Phocas the Gardner vs. Richard Hooker

In the second matchup of the Elate Eight, Phocas the Gardener faces Richard Hooker. Our ever-creative Celebrity Bloggers daily earn their keep (well, their Lent Madness mug) in the Round of Saintly Kitsch as they scour the internet for your voting pleasure. To make it to this round, Phocas bested Isidore the Farmer and Katharina von Bora while Richard made it past Mary of Egypt and Margaret of Scotland.

Yesterday, Esther narrowly defeated Peter, in an epic start to the Elate Eight, to become the first saint to advance to the Faithful Four.

Can you feel the excitement? We are getting ever closer to awarding the 2018 Golden Halo. Every vote counts!

Phocas the Gardener

Phocas IconIt is a truth universally acknowledged, that a worthy saint in possession of a high number of Lent Madness votes, must be in want of some kitsch. With each successive year, as new saints are added to the pantheon of those hallowed souls that have reached the Elate Eight, and, yes, as the saints get slightly more obscure, or come from slightly deeper cuts into church history, one might expect that even the hallowed corners of the internet might come up completely empty of saleable merchandise for a Saint such as our dear Phocas the Gardener.

Friend, have you not learned to trust Etsy? Have you not learned that somewhere, someone is working on some kind of mixed-media collage in homage to our beloved and hospitable Phocas? Indeed, for the low price of $17, you, too can have a new, modern reinterpretation of the iconography for Saint Phocas. God watches over the saints, and indeed, Etsy watches over Lent Madness bloggers in the kitsch round.T shirt- Straight Outta Sinop

Phocas’ activities caught the attention of the Roman Empire in part because he had the distinct fortune (or misfortune) of living right next to the bustling Black Sea port of Sinope. Located in modern-day Turkey, and now called simply Sinop, his location enabled him to provide hospitality from his garden to the broad cross-section of people who would have made their way through an ancient port city. Since his location allowed him the ability to carry out his ministry to the masses, there is little doubt that Phocas would have gladly sported this “Straight out of Sinop” t-shirt. It would not have only been an expression of hometown pride, but also concise direction – Phocas’s home and garden were, literally, straight outside of Sinope’s gates.

Garden Gnomes This is the kitsch round of Lent Madness, and Phocas’ garden was at the center of his ministry. We can’t not have a garden gnome. Strike that. We can’t not have garden gnomes (plural). In fact, with a garden that provided hospitality to so many, we need a veritable squad of garden gnomes. Etsy, as always, delivers.

And no garden would be complete without tools. Cultivating is hard work, and a little mechanical assistance can always help. Luckily, high end kitsch merchants have Kid's tractorus covered. You, too, can have a mini-excavator for your garden. Powered by a staggering 12 volt battery, and with a gnarly max speed of 2.5 mph, you can introduce your child to the wonders of working the garden, tilling the soil, and providing hospitality and food for the hungry masses, just like Phocas. Bargain basement price is $349.95; hard hat, unfortunately, is not included.

-David Sibley

Richard Hooker

Whatever you do, do not Google the word “Hooker.” Seriously. Just don’t.

If you are doing your Googles, you must type “Richard Hooker” in order to find interesting, non-fireable, material on one of the chief architects of Anglican theology and identity.

Richard Hooker statueTake this statue of Richard Hooker outside of Exeter Cathedral in the United Kingdom. Sculpted (carved?) in the early 1900s and unveiled in 1907, this statue depicts the “Judicious Hooker” (no jokes, please) seated with an opened book. It is almost as if there should be a plaque in front of this statue that reads: “Richard Hooker will read youGif saying "Read, Honey" now.” Remember, Hooker is the same man who levied critiques of Puritans and Roman Catholics, all while positioning Anglicanism is the best of the catholic and reformed Christian tradition and advocating for coalition-building Christianity. Do you know how much awesomeness one must possess to fight a battle on two fronts?

To be honest, Richard Hooker perched on this chair with this open book and unbothered countenance is #theologiangoals. When I die, I would like a Hooker-esque statue carved in my likeness. Thank you in advance.

