Phoebe vs. John the Evangelist

Today in Lent Madness, two Biblical-era saints face off as Phoebe goes up against John the Evangelist. Will a woman who played an integral role in the early church prevail or will the author of the fourth Gospel advance?

In yesterday’s action, Anna Alexander defeated Peter Claver 59% to 41% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen against the winner of John Wesley vs. Edith Cavell. This was fueled in part by the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia‘s unflagging support for one of their own. They even produced a video celebrating Anna’s ministry which is worth your time whether or not you voted for her.

Finally, in case you somehow missed yesterday’s stirring edition of Monday Madness, you can watch it here. Every week Tim and Scott wax eloquent on all things Lent Madness, keeping the Lent Madness faithful up-to-date on the latest news. It is indeed must-see penitential TV.


St. PhoebeAll that we know about Phoebe of Cenchreae comes from two short verses at the end of Paul’s letter to the churches in Rome. Notwithstanding such scant reference, she was quite an important figure and was key to interpreting the message of what many see as Paul’s most important letter.

Phoebe was likely a former slave and a Gentile convert. In spite of her humble beginnings, she rose to prominence as a freedwoman. Paul describes her as a “benefactor of many,” including himself. She probably supported the church in Cenchreae (a port about seven miles southeast of Corinth), perhaps even hosting the church in her house. In the letter to the Romans, Paul implies that she is functioning as his partner and currently supporting his mission to Spain.

Paul also describes Phoebe as a deacon. While formal offices were yet to be established when Paul was writing, the use of deacon in reference to Phoebe suggests that she was not only a financial supporter of the church but also a leader in the congregation. Her role included preaching and tending to churches, and Paul sent her as a missionary to Rome.

Paul’s confidence in Phoebe is perhaps clearest in the fact that he sent her as the bearer of the Letter to the Romans. Phoebe did not function as some glorified mail woman. As the deliverer of the letter, Phoebe had the responsibility to read the letter to the congregations and to help them understand what Paul was trying to say (modern interpreters of Paul know what a difficult task this could be). This was an enormous responsibility: Paul, writing to churches that he has never met and that likely had some misgivings about him, trusted Phoebe to be his faithful emissary.

Given that we still read Paul’s letter to the Romans to this day, it looks as though Phoebe was a wise choice.

Collect for Phoebe
Filled with your Holy Spirit, gracious God, your earliest disciples served you with the gifts each had been given: Phoebe as a deacon who served many. Inspire us today to build up your Church with our gifts in hospitality, charity, and bold witness to the Gospel of Christ; who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

David Creech

John the Evangelist

John the EvangelistJohn the Evangelist is the name traditionally given to the person who wrote the fourth canonical gospel. He is likely an amalgam of a few Johns present in New Testament scripture: John the Apostle, John the Revelator, and John the Presbyter. What matters most when it comes to John the Evangelist is not his historicity but rather the tradition that informs and sustains his identity.

As one of the sons of Zebedee (the so-called “Sons of Thunder”) and brother of James, John is a fisherman turned fisher-of-men. The gospels also reveal to us that John formed the triad of Jesus’ closest disciples along with Peter and his brother James. This triad was present both when Jesus raised Jairus’s daughter and during the Transfiguration. Christian tradition describes John as the “disciple Jesus loved,” which suggests a close relationship with Jesus. John is the one who takes the Blessed Virgin Mary into his care during and after the crucifixion and is among the first disciples to understand the significance of the empty tomb.

After the ascension of Jesus Christ, John is found in several places in the Book of Acts, including healing the lame man outside the beautiful gate, testifying before the Sanhedrin, and conveying the gift of the Holy Spirit to new converts through the laying on of hands. Tradition suggests that John was eventually exiled to Patmos, where he recorded his ecstatic visions in what we now know as the “Revelation to John” or “John’s Apocalypse”(commonly referred to as the Book of Revelation). Of the original twelve apostles, John is the only one to live to an old age and not die a martyr’s death.

John is often depicted in art holding a chalice with a serpent in it, which is likely tied to his willingness to drink from the cup Jesus was to drink from. There is also a legend that suggests that at some point during John’s ministry, someone passed him a chalice filled with poisoned wine. As John said a blessing over the cup, the poison rose from the cup in the form of a snake.

Collect for John the Evangelist
Shed upon your Church, O Lord, the brightness of your light, that we, being illumined by the teaching of your apostle and evangelist John, may so walk in the light of your truth, that at length we may attain to the fullness of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

-Marcus Halley

Phoebe vs. John the Evangelist

  • John the Evangelist (52%, 4,315 Votes)
  • Phoebe (48%, 3,974 Votes)

Total Voters: 8,289

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John the Evangelist: Jean Bourdichon [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

276 Comments to "Phoebe vs. John the Evangelist"

  1. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    February 20, 2018 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    It’s 8:05 and I had to go to the website to get my Tuesday dose of Lent Madness. What gives? 38 people have already voted!

    • Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
      February 20, 2018 - 10:16 am | Permalink

      Its high time women were recognized for the very important part they played in ministry and spreading of Christianity. The centuries old patriarchy can move over and share the gifts that women have given the church. Our daughters need to see it. Go Phoebe!

      • February 20, 2018 - 11:07 am | Permalink

        I agree with everything that Margaret said. Phoebe gets my vote, too.

      • Camille's Gravatar Camille
        February 20, 2018 - 11:15 am | Permalink

        My thought exactly.

        • Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
          February 20, 2018 - 11:58 am | Permalink

          Women were DEACONS! Come on Rome, let them into the priesthood.

          • Maureen Hagen's Gravatar Maureen Hagen
            February 20, 2018 - 1:50 pm | Permalink

            Right now they are considering allowing women to be deacons. This would be honoring our history and the order of deacons.

            One day they may also realize women make excellent priests….

          • Lucia Ann McSpadden's Gravatar Lucia Ann McSpadden
            February 20, 2018 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

            Right on! In fact, women are already excellent priests/pastors.

          • Yvonne's Gravatar Yvonne
            February 20, 2018 - 7:23 pm | Permalink


          • Victoria Rebeck's Gravatar Victoria Rebeck
            February 20, 2018 - 10:51 pm | Permalink

            Phoebe! Phoebe! Only person in the NT named as a deacon. She remains an inspiration to those who are called to keep the holy huddle aware of their neighbors.

          • Catol Friendly's Gravatar Catol Friendly
            February 21, 2018 - 2:22 am | Permalink


      • Karen Johnson's Gravatar Karen Johnson
        February 20, 2018 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

        Considering how little the early church valued women, Phoebe was probably even more important than we see in the Bible.

        • Frank Jacob's Gravatar Frank Jacob
          February 21, 2018 - 12:09 am | Permalink

          Amen! There has always been a strong and wise woman behind many men!

      • James's Gravatar James
        February 20, 2018 - 12:59 pm | Permalink

        The Christian religion is largely modeled upon a patriarchy. Good heavens. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to turn Lent Madness into a gender battle, which is largely what it is becoming. This is highly distasteful. Vote for the deserving candidate. Progressivism isn’t a religion. Christianity is.

        • Mariana's Gravatar Mariana
          February 20, 2018 - 2:16 pm | Permalink

          Thank you. I have been noticing this more and more. It should be the deserving person not because they are female. We need not be ‘politically correct’ in Lent Madness but in it for the fun and joy of learning about all these special filk called saints.

          • Claire's Gravatar Claire
            February 20, 2018 - 2:53 pm | Permalink

            I heartily and faithfully agree with James and Mariana. There isn’t enough information for me to vote for Phoebe simply because she is a woman. Politics and religion do not make for “good bedfellows”, and I would rather we focus the faithful work of the candidates, rather than vote for what I think they might have done.

          • Bob's Gravatar Bob
            February 20, 2018 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

            Hear Hear! I noticed this trend last year and almost skipped Lent Madness this year because of it. In male vs. female match-ups find it pretty easy to predict each winner based on the gender and race of the participants. Yesterday, for example, I pegged Anna as the easy winner before reading either contestant’s summary. Same with Quiteria and Margaret of Scotland (89% – 11%…really?!) Today we have one of Jesus’s top two Apostles leading an obscure former slave who happened to carry some letters for Paul by 51%-49% – 2 percent!!! I suspect what is happening is that Lent Madness is being abandoned by males who are wondering What’s the point? For verification, check out the ratio of female to male replies to today’s match-up. It’s becoming a women’s game, guys…might as well face it. Too bad…Lent Madness has been a great concept until now, but like much life these days, agendas are ruining it.

            In the name of full disclosure, I am male, heterosexual, politically conservative and married for 47 years to the same woman…an Episcopal deacon.

          • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
            February 20, 2018 - 11:09 pm | Permalink

            I gave up being snarky for Lent so this goes uncommented upon.

          • February 20, 2018 - 5:27 pm | Permalink

            I’ve made this comment on this page along with my vote. I’ll add it here as well,
            in the context of this discussion.

            “Can I make a suggestion, in the interests of some fairer match-ups in future LMs.

            First-rounds match-ups should be between:
            — saints of the same gender as each other,
            — saints of a similar “profile” as each other, and
            — saints from a similar era as each other.

            As well, saints with serious PR issues in today’s church should have those issues addressed in their first-round biographies.”

          • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
            February 20, 2018 - 5:39 pm | Permalink

            It is daunting when the world is too much with Lent Madness. But it is mad, after all, and we do learn and we share our passions and foibles and typos. People can vote for any reason, whimsical or political or scholarly. It’s worth the moments that make me grind my teeth, because I encounter so many inspiring saints–in the blogs and in the comments. It’s an amazing community. Hope all will hang in there.

          • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
            February 20, 2018 - 8:59 pm | Permalink

            Thank you James, Mariana,Claire, Rob and others for your thoughtful and eloquent comments. Sorry to be so late to say “I agree” – better late than not at all. Gender issues are important but not the only issues but we all know that!
            I love Lent Madness not only to learn more about the saints but for the community that has formed around LM. Love the comments, even when I don’t agree 🙂 – I learn so much. Thank you, each and all.

          • Greg Finger's Gravatar Greg Finger
            February 20, 2018 - 11:21 pm | Permalink

            I appreciate this point being raised – this is my 1st year in the Madness, and I was disappointed in seeing a definite gender bias.

            That said, I voted for Phoebe because I value her as an exemplar of women’s involvement in the early church and as proof of their importance even in the beginning. Her support was likely vital for the survival of the young church.

        • James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
          February 20, 2018 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

          I kind of think the fact that the person actually existed does come into it.

          • Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
            February 20, 2018 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

            It is worth noting that women’s voices from the early church weren’t heard precisely BECAUSE of patriarchy, not that those voices weren’t there. It’s time to change that, and open our ears to the full breadth of God’s creation. That seems pretty Christian to me.

        • Liz in Sparks's Gravatar Liz in Sparks
          February 20, 2018 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

          I agree with ypu completely, James

        • Tana's Gravatar Tana
          February 21, 2018 - 3:15 am | Permalink

          Many people too often equate progress with change. The two are not necessarily the same.

      • Linda's Gravatar Linda
        February 20, 2018 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Amen, sister!!

      • Janis's Gravatar Janis
        February 20, 2018 - 5:01 pm | Permalink

        Yes, there are certainly spaces we should hold more sacred than others, and it’s very disconcerting to see those spaces invaded. Which spaces are we holding, and for whom?

        Glad to see this conversation happening. If not here, then where? It’s been all about men 23/7 so far, given the vast spaces afforded the subject. Time to get out from behind the rood screen, again, with a fresh set of eyes to see how far we have yet to go, which is nearly impossibly to see if you’re comfortably seated.

      • Margaret Helminska's Gravatar Margaret Helminska
        February 20, 2018 - 6:36 pm | Permalink

        From one Mararet to another: I agree! Phoebe it is.

      • Amy's Gravatar Amy
        February 20, 2018 - 10:00 pm | Permalink

        Amen, sister!

  2. Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
    February 20, 2018 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    John for me: As a teacher of English, I’ll go with the writer and the man with my brother’s name.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      February 20, 2018 - 3:47 pm | Permalink

      They are both saints already. And, as much as Paul’s writings have been a source of comfort and challenge to me, I agree with those who think Phoebe was saint to put up with Paul. However, for his influence on the Church, I’ll go with John, the writer of the fourth Gospel.

    • Ed Totten's Gravatar Ed Totten
      February 20, 2018 - 6:34 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you, Katherine.

  3. Joline Frazier's Gravatar Joline Frazier
    February 20, 2018 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    For putting up with Paul, Phoebe was already a saint!

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      February 20, 2018 - 8:13 am | Permalink

      Amen to that.

      • February 20, 2018 - 8:22 am | Permalink

        And another Amen, ringing in for Phoebe.

      • Julie Watt Faqir's Gravatar Julie Watt Faqir
        February 20, 2018 - 9:17 am | Permalink

        I love Paul, my favorite books of the Bible are his writings and I remember the story of Phoebe. So Come on Phoebe.

      • Marmee's Gravatar Marmee
        February 20, 2018 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

        I second that.

    • Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
      February 20, 2018 - 9:30 am | Permalink

      I’m for Phoebe. In addition for what you all say, her prominence suggests that whatever misogyny we read in Pauline epistles might not have actually been his opinion (or his authentic writing).

      • February 20, 2018 - 5:31 pm | Permalink

        Yes, but it’s much more than a suggestion. Mainstream New Testament scholars are almost unanimous in saying that the sexist stuff in the epistles were not by Paul himself, but the product of later writers, probably after Paul’s death.

    • Karen R's Gravatar Karen R
      February 20, 2018 - 10:31 am | Permalink

      Amen. This was a tough choice but I’ll take Phoebe over a likely “amalgam” any day.

    • Kim's Gravatar Kim
      February 20, 2018 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

      And that alone should earn her the Golden Halo. All hail Phoebe!

    • Heather's Gravatar Heather
      February 20, 2018 - 2:03 pm | Permalink


  4. Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
    February 20, 2018 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    There are great passages in the Gospel of John, but for me they do not have the same voice when Jesus speaks as the other Gospels. They often feel contrived to make some early Church point. So, although there is not much information on Phoebe, I liked her support of the early Church and of Paul, while apparently managing not to be martyred.

    • Sharon Kilpatrick's Gravatar Sharon Kilpatrick
      February 20, 2018 - 10:23 am | Permalink

      agree that the voice we hear in John’s Gospel is John’s interpretation of Jesus’s role, not Jesus voice, and certainly unlike the voice in the other three gospels, but I am voting for John because of the Letters, especially the first one “God is Love…”

  5. Janene's Gravatar Janene
    February 20, 2018 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    Probably because we know so much more about John, he gets my vote.
    But it seems the quiet ones we know so little about are also great.

  6. Epiphany parishioner's Gravatar Epiphany parishioner
    February 20, 2018 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    I find the Gospel of John’s prologue to be a profound and beautiful work of spiritual poetry. He has my vote.

    • Laura Julier's Gravatar Laura Julier
      February 20, 2018 - 8:14 am | Permalink

      I wholeheartedly agree!

    • C. Linberg's Gravatar C. Linberg
      February 20, 2018 - 8:17 am | Permalink

      Voting early in the morning means your vote can change the computed percentages! Phoebe!

    • Judy's Gravatar Judy
      February 20, 2018 - 11:33 am | Permalink

      Amen to that. It is one of my favorite versus in the Bible.

  7. Linda Munkelwitz's Gravatar Linda Munkelwitz
    February 20, 2018 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    Unfair matchup! Apostles should only compete against other apostles. Poor Phoebe gets my vote.

  8. February 20, 2018 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    Thank God for the witness of Phoebe’s story getting past those who would squash evidence of women in ministerial leadership roles in the Church. Paul’s confidence in her has provided necessary insight into Paul’s words (I hope). Go Phoebe!

    • Heather's Gravatar Heather
      February 20, 2018 - 8:26 am | Permalink

      I agree! I voted for her for similar reasons.

    • TJ's Gravatar TJ
      February 20, 2018 - 8:33 am | Permalink

      Yes indeed! I voted for Phoebe for much the same reason, evidence of the leadership of women in the earliest days of Christianity.

    • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
      February 20, 2018 - 10:01 am | Permalink

      I too voted for Phoebe for very similar reasons.

  9. Catherine W Huber's Gravatar Catherine W Huber
    February 20, 2018 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Phoebe, because she’s not an amalgam of people and authors.

  10. Johanne Hills's Gravatar Johanne Hills
    February 20, 2018 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Both well written defenses! I voted for Phoebe because, as the defender of John points out,this could be an amalgam of numerous John’s referred to in Scripture. To get any Scriptural reference women had to be and act exceptionally well, with courage, strength and faith in Jesus, larger than faith in his followers. Go Phoebe!

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      February 20, 2018 - 8:24 am | Permalink

      Not much has changed there. Go Phoebe!

      • Steve's Gravatar Steve
        February 20, 2018 - 9:47 am | Permalink

        LOL. Agree. Is this where we get the line about women having to be “Twice as good but paid half as much”?? So (Phoebe x 2)/0.5= (John x 4) ?
        Go Phoebe.

  11. The Rev Jane W Van Zandt's Gravatar The Rev Jane W Van Zandt
    February 20, 2018 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    It doesn’t seem fair to put a little known person against a big name. I voted for Phoebe because she’s the underdog. Not such a good reason, I admit, but that’s who I am!

  12. Pailet - age 6's Gravatar Pailet - age 6
    February 20, 2018 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Because she was a teammate of Paul!

  13. Jill rock's Gravatar Jill rock
    February 20, 2018 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    John already has his halo. He deserved it. Now it is Phoebe’s turn. A woman to have accomplished those things in that time period deserves a halo. It’s our job to give her one.

    • John Crittenden's Gravatar John Crittenden
      February 20, 2018 - 8:31 pm | Permalink

      I agree! This is as good a reason as any to vote for Phoebe.
      I am just reviewing “The Passover Plot” (1964!!), and The Lost Gospel of Jesus, the Book of Q. I am really wondering who wrote the material and formed all this exegesis. I so need the spiritual one to cut through all the jabber. I read, I learn, I pray, I hope. Just wondering if the editors then were of the same make-up as many of today’s. If an editor read the written musings my father hoped to put into a book they might wonder just what in the world had been said. I don’t think any of the John’s had editorial control over the writings.

