He participated in his first war party at a young age, and over time, he gained a reputation among the Cheyenne as a skilled warrior.

Making Medicine first came into conflict with the United States after a retaliatory raid on poaching settlers. The US government responded to the Cheyenne with a war of attrition to deprive the Cheyenne and other affiliated tribes of food and supplies. By 1875, Making Medicine and several fellow warriors surrendered to the United States at Fort Sill. A group of seventy-four of those who surrendered were arrested, detained without trial, and moved to Saint Augustine, Florida. Making Medicine and his fellow captives were forced to assimilate into American society. At Fort Marion, he and his fellow captives learned English, taught art and archery lessons, and had their first encounters with Christian missionaries. By 1877 Episcopal deaconness Mary Douglass Burnham made arrangements to sponsor the remaining Cheyenne prisoners for positions of service in the church.

Making Medicine was sponsored by Alice and George H. Pendleton and brought to Paris Hill, New York, where he became affiliated with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Under the guidance of the parish priest, he was educated in the scriptures and baptized in 1878, taking the name David from the Bible and Pendleton in honor of his sponsors. His theological formation continued, and in 1881 he was confirmed and ordained as a deacon.

Not long after, Oakerhater returned to Oklahoma as a missionary and took part in the founding of schools and missions, including those in Bridgeport and Whirlwind. He continued serving his people until his death in 1931. Upon his return to Oklahoma, he told the Cheyenne, “You all know me. You remember when I led you out to war I went first, and what I told you was true. Now I have been away to the East and I have learned about another captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is my leader. He goes first, and all he tells me is true. I come back to my people to tell you to go with me now in this new road, a war that makes all for peace.”

Collect for David Oakerhater
O God of unsearchable wisdom and infinite mercy, you chose a captive warrior, David Oakerhater, to be your servant, and sent him to be a missionary to his own people, and to exercise the office of a deacon among them: Liberate us, who commemorate him today, from bondage to self, and empower us for service to you and to the neighbors you have given us; through Jesus Christ, the captain of our salvation; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

— David Sibley

Martin Luther vs. David Oakerhater

  • Martin Luther (58%, 4,558 Votes)
  • David Oakerhater (42%, 3,301 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,859

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Martin Luther—Lucas Cranach the Elder, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
David Oakerhater—By A.B. Gardner, Utica, NY, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

269 Comments to "Martin Luther vs. David Oakerhater"

  1. Ann Garvin's Gravatar Ann Garvin
    March 14, 2017 - 8:06 am | Permalink

    I first learned about (and loved) David Oakerhater in Lent Madness 2015, and am glad to see he’s back! It is a pleasure to vote for him again. Go, Making Medicine!

    • Max's Gravatar Max
      March 14, 2017 - 9:31 am | Permalink

      How could David Oakerhater, with his humble desire for holiness, be losing to Martin Luther? By turning Nominalism into the mainstream philosophy of the Church, Luther began the destruction of the Church’s vision of God as the Beautiful Mystery in whom we are called to participate, and replaced Him as a dogmatic Lawgiver who we appease by vain individualism.

      • k's Gravatar k
        March 14, 2017 - 10:37 am | Permalink

        Wow. Although I’m not sure that I entirely agree, your argument is well thought and well represented. Thank you for giving me something to think about.

      • Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
        March 14, 2017 - 10:45 am | Permalink

        I think you have Luther confused with Calvin. The Priesthood of All Believers encourages a search for understanding of faith in the scriptures rather than a slavish devotion to the Law.

        • Max's Gravatar Max
          March 14, 2017 - 11:20 am | Permalink

          It became a Priesthood of all Believers who believed what Luther said… Luther’s extremism was written out by the more conciliar Philip Melancthon (only later to be used by Calvin). Luther was heavily influenced by the works of leading nominalists like Gabriel Biel and William of Ockham, pitting himself against the neoplatonism that had defined the Christian worldview since Justin Martyr. His ‘reformation’ was really a completely new religion -one that saw individuals aligning themselves to the dogmatism of “sola fidei” and free to interpret “sola scriptura” in any way that was most convenient to their earthly power and prosperity.

        • Susan's Gravatar Susan
          March 14, 2017 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

          Carolyn, is absolutely right.Max, if you believe that Luther thought God was only a Law Giver you did not grow up in the same loving Lutheran Faith as I did.

          • Max's Gravatar Max
            March 14, 2017 - 1:06 pm | Permalink

            The Lutheran Faith is a compromise made between Luther on one side and the Catholic Church’s theology of the time on the other… and mediated by Philip Melancthon (who revised Luther’s works). Most Lutherans probably would be shocked by a lot of Luther’s later works. Still he spearheaded (with the ammunition provided by nominalist academics) the destruction of the neoplatonic medieval outlook and put Christianity on the trajectory towards fundamentalism that defines both Catholics and Protestants today…

        • Rita Griffith's Gravatar Rita Griffith
          March 14, 2017 - 11:30 pm | Permalink

          I agree with you, Carolyn. I think Max is buying into the narrative of Luther that the Roman church has told for a long, long time. I voted for him because he was undoubtedly the biggest influence on Christianity in the last 500 years. Not only Protestants benefited from him, but the RCC was forced to acknowledge their need to change; and they did.

          I didn’t vote for Oakerhater perhaps because I hated the fact that he was made a convert by force and torture, Not his fault, but with what a brainwashed mind he must have come out! Poor guy.

      • Janet E. Vetter's Gravatar Janet E. Vetter
        March 14, 2017 - 11:44 am | Permalink

        Totally disagree about Luther. While I love the mystery of God, I also love what Luther gave us: a God who was not approachable only by trained clergy but one whom everyone could know, who loves us, who stands at the center of the family, and whom we can celebrate simply in joy and song and laughter and the simple pleasures of everyday life as well as in the great mysteries.

        • James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
          March 14, 2017 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I too found the dismissive comments about Martin sad. His main impetus was the utterly corrupt state of the authorities at that time, and they adamantly declined to consider the possibility that they might need reform. His change of focus from legalism to simply being saved by believing was certainly revolutionary for its time. I also think that this man is the most warmly remembered of all of the reformers, something that counts for a great deal.
          As a musician, I also love his insistence on appropriating and using great tunes, and the heck with where they came from. “Why should the devil have all the good tunes?” he supposedly once said.
          Why indeed!?!?

        • Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
          March 14, 2017 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

          I completely agree with your thoughts. Saved by grace–3 years of Lutheran confirmation classes:) But am very happy with our 40 years in the Episcopal Church.

      • John Burow's Gravatar John Burow
        March 14, 2017 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Luther’s theology of the cross; his acceptance of the paradox of both/and in so much of his theology: sinner/saint; God hidden/revealed; two kingdoms; the mixed character of Scripture shows him more open to mystery than many who came after. I could wish that Luther had not privileged the metaphor of forensic justification above all the other ways to talk about our salvation, but my overall impression is that the theologian who loved good music; kept the Eucharist central to worship, and threw an inkwell at the devil was open to God who cold be experience in both mystery and in revelation.

      • Dan Schoof's Gravatar Dan Schoof
        March 14, 2017 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

        I’ll bet Oakerhater’s move to Florida was to a city that was named after St Augustine of Hippo and NOT St. Augustine of Canterbury. I’m

      • Dan Schoof's Gravatar Dan Schoof
        March 14, 2017 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

        …or by grace alone.

      • Sally Fox's Gravatar Sally Fox
        March 14, 2017 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

        Martin Luther followed right in the steps of Paul of Tarsus and Augustine of Hippo. “Someone somewhere is happy and having fun, and we must put the quietus on THAT!

    • Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
      March 14, 2017 - 6:41 pm | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly. Hopefully by morning he will be in the lead

  2. Nancy H's Gravatar Nancy H
    March 14, 2017 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    In this 500th anniversary year, I had to vote for Martin Luther. Especially as I am soon to make a pilgrimage to Wittenburg in Germany in a few weeks.

    • Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
      March 14, 2017 - 10:26 am | Permalink

      I agree. In this 500th anniversary year, we honor Luther. He certainly wasn’t perfect, but his work continues to influence us today.

  3. Darren's Gravatar Darren
    March 14, 2017 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    I’ve got Luther going to the final. He is a great example of how we should carry our Christian mission within the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times. (Episcopal seminarian here, while still proud of my Lutheran upbringing)

    • Denise Evans's Gravatar Denise Evans
      March 14, 2017 - 8:16 am | Permalink

      I’m with you on this one. Martin Luther is my choice to go all the way to the finals. Just think how brave it was to post those 95 Theses! Go Martin!

  4. Cathy's Gravatar Cathy
    March 14, 2017 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    I must vote for Making Medicine as a step in my commitment to reconciliation with First Nations Peoples.

    • Holly's Gravatar Holly
      March 14, 2017 - 10:45 am | Permalink

      I’m torn because there was so much pressure on Native Americans to give up their cultures, including their religions, and that makes it hard for me to vote for some of the missionary saints. I will have to research David Oakerhater a little more on my own before deciding.

      • Susan's Gravatar Susan
        March 14, 2017 - 11:29 am | Permalink

        I voted for David Oakerhater. Of the two men, he had to change himself the most. What does Christ ask us to do? Give up our old life and be born anew. Oakerhater did this. Luther followed a scholarly path, and merely changed from law to theology. David, on the other hand, was a Cherokee warrior— how did that change happen in him? How can I turn so completely to Jesus? Can I?
        I love that he returned to his home in Oklahoma. Well, we all know how that turned out for the Cherokee. Despite the travails of Native Americans, David ministers to his people, teaching a new way in Christ.
        What did it take for David to change?

        • David N.'s Gravatar David N.
          March 14, 2017 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

          I voted for Luther, but this is the best argument for Making Medicine aka “David Oakerhater” that I’ve heard. I HATE that anglicized transliteration of his Cherokee name, translation is better.

        • Candace's Gravatar Candace
          March 14, 2017 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

          Thank you, Susan, for voicing my thoughts! David’s transformation inspires all of us to truly allow Holy Spirit to make us “new creations in Christ!” Even though David is lagging behind in the votes, he walks forward in my book!

      • Kat McCleskey's Gravatar Kat McCleskey
        March 14, 2017 - 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Holly, I have this same struggle. I feel sad for David that his transformation came at the cost of his original culture, and the struggle that precipitated it was based on manifest destiny.

