An Interview with Julia Frakes, Actual Celebrity Blogger

Julia Frakes. Photographed by Mark Iantosca for Teen Vogue.

Julia Frakes. Photographed by Mark Iantosca for Teen Vogue.

At Lent Madness HQ, as you know, we monitor the internet for Lent Madness action very carefully. Not long ago, we noticed that Julia Frakes -- fashion writer, blogger, stylist and model -- is a Lent Madness fan. You can read her stuff in lots of places, but her tumblr is a good spot with links to various magazine articles and more. She's also active on Twitter as @bunnyBISOUS. Her bio can be found on her tumblr. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for the SEC.

marc-jacobs-rtw-fw2014-runway-43_010526315867SEC: So you've written about fashion quite a bit. In our Faithful Four lineup, who is the fashion standout? What gives this saint the edge?
JF: As the first European convert to Christianity, I suppose it goes without saying that Saint Lydia of Thyatira, the seller of purple, reigns alongside the ultimate trendsetters glorified on the Episcopal Church’s Holy Women, Holy Men ranks--and arguably in the whole of theological history to boot #nobigdeal. Lydia’s adept business acumen enabled her epoch-altering philanthropy, church establishment, and good works: an economic security owing in no small measure to her stunning purple dyes—the color of passion and splendor, of regal and papal vestments, precious stones, and ornate prose (case in point).

In fact, it’s not a far stretch to imagine Marc Jacobs’ most recent lilac-strewn collection--backlit by a hazy purple catwalk set and crowned by legendary colorist Guido Palau’s custom-dyed “dusty violet” angular wigs in the style of Ancient Greece--as a runway tribute to Saint Lydia of Thyatira. Talk about a #trendsetter.

SEC: I suppose it's a challenge to find an ensemble to work with the Golden Halo. What tips would you give the saint who wins Lent Madness 2014?
RodarteJF: I reckon we all could learn a life lesson or two--above and beyond the earthly realms of ensemble/halo-coordination--from Lupita Nyong'o’s breakout night at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. Not only did she earn the Oscar for her standout performance in 12 Years a Slave, but she won the red carpet arrayed in a robin's egg blue Prada gown and a diamond Fred Leighton halo. Further how-to tidbits to prepare for a potential Golden Halo bequeathing ceremony can certainly be gleaned from the innovative designer-sisters behind Rodarte, who recently crowned a collection with intergalactic, star-strewn halos (see here, here, and here).


Photo: Filippo Fior/

Golden Halo contenders can twig a tip from a recent Balenciaga collection presented by designer Nicolas Ghesquière (now at the helm of Louis Vuitton), whose gilded halos were an out-of-this-world hybrid of alien and arboreal aesthetics. Whether emulating Lupita, Rodarte, or Balenciaga, all halo-bearers could benefit from contemplating the Heavens for divine (outfit) inspiration.

SEC: You've done some modeling too, and I gather that personality is as important as anything else on the runway or in front of the camera. If our saints decide to start modeling their Golden Halo, what should they keep in mind? Who do you think would be best at this?
JF: Well, hymnwriter Charles Wesley no doubt has “the rhythm,” so to speak (sing?), but if Phillips Brooks could extend the venerable passion and record-setting pace of his preaching--a quick, spirited velocity emulated by the most stirring of orators (including Martin Luther King, Jr.!)--to a modeling endeavor, then he would no doubt test the shutter speeds and inventiveness of even famed fashion photographers.

SEC: Most of your @bunnybisous Twitter followers aren't church geeks, but you've had a few things to say about Lent Madness. How can we all learn to share the Good News on social media?
JF: Between university courses and work, it’s been an honor lend a hand with my hometown @GraceChurch1921’s social media efforts--although it can admittedly become a bit confusing at times, as I also tweet on behalf of a few other organizations and magazines (and yes, many mistweets and various techy lessons have been learnt the hard way). As Episcopalians, we are so blessed to be members of a church acclaimed for its welcoming hospitality--a real world, in-the-flesh culture (emblazoned on our “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” signs and manifest in our parishes’ all-embracing and nonjudgmental coffee culture)--that entreats all Episcopalians to attend to our intersectionality and celebrate our neighbors with open hearts. I feel like Saint Harriet Bedell is the personifies this tenet: Her empathy and identification with all those in her far-reaching ministry--from Alaska to Florida—where she was so deeply respected that The Cheyenne even adopted her into their tribe, giving her the name “Bird Woman.” I mean, talk about #trailcred. As betweeted by Dr. Meredith Gould’s groundbreaking and community-building #ChSocM initiative, every one of us is empowered to share the Good News in the so-called virtual sphere, with strikingly tangible and powerful effects.