    • Peggy Williams's Gravatar Peggy Williams
      February 20, 2018 - 9:07 pm | Permalink

      Agreed! Drinking my am coffee, I reflected on the possible difficulty of Phoebe’s life and her dedication . . . how unfamiliar I am with Phoebe . . . how far we still need to go in today’s world. I imagine we all vote for our daily favorite for a variety of reasons . . . let’s not make this enlightening and fun contest about pitting male against female. I vote for something that speaks to me personally each day.

  14. Patricia White's Gravatar Patricia White
    February 20, 2018 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Figuring the more familiar John would get most of the votes, I voted for Phoebe, who was very brave to carry, read AND interpret one of Paul’s letters. But, I see she is running a close second. Hurray for Phoebe.

  15. Joanne B. Parrott's Gravatar Joanne B. Parrott
    February 20, 2018 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Good Morning! The original Reader from Paul’s letter to the Romans must get my vote today.
    I feel her pain, since its seems that I get a Reading from Romans quite often
    as a Lector.

  16. Hilda Maria Knowles's Gravatar Hilda Maria Knowles
    February 20, 2018 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Although I voted for John, I feel sorry for Phoebe as I think this was an unfair match in his favor

    • February 20, 2018 - 9:33 am | Permalink

      I agree and now am kinda sorry I voted for John.

  17. John the other Verger's Gravatar John the other Verger
    February 20, 2018 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Sitting at an unbelievable 0 for 4, I am feeling that today may finally be the day I make the correct call.

    JOHN THE EVANGELIST folks. John is credited with my favorite Gospel. And I my name is John too.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      February 20, 2018 - 11:04 am | Permalink

      You’re on the verge of success, John.

  18. February 20, 2018 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    I had to give my vote to Phoebe. One of my best friends named her daughter Phoebe, after the deacon in Rome and Phoebe Palmer, a nineteenth century Methodist evangelist. I love celebrating strong women of Christ!

    • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
      February 20, 2018 - 10:10 am | Permalink

      Ann, I do too. As a woman, I feel that sometimes we are not adequately represented in the stories of God’s people. This is why I too voted for Phoebe, she represents a strong woman in Christ, and she represents the stories of God’s people yet to be told. We are now the torch bearers for women of faith, and may our saintly foremothers be with us. Men are good people too! #Miriamledthedancing

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        February 20, 2018 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

        I love your hashtag (is that what it’s called?)!!!

        • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
          February 20, 2018 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

          Yes, and thank you.

  19. Harriet's Gravatar Harriet
    February 20, 2018 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    Thought the little known Phoebe should be honored. If she went from a slave to deacon of the church, she must have been quite something! Besides she delivered Paul’s letter to the Romans and explained it! Wow!

    • February 20, 2018 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and we do know one important thing that Phoebe did NOT do. She did not apparently embrace the error of ethnic stereotyping like John did. However else gifted he may be (and I am certainly indebted to him) John left us with the predicament of dealing with all of his “the Jews” did this, “the Jews” did that. Phoebe did her work powerfully and well without apparently claiming “the Men” as a group are squelching women’s ministry.

  20. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    February 20, 2018 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    I voted for Saint Phoebe the Deacon because of the impact in my life of ordained women, especially women in the full and equal order of the Diaconate.

  21. Jenny's Gravatar Jenny
    February 20, 2018 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    As a religious studies professor I’m too annoyed by the inaccuracies in the bio of John to vote for him. But just remember, kids. John the Evangelist MAY have been John the Apostle (if he lived to be reeeeeeeally old) but there’s no way he was also John of Patmos.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      February 20, 2018 - 9:04 am | Permalink

      I agree, Jenny. If we conclude that everyone in the New Testament sharing the same name was the same person, then Simon (Peter) would have stayed with himself when he visited Joppa and stayed in the house of Simon the tanner!

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 20, 2018 - 9:26 am | Permalink

      I’m going to vote for Phoebe for the same reason.

    • Jennifer S.'s Gravatar Jennifer S.
      February 20, 2018 - 10:15 am | Permalink

      I love the gospel of John but agree 100% with my fellow Jennifer about the bio. Wince.

      My vote for Phoebe today reflects my concern for communicating our best understanding of the Christian message. Kinda her thing, too!

    • Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
      February 20, 2018 - 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for pointing this out. It’s what bothered me about this. When I vote for Phoebe I’ll feel I’m actually voting for a person.

    • Miss M.'s Gravatar Miss M.
      February 20, 2018 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

      My priest growing up was adamant that the Book of Revelation was *not* written by the Evangelist. While the Evangelist is important, this “amalgam” does more to muddy his identity than to clarify his works.

    • Linda N's Gravatar Linda N
      February 20, 2018 - 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Jenny. That’s exactly the reason I chose Phoebe. At least she was one whole person, and not an unbelievably long-lived “John” who almost certainly could not have written all those books traditionally attributed to him.

    • Laura's Gravatar Laura
      February 21, 2018 - 12:11 am | Permalink

      Thank you! Yes, I was also disappointed in John’s bio. But I have degrees in Theology and Scripture.
      And as a woman in the Roman Catholic Church, I voted enthusiastically for Phoebe, as I am hoping for the reinstatement of ordained women deacons soon.

  22. February 20, 2018 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    Anna the Deaconess from Georgia took her matchup. Let’s continue with faithful women who were servants of the church in so many times and places. You go, Phoebe!

    • Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
      February 20, 2018 - 9:39 am | Permalink

      I voted for Phoebe also, in consideration of her personal growth, from slave to freedwoman and deaconess, and her spiritual journey in accompaniment of Paul. She seemed to be so fundamental in the growth of the early church, with her housing meetings, supporting fellow believers, and assisting Paul to such a high degree. A woman doing all this, in the first century, is quite admirable.

  23. Mary O'Donnell's Gravatar Mary O'Donnell
    February 20, 2018 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    When gossip travels it is very different from the first person to the say the third person repeating the same story. That is how I feel about Phoebe. A wonderful person I am sure but carrying Pauls word that came from God is suspect.
    I chose John the Evangelist because he took Blessed Mary into his care during the crucifixion.

    • Sara Legard's Gravatar Sara Legard
      February 20, 2018 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Having walked and read the Stations of the Cross just a couple days ago, I must go with the newly declared son of Mary, the disciple Jesus loved. Though I’ve long been intrigued with the idea that many of the Johannine passages may have referred to Magdalene, I voting for the miraculous mish-mash that is St John, for all his/her/their service to Jesus and His followers.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      February 20, 2018 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Could you explain about “carrying Paul’s word” being suspect, Mary? I’m not sure I understand. Thanks.

  24. Bonnie Richards's Gravatar Bonnie Richards
    February 20, 2018 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    For Paul to speak so highly of any woman…Phoebe gets my vote.

  25. February 20, 2018 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Ooops, that should be de Kanel.

  26. Sharon's Gravatar Sharon
    February 20, 2018 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Phoebe — she not only had to read Paul’s letter to the Romans to others (a feat that any Lay Reader can attest to as being very difficult) — but she had to be ready to answer questions about what he meant (a feat any teacher of Paul’s letters can find impossible given we are in a very different time and culture). While I love the poetry and imagery of John’s Gospel and letters, Phoebe’s task was much more impressive.

  27. Mary Katherine's Gravatar Mary Katherine
    February 20, 2018 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Is Oliver sleeping in this morning? I always look for his comments first, though I’m happy to see our 6-yr-old, Pailet!

    • Bob Andrews-Bryant's Gravatar Bob Andrews-Bryant
      February 20, 2018 - 11:28 am | Permalink

      Yesterday, we also had Hill, 8 (I think) years old. GO! KIDS!

  28. Dianne's Gravatar Dianne
    February 20, 2018 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    My favorite gospel as well. An outlier, mysterious, perfect for Lent. I am happy to tip my hat to the person or team who authored it.

  29. Lindsay's Gravatar Lindsay
    February 20, 2018 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    The first woman deacon! How could you not??

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      February 20, 2018 - 11:08 am | Permalink

      One of first that we know of.

      Phoebe is not the only female leader of the Church mentioned in scripture. In Philippines 4 we find Euodia & Syntyche. In Romans 16 we find Junia, who Paul calls his kin & a fellow prisoner & says she was well known in the church & was in the faith before him; Mary, “who has worked hard for you,”; & Priscilla, who along with her husband, “who risked their necks for my life” according to Paul (Priscilla & her husband Aquila also show up in Acts 18 and II Timothy 4).

      Additionally, I have read that Pliny makes reference to Christian women involved in ministry as deacons in his letter to Tarjan written in AD 110.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        February 20, 2018 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

        And don’t forget Lydia of Philippi! Phoebe’s financial support of the church also reminds me that Susanna and Mary Magdalene and other women were Jesus’ financial backers.

  30. Cynthia's Gravatar Cynthia
    February 20, 2018 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    I’m going with Phoebe to give the woman a chance. John the Evangelist will always have a place in our faith, but we hardly ever hear about the works of Phoebe and her sisters. Go Phoebe!

    • Carole's Gravatar Carole
      February 20, 2018 - 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Amen. Go Phoebe!