  5. Paige Corologos's Gravatar Paige Corologos
    March 14, 2017 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    I wish I could have voted for them both.

    • March 14, 2017 - 8:50 am | Permalink

      Agreed. But I went with Oakerhater in recognition of his conversion from war to peace.

      • John Crittenden's Gravatar John Crittenden
        March 14, 2017 - 10:03 am | Permalink

        Forced albeit! Is it not Christ within us. Amazing to see God amongst the displaced, and even more to see traditional Native spirituality become strong and interwoven in our fellowship!

      • March 14, 2017 - 11:43 am | Permalink

        While Martin is very important to the move to reform the Church, Oakerhater brought the word of God to the Native People of our country. I must go with Oakerhater!

        • pHil's Gravatar pHil
          March 14, 2017 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

          Well, I guess we are in need of MEDICINE these days. Affordable, that is.

    • Deacon Deb McLaughlin's Gravatar Deacon Deb McLaughlin
      March 14, 2017 - 9:26 am | Permalink


    • k's Gravatar k
      March 14, 2017 - 10:41 am | Permalink

      Agreed. In the end, I thought if not for Martin Luther, Making Medicine might not have come to his conversion.

  6. Larry Rogers's Gravatar Larry Rogers
    March 14, 2017 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Come on Okies.. Vote.

    • Deacon Deb McLaughlin's Gravatar Deacon Deb McLaughlin
      March 14, 2017 - 9:28 am | Permalink

      My sentiments, exactly. A deacon from Oklahoma – me, too!

  7. Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
    March 14, 2017 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    I agree; it is a terribly lopsided matchup. There is much to admire in David Oakerhater, but the great Martin Luther has to get my vote.

    • A kid's Gravatar A kid
      March 14, 2017 - 5:29 pm | Permalink


  8. Meg's Gravatar Meg
    March 14, 2017 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    I really wish David Oakerhater had been put up against someone else in this first round – I would have loved to vote for him.

    Martin Luther had such a great impact on the structure that was (in my observation) killing Christianity by what they were busy doing as “the church”… he earned my vote.

    • March 14, 2017 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Agree. Luther began the reformation of the church . He deserves to win
      But really would like to have seen Oakerhater up against a less known person

      • Jan Miller's Gravatar Jan Miller
        March 15, 2017 - 12:26 am | Permalink

        Technically the Protestant Refor ation began 70 years earlier with Jan Hus and the oravians.

  9. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    March 14, 2017 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    David Oakerhater all the way! I love his inspiring story, especially as he is from nearby Oklahoma. He is an example of the saint that lies within each of us, even those caught in the worst of circumstances. Also, I got to stick with the deacons. Oakerhater vs. Stephen in the final round?

    • Deacon Deb McLaughlin's Gravatar Deacon Deb McLaughlin
      March 14, 2017 - 9:27 am | Permalink

      Go deacs!!!

  10. Isabel Stanley's Gravatar Isabel Stanley
    March 14, 2017 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    I wish I could vote for both men because they both exemplify the wisdom of seeing a better way , following it, and encouraging others to do likewise. I’ll have to go for Martin Luther while tipping my hat reverently to David Oakerhater.

    • Nancy C.'s Gravatar Nancy C.
      March 14, 2017 - 1:04 pm | Permalink

      My sentiments also – in this tough match-up, much as I respect and admire Making Medicine, I just have to go with Luther.

  11. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    March 14, 2017 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    Both of these men were determined to make Christianity more accessible and relevant to the people around them. While David Oakerhater’s story is amazing since it seems that Christianity was forced on him (I thought it was pretty amazing when I read about it in Lent Madness 2015), I had to vote for for Martin Luther. His story spoke to me and I think I would have liked to be one of those around his table discussing theology.

    • March 14, 2017 - 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Love your comments and would also like to take Making Medicine to dinner!

  12. Emily's Gravatar Emily
    March 14, 2017 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Internet is acting weird due to the storm. Indie not mean to vote twice, if I did. Please do not cast me out!

  13. March 14, 2017 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    I’ve always loved the name “Oakerhater” and now that I know it means “Making Medicine,” I love it more. (And I’ve never much cared for Martin Luther, frankly.)

    • Bee Jay's Gravatar Bee Jay
      March 14, 2017 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

      I’m glad David is back, as another has said. I, too, am not a Luther fan. (All I was told about Lutheranism turned out to be wrong when I tried a Lutheran church.) Elite I agree he had some positive influence on Western Christendom, so did Calvin and Crammed and the Spanish mystics. — I am taking time out from an Ignatian retreat to vote! I’m for Oakenhater!

  14. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    March 14, 2017 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    You’re right. This is not fair! I know what Martin did changed organized religion, but my vote went to David, a man taken from his home but still having the faith to find God and return home to make a difference.

    • Mother and Son's Gravatar Mother and Son
      March 14, 2017 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Laura, So true!

  15. Alan Justice's Gravatar Alan Justice
    March 14, 2017 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    I voted for David Oakerhater because he was defeated in war, and kidnapped from his people, and still managed to find a moral, hopeful way through his life.

    • MR McKenney's Gravatar MR McKenney
      March 14, 2017 - 10:55 am | Permalink

      I totally agree with Alan, “he was defeated in war, and kidnapped from his people, and still managed to find a moral, hopeful way through his life”.

      • andrea's Gravatar andrea
        March 14, 2017 - 8:43 pm | Permalink

        That’s why I voted for him too. I also liked his art.

  16. March 14, 2017 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    I found David Oakerhater’s story compelling in a time when people seem to be unwilling to listen and hear opinion’s other than their own. He sounds like a good man from beginning to end, and was willing to listen to new information when it came his way. I wish I could see how his conversion would go down in social media today. My guess is that it would be diced and spliced to be shown as some sort of oppression. God works in ways we don’t understand.

  17. Charlyn's Gravatar Charlyn
    March 14, 2017 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    This combination was unfair to David. A Episcopal church I believe has been known for helping the American Indians I’m a big supporter of our Indian tribes so had to vote for David. Sorry Martin .

  18. Susan Adams's Gravatar Susan Adams
    March 14, 2017 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    The collect for David Oakerhater was the final impetus to vote for him. “Liberate us, who commemorate him today, from bondage to self, and empower us for service to you and to the neighbors you have given us…”

  19. Sofie's Gravatar Sofie
    March 14, 2017 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    I find I must abstain from this round of Lent Madness.
    I cannot vote for Luther despite his importance to the Reformation, because of his writings against the Jews, recommending the burning of all synagogues and Jewish homes, banishing if possible, forbidding rabbis to teach, forbidding all Jews to praise God in public (that is, worship as Jews), or to teach; that they be forbidden safe conduct on roads and highways; refusing to offer Jews food, drink, shelter, or any neighborly treatment; and so on. Setting Luther in his historical context (I am a historian) does nothing to erase Luther’s reaction to Jews’ general refusal to convert to Christianity. There’s no question of his not understanding the suffering engendered by his recommendations; indeed, that is precisely Luther’s aim.
    As to David Oakerhater: While I’d happily vote for a Native American to be part of the next round of Lent Madness, I can’t in good conscience vote for someone — even a Native American — who took enthusiastic part in the attempt to destroy indigenous languages and cultures. While I understand the mission of spreading the faith, the unfortunate fact is that in most cases, when it came to missions to First Nations peoples in the Americas, this was accompanied by cultural genocide on top of the actual genocide that had already occurred and was continuing.
    For those reasons, I’m sitting out this round. I look forward to tomorrow’s choice.

    • Mindy Duryea's Gravatar Mindy Duryea
      March 14, 2017 - 8:40 am | Permalink

      Thanks for all this information! I too could not vote for Luther because of his anti Semitism as well as a few other things that really bother me. I did vote for Oakerhater, but you make a very valid point regarding indigenous people’s language. Although it doesn’t seem to be as intentional as the damage Luther inflicted. Thanks for your post!

      • Margaret B Kober's Gravatar Margaret B Kober
        March 14, 2017 - 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Most Lutherans are surprised that Luther authored, “On Jews and Their Lies” in 1543. In the 1994 Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to the Jewish Community, the ELCA states “Grieving the complicity of our own tradition within this history of hatred, we express our urgent desire to live out our faith in Jesus Christ with love and respect for the Jewish people.” All of this just underlines Simul justus et peccator, simultaneously Saint and Sinner, applies to all of us, even Martin Luther.

    • Shelley M's Gravatar Shelley M
      March 14, 2017 - 8:53 am | Permalink

      Sofie, what a thoughtful and informative response. I’m glad I read your post before I voted. And now, I’m not sure I will. Thank you.

    • March 14, 2017 - 8:59 am | Permalink

      Good reasons for abstaining, Sofie. Luther’s unmentioned anti-Semitism bothered me. And I, too, see where the Christian mission to First Nations people contributed to their destruction. The saints are sinners,too.

      • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
        March 14, 2017 - 11:15 am | Permalink

        The Christian mission to First Nations people did not always contribute to their destruction. The first Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota, the Rt. Rev. Mr. Whipple, was tenacious in convincing President Lincoln to spare the lives of quite a number of the Sioux/Lakota/Dakota. Read the excellent book Lincoln’s Bishop for more on this important work of Bishop Whipple (who should be given a bracket berth in Lent Madness 2018).

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 14, 2017 - 9:20 am | Permalink

      I hear you, Sophie. I researched Luther’s anti-Semitism and found this: “Luther . . . proposed seven measures of “sharp mercy” that German princes could take against Jews: (1) burn their schools and synagogues; (2) transfer Jews to community settlements; (3) confiscate all Jewish literature, which was blasphemous; (4) prohibit rabbis to teach, on pain of death; (5) deny Jews safe-conduct, so as to prevent the spread of Judaism; (6) appropriate their wealth and use it to support converts and to prevent the lewd practice of usury; (7) assign Jews to manual labor as a form of penance.” (Eric Gritsch, Christianity Today) This is troubling indeed!

      And I agree with Sofie’s concerns about Oakerhater. I have mixed feelings about conversion-oriented mission work and its subsequent eradication of “inferior” cultures and world views. However, I NEVER abstain from voting, so I’m voting for David in the vain hope of saving my bracket. I can’t resist the underdog!

      • Linda Dunn's Gravatar Linda Dunn
        March 14, 2017 - 9:39 am | Permalink

        I am sorry for casting my vote for Luther and would love a do over. So,probably would he.