Book by Richard HookerHooker’s words are so relevant to our contemporary context that W. Bradford Littlejohn,‎ Brian D. Marr, and Bradley G. Belschner have all adapted his Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity to modern English in Radicalism: When Reform Becomes Revolution. Brad Littlejohn actually has a great YouTube video where he reads an excerpt from the work that levies a great critique against extremism performed in God’s name. He writes, “Here lies the greatest danger of all. For when divine authority is used to justify things which are not the commandment of God, but your own mistaken suppositions, you’ll attribute to God whatever you are later led to do in defense of your cause. What this will lead to, God only knows.”MASH- cover

Those of you who belong to the older generation, might remember a television program called M*A*S*H, a comedy-drama that ran form 1972-1983. This television series was based on a book called MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors written by Richard Hooker. Richard Hooker is pretty amazing, but even he had to “go the way of all the earth.” (He died, y’all). The Richard Hooker who wrote MASH in 1968 is actually a penname for Dr. H. R. Hornberger, a former military surgeon and writer, who was born in Trenton, New Jersey. Somehow, the original Richard Hooker influenced the latter and he, the latter that is, wrote a book that influenced the creation of a wildly popular television program that basically defined the 70s. (That, and “Good Times” and “Wonder Years). So, basically, Richard Hooker defined the 70s. America, you’re welcome.

-Marcus Halley

 

Phocas the Gardener vs. Richard Hooker

  • Richard Hooker (55%, 3,654 Votes)
  • Phocas the Gardener (45%, 3,011 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,665

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164 comments on “Phocas the Gardner vs. Richard Hooker”

  1. I voted for Richard because he gave food and shelter to the people that were going to kill him.

  2. I made a mistake. I am so sorry. I voted for PHOCAS because he gave food and shelter to the people that were going to kill him

    1. You had me worried, Oliver! LOL
      I voted for him because of that, but also because of his non-stop hospitality to other.

  3. Congratulations to David Sibley for finding *something* for Phocas. I was certain there would be a video of him in a Walmart Garden Center scrawling "Phocas" on a line of garden trowels" with a sparkly Sharpie.

  4. I like Phocas because he shared his stuff like a true person who follows Jesus even though people were going to kill him.

    1. Wait, Pailet and Hill--you know each other?? I love seeing your and Oliver's posts.

  5. Phocas was truly saintly in his hospitality and forgiveness. A saint can be important because he or she is an inspiration for others. I've resolved to emulate Phocas.

  6. Since I completed my bracket in advance (and generally have been clobbered) . . . I am all in with Richard Hooker for the Golden Halo. There is still hope!

    Go Richard!

    1. Me, too!! What would we Episcopalians have without Richard's '3 legged stool" of scripture, tradition, and reason?!

    2. Me, too, John the other Verger - I'm with you. The more I read about Richard Hooker, the more convinced I am that he needs to be awarded the Golden Halo - he is a hero of the faith and also is a source of splendid quotations!

    3. Okay, y'all...Richard's 15 minutes of Lenten Madness fame is over! Phocas still has a chance, only if he makes it past my favorite, Deaconess Alexander! 🙂 Go, Anna, go! The Diocese of Georgia is behind you all the way!

    4. Hooker all the way! Er, Richard Hooker that is. (It's important to be clear about this give the news these days.)

  7. The veritable squad of garden gnomes won me over. My kitsch round vote is for Phocas!

  8. I love Phocas' kindness and generosity but Richard Hooker set the forever standards for the Episcopal/Anglican via media which so many of us have treasured over the centuries. Hopefully, our faith, based on those standards, has raised up millions of kind and generous folks. Had to go with Richard Hooker.

    1. My reasons exactly! Thank you for articulating them so much more eloquently than I could have.
      PS thanks for the Google tips - you saved 1 job today!

  9. Ugh! Didn't vote for either previously, but I like books & M*A*S*H, so
    its Richard by default in a strange mix of saint & kitsch.

  10. Aw, come on, how can you not vote for a guy named: PHOCAS...do we not need to PHOCAS on God and man and providing the word of God to man in whatever manor we can? I voted for such a generous, giving, and forgiving man. AND I just love his name! PHOCAS!!!!!! on the finish line!

  11. A difficult choice! I wanted to vote for Phocas as a fellow gardener but Richard Hooker's wisdom could not be ignored. Give Etsy it's due though - there are actually several choices for Phocas icons. I think I may order one to remind me of Phocas' example of generosity and courage.