  31. Mary-Theresa Anderson's Gravatar Mary-Theresa Anderson
    February 20, 2018 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    Because of the time in history when women were not given the recognition they deserved, I feel my ch more to the story of Phoebe. I did ,however, vote for John. His accomplishments and being able to live without being put to death, says he was very diplomatic in his ministry.

  32. February 20, 2018 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    The fact that Phoebe is even mentioned in the NT says a great deal in a society that ignored the work and need for women in ALL walks of life back then AND today. My vote goes for Phoebe (also one of my favorite names for a girl!)

  33. February 20, 2018 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    Another day, another vote for a deacon. Would love to see Phoebe pull off an upset over so many people’s favorite evangelist if, for no other reason, to get some more information on her and dispel the myth that Paul didn’t honor the gifts of women.

  34. Judi Gustafson's Gravatar Judi Gustafson
    February 20, 2018 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Although I love John the Evangelist’s gospel, I am a part of Phoebe’s chapter of the Daughters of the King, so I will support her in this round! Even though we only get a snippet of her in the Bible, our imagination can fill in the rest. She was a “woman of means” and she used her efforts to share the Good News of Christ in Rome, no less!

  35. Oliver--Ten Years Old's Gravatar Oliver--Ten Years Old
    February 20, 2018 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    I voted for John because Jesus gave him to Mary, his mother.

  36. February 20, 2018 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    The Book of Revelation scared me so much as a kid that I have fled to Phoebe.

    • Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
      February 20, 2018 - 10:18 am | Permalink

      That is definitely a different and later John.

  37. February 20, 2018 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Phoebe! Go Phoebe!

  38. Priscilla Szerdi's Gravatar Priscilla Szerdi
    February 20, 2018 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    It seems to me Phoebe was Paul’s rock and a person he could trust to get what he needed done. Back in this time frame it must have been very hard for a woman to journey to Rome and then get a church to listen to her, even though she was reading a letter from Paul. Go Phoebe, you rock!!!

    • Margaret brenneman's Gravatar Margaret brenneman
      February 20, 2018 - 1:10 pm | Permalink

      And how many women in that age could read? A singular accomplishment in itself.

  39. February 20, 2018 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    John gets my vote but Phoebe needs a class of her own she is so worthy.

  40. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    February 20, 2018 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    Voted for John today, since we’re having a Bible study on the gospel of John and a preaching series at our church.

  41. Patrick Alther's Gravatar Patrick Alther
    February 20, 2018 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    Just HAD to go with Phoebe because I am a huge fan of the TV show Charmed!
    And agree that she is the underdog, and with what everyone said about women in the Church.

  42. Marie Jones (Mama J)'s Gravatar Marie Jones (Mama J)
    February 20, 2018 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    At the risk of sounding sexist in my choice, I vote for Phoebe. She was good enough for Paul to entrust her with care of the church so she’s good enough for me.
    NOTE to the SEC: Really?! A heavy hitter like John against a little-known deaconess? That’s as lopsided as David vs Goliath. . . so I chose Phoebe!
    You go , girl!

  43. lisa - almost 60's Gravatar lisa - almost 60
    February 20, 2018 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    …talk about being ‘a bridge between the church and the world’! Deacon Phoebe gets my very grateFULL vote.

  44. Amy Clayton's Gravatar Amy Clayton
    February 20, 2018 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Phoebe. More of us need to know about the women in the early church to show the lie of later church interpretations of the proper role of women, lies that continue to this day.

    I love John and the way he has brought me to understand incarnation, but without women such as Phoebe, incarnation would remain the domain of men, excluding me from the fullness of God’s love.

    • KatJoy's Gravatar KatJoy
      February 20, 2018 - 9:18 am | Permalink

      Ditto. It is amazing that she was even named, so I’m guessing there is a lot more to her story.

  45. Christopher's Gravatar Christopher
    February 20, 2018 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    #teamdeacon All day, every day.

  46. February 20, 2018 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    You’re making it hard for me today! I love both of these saints, but I’m voting for John because I do love his writing. I fell in love with John’s Gospel many years ago as a young student of Greek. The beginning of the gospel was my very first translation of actual ancient writing, chosen for its clarity, perfect grammar, and mysticism. It still is one of my favorite passages even today.

  47. Linda LeBreux's Gravatar Linda LeBreux
    February 20, 2018 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    Although I am married to a John and my father and brother are Johns, I have to vote for Phoebe. I also think it ironic that she carried Paul’s letter to Rome and later Rome decided that women could not be priests…..hmmmm

  48. February 20, 2018 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    Love Phoebe and wish we knew more about her. But we don’t. John’s impact was greater so voted for him.

  49. Alan CChristensen's Gravatar Alan CChristensen
    February 20, 2018 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    I love John’s gospel, but as someone preparing to be a deacon I’ll vote for Phoebe.

  50. Judy Bye's Gravatar Judy Bye
    February 20, 2018 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    I voted for John the Evangelist because the blurb was written by Marcus Halley. Don’t know him so I clicked on his name. It goes directly to his sermon, “Be Still Child, God is Speaking”. There was an important message there for me. Even in the title. Plus, there’s a paragraph on “grace” which is so interesting because a friend’s Lenten journey is all about grace. Had to post that sermon on Facebook.

  51. Mindy Duryea's Gravatar Mindy Duryea
    February 20, 2018 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Are we voting on John the Apostle or John the Evangelist…. not the same. Phoebe gets my vote.

  52. Cathy Pinner's Gravatar Cathy Pinner
    February 20, 2018 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    Today I voted for John (or all the John’s who wrote – as the bio said – probably an amalgam). John’s gospel has always been my favourite speaking profoundly of the love of God. I’m also doing a Lent study from the Society of St John the Evangelist – so how could I not vote for John?

  53. Revmnwillems's Gravatar Revmnwillems
    February 20, 2018 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    “He is likely an amalgam of a few Johns present in New Testament scripture: John the Apostle, John the Revelator, and John the Presbyter.” This statement is a reflection of SOME scholarly opinion. It is also likely that the same “John” wrote the Gospel, the letters, and the Revelation. There are enough stylistic and linguistic similarities in all of them to support the traditional view that one person originated them all. BTW, ALL the Gospels were written to encourage, propagate, and reinforce the historical and theological claims of the early Church.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 20, 2018 - 10:14 am | Permalink

      This came in while I was writing my comment below at 9:59. All I have to go on as to style is a statement by the author of “Teach Yourself New Testament Greek” to the effect that the Greek of Revelation is very different from that of the rest of the New Testament, so much so that some think the author to have been unfamiliar with the language. Having failed actually to teach myself New Testament Greek, I’m unable to form a personal opinion and must defer to those who are. Obviously there is informed support for the contrary view.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        February 21, 2018 - 2:32 pm | Permalink

        “Teach Yourself NT Greek”??? Well, God bless you for trying. No easy task under any arrangement!

    • Irene L.'s Gravatar Irene L.
      February 20, 2018 - 10:39 am | Permalink

      In the original Greek, there are essentially no linguistic or stylistic similarities between the John of Revelation and the Johns of the Gospel and the Epistles. There are enough stylistic and linguistic (and theological) similarities between the John of the Gospels and the John of the Epistles for most scholars to believe that there is a connection, but not an identity between them. But Revmnwillems is right that all were written so that we might believe.

  54. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    February 20, 2018 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    Voted for St. John. It is my favorite gospel and, what Oliver said!

  55. February 20, 2018 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    If I argue that we learn more about the one who wins, and there isn’t any more to learn about Phoebe, then, I vote for John. And thank you, Revmnwillems, for affirming that John the writer is the same for all 5 books credited to him. It makes the most sense of writing style, and ‘flavor’. And Jesus’s love for us flows so deeply from his words!

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      February 20, 2018 - 10:35 am | Permalink

      From what I understand about the dates involved, John would have had a very long life, even by modern standards.

  56. Zoeann Millard's Gravatar Zoeann Millard
    February 20, 2018 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    Oh !! this was so unfair!!! I wanted to vote for both because they are both the most important. Really not fair to pit them against each other.

  57. Mike Bond's Gravatar Mike Bond
    February 20, 2018 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    “It is no secret what God can do. What he did for Paul He’ll do for you.”
    Bishop Curry spoke those words in his sermon called The Gospel and the Ugly Cat.
    John is a really important figure in the faith but with out Phoebe we might not have gotten Paul’s letter to the Romans. And she was a deacon. It is no secret what God can do, what He did for Phoebe, He’ll do you you!

  58. Mary Lou Creamer's Gravatar Mary Lou Creamer
    February 20, 2018 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    As a writer, my first instinct was to go with John. But in reflection of the two, I cast my vote for Phoebe, not only as the underdog in this face-off, but for also putting up with Paul!

  59. February 20, 2018 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    As a verger at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Austin, TX, I have to go with our namesake saint. This was a tough matchup for Phoebe.

  60. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    February 20, 2018 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    After prayerful reflection I went with Phoebe because she’s a saint one can pattern one’s life after. Still, the Jesus refracted through the Evangelist’s Gospel is perhaps the most attractive portrait of Jesus in the NT. As always, a tough choice!

  61. Corey Sees's Gravatar Corey Sees
    February 20, 2018 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    A woman in ministry who had to put up with Paul? Phoebe gets my vote.