        • Allison Askins's Gravatar Allison Askins
          March 14, 2017 - 9:48 am | Permalink

          Well said, Linda. Me, too. 🙁

        • Donice Gilliland's Gravatar Donice Gilliland
          March 14, 2017 - 10:47 am | Permalink

          I feel the same; wish I had read this discussion first:( – will the Supreme Executive Committee weigh in???

        • Andrea's Gravatar Andrea
          March 14, 2017 - 11:46 am | Permalink

          Agree Linda.

        • March 14, 2017 - 4:42 pm | Permalink

          Well put, Linda. Luther eventually learned better, even if not in this world.

    • Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
      March 14, 2017 - 10:12 am | Permalink

      Thank you for a thorough treatment of the lesser known sides of both. I’m grateful for all comments which add to our knowledge of each day’s “contestants.”

      • k's Gravatar k
        March 14, 2017 - 10:44 am | Permalink


    • Molly's Gravatar Molly
      March 14, 2017 - 10:25 am | Permalink

      Hear hear! I like Luther’s contribution to the world of church music, but not his theology. Oakerhater sounded like a good choice, but he was involved in establishing those horrid schools. A Navajo friend of mine still has nightmares about the she attended. Abstain I must.

      • Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
        March 14, 2017 - 11:18 am | Permalink

        In my class on Literary Studies, we listened to Luther’s “Eine Feiste Burg” this morning. Rousing. (This is not a comment about how I voted; I have trouble with the anti-Semitism, too.)

    • March 14, 2017 - 10:37 am | Permalink

      A Christian faculty group I’m in is currently reading ‘Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys,’ an eye-opening look at the current, ongoing work among some Native Americans to worship and teach Christ in the Native culture, rather than the long-standing ‘tradition’, among The Native and non-Native Church both, to reject Native spiritual practice as ‘syncretism’ and evil. The latter was the only practice available to Making Medicine, sadly, so we should not condemn him for that but rather mourn what the European Church has done to American Natives. And, the book’s author stresses that the ‘mainline’ churches, Episcopal and Catholic at the forefront, have been much quicker to reform and accept Native ways of worship and honour Native culture in the Native Church. Doesn’t help with my vote, but learning all this is vital to those of us of European roots in the US, to repent and beg forgiveness of our God and our Native brethren, for what was done to them in the name of Christ.

      • Katharine Kroeber's Gravatar Katharine Kroeber
        March 14, 2017 - 10:53 am | Permalink

        Well said, Ruth!

    • Linda Zink's Gravatar Linda Zink
      March 14, 2017 - 10:48 am | Permalink

      Wish I had know this before I voted. I had never thought of abstaining in certain votes, but I will keep this in mind. Thank you for the info.

      • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
        March 14, 2017 - 11:20 am | Permalink

        Just keep that vote abstaining limited to things like Lent Madness. Do not let it spread to civil elections. Voter apathy is dangerous to American democracy.

    • Kelly Z's Gravatar Kelly Z
      March 14, 2017 - 11:29 am | Permalink

      Sophie – I appreciate your thoughts on today’s “contestants” and wish I had read this before I voted. However, I ultimately voted David Oakerhater and feel better about that choice than I would have about Martin Luther after reading your post. Oakerhater was forced to join the church and turn his back on his native culture, but made the best of an otherwise despicable situation he was placed in.

    • Lauren D's Gravatar Lauren D
      March 14, 2017 - 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for this, Sophie. I, like so many who have commented, am having the same internal debate. However, I am going to vote for Oakerhater because he returned to his home to help teach his people to navigate the new invasive culture being imposed upon them.

    • March 14, 2017 - 4:39 pm | Permalink

      I am aghast, Sofie. There’s much I dislike about Luther, but I had never heard of his virulent hatred of the Jews. Jesus, a Jew, must have wept.

    • Constance Santana's Gravatar Constance Santana
      March 15, 2017 - 2:31 am | Permalink

      Wow! Whew! Some really astounding information here regarding Luther’s position on the Jewish people. I certainly knew I wouldn’t be voting for him prior to seeing Sofie’s comments but I did cast my vote for Oakerhater although I agree with much of what Sofie stated. The difference for me is that he was basically stolen from his people and forced into Christianity. Then…he was saved by grace. Basically a very sad, sad bio but for the grace of God.

  20. Edwina's Gravatar Edwina
    March 14, 2017 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    David Oakerhater … Native American

  21. Sonia Stevenson's Gravatar Sonia Stevenson
    March 14, 2017 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Very unfair match up! However, to throw in another thought, sure to be considered heretical by some, Martin Luther under the guise of reforming the church, actually split it. David Oakerhater, “Making Medicine,” built it up

  22. Mindy Duryea's Gravatar Mindy Duryea
    March 14, 2017 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    Despite his important work I can’t vote for an anti Semite. The twisting of the doctrine of faith alone has left too many people out. Going with Oakerhater for these reasons.

  23. BeachcomberT's Gravatar BeachcomberT
    March 14, 2017 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    What a mismatched contest. Could the Exec Committee explain how they put their brackets together? Seems like just a roll of the dice. My sympathy was with Oakerhater but I vvoted for Luther because of his monumental impact on Christendom. Sad the Episcopal Church is still celebrating the “civilizing” of Native Americans and destruction of their culture. Is this really what Jesus wanted? You can introduce people to Christianity without taking away their land, their heritage and even their name.

  24. Sara L's Gravatar Sara L
    March 14, 2017 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Well, in the first round of the basketball version, there are #1 seeded teams playing #16 teams and the result is pretty much a foregone conclusion. Nevertheless, it’s good to learn about David Oh-kuh-ha-tuh through the write-up and thoughtful comments.

  25. Lois Keen's Gravatar Lois Keen
    March 14, 2017 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    I voted for Oakerhater. I don’t know why more are not!

  26. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    March 14, 2017 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    For Martin Luther and David Pendleton Oakerhater aka Making Medicine
    Hymnal ’82, 493 Azmon, O For a Thousand Tongues

    Two saints have we from different times
    Who served without surcease.
    One sought reform with vigor strong
    One led the way to peace.

    It was a dark and stormy night
    When Martin Luther found
    That being scared to faithfulness
    Could with God’s grace resound.

    “Reform!” he pleaded oft to Rome,
    But power would not heed.
    At risk of life he stood his ground
    To reform he would lead.

    Courage and strength were not enough
    To save the great Cheyenne.
    But through imprisonment and loss
    He learned with Christ to stand.

    The medicine he learned to make
    Brought hope in sad defeat.
    He led his people, not to war
    But to the Prince of Peace

    Glory to God for saints like these
    Who bore the tempest blast;
    And found their way through loss and pain
    To Christ the first and last.

    • Fran's Gravatar Fran
      March 14, 2017 - 8:55 am | Permalink

      Maybe the best poem yet! Thank you!

    • Catherine Craley's Gravatar Catherine Craley
      March 14, 2017 - 9:48 am | Permalink

      What a beautiful hymn you have written! Very inspiring for my day. Thank you.

    • lynn's Gravatar lynn
      March 14, 2017 - 9:52 am | Permalink

      I may know you.
      So, are you going to tell us for whom you voted?
      I’m Oakerhater all the way, and thinking of Sister Mary Elizabeth on this day.

      • Diana's Gravatar Diana
        March 14, 2017 - 10:27 am | Permalink

        You may indeed know me. And I suspect that I know you. As we shared a Novice Guardian, you already know who I voted for.

    • Deacon Dorothee's Gravatar Deacon Dorothee
      March 14, 2017 - 10:26 am | Permalink

      Thank you for this.

    • Katharine Kroeber's Gravatar Katharine Kroeber
      March 14, 2017 - 10:27 am | Permalink

      That poem is just wonderful! Thank you for gifting us with it!

    • Deacon Dorothee's Gravatar Deacon Dorothee
      March 14, 2017 - 10:28 am | Permalink

      Are only the Oakerhater fans commenting? Why is he behind in the polls? Will the SEC look into this?

    • March 14, 2017 - 3:29 pm | Permalink

      This is fabulous. Thank you!

    • A kid's Gravatar A kid
      March 14, 2017 - 5:30 pm | Permalink


    • Janet I's Gravatar Janet I
      March 14, 2017 - 8:34 pm | Permalink

      So wonderful! Thank you for these gems!

    • Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
      March 14, 2017 - 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for this Diana!

  27. Kathleen Sheehy's Gravatar Kathleen Sheehy
    March 14, 2017 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Part of the joy of Lent Madness is learning about lesser-known Saints. So my vote is for Making Medicine.

  28. March 14, 2017 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    I remember Oakerhater from 2015. Today I voted for him for several reasons none theological. I just like that he did not forget his people after his conversion and I like the way he presented Jesus as the new Captain. I know he will lose this round but he deserves votes.

  29. Gloria Ishida's Gravatar Gloria Ishida
    March 14, 2017 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    David Oakerhater was an estimable person but I doubt he was no more perfect than Martin Luther. Neither was faultless. I could not balance them though. I am a Lutheran from infancy and had to vote for Luther who was not only a brave pastor and theologian, also a good husband and father, the same as my Lutheran spouse.

  30. Kirk Bonamici's Gravatar Kirk Bonamici
    March 14, 2017 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    I really liked David’s quote on putting Jesus first, and think that in times of trouble, we need to remember that more. However, for voting purposes, Martin Luther was a game-changer. Anytime you can celebrate the 500th anniversary of an accomplishment (and I marked my calendar for 10/31/17) which still resonates to this day, it earns the checkmark.

  31. Fran's Gravatar Fran
    March 14, 2017 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    I too wanted to vote for both “saints”. However, I believe that Luther was instrumental in guiding reform of Christianity and thus had more far reaching influence in modern times. Loved Oakerhater’s story though!

  32. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    March 14, 2017 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    As a 19-year veteran of the diaconate, it pained me to vote for Luther, but, for perhaps the second time in their existence, A&E was right.

  33. Nancy Oliver's Gravatar Nancy Oliver
    March 14, 2017 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    This is like Duke playing the High School Champs from North Carolina. It’s not fair- but Making Medicine is putting up a good fight.

  34. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 14, 2017 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    As wonderful as Luther was to stand up to Rome even when he had to hide for fear he would be killed, I cannot vote for him due to his stance on the Jews. I think when he posted his theses he expected to start an academic discussion and did not realize what a structural change would come.