I strive not to ignore the unique opportunities that “having a following” presents: if I can levy any limited clout, I must do so in considered advocacy for social justice. To effectively beget change by bridging liberal and radical feminist activist approaches and operating within and outside of institutional constructs strikes me as the most promising course of action: successfully integrating both legislative and social movement support—outside a given organization while ensuring ardent support from inside players—is crucial when, as in the effective justice movements for pay equity and affirmative action, either a threat is levied, resources are imperiled, or coercion is deployed. Within groups, engagement in social identity politics can mobilize stigmatized groups by providing the cathartic emotional work necessary to upturn shame, isolation, and fear into an outrage that provokes pride, mutual support, and urgency for action.

SEC: Any saints from current or previous years of Lent Madness that you really like?
JF: Oh yes! The divine wisdom of Saints Teresa of Avila, Thomas Merton, Dame Julian of Norwich, Ignatius of Loyola, Augustine, Jeanne d’Arc, and C.S. Lewis all continue to play a pivotal role in my own spiritual journey. On that note, if I may be so bold, may I cast my 2015 bracket ballot? Is the Supreme Executive Committee accepting nominations? / Well, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out and submit the Saints Søren Kierkegaard, Thomas Aquinas, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Thurgood Marshall, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Thomas à Kempis, Lord Shaftesbury, Ralph Adams Cram, and Albrecht Dürer for your most esteemed consideration of Lent Madness contendership.

SEC: Thanks for your time. Since you were kind enough to answer these questions, we'll let you slide in these nominations early, despite the fact that everyone else has to wait until nominations are invited. Good luck with your studies!

Oh, and we can't wait to hear your raves about the stylish fashions of the SEC's black shirts with white collars.

Read More
What is Spy Wednesday?

As you know, the Supreme Executive Committee has declared that the final battle for the Golden Halo will take place tomorrow on Spy Wednesday. Several of you have asked us about this unusual name for the Wednesday in Holy Week. Ever willing to educate and inspire, we are only too happy to oblige.

spywednesdaypaintingSpy Wednesday gets its name because this is the day on which Judas betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin. Because Judas is thought to be sneaky, his actions conjured up the image of a spy. The synoptic gospels all include an account of the betrayal -- Matthew 26:12-14, Mark 14:10-12, Luke 22:3-6.

This is how the Gospel of Luke recounts the events:

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22:3-6)

The illustration above evocatively depicts this infamous scene. If you go to Holy Eucharist every day of Holy Week, the Gospel readings provide the narrative of Jesus’ final days, an ever-quickening story that spins out of control and finally brings us to Good Friday.

It is surely a strange juxtaposition to think about Spy Wednesday and Lent Madness in the same 01_01moment. But the whole point of Lent Madness is to engage us all in an exploration of the ways God’s grace has filled the lives of women and men through history and across all cultures. Sure, we’ve been silly and even competitive about our Lenten exercise. In the end though, we are learning to see in fresh ways how Jesus Christ matters to all humanity. That seems like a good and holy thing to do on Spy Wednesday.

Read More
Palm Sunday at Lent Madness

Here is today's update from Archbishop John Chrysostom and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, in which they preview the Faithful Four.

There are two important things you should do:

Oh, and make sure you go to church all the right times this week. We're all fun and games here at Lent Madness, but it would be pretty ridiculous if you played Lent Madness but skipped Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or the Great Vigil of Easter.

Read More
Tim Sees Dead People

Fr. Tim Schenck, member of the SEC and proud ferret owner, goes on camera to speak with everyone's favorite deceased archbishops. Yes, it's time for today's update from Archbishop John Chrysostom and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, featuring an interview with Tim.

There's a shout out for 50 Days of Fabulous, which is a great way to survive Lent Madness Withdrawal whilst celebrating Eastertide for its full fifty days.

Don't forget to watch all the back episodes of Monday Madness and the Archbishops' Update over at LentMadnessTV.

Last, but not least, invite all your friends to LIKE Lent Madness on Facebook. We are closing in on our goal of 10,000 likes!

Read More
Of Winners and Losers

Winners and LosersAfter a very close vote on Thomas Merton vs. Charles Wesley, the Supreme Executive Committee carefully reviewed all the votes. We are sorry to say that we found two instances of voter cheating, both attempting to support Merton. A voter in Springfield, Missouri, voted 21 times for Merton, while a voter in Colorado Springs, Colorado, voted 34 times for Merton. Those two users have been banned, and we have removed 55 votes from Merton. This means Charles Wesley received more legitimate votes than Thomas Merton, so Wesley is hereby declared the winner. People who cheat are hereby declared losers.

Please note, in Lent Madness, we encourage you to do whatever you can to get out the vote. Send mass emails to everyone in your diocese, rent a blimp, buy television ads, canvass your neighbors, or do something more conventional like tell your Facebook friends to vote for your candidate. But we frown on persons who vote more than once. Don't do it.