  62. Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
    February 20, 2018 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Got to vote for my girl Phoebe. Her story implies so much–it’s tantalizing! Just think–she was leader of the Christian community in Rome. I’ve always wondered how that church was started and by whom. It had already been established before Paul even thought about writing his letter, and certainly well before he travelled there, so who started it? Perhaps Phoebe? She had the drive the understanding, and the funds to make it happen. I’m so impressed, and inspired by that.
    I am grateful to gospel writer John for his resurrection story and for his absolutely heart-wrenching account of the death of Lazarus, and of the grief of Jesus, Martha, and Mary. I’m grateful for “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” And I’m grateful for the story of the water-into-wine party Jesus. But most of John is abstruse and theologically kind of “off in the bushes” for me.

    Ultimately, this was an easy choice for me!

  63. Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
    February 20, 2018 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Now I’m thinking about the movie “Blues Brothers 2000” and their song and dance number “John the Revelator” … any one up for a revival? Happy Tuesday, all!

  64. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    February 20, 2018 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    I’m perplexed. I took “John the Evangelist” to refer to the author of the Gospel who, to the best of my knowledge, is generally agreed to have been a single person, not an amalgam. The amalgam is the “John” that some believe to have been the apostle, the evangelist, the author of John’s three letters, the author of Revelation, and it seem also (this a new one for me) the “presbyter” mentioned by some Early Church authors. My understanding is that most scholars now agree that those were several persons, and in particular that the Evangelist and the Revelator were not the same. So our candidate is the Gospel author, one man whose account and understanding of Jesus are fundamental to the faith we profess.

    Nonetheless, and even though my parish is St. John the Evangelist, and notwithstanding my general esteem for his biographer, I’m joining Jenny in voting for Phoebe to protest the confusion, evident in other replies, which this bio has sown. Not that her biographer hasn’t inferred an awful lot from those two verses . . . .

  65. Denise Bell's Gravatar Denise Bell
    February 20, 2018 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    John the Evangelist!! In honor and great love of the church I was raised in – St. John the Evangelist, Chico, CA.

  66. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    February 20, 2018 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    Phoebe for me in honor of herself and also for all the women in all the ages who run the households and run the churches and run the errands great and small and who explain the complex things and show God to those near and dear to them. (Whew, that run-on sentence was Paul-like!)

  67. Deacon Marcia's Gravatar Deacon Marcia
    February 20, 2018 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    The author of the Fourth Gospel and of Revelation could not possibly be the same, as the language styles they use are vastly different. We don’t even know who this “John” is, but we know who Phoebe is: the first female deacon. Go Phoebe!

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 20, 2018 - 10:19 am | Permalink

      See, if you want to bother, the comment at 9:26 and my reply.

  68. Tracey's Gravatar Tracey
    February 20, 2018 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    I just have to go with Phoebe, representative of the many women throughout time who have nourished and led our churches, and who are known only to God.

  69. Christine Parkhurst's Gravatar Christine Parkhurst
    February 20, 2018 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    I have to vote for John the Revelator because of the beautiful call-and-response blues of that name, recorded by Blind Wille Johnson, also performed by Son House, and many others. I just listened to the Son House and Blind Willie Johnson live versions on You Tube, which will stir your soul if you like Delta blues.

  70. Heather C's Gravatar Heather C
    February 20, 2018 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    Voting for Phoebe because despite some incredibly beautiful and powerful passages in John’s gospel, I find the sidelong wink-wink “disciple Jesus loved the best” mentions just too much. He was the most beloved because why? Because he said he was! Right.

    Thinking of the Book of Revelation, though, wondering if there are any other fans out there of Connie Willis’ wonderful short story “Epiphany”….

  71. Larisa's Gravatar Larisa
    February 20, 2018 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    John has a gospel, the book of Revelation, and mentions in the Acts.

    Phoebe has two sentences.

    Let’s raise up Phoebe and other Founding Church Mothers! Team Phoebe!

    • Phoebe S's Gravatar Phoebe S
      February 20, 2018 - 1:55 pm | Permalink

      I totally agree!!!!!!!!!!!

  72. February 20, 2018 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    Such difficult choices this year… remarkable people all. But John is kind of a no-brainer… the only non-synoptic gospel, told from the God-Down point of view… kind of like a Picasso, relative to the Man-Up Rembrandt styles of the others… reflecting, as the last to be written, the growing 50 or so year accretion of “what does this all mean” insights of the new Christian churches.
    Blessings on Phoebe… and John both.
    Wow, what tough choices.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      February 20, 2018 - 10:45 am | Permalink

      Such an interesting comparison: Picasso versus Rembrandt. Now, I would have gone with Rembrandt, as my eyes are suddenly filled with the thick, rich paint of the side of beef hanging, and I imagine tactilely the humble, solid flesh of mortal creatures, in the case of the steer literally “raised” to be consumed for others’ sustenance. The “mere” flesh of kine given solidity, weight, beauty, dignity, value. The creature forever incorruptible in art.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        February 20, 2018 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Wow! <3 (That's as close as I can get to a heart emoji on my PC.)

  73. Phoebe S's Gravatar Phoebe S
    February 20, 2018 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    My name saint is losing!! This can’t be happening!!!!!
    I voted for Phoebe not only because my name is Phoebe, but because she is very important in Paul’s letter to the churches in Rome.

  74. Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
    February 20, 2018 - 10:35 am | Permalink

    Amalgam vs. deacon. John the Apostle and John the Evangelist were both mixed bags unto themselves already, the apostle starting out as a kid scrambling for the best seat and then apparently becoming the beloved; and the evangelist with the the soaring poetic theology of the prolegomena, words that encapsulate my personal faith, but then the bitterness over “the Jews” not embracing Jesus as Messiah; bitterness that has fueled the sin and evil of antisemitism throughout the ages. And I can’t believe they were the same person; people didn’t live that long back then. Perhaps the author of the gospel was a pseudonymous groupie of the original John. My vote is for Phoebe the deacon today. We may know only two verses about her, but it is enough to know the she was a trusted and respected partner in ministry for Paul.

  75. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    February 20, 2018 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    How could I not vote for the author of the fourth gospel? How could I not vote for the one disciple who died of old age and escaped martyrdom? Those are powerful inducements, and yet I surprised myself and voted for Phoebe. Both of these accounts are stories of relationship: John had a personal relationship with Jesus, and Phoebe had a personal relationship with Paul. I am reminded that relationship is the heart of our spirituality. I had a rector who repeatedly said, “God does not mean for us to do it alone.” But in choosing, I am persuaded by Phoebe’s important role in the early church. She was a bearer of the message. She supported the church financially. She was a nascent deacon. In reading Paul’s letter to the congregation and explaining it, she preached. The collect speaks of her “bold witness.” I too seek to be a bold witness. I am joining brave ecumenical witnesses who rally at our local ICE facility. There is not as yet an event organized for March 24 for the “March for Life” that the Florida students called for; I have no idea how one helps to organize such a thing, but this seems a clear enough call to get involved.
    Hell’s foundations quiver
    At the shout of praise;
    Brothers [and sisters], lift your voices,
    Loud your anthems raise.
    We are not divided;
    All one body we:
    One in hope and doctrine,
    One in charity.
    I cast my vote for all the faithful women who supported, organized, and preached on behalf of the early church in witness of their faith in a risen god.

  76. Carolyn's Gravatar Carolyn
    February 20, 2018 - 10:43 am | Permalink

    The diabolically difficult match-ups continue!
    Some very tough choices already this year.
    It is tempting to reflexively vote for the underdog, the one whose story was suppressed, the sidelined (often a woman of course). There is a lot to ponder here.

  77. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    February 20, 2018 - 10:44 am | Permalink

    While admiring Phoebe, today’s matchup is an easy one for me. John the Evangelist all the way!

  78. February 20, 2018 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    Is the illustration of John the right one? There is no serpent in a chalice (that I can see, anyway).

    • February 20, 2018 - 11:39 am | Permalink

      Yes, it’s the right illustration. He’s also symbolically represented in art by an eagle. And the painting’s Latin caption says that it is the “beginning of the Gospel of Saint John.”

    • Bob Andrews-Bryant's Gravatar Bob Andrews-Bryant
      February 20, 2018 - 11:44 am | Permalink

      It does show an eagle, the traditional symbol for (the Gospel of) John.

  79. February 20, 2018 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    Phoebe had my vote today. The job Paul gave her was proof of her growth in this new religion. Paul was confident in a woman and up to the task of delivering letter and explaining its importance to the church at Rome. Phoebe became a preacher, something it took the modern church centuries to accept and implement.

  80. Megan O Jones's Gravatar Megan O Jones
    February 20, 2018 - 10:57 am | Permalink

    Phoebe’s example speaks to me today. I find that every Lent develops its own theme. This year it crashed in on me on Ash Wednesday. Both of these saints went out and spoke up. Both worked with others to improve the world. Both had to overcome obstacles. But somehow Phoebe’s obstacles and work relate more closely to my life and what I hope to learn this Lent.

  81. Jody Musitano's Gravatar Jody Musitano
    February 20, 2018 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    Where is the like button? Some of the replies are as interesting (and more entertaining) than the actual biographies of the saints!