  35. March 14, 2017 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    I thought I would vote for Making Medicine, because he was an American and an Episcopalian, but I was charmed by the thought of Katarina and Martin’s dinner parties. Plus I have bobbleheads of Martin & Katarina, so … Anyone know where I can get a David Oakerhater bobblehead?

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 14, 2017 - 7:21 pm | Permalink

      David Oakerhater bobblehead sounds like something for Saintly Kitsch, if he gets that far, or at least the Lentorium.

      Whaddya say, SEC?

  36. Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
    March 14, 2017 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    I was inclined at first to vote for Martin Luther. But I just can’t agree with the central point of his theology: that faith alone, without works, is sufficient for salvation. I’m of the “faith without works is dead ” school. As James asserted in his second epistle, even devils believe in the One God (and tremble).

    • Margaret B Kober's Gravatar Margaret B Kober
      March 14, 2017 - 9:16 am | Permalink

      Luther called James a “straw epistle”. Your salvation was gained by Grace alone. Your works and care of others is a response to that incredible gift.

      • Robert Andrews-Bryant's Gravatar Robert Andrews-Bryant
        March 14, 2017 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

        What Lither actually said is that, compared to what Paul wrote, the Epistle of James is straw. That said, our Gospel readings during the weeks leading up to Lent would indicate that Jesus tended more toward James than he did Paul.

      • March 14, 2017 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Emotionally, I was inclined to vote for Oakerhater, but instead I chose Luther, because he reminded the church that grace alone, through faith, gives us salvation. And as you wrote, Margaret, our works are the fruit of that salvation. Actually, if James is read carefully, we see that he agrees with this. In his epistle he wrote “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.” Faith that doesn’t produce works is dead.

  37. Kelley Brown's Gravatar Kelley Brown
    March 14, 2017 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Martin Luther = Reformation.

  38. Dutton in Madison, GA's Gravatar Dutton in Madison, GA
    March 14, 2017 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    As a Deacon for 23 years, my heart is with Oakerhater for many reasons, but my head is with Luther – not least because I recently served as an interim pastor in a Lutheran congregation.

  39. Evelyn Casey's Gravatar Evelyn Casey
    March 14, 2017 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    I voted for Oakerhater in 2015 and was quite upset when he didn’t go further. Of course the Saints are sinners – we all are! Isn’t that the point of Easter?

  40. Margaret B Kober's Gravatar Margaret B Kober
    March 14, 2017 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    This is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and I am a cradle member of the Lutheran Church, so while David Oakerhater is impressive and I voted for him in 2015, not this year. Come on all you Lutheran Lent Madness players, let’s GOTV.

  41. Henry Langknecht's Gravatar Henry Langknecht
    March 14, 2017 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    I had Luther going up against Augustine (Hippo) just for the fun of it. Hippo lost to Canterbury, but I’m still sticking with ML. He had his grave faults, to be sure, but getting to the Lent Madness finals would be a nice way for him to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the 95 Thesis.

  42. March 14, 2017 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    You create such complicated choices… however, it is David once again that I support… there are way too many saints already from Europe….. and David’s ministry to First Nations Peoples cannot be overstated.

  43. Kathryn's Gravatar Kathryn
    March 14, 2017 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Larry got me with his rally cry to fellow Okies…. but reflection on the two lives gives me a respect for a man who was taken away from his home a warrior but returned there a changed man, modeling peace and a new way of living in the world. Go, David!

  44. Harriet's Gravatar Harriet
    March 14, 2017 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    Hard decision…but Luther has lots of votes. I’ll go with Oakerhater.

  45. Dan Mueller's Gravatar Dan Mueller
    March 14, 2017 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    Yes, a very tough choice. Luther, like all of us had his faults. Show me one “Saint” who does not. And I’m sure David had his faults, as do I. If it had not been Luther, it would have been some other monk or religious person who finally challenged the church of his day. Luther was not the first, just the one who succeeded without losing his life. In my mind, the most important thing that Luther restored to the church was the incredible Grace that God bestows on all of us, regardless of the magnitude of our sins and failures. I have failed many times in life, but by God’s Grace working through others, I have always been able to get back up. Because of Luther’s unswerving committment to God’s Grace and the crucified Christ, I will vote for Luther today.

  46. Alan Blume's Gravatar Alan Blume
    March 14, 2017 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    Luther had his shortcomings – which of us doesn’t? His understanding that we are justified by faith and of God’s grace empower us sinners to get up each morning and do what needs to be done even. He also had courage to speak truth to power. Recall his statement at the Diet of Augsburg: “Hier stehe ich und kann nicht anders! Gott helfe mir, Amen!”

  47. March 14, 2017 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    I would like to have voted for both of these guys. Both did amazing things for the Church. And both men were seriously flawed just like you and me. I voted for Martin. I’m appalled by his anti-semitism but admire his challenging the Pope and the prevailing belief that one is saved by works rather than faith.

  48. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    March 14, 2017 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one! I wanted to vote for David, but voted for Martin Luther because David’s conversion was forced upon him and my granddaughter is named Katarina.

  49. Oliver--Nine Years Old's Gravatar Oliver--Nine Years Old
    March 14, 2017 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    I vote for Martin Luther because he built our church.

    • Beth Owen's Gravatar Beth Owen
      March 14, 2017 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

      good reason, Oliver. I voted for David Oakenhater because he is the obvious underdog in this match-up. And because he has a cool name.

  50. Patricia White's Gravatar Patricia White
    March 14, 2017 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Very touched by David’s conversion and his returning to share his new faith with his people, I voted for him.

  51. Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
    March 14, 2017 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    Luther is one of the “100 most influential people of the millennium.”
    All the more reason to lift up O-kuh-ha-tuh. While “forced to assimilate into American society” – interesting that once again “American society” is used as the descriptor of WHITE CHRISTIAN (male) society – O-kuh-ha-tuh returned to his people.
    “You all know me. You remember when I led you out to war I went first, and what I told you was true. Now I have been away to the East and I have learned about another captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is my leader… I come back to my people to tell you to go with me now in this new road, a war that makes all for peace.” Reminds me of the writings of St Paul.
    Voting for O-kuh-ha-tuh.
    (Syracuse and the rest of thc Diocese of CNY, where are you? Get your votes in.)

    • John Crittenden's Gravatar John Crittenden
      March 14, 2017 - 10:24 am | Permalink

      I would love to see Oakerhater in his American Indian regalia and not in his uptight and conformist “uniform” which seems to deny his heritage. I do not hold this against him, but against the reformist notions of the church. No more speaking your native tongue, dancing in celebration of life, and on. My heart goes out to this man who managed to endure and to find God’s grace. My hat goes off to the faithful and non-dogmatist Christians who could feel and share his suffering.

    • Gina's Gravatar Gina
      March 14, 2017 - 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Another one of us here! I voted for Luther but also have mixed feelings
      given his anti-Semitism.

      Hope all of you in the storm area are safe!

      Syracuse, NY

  52. Bee Durban's Gravatar Bee Durban
    March 14, 2017 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    I have voted for Luther, although I might not have done if I had read the comments first. I find his bravery in standing up to the established church inspiring, but that cannot be balanced against his anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic views. Ungood. And, whilst I deeply admire David Oakerhater and all that he experienced, I cannot vote for someone who symbolises all that is worst about Imperialism masquerading as Spirit. Religion has a lot to answer for when it comes to indigenous cultures. You make it all sound lovely and positive, and I honour your positivity, but behind that is a lot of pain for a great many people. Lent, it seems to me, would be a very good time to repent for the terrible things that have been done in the name of religion.

  53. Scott Madison's Gravatar Scott Madison
    March 14, 2017 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Voting for the upset here. Nothing against Martin Luther and his amazing work, but Making Medicine’s story is hitting me in all the right places.

  54. Marcia's Gravatar Marcia
    March 14, 2017 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    After reading about Making Medicine in LM 2015, we visited his grave in Watonga and saw the still active church that remains as part of his legacy. His art is also stirring, as are the ledger artists who also recorded their experiences. I vote for the lesssr known saint this time.

  55. Vickie Gottlob's Gravatar Vickie Gottlob
    March 14, 2017 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    Although I’m now an Episcopalian, my roots as a practicing Christian go back to those years (!) of confirmation classes at Faith Lutheran in Arlington, Va and St. Paul’s in Orlando. We had to memorize Luther’s Small Catechism (after walking three miles through the snow). Well, not in Orlando. Shoutout to Pastor Klein!
    “Which is the Fifth Commandment?”
    “Thou shalt not kill.”
    “What does this mean?”
    “We should fear and love God so we do our neighbor no bodily harm nor cause him any suffering, but help and befriend him in every need.”
    Good basic instructions for 12-15 year olds. We didn’t learn about Luther’s antisemitism, obviously.

  56. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 14, 2017 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    I cast my vote for Martin Luther fully expecting to be able to vote for David Oakerhater in the next round and was shocked to see the votes cast. I first encountered David Oakerhater in a previous round and greatly admire him. I was amused by the account of the generous hospitality of Martin and Katerina Luther. In a popular UK children’s programme, Horrible Histories, Martin is depicted greeting guests whilst seated in his toilet.

  57. Nolan McBride's Gravatar Nolan McBride
    March 14, 2017 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    I had my reservations about both of them, but ultimately I voted for Oakerhater. Being a member of one of the historic peace churches, I like the story of how he turned from nonviolence to peace, but I wonder at one cost. While I certainly don’t think he had any ill intentions for his people, I am concerned by the quote above, as it seems to me a justification for ending resistance against the way white settlers treated the Native Americans. I don’t think that was his intent, but the problem remains. That said, I’m excited to learn more about him.

  58. Rev. Steve's Gravatar Rev. Steve
    March 14, 2017 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    Four Solas and 95 Thesis is all that needs to be said.

  59. Vicki Hughrs's Gravatar Vicki Hughrs
    March 14, 2017 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    Yesterday was two two guys i’m not particularly over fond of, now two great guys. You couldn’t have cut the bracket differently? Ah well, will ponder through the day… what it’s all about?!

  60. Sarah Gaede's Gravatar Sarah Gaede
    March 14, 2017 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    My Lutheran Church History professor, Don Armentrout of blessed memory, would haunt me if I didn’t vote for Martin.

  61. Ann Fontaine's Gravatar Ann Fontaine
    March 14, 2017 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    Luther is already well known — vote Oakerhater!