  12. I am not on Twitter, but it would be great if someone would post those words of Richard Hooker and # those who keep claiming they are only doing God's work and use some obscure passage to justify their positions. At least those whose attention spans are only good for 240 characters would maybe find a reason to reflect.

  13. At last I picked someone who is ahead--it was the M.A.S.H. connection that did it for me. In the days and months that my husband was drifting off to glory he loved watching M.A.S.H. re-runs. so I place this vote for you Ken--I miss you--you got to go to glory and I am stuck here with Donald Trump and the 4th Northeaster to threaten central Connecticut!

    1. I hope Ken and my Rich are watching
      M*A*S*H reruns together in heaven Rich loved it too And I know about Gen. Hooker. But I voted for Phocas—much like Hawkeye Pearce in his own way

  14. I’m a gardener. Have been since I was eight and my dad gave me a plot in his veg garden to plant zinnias. How, therefore, can I keep from voting Phocas?!

  15. I voted for Phocas for a ridiculous serendipitous reason. The outfit I served with in the army had a station in Sinop, Turkey. I shared this Elate Eight match-up to one of the Army Security Agency Facebook groups.

  16. I know I voted for Phocas before, for his generous giving to others, and also for the kindred spirit gardener in me. Fir this round,the don't google "hooker", and M*A*S*H won me over. Suggestion for future kitsch bloggers/seekers: Pinterest and peg doll saints.... It's a whole new internet rabbit hole!

  17. For Marcus Halley, M.A,S,H. is still in syndication. It is on Me TV in our local area every evening. Personally, I have been a Richard Hooker fan since I learned of him shortly after I saw the "via media" light and abandoned my genealogical Presbyterianism (My ggf I. P. Osborne (1833-1918) was a Presbyterian minister.) My recollection is that Hooker was the originator of my favorite philosophical expression, "It is what it is.")

  18. CB Marcus has me laughing out of the gate and then I read this: “Here lies the greatest danger of all. For when divine authority is used to justify things which are not the commandment of God, but your own mistaken suppositions, you’ll attribute to God whatever you are later led to do in defense of your cause. What this will lead to, God only knows.”

    Reminding me that Richard Hooker’s words and thoughts are as relevant for us and our world as he was in his day, my vote went for Hooker (which I did not Google).

  19. So the most defining theologist for the Anglican congregation since the Middle Ages against a very early Christian martyr...tough call. But for the fights against the authority of the church liturgical leaders to control salvation, and the fights against the Calvinist predestination and sola fide without works, and most importantly for his concept that "reason is the greatest gift God has given man", I voted for the Hooker.

  20. I'm still all in for Phocus. Remember, he lived the gospel truth, feeding and housing his assasins the night before his death. If anyone deserves the golden halo, he does. He didn't worry about church polity or bicameral legislative bodies. He worried about the things above Earth's dark shades.

  21. I had to give this a WWJD? I think Jesus would give Richard a hearty pat on the back for his outstanding work, and bless him; then lead Phocas into the Kingdom of Heaven for his humility and perfect faith. The gardener and the carpenter, y’all.

    1. Karen was sitting here going back and forth over my vote but your reply made up my mind. Phocas is the man

  22. It is getting harder and harder to decide as the match-ups are between saints I've been voting for from the beginning and I'm sad about Peter's loss yesterday. I find much to admire about Richard Hooker and I found today's blog about him funny. But I still can't get over Phocas' treatment of the soldiers who killed him. What grace he exhibited!! And I'd love to have that excavator but I'm much too large to fit it. 🙂

  23. Today's the first full day of spring, despite the fact it's snowing here an the fourth nor'easter of the season is headed for the Northeastern states. So it's gardening time. We voted for Phocas the Gardener. It's time to focus on the best now that we're selecting the Faithful Four.

  24. Hooker did do wonders for our Anglicanism, but I'm still with Phocas as an image of sainthood: fed and housed his executioners, while digging his own grave in the garden that he loved.

  25. Well #theologiangoals tells me I have to vote for Hooker. And so I did.The actual definition of Hooker came from a civil war general. You can look that up.Marcus did a great job !