    • February 20, 2018 - 11:48 am | Permalink

      Just hit reply under your favorite comments to show your appreciation, like this! 🙂

    • February 20, 2018 - 11:55 am | Permalink

      P.S.- You should also be able to get a “thumbs up” by typing y between ( ). In the interest of saintly encouragement, let’s see if it works here…. (y)

  82. February 20, 2018 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    My first thought is to vote for Phoebe, of whom we know so little, having just finished Lindsay Freeman’s “Bible Women,” in which I learned so much, to support the overlooked women of Christianity. But in anticipation of the Kitsch round, I switched over to John, who I am sure will have lots of interesting kitsch, while I’m afraid Phoebe will have none.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      February 20, 2018 - 11:33 am | Permalink

      There is a “Phoebe couture cocktail dress” in basic black which would have wowed the Roman congregation as their personal evangelist expounded upon Pauline theology.

      Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t seem to allow me to paste a picture into the text box. Was that too much of a Lenten miracle to ask for? Just google it.

      Too, there is a Phoebe Snow cocktail involving 1 1/2 ounces cognac, 1 1/2 ounces Dubonnet Rouge and a dash of absinthe (or 2 dashes Pernod Pastis, if absinthe isn’t available). Shaken not stirred.

      So I’m sure our Phoebe could have been well represented in the kitsch category. A little faith and some creativity go a long way. (Non-alcoholic versions available by angelic request.)

      • Bob's Gravatar Bob
        February 20, 2018 - 12:21 pm | Permalink


      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        February 20, 2018 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

        There’s the eponymous little gray songbird that sings “Phoebe” these winter days; Phoebe Snow is good, and there’s also the actress Phoebe Cates, the character Phoebe from “Friends” played by Lisa Kudrow, and, of course the Greek goddess for whom Saturn’s moon Phoebe is named. Plenty of kitsch potential!!

        • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
          February 20, 2018 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

          You had me at “eponymous.”

          • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
            February 21, 2018 - 2:41 pm | Permalink


  83. #teamphoebe's Gravatar #teamphoebe
    February 20, 2018 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    uhhhh that John bio is terrible and wrong. See Jenny’s comment up above. Also Where’s Fredrick Douglas today is his saints day

  84. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    February 20, 2018 - 11:26 am | Permalink

    I’m voting for Phoebe because I had never noticed her before Lent Madness, yet the blog points out how much can legitimately be read between Paul’s few lines about her importance and achievements. John already has superstar cred–he doesn’t need any more time in the spotlight! Besides, I’ve always been annoyed by the constant refrain in the Gospel of “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” as though Jesus didn’t love the rest of them nearly as much. Seems self-serving to me.

  85. Greg Ridenour's Gravatar Greg Ridenour
    February 20, 2018 - 11:31 am | Permalink

    Tough choice today. Phoebe as a woman and church leader, but never mentioned in my church, can not be ignored. She should be celebrated, held up as an example, and this is one small way to do it. At the same time John is John, close to Jesus and then Mary, my confirmation name, a Gospel markedly different than the other three.

  86. Margaret L's Gravatar Margaret L
    February 20, 2018 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Christine, I enjoyed John the Revelator Delta Blues. Phoebe was key to interpreting the message. She rose to prominence. I think she did this with vision, courage, and strength. She gets my vote.

  87. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    February 20, 2018 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    Well. I almost voted for Phoebe, but have been nourished too often by the prologue to John’s gospel. A respectful tip sf my hat ti Phoebe, but my vote is for John.

  88. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    February 20, 2018 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    I vote for John, partly because of so many favorite passages in his/their? Gospel, but also because of the passage in 1 John beginning “There is no fear in love, for perfect love has cast out all fear.” I learned this at two very important points in my life, when I was struggling with my growing realization that my soon-to-be husband was probably the one with whom I was meant to live out my life, and then when I was struggling with the equally terrifying conviction that I was being called to ordained ministry. At both these times, praying for guidance, I opened my Bible to find this passage staring back at me and reassuring me that God’s love could cast out my fear and enable me to go farther in life. Now, at age 80, I’m still married to the man and still struggling to ascertain what it means to be in ministry as a retiree.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      February 20, 2018 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

      What a lovely story! Thank you for sharing it.

  89. Mike Essig's Gravatar Mike Essig
    February 20, 2018 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    While I want to vote for my son’s name sake (John), I also am eager to learn more about Phoebe. Sending her to the next round would let us all learn more about her. Voted for Phoebe today!

  90. James Lodwick's Gravatar James Lodwick
    February 20, 2018 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    I love and am fascinated by all the writings attributed to John in the New Testament. I wish we had some writings from Phoebe.

  91. Peter Misiaszek's Gravatar Peter Misiaszek
    February 20, 2018 - 11:42 am | Permalink

    My vote goes to the first female priest in Christendom.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      February 20, 2018 - 11:55 am | Permalink

      Mary Magdalene was the apostle to the apostles, so I’m inclined to think she gets the appellation “first.” Wish the Swag sellers would re-issue her coffee mug.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        February 20, 2018 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

        I second the wish for a Mary Magdalene mug!!

      • Sally Clark's Gravatar Sally Clark
        February 20, 2018 - 6:54 pm | Permalink

        Oh yes, please!

  92. February 20, 2018 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    I didn’t know how I’d cast my vote up to the moment I did so. In the end I went for Phoebe. But both these saints did so much for the growth of the early church and the spread of God’s Word.

  93. Ken a humble servant's Gravatar Ken a humble servant
    February 20, 2018 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    I too am a fan of John but I hear Phoebe has a mean breaking fast ball so I am down with that.

  94. John's Gravatar John
    February 20, 2018 - 11:57 am | Permalink

    As someone whose first name is John after John the Evangelist, I had to go with him.

  95. Lurlene's Gravatar Lurlene
    February 20, 2018 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

    John is a star. Phoebe is a comet. There are many male stars in the Biblical galaxy,
    but when a comet appears, it’s a sparkling rarity. Thanks, Phoebe!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      February 21, 2018 - 2:46 pm | Permalink

      I like this, Lurlene!

  96. Kathy Wicks's Gravatar Kathy Wicks
    February 20, 2018 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    John the Evangelist vs Phoebe
    Definitely many overtimes on this contest. The hardest choice in the bracket. Romans or Gospel of John. Should be the final choice, for sure

  97. Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
    February 20, 2018 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Phoebe is very compelling, but given that my home parish is named for St. John the Evangelist, I’m bound by honor to vote for him.

  98. JOAN OGDEN's Gravatar JOAN OGDEN
    February 20, 2018 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Hardest choice yet. I would have loved to vote for Phoebe, but the glorious conceptualization of God among us in the start of John’s Gospel has always for me captured the mystery, and the wonder, of God.

  99. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    February 20, 2018 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Much as I love what we can piece together of Phoebe’s story, I came to faith through a Church of John the Evangelist, and my faith has since been deepened and strengthened by the beauty, poetry and mystery of John’s gospel. I cast my vote for the author who wrote that all may come to believe in Jesus.

  100. Ann from St. Michael’s's Gravatar Ann from St. Michael’s
    February 20, 2018 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Go Phoebe! As someone else commented, for her to be recognized by name for doing good works and trusted to take communications to parishes, she really must have been a fantastic woman leader in the early church. She truly was a wonderful communicator as the letter to the Romans that she carried and read is still such an important document to us! She deserves our vote!

  101. S.R. Niccolls's Gravatar S.R. Niccolls
    February 20, 2018 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Phoebe. Maybe it is because I just spent countless hours working on Ephesians 1:3-14 and understand how hard it is to translate Paul. Yes, I am one of those who takes Ephesians 1:1 as literal.

  102. Karen Sculley's Gravatar Karen Sculley
    February 20, 2018 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I am grateful for Phoebe and her ministry of hospitality, but I voted for John, the beloved. May we each be as confident as John that we are beloved by God!

  103. Kathy Wicks's Gravatar Kathy Wicks
    February 20, 2018 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    John the Evangelist vs Phoebe
    . The hardest choice in the bracket. Romans or Gospel of John. Should be the final choice, for sure

  104. Bob's Gravatar Bob
    February 20, 2018 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Voted for all the disciples and authors with the appellation “John.” More bang for the buck!

  105. Marty Vega's Gravatar Marty Vega
    February 20, 2018 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    A female, a former slave who rises to a high position in society, able to provide funds to the new church deserves a vote. But there’s more – she is a woman who is trusted as Paul’s partner in supervising new churches, a high achievement in any time, let alone back then. In addition, she’s trusted to convey Paul’s message to the Romans and obviously did very well at that. This is an epic story of a wondrously blessed and gifted woman who got my vote this morning.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      February 20, 2018 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

      I’m curious about this slave business. I wonder why “it is likely” that she was a slave. I’d love to know about this!

  106. John Bennett's Gravatar John Bennett
    February 20, 2018 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

    A quick survey shows very few (about 5%) male voices but may I speak (softly) on behalf of my namesake?

  107. Tom S's Gravatar Tom S
    February 20, 2018 - 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Not to detract from the incredible ministry and leadership of Phoebe, I really just wanted to see John and Peter square off in the Saintly 16.

  108. Nancy Larkin's Gravatar Nancy Larkin
    February 20, 2018 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

    As compelling as Phoebe might be, I couldn’t not vote for the Disciple whom Jesus loved… the disciple to whom Jesus entrusted the care of his mother… the one who listened for the heartbeat of God.