  62. Claire Fitzmaurice, Quincy MA's Gravatar Claire Fitzmaurice, Quincy MA
    March 14, 2017 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    I had to vote for David since he was matched against a Goliath of Christian history. As a Red Sox fan of the old school, I go for the underdog every time.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 14, 2017 - 10:01 am | Permalink

      David and Goliath–brilliant!

  63. Charlotte Jordan's Gravatar Charlotte Jordan
    March 14, 2017 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    I feel sure that Martin Luther will contend for the Golden Halo – as he deserves! I voted for Making Medicine so that I could recognize the saving grace of God which enabled Oakerhater to turn from war to peace and to teach and lead his Nation toward Christ!

  64. Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
    March 14, 2017 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    Madness can mean anger, or merely irrational. Without malice , I opt for O-kanh-ha-tuh , leaving Luther support to others.

  65. Bill Bosies's Gravatar Bill Bosies
    March 14, 2017 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    Space and, I suspect, political correctness prevented the author’s inclusion of Martin Luther’s vicious and murderous anti-semitism and his key role in instigating the wars of religion that crippled Renaissance Europe. I voted for David.

    • John Crittenden's Gravatar John Crittenden
      March 14, 2017 - 10:35 am | Permalink

      I would tend to believe that the wars were a consequence of the bereft faith of the Catholic puppets who, forgetting about indulgences, ruled and lorded their ill gained power, with the he “church”‘s blessing over the “ignorant”. At that time the “ignorant” peasants, who had learned much about Christ through their own hardships and sufferings. I am surely surprised to see the way Jews were treated in this time. Perhaps Martin’s statements were intended more too avoid the inevitable decimation that might have otherwise occurred. The Jews have a sad history in Western Europe, as elsewhere, at the hands of the domitable and indomitable, church supported powerhouse of control.

    • March 14, 2017 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

      As one of the bloggers, let me assure you that “political correctness” is not a concern in Lent Madness. Rather, these first round bios are very limited in scope due to their size. Some of the saints in the bracket have very sparse information in the historical records, others – like Luther – have volumes of writings and bios to pull from. Yet each gets the same size (very short) bio in round one of Lent Madness.

  66. Allison's Gravatar Allison
    March 14, 2017 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    That was an exceptionally kind write up of Martin Luther. When we consider how his influence echoes on today we also need to consider the “sinner” part of the saint…Such as his work “The Jews and Their Lies” which continued to promulgate anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism in Germany and beyond. Even if Martin Luther is celebrating an anniversary, today’s climate and Luther’s scathing words lose his vote for me.
    Vote for Oakerhater!

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 14, 2017 - 11:44 am | Permalink

      I wonder how much Luther’s anti-Semitism may have influenced later generations of Germans. For certainly the cancer of anti-Semitism metastasized in Germany during the second quarter of the 20th Century (and that cancer is still not completely eradicated there or here in the States, where we sadly have had a marked increase in anti-Semetic hate crimes in the last four months).

      Barring a late day surge for the Deacon, I suspect we will see more of Luther. Sigh.

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 14, 2017 - 2:31 pm | Permalink

        I’m wondering the same thing, Miss Jan. Luther is so much a part of German culture that it’s hard to imagine that his antisemitism didn’t to at least some degree find its way into that of the Nazis. I’d expected to vote for Brother Martin but just can’t.
        And a vote for Oakerhater seems so easy to me. I don’t think the historical and cultural circumstances of his exemplary life should be held against him, and I’m very impressed by Katharine Kroeber’s comment posted at 10:45.

  67. Ann E's Gravatar Ann E
    March 14, 2017 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    Martin Luther’s contributions and influence cannot be ignored. I’m not particularly fond of him as a person, but he gets my vote today.

  68. Marlene's Gravatar Marlene
    March 14, 2017 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    This may be the first day that my pick doesn’t win 🙁
    Please, the modern saints need more recognition!

  69. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 14, 2017 - 10:14 am | Permalink

    voted for David Oakerhater, dragged away from his homeland in captivity to what must have seemed a foreign country, forced to deny his culture and language by his captors, rescued through the mercy of a white woman, sent to an even more foreign-seeming part of the country, instructed in the Christian faith, and returned home as a deacon to bring that faith to his people, showing it to be none other than the way from war to peace, from darkness to light, from despair to hope. I can imagine asking him to intercede for me, but Luther? As we see in his writings (and presumably his life) that he was so full of venom towards others that I suspect he’s still serving time in Purgatory. Saint David Oakenhater, pray for me!

  70. Mrs. B.'s Gravatar Mrs. B.
    March 14, 2017 - 10:14 am | Permalink

    “Born in 1483, Luther’s parents . . .” Oh, really? Luther’s anti-Semitism is a real turn-off. Never heard of it in the Swedish Lutheran church where my mother was raised, only “Sola Scriptura.” Maybe Luther took it t too literally.

  71. Dr Paul's Gravatar Dr Paul
    March 14, 2017 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    Martin Luther has had more biographies written about him than any other man who ever lived. He, too, was a warrior. Oakerhater was a Cheyenne, at one time measured by ethnographers to be the largest people on earth (by height). They were expelled from their native lands and forced to make a life and a culture on the run. They produced the Sundance for their own worship and this gentleman for ours.

  72. Matthew of Nashville's Gravatar Matthew of Nashville
    March 14, 2017 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    If Oakerhater can’t get love here, where can he? May the #nodapl lobby rise up and call him blessed!

    • Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
      March 14, 2017 - 10:43 am | Permalink

      here here!

  73. Joyce Rush's Gravatar Joyce Rush
    March 14, 2017 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    Today was a tough one. I would have voted for Oakerhater but just had to go for Luther on this anniversary year. I wish I’d read more about Luther’s writimg but now I know. Shame on me.

  74. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 14, 2017 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    “Pour out your Holy Spirit on your faithful people.” One word: LUTHER. I cannot not vote for Luther today, as much as I wish to support an American Indian deacon and the aspirations of indigenous peoples. I have always admired Luther. I recognize that my visual image of him looks like Ralph Fiennes and that he was a rootedly medieval man who never fully entered nascent modernity. His response to the Peasants’ Revolt was brutal and reactionary. He was not entirely “woke.” However, his passionate commitment to lay education, to spiritual formation for all the baptized, and to a vibrant, living church are still hugely important themes. Above all, he lived! Miracle of miracles: he stayed alive, and many reformers did not. That is a fact that we almost cannot comprehend in our modern world, although with white nationalism and political corruption forcing their way into our fragile democracy, we are beginning to face the costs of commitment to a worldview based on social justice. (Some of “us” always knew those costs.) May we like Luther survive. For me above all, Luther’s sense of humor delights me. He writes with vigor and wit. He is an earthy man but highly educated, and his tracts to Leo X are scorching. I have laughed out loud reading Luther. Luther and Paul are mountains of passion in the church. It seems to me they are bulwarks making possible the more subtle wit of figures like Erasmus and C.S. Lewis. And he married . . . The idea that clergy could marry is, I believe, of theological importance. It challenges the idea that God is male/solo/abstract, and it challenges the church institutional structure to think about property in terms of human need and not monarchical privilege. To have married clergy and a lay- and family-centered spirituality seems like a return to Jewish roots. That may not counter the anti-semitism that was central to medieval religious thought–or the anti-semitism cropping up in our culture today, even among so-called “evangelicals”–and it may not rescue Luther from his own limitations with respect to acceptance of the Other, but it seems like a radical gesture that allows Christians to think about the body in a more accepting way, that integrates our corporeal and our spiritual selves. In my Christian freedom, I am casting my vote for Luther.

  75. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    March 14, 2017 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    Yes, Luther was a terrible anti-Semite, and his writings about it did a lot of damage. I’m still voting for him. It took stunning courage to make his stand. He should not be blamed for starting the split into Protestantism and the wars of religion. Rome flat-out refused to even discuss his recommendations. There were many higher-ups in the Vatican who wanted reform. If the Pope had listened to Luther and others calling for reform, how much grief could have been avoided? But all Leo wanted to do with the Papacy was milk it for power and gain. Plus, the political situation was explosive. The German princes who protected Luther, which is why he didn’t end up at the stake, were sick of sending money to Rome for the corrupt architects of St. Peter’s to embezzle. Making Medicine sounds awesome, though; I join many others in wishing he’d been matched against somebody else.

  76. Millie Ericson's Gravatar Millie Ericson
    March 14, 2017 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    I will continue to support David Oakerhater every time he’s in the bracket until he finally wins the Golden Halo. Let’s support the unsung hero. Martin is wonderful but gets so much attention!

  77. David O'Rourke's Gravatar David O'Rourke
    March 14, 2017 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    Go Team Deacon!!!!!

  78. Debbie Northern's Gravatar Debbie Northern
    March 14, 2017 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    Even though historically Martin Luther had much more impact, I voted for David as a remembrance of all the times the US government to this day oppressed the native peoples. Instead of being bitter, David returned and gave back to his people in a loving, Christian way.

    • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
      March 14, 2017 - 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Can we say Standing Rock?

  79. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 14, 2017 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    Martin Luther, for so many reasons, not the least of which is his emphasis on meaningful liturgy and music in worship.

  80. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 14, 2017 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    Martin Luther for me.

  81. Ellen Beno's Gravatar Ellen Beno
    March 14, 2017 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    I attended an ELCA church for over 10 years and have a great respect for Luther, but as someone else commented I had to go for Oakerhater because he took a path from war to peace. Our First Nation brothers and sisters have shown true faith.

  82. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    March 14, 2017 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    Either one of these gentlemen would be worthy of a win, but today I went with Making Medicine in honor of my dad, who was born in Cherokee, Ok.