Also, please note, we are carefully watching some voters from Seattle, WA; Stow, OH; and Oregon, OH. You've been warned. Don't risk being cast into the outer darkness of Lent Madness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

So, rest assured that Big Fathers are watching. Lent Madness will be decided in free and fair elections.

For now, we encourage you to vote (once only) in today's match-up between Lydia and Basil the Great.

Read More
Chase Away the LMW Blues

Gripped by Lent Madness Withdrawal (LMW) today? Wondering what to do, since you can't check the voting tallies every two minutes? Trying to figure out how you'll contain yourself until it's time to vote on Monday? We're here to help.

First, you might like to take advantage of some excellent resources from Forward Movement. With Holy Week around the corner, why not curl up with The Preaching of the Passion: The Seven Last Words from the Cross by the Rev. Peter J. Gomes? There are other resources for Holy Week and Eastertide as well.

Journey with MatthewWe're also pleased to announce a great way to read yourself through Eastertide, A Journey With Matthew: The 50 Day Bible Challenge.

Take a journey through the Gospel of Matthew with fifty days of scripture readings, meditations, questions, and prayers. Twenty-five dynamic spiritual leaders and authors serve as guides, writing from around the world about the wisdom, lessons, and parables shared by Matthew, one of the great apostles and evangelists. A Journey with Matthew is an extension of The Bible Challenge, a global initiative to encourage daily engagement with scripture and an exploration of the Word of God.

Authors include: David Anderson, Frederick Borsch, Paul Butler, Bo Cox, Barbara Cawthorne Crafton, Michael Curry, Clifton Daniel, Mary Gray-Reeves, Scott Gunn, Daniel R. Heischman, Graham James, Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Bolly anak Lapok, Tracy Lind, Stephen Lyon, Ian S. Markham, Kate Moorehead, Barry Morgan, Riaz Mubarak, Sam Portaro, Jeremiah Sierra, Becca Stevens, Ray Suarez, Hillary T. West, and Marek P. Zabriskie.

There's more, but it's time to turn the floor over to our favorite deceased color commentators, Archbishops Thomas Cranmer and John Chrysostom. Enjoy!

Read More
Lent Madness love from NPR

npr_logo_rgbIf you woke up to the sound of Tim's voice this morning, we apologize. If your commute was rudely interrupted by talk of Lent Madness, we're sorry. If you spilled your skinny latte all over yourself and nearly drove your Volvo off the road at the mention of the Golden Halo, we're not liable (according to the Lent Madness Legal Team).

Such are the vagaries of having a story about Lent Madness appear on National Public Radio's Morning Edition. Reporter Deena Prichep spoke with Tim and then met the Lent Madness fanatics at St. Gabriel's Church in Portland, Oregon, a couple of weeks ago and the resulting story aired this morning.

We hear from St. Gabriel's vicar, the Rev. LouAnn Pickering, along with some folks who are "representing" one of the 32 saints in this year's bracket. unnamedSure, there's some confusion between which of the Wesley brothers wrote all those hymns (we know it was Charles), but the sense of participatory joy comes through loud and clear.

Whoever wins this year's bracket, Lent Madness 2014 will go down as a devotion that shows no partiality when it comes to media coverage. What other Lenten devotion can claim it was covered by both FOX News and NPR? Talk about Red State/Blue State ecumenism!

To listen to the story, click here.

Thanks to all of you who continue to embrace this madness in the spirit in which we intend -- as a devotion to help introduce or re-introduce some pretty amazing folks who have served Jesus in their own way and in their own day. Sure, we have some fun along the way and, of course, Lent Madness isn't for everyone (certainly not the humorless). But, as Scott likes to say, "If you don't like it, go start your own online Lenten devotion."

In the meantime, please help us continue to spread the word about Lent Madness by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, and illicitly making copies of the bracket at your office and then dropping then from a helicopter over your neighborhood. We'll see you tomorrow as Phillips Brooks takes on Catherine of Siena.

Read More
Marketing Deal Announced

The following article first appeared on Episcopal Cafe's The Lead. While we're generally grumpy about the fact that this "cafe" still hasn't delivered our double espressos, we're impressed with their nose for news. They scooped every other media outlet to get this story, including the SEC. Tim and Scott did want to squash one rumor, however: they will not be changing the name to Lent McMadness.

Innovative Marketing Deal Announced

mcdonalds-sign-horizForward Movement has entered into an agreement with international fast-food giant McDonald's to issue special Lenten Happy Meals featuring popular saints in what will be called “Holy Heroes Happy Meal.”

Starting this Holy Week, you can get an action figure of saints voted on by fans of Lent Madness, an annual project of Forward Movement of Cincinnati, Ohio.

“We feel this imaginative product spin-off will benefit both parties in countless ways,” said Scott Gunn, Executive Director of Forward Movement.