    • Linda Sylvester's Gravatar Linda Sylvester
      February 20, 2018 - 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Beautifully stated.

  109. Mariclaire's Gravatar Mariclaire
    February 20, 2018 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Phoebe as part of my recovery from Paul’s defeat.

    • Linda Sylvester's Gravatar Linda Sylvester
      February 20, 2018 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

      A hearty, “I hear ya!”

  110. Verdery D. Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery D. Kassebaum
    February 20, 2018 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

    It wasn’t easy (none of the matchups so far have been), but I voted for Phoebe. There aren’t a lot of women named in the New Testament, and as not only a supporter of the fledgling Church but an emissary of Paul, she deserves recognition.
    And the granddaughter of a friend is named Phoebe.

  111. Linda Sylvester's Gravatar Linda Sylvester
    February 20, 2018 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m for Phoebe. Of late, I’m so inspired by the average folk, who drilled deep and found ways to live out their faith in whatever circumstance they found themselves living in. That’s what it’s all about, right?

  112. Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
    February 20, 2018 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I love all I read about Phoebe and her role as a female leader in the early church. But as a longtime time friend of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist who have been an enormous gift to me over the years, I have to vote for their Patron.

  113. Deborah Hays's Gravatar Deborah Hays
    February 20, 2018 - 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I love Phoebe but I voted for John because it will be the first time I can legally vote for 4 people. Really.
    it is because< " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." No one writes better than John except Paul on a very, very good day. John's words are hypnotic and I understand them deep in my soul even though I can not explain to another person what they mean.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      February 20, 2018 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Nicely stated.

  114. Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
    February 20, 2018 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Phoebe for me!

  115. Margaret brenneman's Gravatar Margaret brenneman
    February 20, 2018 - 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone else find themselves diagramming John’s gospel whenever they hear it? Or is diagramming no longer a part of the language arts curriculum, which in my day was called English? It is so easy to lose yourself in the process that the gospel becomes a mere mishmash of meaningless words.

    • Claire from Quincy's Gravatar Claire from Quincy
      February 20, 2018 - 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. Thank you. Diagramming a sentence is as archaic as Home Economics or Shop. All useful tools that cannot be assessed on a standardized test. Is your #2 pencil sharpened? No stray marks allowed. 🙂

      • Myrrh's Gravatar Myrrh
        February 21, 2018 - 2:03 am | Permalink


        • Ed Totten's Gravatar Ed Totten
          February 21, 2018 - 12:36 pm | Permalink

          Do they no longer have “shop” in high school? I loved woodshop.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        February 21, 2018 - 2:50 pm | Permalink

        I loved diagramming sentences! What a great new challenge–diagramming the gospels!

  116. Debra's Gravatar Debra
    February 20, 2018 - 1:48 pm | Permalink


  117. Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
    February 20, 2018 - 1:57 pm | Permalink

    So far, I’ve found myself consistently voting for the women (for various reasons) and would otherwise vote for Phoebe as another strong but unsung churchwoman, but as my parish is the Chapel of St. John the Divine, Episcopal (Champaign, Illinois), my loyalties must lie elsewhere this time.

  118. john w miller's Gravatar john w miller
    February 20, 2018 - 2:13 pm | Permalink

    While John lives on in his writings, it is only recently that we have discovered the crucial role that women played in church leadership…under St, Paul, no less, who has been criticized for his alleged misogyny . My vote is for Phoebe

  119. Carole's Gravatar Carole
    February 20, 2018 - 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Phoebe, because we have always known that women are called to ministry – the deaconate and even, gasp, ordained priesthood (the “gasp” for my since-infancy church that has a selective memory and, try as it may, will not be able to restrain the Holy Spirit).
    Phoebe, who was generous and trustworthy in the early days of the Church.

  120. Donna Downing's Gravatar Donna Downing
    February 20, 2018 - 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I was torn today…male versus female! I have to agree with the comments about Phoebe’s awesome role in spreading the word, BUT John took care of Mary while doing other wonderful deeds in Jesus’ name. I finally had to cast my vote for John.

  121. Janet's Gravatar Janet
    February 20, 2018 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Any woman who can put up with Paul certainly possessed heroic virtue!
    Phoebe got my vote.

  122. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    February 20, 2018 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Seems like I have the uncanny knack of voting for the “underdog” of the two saints in these daily challenges.

  123. PatMuller's Gravatar PatMuller
    February 20, 2018 - 2:31 pm | Permalink

    An amalgam of 3 different Johns? at least Phoebe is clearly one historical person. Whoever wrote the gospel of John heard the Spirit in the most wonderful voice, and I treasure the book, but Phoebe’s reality tipped the scale for me.

  124. Sarah Johnson's Gravatar Sarah Johnson
    February 20, 2018 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Yesterday was the only day I have seen a way to vote. The voting boxes must be hiding.

    • February 20, 2018 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Each matchup is open for 24 hours, then the poll is closed. Voting goes from 8 am to 8 am eastern time.

  125. PatMuller's Gravatar PatMuller
    February 20, 2018 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Oh, oh, oh! scrolling back up through the posts I came to Oliver, who gets it right! It’s always seemed clear to me that Jesus wasn’t giving Mary to John to take care of, he was bidding her to be a mother to the youngest of his group, giving John into her care.

  126. James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
    February 20, 2018 - 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I suppose it is vaguely possible that John wrote John. Eric Hoffer was a longshoreman. However, it seems much more likely that such writer of a later generation wrote John for his community, and had virtually no connection with the materials known to the other writers. Yes, obviously some individual wrote the Fourth Gospel, but we know nothing whatsoever in any way shape of form about him except that he was able to write decent Greek.
    Phoebe was a real individual.
    And, yes, I value the fact that someone was a real individual rather than merely a literary device. Of course, your mileage may vary.

    • James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
      February 20, 2018 - 2:46 pm | Permalink

      … some writer of a later generation …

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      February 21, 2018 - 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Eric Hoffer–I have learned something today! Thanks, James.

  127. Kathy's Gravatar Kathy
    February 20, 2018 - 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Where would we be without the beauty and poetry of the 4th Gospel? Love Phoebe but John got my vote

    • James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
      February 20, 2018 - 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Actually, the literary device got your vote.
      I never said the Gospel wasn’t moving. It simply is not by John. Why is that so hard to grasp.

  128. Jill Liberty's Gravatar Jill Liberty
    February 20, 2018 - 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Phoebe, although the KJV version of the Prologue to the Gospel of John is some of the most beautiful poetic prose I’ve ever had the privilege to hear.

    We really don’t know much about Phoebe or the proliferation of the Johns who might or might not have been the Evangelist.

    I agree with the many comments that Phoebe, as a woman, most likely held a prominent position in the early Church and thus had a meaningful impact on Paul’s desire to proclaim that Jesus came to save the WORLD, not just a chosen few.

    Despite some scholars’ admirable work on the historical context of John the Evangelist’s message, I am still deeply troubled by the apparent ethnic bias of his point of view. It seems to me that Paul’s inclusiveness is more persuasive than John’s exclusiveness.

  129. February 20, 2018 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I just don’t have the time to read all comments. So I am sure that mine have been said multiple times already. It seems odd to pair a composite writer of the Gospels with a real person from the Epistles. Likewise later on, I can’t see why an Archangel is up against a person! But this is Lenten MADNESS:)

    I voted for Phoebe all the way to the Halo (in a church that fills the slate before the voting begins). I will probably lose! But without her, Paul’s letter to the Romans might never have gotten to Rome. It’s fundamental to Christianity .

    And surely, her biography lays to rest the notion that Paul did not like women. That has always annoyed me!

  130. Pamela's Gravatar Pamela
    February 20, 2018 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I have to vote for the Lord’s beloved deciple for that reason alone. But in addition, John 17 is my favorite chapter in scripture where John records the fervent prayer of our Lord for his own.

  131. Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
    February 20, 2018 - 3:25 pm | Permalink

    This is not a comment on either John or Phoebe or any of the other candidates, but a plea to all commenters:
    if you are posting from your phone, please look over your post to see if that instrument that must surely try the patience of all the saints, the Autocorrect, has modified your words without your consent. I’m seeing Philippians autocorrected to Philippines, Genesius to Genesis or Genius, and any number of other presumably unwanted modifications. Let the words of our comments be transcribed faithfully, as the words of the saints should have been transcribed by their biographers.

  132. Betsy in Reston VA's Gravatar Betsy in Reston VA
    February 20, 2018 - 3:30 pm | Permalink

    We don’t know very much about either of these saints, and what we do know is really myth and legend, but I went with Phoebe because I respectfully object to a saint that is a mush mosh of characters who may or may not have existed. And, Phoebe the person must have been a very strong woman to have made it into the Bible, and in a favorable way at that! Phoebe is proof that there was female leadership in the early church, and that is something to celebrate!

  133. Robert Peterson's Gravatar Robert Peterson
    February 20, 2018 - 3:32 pm | Permalink

    After reading the information about about Phoebe and John I asked myself who was the more influential in spreading the gospel of these two and could not help but come to the conclusion that it was John, the Evangelist. Then I read some of the comments and agreed that it was not a case of Gender. Both were very affective in their own way.