  83. Katharine Kroeber's Gravatar Katharine Kroeber
    March 14, 2017 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    I’m not aware that there’s any evidence Oakerhater himself went around suppressing the Cheyenne language, or *forcing* anyone to convert. And while historical context does not excuse Luther’s anti-semitism — in the sense that while plenty of folks were as bad as he, plenty at the time were *not*, and there was quite the debate about Jews — I think historical context does lighten the onus on Oakerhater. He had grown up seeing all First Nations peoples not only oppressed but literally slaughtered. He suffered a lot, and found a way through, and was concerned to keep people *alive*. As far as I know the educational institutions he supported kept First Nations folks in their home areas, and employed many First Nations folks, instead of forcibly snatching children and sending them hundreds or thousands of miles elsewhere, to be ‘educated’ exclusively by racist whites. Someone more knowledgeable may correct me on this. What religious institutions and folks did to First Nations people is horrendous (and as far as I know only the Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church have formally apologized)… but there also grew up a genuine, non-forced, faith, with cultural influence from the various tribes (the fry-bread scene in “Smoke Signals” springs to mind). Many First Nations people who have, rightly, reclaimed their older heritage are around only because people like Oakerhater found ways for their communities to survive, as communities, back then.
    I don’t doubt that Luther will tromple on through, probably a fair ways forwards — especially when people discover he was a big fan of beer! — but my vote is solidly for Making Medicine making his medicine through all the hardships of his times.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 14, 2017 - 10:52 am | Permalink


  84. John Crittenden's Gravatar John Crittenden
    March 14, 2017 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    My heart still yearns to see Oakerhater seated, in leather, cross legged, musing over the embers of a long burning campfire, whisting upward at the heavens, but planted in the earth. In Christ there is no North or South. How do we deal with the dually based antisemitism and prejudice to Native Americans, one from the East, and one from the West (we meaning dominant white society that depends on prejudices to maintain power and financial strongholds). (Not to forget our social and religious support for slavery). God rescue us from our own disappointments. And thanks to the Lentmadness for allowing these thoughts.

  85. Christopher's Gravatar Christopher
    March 14, 2017 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    Voting for one of the early deacons in the Episcopal Church. Easy call.

  86. March 14, 2017 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    As much as I hate to admit it our Supreme Executive Council is right. Some of the match ups are not fair (today’s smackdown for instance) but it this is Lent Madness not Lent Fairness.

  87. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    March 14, 2017 - 10:57 am | Permalink

    I wanted to vote for the underdog, but Martin Luther’s impact on history can’t be denied.

  88. Deborah Giordano's Gravatar Deborah Giordano
    March 14, 2017 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    All-in for Martin Luther: “t was the worst of times—1527—one of the most trying years of Luther’s life. Plagued by illness, it’s hard to imagine he had the energy or spirit to compose one of Christendom’s most memorable hymns: A Might Fortress.”

  89. March 14, 2017 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    I should read your comments before voting. They give different motivations. But I voted for Luther, despite anti-Semitism, hotheadness, and schism. Whether it is the most appropriate year to choose or not, this will be his anniversary year. His bold if simplistic reforms brought new life to the church, despite much else.

  90. Deborah Giordano's Gravatar Deborah Giordano
    March 14, 2017 - 11:01 am | Permalink

    Sigh…let’s try this again! All-in for Martin Luther: “t was the worst of times—1527—one of the most trying years of Luther’s life. Plagued by illness, it’s hard to imagine he had the energy or spirit to compose one of Christendom’s most memorable hymns: A Mighty Fortress.”

  91. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 14, 2017 - 11:01 am | Permalink

    And here comes the Lutheran stampede. I fully expect to have three more chances to vote for Martin the Reformer, but the Cherokee branch of my family tree insists I vote for Making Medicene the Deacon.

  92. Barb Gutzler's Gravatar Barb Gutzler
    March 14, 2017 - 11:01 am | Permalink

    This RC gal voted for Martin Luther. Without his courage and wisdom, we wouldn’t have the reforms of today. I quite admire him. Here’s to more people stepping up to question dictates & rules!!

  93. Katharine Kroeber's Gravatar Katharine Kroeber
    March 14, 2017 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    Oh mighty SEC — can we please get a “like” button for comments? So many people post great things, and I don’t necessarily want to clutter up the page with a reply that just says “Like!” but it would be nice to be able to let people know their commentary is appreciated. Perhaps that button could be purple…? 🙂

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 14, 2017 - 11:12 am | Permalink

      “like”! (And yes, to purple! Sorry for the clutter.)

    • Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
      March 14, 2017 - 12:10 pm | Permalink


    • Sue G.'s Gravatar Sue G.
      March 14, 2017 - 12:59 pm | Permalink


    • Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
      March 14, 2017 - 2:11 pm | Permalink


  94. Bill Sier's Gravatar Bill Sier
    March 14, 2017 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    I know, I know, without Luther there would nave been no Episcopal church, but I gotta go with the underdog on this one. Luther has enough recognition; outside of Lenten Madness, how many had heard of David Oakerhater??

  95. Lyle Seger's Gravatar Lyle Seger
    March 14, 2017 - 11:04 am | Permalink

    My current read of George Tinker’s book, Missionary Conquest:The Gospel and Native American Cultural Genocide, would not permit me to vote for Oakerhater. It was more of a vote against the Church for what it has done to Native peoples throughout the world. This was one of those few matchups that I had no favorite. Luther and his anti-Semitism was not any better. I’ll look forward to the next round, hoping for a more favorable matchup, regardless of who wins this round. Neither of these two will get my vote. Thanks for the time to process the thoughts that today’s match raised.

  96. Brett's Gravatar Brett
    March 14, 2017 - 11:07 am | Permalink

    Ah, the more I read these comments the more conflicted I am about who to cast my vote for. I am fond of Brother Martin as an Episcopalian who loves the Small Catechism, but Brother David is someone I’ve not learned about before and I never vote before thoughtfully reading both of the bios in my scorecard booklet. Good luck to both! 🙂

  97. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 14, 2017 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    Much as I’m indebted to Luther for his incalculable contributions to church music, I’m going with Okuhatah (a name I like better than either Oakerhater or Making Medicine) for several reasons. Mostly because I’ve been neglecting other Native Americans (including Canadian First Nations, e.g. Budd) this year, but also because, as a Coloradan, I have some sympathy for the Cheyenne. And usually also (but not always) sympathy for the underdog. And as everyone acknowledges, Luther’s a hard act to follow.

  98. Joyce in Madison. GA's Gravatar Joyce in Madison. GA
    March 14, 2017 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    Wonderful and thought-provoking comments. I was torn, but must go with my Scandinavian heritage and give Luther his due. Although an Episcopalian now, I recognize how much Luther gave to the church today through his reforming of the church of his day. My great-great grandfather Styrk Gjernes, who helped found the Norwegian Lutheran Church in Rushford, Minnesota, when he came to this country, would have loved “Lent Madness.”

  99. Susan Wall's Gravatar Susan Wall
    March 14, 2017 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    Many responses today have cited theological or ecclesiastical reasons for voting for Luther. Mine’s a bit different: teaching Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” for many years gave me a keen sense of how the corruption of the late medieval Church meant that the most vulnerable members of society– the poor, the hungry, the widowed– were spiritually failed and even preyed upon by unscrupulous members of the clergy. I think especially of his portrait of the Prioress, who feeds her lapdogs expensive meat and white bread at a time when starvation was driving so many peasants into revolt. No, the Reformation didn’t change all that overnight, but getting rid of indulgences was a crucial first step.

    • March 14, 2017 - 11:50 am | Permalink

      I chose David Oakerhater because of his Native American roots and because of his dedication after his conversion.

  100. Gian Inchauspe's Gravatar Gian Inchauspe
    March 14, 2017 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    I did not know about David Oakerhater. I am very glad and inspired with his story and life sample. Thank you for sharing it.

  101. Christine Parkhurst's Gravatar Christine Parkhurst
    March 14, 2017 - 11:22 am | Permalink

    The comments here are so enlightening. I voted for Luther but would never have done so if I’d known about his anti-semitism, which no doubt was a factor in the Holocaust. His writing about the Jews seems so extremely unChristian.
    I didn’t vote for Making Medicine because as a linguist, I lament the suppression of Native culture and language. His portrait says it all. Thousands of languages are dying and with them, their unique world view.

    • Miss Jennifer's Gravatar Miss Jennifer
      March 14, 2017 - 11:25 am | Permalink

      Both are imperfect Saints just like us.

  102. Miss Jennifer's Gravatar Miss Jennifer
    March 14, 2017 - 11:23 am | Permalink

    I love that it is LENT MADNESS and not LENT FAIRNESS!

  103. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    March 14, 2017 - 11:28 am | Permalink

    Despite some reservations, I had to go with Luther. I spent 20 years as a Lutheran before entering the Episcopal church. I was very well catechized as an adult confirmand in the Lutheran church, and loved the liturgy and music.

  104. March 14, 2017 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    As one who grew up in Oklahoma, I am obliged to vote for David Oakerhater.

  105. terriH's Gravatar terriH
    March 14, 2017 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    These comments are really helpful. Here is where we get into the fine nuances of these candidates. Thanks to all of you for helping me vote with a bigger measure of intelligence.

  106. Jan Curtis's Gravatar Jan Curtis
    March 14, 2017 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    I am a Lutheran. I feel so sad, reading the words above, written against Luther. The ELCA has apologised to the Jews for Luther’s actions toward them. We recognize that he was wrong. Much as I love his writings, his forward-thinking and his theology, I also give thanks that he was just a man. People can be wrong, misguided. I smile, remembering his teaching: educate your sons, and if they are able, educate your daughters. He recognized that girls could and should be taught in school, just as sons were. Meanwhile, I voted for David, because this is the first time I realized the Episcopal church, and not just the “Romans” sent missionaries out. They did, and do, a lot of good, caring for the sick and orphans, and educating the children. Oh yes, you can say they destroyed a lot in the process, but is it necessary to emphasize that? David pleases me…

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 14, 2017 - 11:59 am | Permalink

      Glad to hear the ELCA has apologized.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 14, 2017 - 12:27 pm | Permalink


  107. Toni Ponzo's Gravatar Toni Ponzo
    March 14, 2017 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    David Oakerhater’s quote to his people and the collect for him got his vote from me. I love that a man who was taken from his people was able to come back to them and show them a different way to be in the world. Reminds me somewhat of the African slaves experience of conversion to Christianity and the way we have been able to forge what was meant to further enslave us into a way of liberation. (Romans 8:28)

    • Gian Inchauspe's Gravatar Gian Inchauspe
      March 14, 2017 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Powerful words. Coming from a country where there was slavery, I always relate to that experience.

  108. Beth Ann Leuchtmann's Gravatar Beth Ann Leuchtmann
    March 14, 2017 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Wow! What a hard choice today. I wanted to vote for both, but I followed the rules and only voted for one. Thank you for giving us Lent Madness.