“Every Lent many thousands of Christians take to the brackets and vote their favorite saints until one and only one wins the Golden Halo,” says Jeff Stratton, President of McDonald's USA. “We can’t imagine anything more inspiring than a Julia Chester Emery or Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereshewsky action figure in a child’s Happy Meal.”

"We got the idea to partner with McDonald's by thinking about St. Lawrence who was roasted to death," said the Rev. Tim Schenck, who first came up with the idea for Lent Madness. "After he was in the fire for a while, he called out 'I'm done on the side, turn me over.' We appreciate a guy who kept his sense of humor to the last. And McDonald's does too."

It is understood that this promotion will appeal to more than just children.

“We expect that many adults will snap these up as collector’s items,” said Gunn. “Many bookshelves in many clergy offices will no doubt be enhanced Printby their mere presence. Seminary texts that haven’t be touched for years will certainly be spiffed up by these characters!”

Celebrity bloggers will create the fun and informative texts that will accompany each meal printed on every box.

Predicting which saints to produce will be tricky. For example, Shereshewsky was voted out in early voting in this year’s brackets but after the production run was ordered. It was confirmed that past Golden Halo winners Frances Perkins and Mary Magdalene will be available. “While these figures won’t substitute for Lent Madness itself, we foresee a new level of saintly silliness as this partnership proceeds.”

With the corporate sponsorship, the only required change was to give the winner "Golden Arches" rather than the traditional Golden Halo. Gunn and Schenck agreed the change was worth it: "We've super-sized this one!"

Read More
Update from the Archbishops and Something for the Kids

Before we bring you this week's update from everyone's favorite deceased archbishops, we'd like to alert you to some excellent resources for children (or children at heart). Yes, one could view this as a shameless advertisment from Forward Movement, the sponsors of Lent Madness. Or one could choose to view this as a helpful advertisement from your friends who bring you the most beloved devotional publication in the universe. It's all in the eye of the beholder.

Spy on Noah's ArkAssuming you decided you liked this sort of thing, we wanted to tell you about a couple of resources for children. What? You didn't know Forward Movement made stuff for kids? That's the point! For example, check out The Spy on Noah's Ark, by the Rev. Lindsay Hardin Freeman with illustrations by Paul Shaffer, in which unusual characters share their view of famous Bible stories.

Bible stories take on new life with this collection of eyewitness accounts from surprise sources: a dove, a lion, a stallion, and more. Using the ancient and imaginative art of storytelling, this book will delight children of all ages and begs to be read aloud. Adults will also enjoy these stories, and can use them to enrich personal and group Bible study. Discussion questions for children and adults are included at the end of each story, making it the perfect book for a church "On the Same Page" reading group or other intergenerational program.

If that's not your cup of tea, we offer books that are straight-out fun, with education build in. Two popular titles are Can You Find Jesus? and Can You Find Saints? When Christmas gets a bit closer, we offer a collection of contemporary presentations of traditional Christmas hymns. Don't forget beautifully told stories for Christmas and Michaelmas, Star of Wonder and Season of Angels.

Last, but not least, one of the things we've heard regularly is that families want tools to talk about faith at home. To that end, we created Daily Devo. It's a simple, daily email message that contains a very brief reflection on the assigned scripture readings, a video that's related, some action to take, and a simple prayer. It's all intended to offer a starting point for conversation at the dinner table or bedtime or whatever. You can see a sample and learn a bit more online.

Now that the ads are over, we bring you the archbishops.

Remember, LentMadnessTV offers loads of entertainment. Watch every episode, and then watch them again with your friends and neighbors.

Read More
Pastoral Epistle from the Archbishops


To: Our Well-Beloved Viewers in Christ

From: The Archbishops -- Colour Commentators of Lent Madness

Heaven via The Clairvoyatron 2100
Maple Anglican’s Basement
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


It is with great joy that we wish to announce that our well-beloved in Christ, Mary Ann Grennen, has been drawn as the winner of the contest for a Lent Madness Coffee Mug.

Mary Ann's question to us from March 20th was:

If you had to choose between the NY Yankees and NY Mets who would you choose? This question is coming from a diehard from birth Mets fan.

We have requested through our esteemed fellow servant in Christ, the Reverend Scott Gunn, Executive Director of Forward Movement and member of the Supreme Executive Commitee, to ship her one.

We also wish to thank all those who submitted questions via Twitter, Facebook, Email, and Google+.

This we proclaim in the One-Thousandth Six-Hundredth and Eighteenth, and Four-Hundred and Eighty-Second Years of our Consecrations and the Second Year as Colour Commentators of Lent Madness in the Two-Thousandth Fourteenth Year of Our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ.

++John (Konstantinoúpolis)

++Thomas (Cantar)

PS. Mets

Read More
1 2 3 4


* indicates required

Recent Posts