Sports Illustrated Gets Religion

A couple of days ago, the Supreme Executive Committee received a flash news alert from one of our intrepid Lent Madness Field Agents. Doug Allen of Lincoln, RI was the first one to report that Lent Madness is mentioned in this week's Sports Illustrated. Phil Taylor, in his last-page column, covers a range of brackets beyond the tired college basketball tourney. Under the headline "My Picks? Pulled Pork, Joan Of Arc," Taylor writes, "I am also religiously following's bracket to determine which saint deserves the Golden Halo. (In their highly anticipated Saintly Sixteen meeting, Joan of Arc couldn't put much heat on Mary Magdalene.)"

We couldn't be happier, even before we learned (in a tweet from @SI_PhilTaylor to @scottagunn) that Taylor is the son of an Episcopal priest, now deceased. No doubt Taylor's father has heavenly box seats in the saintly smackdown as the action heats up heading into the Golden Halo championship.

The mainstream madness might get most of the TV coverage, but at least the grand dame of sports magazines has begun to cover the best athletic contest since Jacob wrestled. We can only hope that the infamous swimsuit issue will be redeemed by a Golden Halo profile issue next spring. And we do not wish to see any of the saints in swimwear.

Another venerable magazine failed to serve its readers well by neglecting Lent Madness. The Atlantic Monthly has a "battle of the brackets" going on right now, and they left out the best battle of them all! We encourage our readers to go leave comments (in prose or poetry) on their site to remind them that they should cover Lent Madness.

Last but not least in this week's media round-up, the Rev. Elizabeth Wheatley Dyson of the Diocese of Massachusetts has written about Lent Madness in the Wicked Local. Nicely done.

If you want major, global fame, get Lent Madness into your local, national, or global media source. We'll give you a shout out on the website and possibly even in the crown jewel of global media sensations, Monday Madness.

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Actual breaking news from an actual newspaper

Washington Post Lent MadnessThe Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness has sometimes been accused of over-hyping things. Clearly these are baseless charges. The Supreme Executive Committee is composed of simple, humble priests trying to form disciples through a saintly smackdown with a global viewing public. But that said, for those who doubt the significance of Lent Madness, the Washington Post (yes, the actual Washington Post) has posted an article about Lent Madness on their website.

As college basketball fans prepare for March Madness, a holier tournament already has Christians rooting and cheering this Lenten season. For three years running, “Lent Madness” has taken to the Internet as a competition between Episcopal saints in a single-elimination bracket tournament resembling the one followed by March Madness fans.

Check it out. Penny Nash, one of our celebrity bloggers gets some airtime too, proving that the Supreme Executive Committee is not only humble, but generous with the limelight.

It's a Religion News Service article, so it might pop up elsewhere. There are a couple of minor factual errors, which we'll work to correct, but we are grateful for the coverage -- not only for Lent Madness and the Episcopal Church, but for a fresh way to engage with the remarkable stories of God's involvement in the lives of women and men through history.

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Brackets to Go

Yesterday, Ashes to Go was all the rage. But today that's all dust. Instead, the world has moved on. New life. Time for a new Lenten mission to take to the streets. So naturally, today we inaugurated the first-ever Brackets to Go in Cincinnati.

Brackets to Go

Offering a bracket to a grateful passer-by

Yours truly bravely donned cassock, surplice, and tippet (without all that seal foppery) and headed out of doors. I avoided wearing my beloved Canterbury Cap, because I didn't want to be construed as endorsing Lancelot Andrewes in today's matchup.

It was a profoundly sacred experience as people said, "Thank you! I am so grateful I didn't have to turn on my printer in order to get a bracket" and "Finally, I'll know who is the victor of Tarsus, Paul or Theodore." Still others were heard to say, "Hey, some of these clowns are only in Holy Women, Holy Men!" Perhaps the most amazing comment came from a teary-eyed recipient, "I cannot wait for saintly kitsch, especially if Evelyn Underhill is still in the running."

Yes, friends, it was gratifying to take Lent Madness to the streets -- to get outside the computer screen and iPhone. Just can't figure out why there were no television networks there to film my holy work.

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The True Meaning of Shrove Tuesday

As many of you will know, today is Mardi Gras. Or as we Anglicans like to call it, Shrove Tuesday. What some will not know is that the word "shrove" is an old English word that means "bracket." Yes, friends, today is the day you should be finishing up your Lent Madness brackets. Gather some friends and place bets (for charity). Remember there is no charge for voting here on Lent Madness, and that voting starts on Ash Thursday morning, February 23.

To get you in the mood, here is an inspirational video.

Also, check out today's Episcopal News Service story on Lent Madness. Make sure you tell all your friends, and some random strangers, about our Facebook page and video channel.

Have fun eating pancakes today. Then do not have fun getting ashes tomorrow, but do go to church and begin the more important (and less zany) part of Lent. And then you can have a bit of fun again on Thursday when the voting begins!

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