  109. Linda Hanson's Gravatar Linda Hanson
    March 14, 2017 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Baptized and raised in the Lutheran church. Ask yourself …who were the biggest game changers in church history? Everyone loves a cinderella, but this is a national tournament. Bear Down Martin!

  110. March 14, 2017 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Pretty certain that without Martin there would have been no David.

  111. John's Gravatar John
    March 14, 2017 - 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with the Indians our nation treated so badly. In fact, family research shows great-grandma was Chickasaw from Oklahoma. Sorry, Luther. The best two Martin Luther books I read are “Luther” by Roland Bainton, and psychologist Erik Erikson’s “Young Man Luther.” Loved that psychoanalytic study . . . Luther changed the world and his reformation nurtured the leaders of the Anglican English Reformation. And still I’m with David. Just because.

  112. Linda Hanson's Gravatar Linda Hanson
    March 14, 2017 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Everyone loves a Cinderella. BUT this is a big time tournament. Need to look at someone who changed the game everywhere and forever. Bear Down with Martin!

  113. Harry's Gravatar Harry
    March 14, 2017 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

    This was a difficult choice for me. I first learned of David Oakerhater from Lent Madness. I know that ML has a large lead but I am still very impressed with David’s work with his people and his life as a Christian…so my vote goes to David

  114. Carmen F.'s Gravatar Carmen F.
    March 14, 2017 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I think that instead of pitting Martin Luther against David Oakerhater, you should have had him run against somebody like Thomas Cranmer. In terms of the history of Christianity, Oakerhater is a newby in the New World and it might have been more fair for him to run against Kateri from near Montreal. However, as you pointed out in today’s preamble to presenting the contenders, fairness wasn’t your objective. (In my humble opinion.)

  115. Gretchen Pritchard's Gravatar Gretchen Pritchard
    March 14, 2017 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    If it’s about influence, Martin all the way. If it’s about holiness of life, who can know?

    Anyone who has read Roland Bainton’s lively biography of Luther develops a kind of personal fondness for the man, despite his obvious besetting sins (most of which, as is the case for all of us, are the flip sides of his many virtues) and the considerable, and pernicious, collateral damage that came along with the church revolution he set in motion.

    About Oakerhater I know much less; I’m glad to have learned of him from Lent Madness. Yesterday I picked the smaller humbler missionary-evangelist over the towering intellectual with his enormous and ambiguous influence on the historic course of the church. Today I’ll flip it and go with Martin, partly because he made Bach possible.

  116. JOAN OGDEN's Gravatar JOAN OGDEN
    March 14, 2017 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I am terribly torn, but must select Martin Luther as one who spoke truth to power, regardless of the consequences. I find in his act of disobedience a model for all of us who see injustice and have a mandate to “do the work” we “have been given to do”

  117. Lauri Kelso's Gravatar Lauri Kelso
    March 14, 2017 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Oakerhater…because he was in Oklahoma and went to St.Paul’s…and I have been to St Crispin’s and stayed in the Oakerhater Lodge…

  118. Heather's Gravatar Heather
    March 14, 2017 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

    As a born-and-raised Lutheran who now identifies as Episcopal, Martin Luther had my vote from the beginning. The Martin Luther bobble head doll on my desk (at my Catholic workplace) agrees with my vote. I’m still a little bitter about the match up between Martin Luther and MLK, Jr. a few years ago. Talk about unfair! This is a much more even match-up. Go Martin!

  119. Carmen F.'s Gravatar Carmen F.
    March 14, 2017 - 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Luther vs. Oakerhater aside, I appreciate this daily consideration of the saints and historical pillars of the church as a Lenten discipline that isn’t too onerous, is frequently pleasant (!) and that has the effect of drawing us into the wider community of the Church when we read the feedback of our fellow Lenten sojourners.

  120. Yvonne's Gravatar Yvonne
    March 14, 2017 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Luther gets my vote today. What would my Church look like without the Reformation?
    Plus, my husband’s family from the Mid-West are practicing Lutherans and Martin is a family name.
    That said, I did do some extra reading on Deacon Oakerhater and am glad to learn about him. What an interesting spiritual journey he must have had.

  121. Joyce Spurgin's Gravatar Joyce Spurgin
    March 14, 2017 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Presiding Bishop Michael Curry described David Oakerhater as “an apostle for our time” since he pointed the way to Jesus. The Oakerhater Honor Dance is held annually in his memory in Watonga, OK, location of the Whirlwind Mission he established. My friend and fellow deacon Pat Gonzales serves at this mission.

  122. Maria's Gravatar Maria
    March 14, 2017 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

    This is a tough one today! I like both of their thinking.

  123. Virginia W. Nagel's Gravatar Virginia W. Nagel
    March 14, 2017 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Well, Bill, the Episcopalians of the Diocese of Central NY have more than heard of David Oakerhater…we claim him as one of our own. Paris Hill church is still a summer chapel of the Diocese, it’s over near Utica, and St. Paul’s in Syracuse later became the Diocesean cathedral, although last year it asked to revert to an ordinary parish again. I am part Mohawk, and am proud to be a priest of the Diocese that ordained David Oakerhater to the diaconate after preparing him for holy orders.

  124. Laura Campbell's Gravatar Laura Campbell
    March 14, 2017 - 1:15 pm | Permalink

    As you say, Lent Madness is not Lent Fairness. While I admire David, Martin had such an impact on the Church that I couldn’t vote for the underdog, as I sometimes do.

  125. Janice McLemore's Gravatar Janice McLemore
    March 14, 2017 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Sooooo not fair!

  126. Kay Boman-Harvey's Gravatar Kay Boman-Harvey
    March 14, 2017 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

    As a deacon in Oklahoma I am well aware of Oakerhater and his work. The Whirlwind congregation continues to this day, with his descendants in the fold. While I admire Luther I must vote for our favorite son who I think is the first Native American added to the calendar of saints.

  127. Sharon's Gravatar Sharon
    March 14, 2017 - 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Interesting comments. I find that most think Martin Luther would have been happy about all the adulation some gave him. Actually, the 95 theses were never intended as more than a discussion or writing prompts. He posted them at Wittenburg University (whether on the door of the chapel or on the bulletin board next to a notice about a missing cat is still up for debate) to get the students to think about their faith. Someone found them there and had them translated into German and disseminated among the people. Luther was mostly looking to fix what he saw as wrong in the faith and not to break away or start a movement. The Reformation rested on three solas — sola scriptura; sola fe; sola gratia (only Scripture; only faith, only grace). The 95 theses do cover more subjects than just indulgences, although they were a big part of what was wrong. Luther never saw himself as anything but a good Catholic, although the church made it impossible for him to continue to practice that faith. As for his anti-Semitism, most Catholics held that view for most of the first 1500 years of the Church. Then came the Inquisition and enhanced the supposition that the Jewish people (along with the Muslims) were not fit human beings because they denied Christ. Some went so far as to blame the Jews for killing Jesus. Based on that, we would have to deny voting for any saint mentioned before the 1800’s. I also admire David Oakerhater whom I learned about several years ago when I did a year-long exploration of the saints of the church. I admire him greatly for his change of heart and direction. It is a difficult choice.

    • March 14, 2017 - 4:23 pm | Permalink

      But the particularly violent nature of Luther’s attitude toward the Jews was not universal in his day. There were other Christians who were critics of anti-Semitic attitudes, policies, and actions. The fact that Luther accepted anti-Semitism as a “given” (and even intensified the anti-Semitism of his particular context) even while criticising other abuses, made his attitudes to the Jews relevant to LM.

  128. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 14, 2017 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, it’s not fair. I would have liked to vote for Oakerhater and see him advance another round, but not against Martin Luther.

  129. Linda Sylvester's Gravatar Linda Sylvester
    March 14, 2017 - 2:02 pm | Permalink

    This is painful. Martin Luther is most certainly the MVP as he turned the focus away from so many destructive worldly concerns back to the Bible. On the other hand, Making Medicine is a noble and interesting Christian leader. I’ve never heard of him and am so glad he made such an impact for Christ – even though his faith story comes with such painful oppression and cultural losses. Looking into that face of Making Medicine, I grieve over our history of forcing assimilation as a requirement of coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus. I love the missionaries and am in awe of their commitment, bravery and demonstrations of love….yet the forced anglicizing of indigenous people was clunky at best and continues to scratch people’s souls today.
    That said, Making Medicine is a tremendous example of a man who clung to the mercy of God as he sorted out the injustices and graces he encountered throughout his eventful life.
    Let’s give this guy a silver halo, right?

  130. Alice's Gravatar Alice
    March 14, 2017 - 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Luther did propose some reforms that were needed. However, I cannot get over his extreme anti-Semitism and despicable reaction to the Jews that were steadfast in their faith”On Jews and their Lies” . Although many Lutherans do not seem to know this aspect of his personality, hated of our brothers and sisters in Abraham contradicts any understanding I have of personal holiness.

    Although so much has to come to light about the abhorrent treatment of the Americans tribes, I do believe Oakerhater returned to his people out of love not force.

  131. Alice's Gravatar Alice
    March 14, 2017 - 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Sorry I meant hatred not hated

  132. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 14, 2017 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

    We do need a like button. Also a return to the top of the page button.
    I voted for David. Thanks for your comments! I enjoy reading them.

  133. Shawna Atteberry's Gravatar Shawna Atteberry
    March 14, 2017 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

    This Okie had to vote for the only saint from Oklahoma: David Oakerhater.

  134. annieb's Gravatar annieb
    March 14, 2017 - 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Martin Luther in spite of the fact that I groan every time I see “A Mighty Fortress” listed as one of the hymns. Impossible to sing without exhausting the vocal chords! And my brain…

  135. Melissa's Gravatar Melissa
    March 14, 2017 - 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Cast my vote for Martin Luther! I could do no other.

  136. Nancy Radke's Gravatar Nancy Radke
    March 14, 2017 - 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Oh no! The Supreme Executive Committee left out the important connection St. David Pendleton Oakerhater has with Grace Church in Syracuse, NY for it was there that he was baptized and confirmed as a deacon. The church even has a beautiful stained glass window of him: May I humbly suggest that the next time he is matched up against one of the titans of the church that his bio be updated and that his stained glass window be used as an illustration. It just might send a few more votes to this particularly unique American saint.

  137. Mac's Gravatar Mac
    March 14, 2017 - 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I voted before scanning these comments, some of which I found compelling and surely interesting, many of you know so much more than I about our church history. But that’s a good Lenten benefit from this silly game we play day by day. Martin Luther is The Man.