  134. Brenda McHenry's Gravatar Brenda McHenry
    February 20, 2018 - 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I went with John because there was an original John, perhaps in addition to those who came after. And anyone who would leave his livelihood and family to follow Jesus is a saint.

    • James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
      February 20, 2018 - 4:01 pm | Permalink

      The original John was no doubt a fine fellow, but not John the Evangelist.

  135. Drusilla Grubb's Gravatar Drusilla Grubb
    February 20, 2018 - 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Well, I was going to vote for John, but Phoebe is one whole actual woman while John is just
    “an amalgam.”

  136. Sue's Gravatar Sue
    February 20, 2018 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Any one who has to explain Paul has my sympathies and therefore my vote. Blessings on you, Phoebe!

  137. Judith's Gravatar Judith
    February 20, 2018 - 4:03 pm | Permalink

    One of my great-grandmothers was Phoebe; therefore, she gets my vote.

  138. Elizabeth Pennington's Gravatar Elizabeth Pennington
    February 20, 2018 - 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I stopped participating last year because I felt it was becoming too wrapped up in modern conceptions of gender and I found it wearisome but then I found myself missing the Lent Madness mayhem. I missed it. So here I am again. Actually I wasn’t really supposed to be here because my irritating cancer was supposed to have killed me well before this. Oh well, what can one count on besides the love of God. In any case, my love of the exquisite language of John in the King James Version informs this as it has informed my life. So obviously, I’m not all that averse to anachronisms when they suit me. Most embarrassing.

    • Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
      February 20, 2018 - 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Blessings and prayers to you, Elizabeth. May the faithful strength of Lent Madness continue to support and encourage you, and may the love of God continue to sustain and strengthen you. Glad to see you here.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      February 21, 2018 - 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Elizabeth, I don’t know if you’ll see this, but it is so wonderful that you are hear to be mad with us for another Lent.

  139. aleathia nicholson's Gravatar aleathia nicholson
    February 20, 2018 - 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Phoebe will not win and I really don’t mind because she has personally won for me. She was one who stood out and pushed her way forward out of slavery and changed her status from being a Gentile to a trusted confidante and true believer for the apostle Paul .That should have qualified her for instant sainthood alone. She was his interpreter as his writings were not presented by him in person as he was going in one direction as she went to other places. She also financially supported Paul and his ministries and became a deacon, a probable rarity at that time but she earned it. Too bad she wont be rewarded now but hey, that.s the breaks ! God rewarded her and that’s good enough for me and was good enough for Paul in spite of his mysoginistic (sp!) ways.

  140. Belle's Gravatar Belle
    February 20, 2018 - 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Phoebe! I think it’s a pretty uneven matchup to pair her with someone as important John the E. So she has my vote.

  141. Sister Mary Winifred's Gravatar Sister Mary Winifred
    February 20, 2018 - 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Your mouth to God’s ear, Brenda McHenry

  142. Marjorie Menaul's Gravatar Marjorie Menaul
    February 20, 2018 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m collecting rationales for peoples’ votes – fascinating.
    1. “John” or “Phoebe” is my name/the name of a relative/the name of my church.
    2. Phoebe/John is the more important person
    3. One has firmer historical foundation than the other.
    4. I choose the underdog
    5. More beautiful story/works
    6. I choose women because they’ve often been minimized or overlooked/I choose the person who has made a greater known contribution to the church, usually a man.
    What else?

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      February 20, 2018 - 4:51 pm | Permalink

      7. I flipped a coin.
      8. The spirit guided me.

  143. February 20, 2018 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

    John the Evangelist, on the strength of his wonderfully poetic celebration of the Incarnation in fist chapter of his gospel.

    • February 20, 2018 - 5:11 pm | Permalink

      I’ll try that again, without the typos.

      John the Evangelist, on the strength of his wonderfully poetic celebration of the Incarnation in THE FIRST chapter of his Gospel.

  144. February 20, 2018 - 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Can I make a suggestion, in the interests of some fairer match-ups in future LMs.

    First-rounds match-ups should be between:
    — saints of the same gender as each other,
    — saints of a similar “profile” as each other, and
    — saints from a similar era as each other.

    As well, saints with serious PR issues in today’s church should have those issues addressed in their first-round biographies.

    • Laura Priebe's Gravatar Laura Priebe
      February 20, 2018 - 8:43 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Otherwise it’s too much a Battle of the Sexes.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        February 21, 2018 - 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Good point, Bob. I am grateful for the change this year, however, to put together saints from a similar time frame, or who are similar in other major ways. Gender is one more “thing.”

  145. February 20, 2018 - 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Phoebe all the way. I started my official ministry as a deaconess before becoming a pastor.

  146. Mother and Son's Gravatar Mother and Son
    February 20, 2018 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

    I think many can agree that the Book of Revelation was not written by John the Evangelist, people have studied it thoroughly and don’t agree that it uses the words or sentence structure the Gospel of John had. In any case our vote is with John because HE WAS THERE! Phoebe may have played a significant role in the early church, but John was handpicked by Jesus to form the church.

  147. Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
    February 20, 2018 - 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Family disagreement: when does voting close? 8 pm tonight or 8am tomorrow morning?

  148. Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
    February 20, 2018 - 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Female leader in the early church vs. unlikely amalgam. Phoebe, hands down today.

    • Wendy's Gravatar Wendy
      February 20, 2018 - 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Amen to that, Elaine!

  149. Timothy J. Mannion's Gravatar Timothy J. Mannion
    February 20, 2018 - 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Oh, come on. Jesus’ best friend, and the dutiful son-in-law who takes in the B.V.M. How could you vote for the postal worker over that pedigree?

    John for the win!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      February 21, 2018 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Postal worker??? She didn’t drop the letter in the mailbox and leave! Did you miss the part where she read the letter–Romans, no less–to the congregation and explained it? Lector and preacher, thank you very much. Benefactor, as well. {{smooths out ruffled feathers }}

  150. Isobel's Gravatar Isobel
    February 20, 2018 - 7:52 pm | Permalink

    It has to be John, the disciple whom Jesus loved and to whom he entrusted his mother at his death. John’s eloquent Gospel is my favorite.

  151. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    February 20, 2018 - 8:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised the contest is this close–a practical unknown against one of the pillars of the Church. It’s a no-brainer for me, as my home parish is St John’s (Boulder CO). And, echoing Isobel (above), his Gospel is my favorite, too. Some interesting twists in there not found in any of the synoptics.

  152. Laura Priebe's Gravatar Laura Priebe
    February 20, 2018 - 8:42 pm | Permalink

    First, this is the first time I have heard that the gospel of John was “probably” an amalgam of Johns, but it didn’t change my vote. Also, it’s not Christian tradition that says that he was “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” it is the text itself, several times.
    Second, I just heard an interview with Sarah Glahn, author of Vindicating the Vixens: Revisiting Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized Women of the Bible, and it is helping me see that the way those stories were interpreted says more about our current society than the culture in which it was written. Perhaps the first century church wasn’t as patriarchal as we think… Hear that interview here

  153. PaulaB's Gravatar PaulaB
    February 20, 2018 - 8:53 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Elaine. Phoebe all the way!

  154. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    February 20, 2018 - 9:06 pm | Permalink

    John was a disciple. Phoebe interpreting Paul’s work and making it understandable. To each his own on how he or she feels. We’ll see how the vote compares.

  155. Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
    February 20, 2018 - 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Another fascinating match-up. That’s the beauty of Lent Madness…fabulous saints and maddening match-ups! How else should we spend the season of penitence!

  156. Nancy Maleno's Gravatar Nancy Maleno
    February 20, 2018 - 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Two very good and worthy saints today, so hard to pick just one.

  157. Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
    February 20, 2018 - 11:46 pm | Permalink

    I have read a number of complaints on this board lamenting the criteria people use to choose one saint versus another in Lent Madness. I cannot understand what the purpose is to criticize a person voting in a contest based on race or gender. There are far worse reasons. For example, I could not bring myself to vote against St. Michael for obvious reasons. Others choose who to vote for based upon the name of their parish or their profession (i.e., the popularity of Florence Nightingale as last year’s Golden Halo winner). Personally, I could not choose between Peter and Paul and selected the latter as I spent much of 2017 coming to better terms with the Pauline epistles. Is that the best reason? Probably not.

    As I see it, Lent Madness serves as a devotional to learn more about the saints and their works during the Lenten season. We are not a committee of 7000-9000 who the National Church commissioned to ranked a group of people from most to least saintly. If so, the Supreme Executive Committee would provide a detailed rubric with exhaustive criteria to determine the most deserving person in each round. We are not told or even requested to judge these contests one way or another – just pick a winner.

    I know some favorites may lose and brackets will be busted sooner rather than later. Pray on that. Let’s live in the moment. Lighten up. Learn about the competitors. Have fun.

  158. Constance Santana's Gravatar Constance Santana
    February 21, 2018 - 12:12 am | Permalink

    Got my vote in before reading the comments but see that there is some angst being expressed re the gender issue. I’m very much a feminist but vote based on what I believe to be the evidence of saintliness factors in the info given. I voted Genesius and of course John the Evangelist (even if he is a combination of three men named John)…but voted Anne over James who I just couldn’t see as saintly. It’s Lent Madness folks.

Comments are closed.