Albert Schweitzer vs. Cornelius the Centurion

And then there were eight. Thus begins the Elate Eight and the mad dash towards the Lent Madness 2024 Golden Halo. The remaining saints in our little competition are Albert Schweitzer, Cornelius the Centurion, Henry Whipple (who yesterday defeated Clare of Assisi 57% to 43%), Canaire, Joseph of Arimathea, Julian of Norwich, Ambrose of Milan, and Andrew the Fisherman. But in the end, only one will prevail. 

After basic biographies and quirks and quotes, we now move into the realm of saintly kitsch. Some people, known as Kitsch Kranks, are unable to enjoy the humor of this round. But for the rest of you, enjoy a whimsical romp into the various ways our saints are honored. Or just hold your breath and click on the links below to view the writeups from the previous rounds, and we’ll see you for the Faithful Four.

We kick things off with Albert Schweitzer taking on Cornelius the Centurion in a battle of the ancient and modern. To get to this point, Albert bested Henry Mühlenberg and Thomas the Apostle, while Cornelius made it past Piran of Cornwell and Adomnan of Iona.

If you missed yesterday's Elate Eight edition of Monday Madness, do penance. And then watch it here as Tim and Scott share the Greatest Commandments of Lent Madness.

Vote now!

Cornelius the Centurion

Cornelius was a centurion in the Roman army who was part of God’s revelation to Peter that, yes, actually, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a sheet that includes all manner of humans, no matter how quirky, weird, and kitschy. You, too, can have your nightly reminder that you are part of that diverse community of God’s beloved with your very own Cornelius the Centurion Duvet Cover.

After rising from a restful sleep, you can channel your inner Roman soldier by wearing this Roman centurion costume on Easter Day, when a portion of Acts 10 is read. Complete with a helmet, your Roman Easter bonnet will be a stunning addition to all the Easter finery.

For those Cornelius devotees who want a more elegant way to honor their favorite faithful centurion, this bobblehead statue is the perfect option. Cornelius wears typical centurion clothing of the time (as far as we know) and stands ready to bobble to you each day as you prepare to live your life as a faithful Christian.

What? The statue still doesn’t fit your idea of something to honor this faithful servant of Jesus? Well, let this elegant centurion lighter light your fire of faith. Perfect for lighting your devotional candles or the charcoal for the incense to add ambience and a certain holiness for prayer vigils.

For those who need a softer, more tender Cornelius to cuddle with for comfort in times of stress, Centurion Teddy is ready and waiting for your snuggles. Cornelius’s faith, though strong, had a softer side, willing to bow at Peter’s feet in honor of this disciple of Jesus.

And finally, we pay homage the only Episcopal Church in active use named for St. Cornelius in  Dodge City. Yep, that Dodge City where Miss Kitty, Marshall Dillon, Festus, and the Gunsmoke gang had all sorts of adventures. It’s the only original Church still in use on Dodge City’s Gospel Hill that, as noted by a resident of Dodge City in the 1890’s, overlooked all manner of debauchery on Front Street. You can stop by, worship, and enjoy some excellent hospitality in the true model of their patron saint.

Laurie Brock

Albert Schweitzer

The Lent Madness Faithful have spoken. Things DO NOT HAPPEN FOR A REASON (unless you are playing a board game that is, and that’s usually because you didn’t roll good dice—however, no more board gaming, it’s time for some serious kitsch). Albert only advances if you VOTE for this awesome stuff that can only be found courtesy of Google.  In order to be like Albert, you need to pray like Albert and that includes praying for animals too.

To be like Albert, you need to Quest for Jesus. If you aren’t sure where to start, you can play a real life quest game in the “Life of Christ” (I know you said no more board games, but I couldn’t resist).

Also, it wouldn’t be fair to expand your depth of faith without also trying to look like Albert.  You can get your Albert Schweitzer mustache here.

To be like Albert, you also need to like cats (and dogs—I’m not going to lose this vote over a cat vs. dog fight) and drink coffee (It’s almost like Tim Schenck is the reincarnation of Albert, maybe we can get Tim to grow a mustache if Albert wins). [editor's note: he can't and won't]


To be like Albert, you should also dress like Albert, while you spend Albert money on the poor.

And while you are dressed like Albert and look like Albert and pray like Albert, you should care for the world like Albert, because the most important gift Albert left the world was love. He knew that if you sprinkled that care, compassion, intentional faith, walking in service to others in dark and ugly places, that’s where you will find true happiness…and consequently, where you find God as well.

Anna Fitch Courie

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66 comments on “Albert Schweitzer vs. Cornelius the Centurion”

  1. On to the Elate Eight! I'm voting for the clear underdog, Cornelius the Centurion (plus, I love his kitch!)

  2. So much wonderful kitsch! I voted for A. S., but thought the Roman Centurion kitsch was superb!

  3. Laurie and Anna have outdone themselves! Which is to acknowledge I am left in a quandary.
    Thanks for the great kitsch research and droll writing. Now a pause while I flip a coin 🙂

  4. Standing by Albert Schweitzer, and hope he wins the Golden Halo! The kitsch for both was fun.

  5. God created the first two human companions. I’m sure this was a cure for “loneliness.” Therefore if Albert wins, I encourage Scott to grow a mustache so Tim won’t feel alone in growing one himself

    1. I don’t seem to be able to post the photo here, but perhaps Father Tim will oblige: himself in a rainbow wig.
      This is a high quality kitsch collection compared to some in years past. I hope you can reach your inner silly and enjoy the week.