  138. Timothy J's Gravatar Timothy J
    March 14, 2017 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

    David for the win. What a changed life!

  139. Judy A's Gravatar Judy A
    March 14, 2017 - 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Martin Luther, in soldarity with the faithful and courageous believers who recently voted to sell their (Lutheran) church building and move in to worship with us Episcopalians. We have an Episcopalian priest as rector, a Lutheran deacon, a vestry and a council, another book in the pew, Lutheran service on the last Sunday of the month and Episcopal services the other weeks. We taught them to eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and to follow Lent Madness (thank you SEC for including Luther. how did you know this joining was happening here in DioMass days before you announce the 2017 bracket?). they are teaching us more about outreach, and taught us about Reformation Sunday (and Reformation Day, i did not know there was a difference).

    Also voted to celebrate 500th anniversary of the 95 Theses.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 15, 2017 - 11:12 am | Permalink

      Would almost think 1/2 the SEC lived in DioMass or something.

      And the Oregon coast has an Episcopal-Lutheran-Methodist congregation that has an ELCA-ordained rector, since the ELCA is in communion with both TEC & the UMC.

  140. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 14, 2017 - 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I cannot vote for David as it seems he may have freely converted but not in “his own way and time” but more under the influences of the time and places he was captive. I am grateful he went back to his people to help them.

  141. March 14, 2017 - 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Deacon David over Brother Martin, even if this year is the 500th anniversary of the 95 Theses. My compelling reason is Luther’s attitude toward the Jews, as mentioned by other responders even if (sadly) not in the brief biographies.

  142. Suanne's Gravatar Suanne
    March 14, 2017 - 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Oakerhater because he was imprisoned with my great-grandfather at Fort Marion. The conditions were deplorable. That anyone survived was a miracle in itself — Yet Oakerhater’s mind and heart remained open to hear Christ’s message. Now, that’s “saintly”.

  143. Nora's Gravatar Nora
    March 14, 2017 - 4:32 pm | Permalink

    As a physician, I have to vote for the guy called Making Medicine!

  144. Charles (Charlie) Noell Marvin, Jr., M.D.'s Gravatar Charles (Charlie) Noell Marvin, Jr., M.D.
    March 14, 2017 - 4:40 pm | Permalink

    The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) exhibition, “Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation,”, “sheds new light on an explosive era and the man who ignited it.” “Martin Luther: Treasures of the Reformation” catalogues 400 painting, sculpture, gold, textiles, and works on paper from Luther sites in Eisleben, Mansfeld and Wittenberg. Martin Luther was a complex man!

  145. Peter DeVeau's Gravatar Peter DeVeau
    March 14, 2017 - 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Not fair. You’re right. Two of my favorite people. Uncle Marty got my vote today as he spoke truth to corrupt power in his day. We need more like him!

  146. Claire's Gravatar Claire
    March 14, 2017 - 4:50 pm | Permalink

    There was no doubt of the one who gets my vote. Martin Luther all the way.

  147. Emmy's Gravatar Emmy
    March 14, 2017 - 5:08 pm | Permalink

    As someone raised RC and a convert to the Episcopal Church for over 30 years, my vote went to Martin Luther, not only for his courage in speaking truth to power but for his emphasis on the quality of preaching and music… both of which feed my soul mightily in the Episcopal Church.
    I didn’t know about his anti-Semitic writings till today’s comments; it would have made my choice unbearably difficult.

  148. March 14, 2017 - 5:13 pm | Permalink

    I had a hard time as both men had much to commend. Finally decided to go for Martin Luther. If neither had lived, what would we be like now? Hated Luther’s anti-Semitism. Finally voted for Luther. I love reading the comments and have learned much. We are all flawed.

  149. Izzie's Gravatar Izzie
    March 14, 2017 - 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Going with David. The quote at the end did it for me.

  150. March 14, 2017 - 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Of course! A fellow deacon!

  151. James Lodwick's Gravatar James Lodwick
    March 14, 2017 - 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Despite Martin Luther’s greatness and importance, I voted for David Oakerhater for the nobility of his life and his faithfulness to Christ in spite of the cruel sufferings inflicted on him and his fellow Native Americans by many who no doubt claimed the name “Christian.”

    In the bio of Luther the term “Roman Catholic Church” is an anachronism. Luther wanted reform of “the Church,” the only one he knew, or that existed in the West at that time.

  152. JS's Gravatar JS
    March 14, 2017 - 6:25 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Medicine Man, because Martin Luther supported the mass murder of the peasants by the German aristocracy.

  153. Jane Pedler's Gravatar Jane Pedler
    March 14, 2017 - 6:36 pm | Permalink

    When I first saw today’s protagonists, I thought, “oh no!” I was raised Catholic, left that church because of several reasons, including their over-emphasis on money to line their pockets, and the abuses I witnessed by nuns in the parochial school I attended. Now I’m very active in my Lutheran church. I admire Luther a great deal for standing up to corruption and wanting to reform the church, so, I thought, how can I vote otherwise without feeling guilty about the Native American underdog. Then, though, I read how David was forced into conversion, made to turn away from the culture of his people. Although the teachings of Jesus are, of course, absolutely valid, the way he was first brought to them turned me off. Maybe that’s crazy, but it helped with my decision to vote for Luther.

  154. Alice Speers's Gravatar Alice Speers
    March 14, 2017 - 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Making Medicine’s story is so poignant, and he is so important to his people. Next year make sure the Bracket Czar puts him up against someone less famous! Seems like he hardly had a chance with this matchup, and I think his story is truly compelling. Here’s a true American!!!

  155. Bekka's Gravatar Bekka
    March 14, 2017 - 8:26 pm | Permalink

    NATIVE AMIRACAN people! How could I not vote for David Oakerhater!

  156. Emily Olsen's Gravatar Emily Olsen
    March 14, 2017 - 8:52 pm | Permalink

    We have Luther the Reformer, Luther the rebel, Luther the author of some documents we Lutherans need to apologize for and acknowledge, but let’s not forget Luther the translator. Luther who loved, read, and massaged both Greek and Hebrew into German. As some one who has struggled with, delighted in, and been changed by wrestling with both Greek and Hebrew, I will always have a soft spot for Luther. He didn’t get it all right, but he took time to sit with the language. I call that prayer.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 14, 2017 - 9:12 pm | Permalink

      “He took time to sit with the language. I call that prayer.” Very nice.

  157. Jan Miller's Gravatar Jan Miller
    March 14, 2017 - 9:14 pm | Permalink

    David Oakerhater deserves better but I didn’t arrange the brackets. A long ti e ago when I wrote a paper on Luther I found this stat–The only person who exceeded Luther’s citations in the Library of Congress card catalog was Jesus Christ. (And Jesus never wrote any books.) I think it was 1519 when there were over three hundred books printed in Ger any–and Luther wrote all but 3 of the . (Apologies, the I just lost the use of the 13th letter of the alphabet.)

  158. Nyc's Gravatar Nyc
    March 14, 2017 - 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Luther was no fan of women. I am therefore no fan of his.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 14, 2017 - 10:14 pm | Permalink

      Interesting case in “Babylonian Captivity of Church” where Luther considers marriage, specifically a case in which a husband is impotent. He argues the wife is free to leave the man and find a new man, remarry. “Is not the sin of a man who wastes his wife’s body and life a greater sin than that of the woman who merely alienates the temporal goods of her husband?” He says the man “defrauded” the woman “both of life and of the full use of her body,” besides having tempted her to commit adultery. Not saying Luther is a modern feminist, far from it, but do think Luther is approaching a sort of modernity in affirming the body and its needs and rights–both men’s bodies and women’s bodies. I could IMAGINE this Luther awakening in the 21st century and applying that same logic to defend the rights of transgender people to the pleasures and needs of the body, their bodies. Just saying, I could imagine that capacity to develop, based on some of his commitments and logic in his own, medieval (soon to be early modern) time. And perhaps some of our other saints could, as well.

    • March 15, 2017 - 8:39 am | Permalink

      Nyc, I think the reality is a bit more complicated than your definitive comment indicates. You might like to read Luther on Women: A sourcebook. As many men of his time, he certainly wrote comments we today would consider ridiculous, but in the end, the lot of women improved as did the concept of marriage. He grew to deeply love his wife, Katerina, and they had a strong partnership.

  159. Lou Florio's Gravatar Lou Florio
    March 14, 2017 - 11:06 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Martin Luther, sinner-saint. Psalm 130:3 (I’m a former Roman Catholic, liberated by much of his theology, with ancestors who were Jewish. Saints aren’t perfect, and the church as a whole is responsible for much antisemitism as the current Archbishop of Canterbury clearly stated. His near end of life turn against the Jewish people is heinous, and it shouldn’t be ignored. Yet it doesn’t cancel out what was a gift from God.)

    • Freeman Gilbert's Gravatar Freeman Gilbert
      March 15, 2017 - 12:31 am | Permalink

      That is always the case with Lent Madness. All these saints were flawed. None of them fully showed forth the glory of God, but all of them did as much as they could and in all of them we can see the glory of God. I voted for David, but love Martin.

  160. Barbara Franklin's Gravatar Barbara Franklin
    March 14, 2017 - 11:53 pm | Permalink

    David Oakerhater deserves to win! Martin Luther has had more than his share of publicity already. A Christian should be humble, right? Luther is an attention hog!

    • March 15, 2017 - 8:32 am | Permalink

      Funny! Did you know the Pope of Martin’s time alluded to him being a “boar (hog) in the vineyard” (Psalm 80:13) in his bull of excommunication? Luther burned the bull on December 10, 1520.

  161. Lynda Campbell's Gravatar Lynda Campbell
    March 15, 2017 - 12:00 am | Permalink

    Oakerhater is from Oklahoma and belongs to us

  162. Kristen's Gravatar Kristen
    March 15, 2017 - 12:04 am | Permalink

    I voted for Oakerhater because I am Native, but I checked first to make sure Luther was winning. Luther has impacted my life in many ways by being a leading reformer but I had to make sure Oakerhater put in a strong show!

  163. Candayce Coulter's Gravatar Candayce Coulter
    March 15, 2017 - 9:14 pm | Permalink

    I vote for David Oakerhater, he was a man who truly loved his lord and his neighbor. He never stopped bringing those teachings to his people throughout his life

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