  6. Tough decision (so much swag!), but I'm going to add a little Hollywood here: As John Wayne said, "Truly, this man was the son o' God."

  7. The coffee mug did it for me as well as all the call to llive like Albert and the call to love.

  8. Laurie made me laugh out loud (my cat, too), so Cornelius gets my vote. I want to see that centurion Easter bonnet next week!!! Plus I love the story of Cornelius and Peter a lot.

    But Albert’s way ahead before 9 am, so that’s okay with me, too. He’s certainly worthy of advancing.

  9. In New Orleans during Mardi Gras season, the Krewe of Centurions parades in the streets. Is Cornelius among the masked members? Other krewes are named for pagan deities: Iris, Hermes, Endymion, etc. The Centurions can claim as a member someone who was the first gentile to be baptized.

  10. In New Orleans during Mardi Gras season, the Krewe of Centurions parades in the streets. Is Cornelius among the masked members? Other krewes are named for pagan deities: Iris, Hermes, Endymion, etc. The Centurions can claim as a member someone who was the first gentile to be baptized and become a Christian.

  11. My husband and I went to Ephesus to view the ruins, and my husband saw a guy there dressed as a centurion. Maybe he was thinking of Cornelius. The ruins of a cathedral said to be founded by the beloved disciple are nearby, as well as a small chapel said to be the house where Jesus's mother lived out her days, brought there by the beloved disciple. Anyway I just wanted to share that sometimes you might go to an ancient place and see a Roman centurion!! I love the kitsch round very much, especially all the quotes of Schweitzer, and I voted for him.

  12. It's truly a joy to cast my vote again to Albert Schweitzer. Thank you again to my dad (now gone for 28 years) who told us about him throughout our children. My dad was inspired by his life of service and love of medicine, Bach, and organ music. He didn't mention cats, but I like them! My dad always hoped we too would take Albert Schweitzer as a role model.

  13. Wonderful work by Laurie Brock and Anna Fitch Courie of finding excellent kitsch and even more of weaving it into the admirable attributes of their saints in such witty write-ups!

    For Albert Schweitzer (though full disclosure, I voted for Cornelius), I add this excerpt from “Heroes and Demons,” Season 1, Episode 11, of “Star Trek: Voyager.” The starship’s medical officer is a sentient hologram. While choosing a name for himself, he is trying out “Dr. Schweitzer.” He is on a mission into a holographic world based on the Old English epic poem “Beowulf.” The king’s daughter befriends him and brings him to her father’s hall. Go to, click the Play arrow and then box #11, and watch from about 21:30 to 23:54 for ineffable greatness!

  14. I love the saintly kitsch round! Kudos to both bloggers today, excellent job! *clap, clap, clap*

  15. In the 7th grade my Unified Studies teach said, "you can't actually "like" Albert Schweitzer! He won't even let germs be killed when he has to do surgery! The man is crazy! I remember it well (it was 1964). And Schweitzer was getting a lot of press in Time and on Jack Parr. But we all thought Schweitzer was "The Man!". He was in Africa. He was a missionary. He went to med school. He reached out to those in need. He played Bach! And he wrote books about the Bible. Covered all the bases

    1. I thought perhaps I was the only person to remember seeing Albert Schweitzer on Jack Paar - actually, Paar visited Albert in Africa. This is more a testament to my folks letting me watch lots of TV than it is any kind of testament to what I learned about Albert back then.

  16. What a wonderful beginning to the Elate Eight! I am still choosing which saint to vote for because the bloggers did such a great job with each one! Should I flip and Roman coin?

  17. The Cornelius duvet got me right from the start, but if there was any doubt the church dedicated to him in Dodge City was the clincher SPQR’

  18. Thank you Rev. Laurie for the clever kitsch coverage of Centurian Cornelius. Reminding us that the kingdom of heaven is open to all. You brought a smile to my family today and most likely to my entire church group where my support of Cornelius and Roman warrior headgear, is somewhat famous. Lent Madness is truly a gift a yet another way to find community and friendship in a world that needs so much more of both.

  19. I don't think I've ever based a Lent Madness vote on a kitsch write up before, but these words on Albert, not least these quotes from him, got my vote today.

  20. As I am reading the part of "Centurion" in next Sunday's Passion reading, I feel it important to support all Centurions even though Albert Schweitzer is very worthy of the Golden Halo.

  21. I like the spiffy red of the centurion merch, and the broad straightforward reasoning of the centurions as a type... but the quote "The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve” was what won me over to Albert..