Emma of Hawaii vs. Paul of Tarsus

In the final battle of the Round of the Saintly Sixteen, Emma of Hawaii takes on Paul of Tarsus. The winner heads to the Elate Eight to square off against Thomas Cranmer. Two primary questions will be decided in the next 24 hours: 1) Will the Bishop of Hawaii once again be able to get out the vote for Queen Emma like a pointy-hatted precinct captain? 2) Will Romans 8 swing the tide toward Paul despite all those run-on sentences that are the bane of lectors throughout all of Christendom?

This past weekend we saw how have the legions (and by that word we mean lots of people not the uber-demon in Mark 5:9) of Lent Madness fans coped with another bout of LMW (Lent Madness Withdrawal): they read about Lent Madness in Sports Illustrated and watched fans on video answer the question "What do you love about Lent Madness?" The Supreme Executive Committee does what it can to ease your pain.

Following the climactic match-up of this round (made up of saintly Quirks & Quotes), only eight saints will remain standing. We'll kick things off on Tuesday morning with Mary Magdalene taking on Evelyn Underhill. Then we'll proceed with Dietrich Bonhoeffer vs. Jerome followed by Margaret of Scotland vs. Enmegahbowh and Thomas Cranmer vs. the winner of today's match-up. The "madness" never ends! Well at least for a bit longer. Check out the updated bracket and prepare yourselves mentally and physically for the crescendo of the saintly smackdown.

When Emma of Hawaii was born in Honolulu in 1836, the young chiefess was offered for adoption to her mother's sister, Grace Kamaikui Rooke, and her husband, an English court physician. This followed the Hawaiian custom of hanai, whereby a child would be given to grandparents to raise or to a couple who, like the Rookes, were unable to have children. In old Hawaii there was no such thing as an unwanted child. Children were told they were “bowls of light put here to shine great spirit greatness." In the Rooke household, Emma was taught to be very British while her hanai mother, Grace, raised her to be Hawaiian as well.

Shortly after her marriage to Alexander Liholiho, King Kamehameha IV, in 1856, the new queen became involved in life of the kingdom. Her deepest concern was saving the Hawaiian people from extinction. In fewer than 80 years, the Hawaiian population plummeted from 350,000 to 70,000 due to disease introduced by Europeans. The threat of extinction was a very real. In his first speech as monarch, Kamehameha proposed the building of a hospital and the young couple quickly worked to solicit funds to establish one. To honor her dedication to the effort, the hospital, named Queen’s Hospital, opened in 1859. It is said that Emma visited patients at the hospital every day that she was in Honolulu, a practice that gained her the great love of her people.


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Margaret of Scotland vs. John Cassian

Today Margaret of Scotland takes on John Cassian and we hear two accounts of relics as they both seek to get "a head" to the next round. The Quirks & Quotes continue with the winner facing Enmegahbowh next week.

In a spirited and emotional battle, Dietrich Bonhoeffer defeated Brigid of Kildare yesterday 54% to 46%. This match-up inspired poetic responses from many Lent Madness partisans. Bonhoeffer will face Jerome in the Elate Eight. Check out the updated bracket to see how things stand heading into tomorrow's match-up between Emma of Hawaii and Paul of Tarsus.

Margaret of Scotland (1045? - 1093) was a Saxon princess, great-granddaughter of Ethelred the Unready, perhaps born in Hungary and certainly raised there before returning to England as a young girl. She arrived in Scotland by accident, shipwrecked in the Firth of Forth during flight from England back to Hungary after the Norman invasion of 1066. There she caught the eye of King Malcolm III, who convinced her to marry him despite her desire to become a nun. Malcolm had come to the Scottish throne after killing MacBeth, who some years before had killed Malcolm’s father Duncan, which you may have read about in high school.


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Brigid of Kildare vs. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

If Tuesday was the battle of the Killer C's (Cranmer vs. Columba), today is the battle of the Killer B's (Brigid vs. Bonhoeffer). The victorious "B" wins a date with Jerome in the next round. But that's getting ahead of ourselves -- it's time to focus on cheap grace and a lake of beer (somebody please write a limerick!).

Yesterday Evelyn Underhill won in a romp over Monnica 71% to 29% setting up an intriguing match-up against Mary Magdalene in the Elate Eight. Be sure to check the updated bracket to see the upcoming "Madness."

Yes, even the 20th-century martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) had a few quirks: He decided to become a theologian as a boy; during his post-doctoral year in New York, he disliked the fact that American students always kept their doors open (i.e., no privacy); he failed his driver’s license test more than once; and his enthusiasm for bullfighting both amused and confused his students.

Quote from a 1939 letter to Reinhold Niebuhr:

"I must live through this difficult period in our national history with the people of Germany. I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people."


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Monnica vs. Evelyn Underhill

Today in Lent Madness it's a tea drinking mystic vs. the patron saint of stage mothers. Only one of these women will advance to the Round of the Elate Eight to try her hand against Mary Magdalene.

Yesterday, Thomas Cranmer defeated Columba 60% to 40% and will face off against either Emma of Hawaii or Paul of Tarsus. View the updated bracket and prepare for the wild ride yet to come.

Mystic and theologian Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) wrote prolifically and influentially about spirituality, including her foundational text Mysticism, published in 1911. She was the first woman allowed to lecture to Church of England clergy and was widely sought after as a lecturer and spiritual director.

In addition to her spiritual works, Underhill also wrote several novels: The Grey World (1904), The Lost Word (1907), and The Column of Dust (1909). In The Grey World, her protagonist says, "It seems so much easier in these days to live morally than to live beautifully. Lots of us manage to exist for years without ever sinning against society, but we sin against loveliness every hour of the day."


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Thomas Cranmer vs. Columba

The Round of the Saintly Sixteen continues with a match-up between two heavyweights from the British Isles. Thomas Cranmer and Columba -- the "Killer C's" -- face off against one another for a trip to the Elate Eight. Only one will advance to the next round in this the fourth of eight battles comprising the current round while the other will be left to "gather up the crumbs under thy table."

Yesterday, in a battle that ostensibly took place on the vast plains in the middle of the United States, but really happened on your respective electronic devices, Enmegahbowh knocked out David Pendleton Oakerhater 54% to 46%. He joins Mary Magdalene and Jerome among those who have earned a spot in the Elate Eight. Check the updated bracket to see the big picture of Lent Madness (metaphorically speaking -- there's not actually a mural depicting Scott and Tim).

Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), architect of the English Reformation, was eventually arrested and tried for heresy. Weakened, broken, and sentenced to be burned at the stake, Cranmer recanted his Protestant beliefs. However, from the pulpit of the University Church in Oxford, he dramatically reversed himself and testified to those beliefs on the day of his execution, March 21, 1556.

Before Cranmer’s last sermon, there was a different sermon by Henry Cole. It was Cole’s unenviable task to explain to the crowd why someone arrested for heresy, who subsequently repented, should still be burned at the stake. Diarmaid MacCullouch’s award-winning biography of Cranmer describes this as “a problem in canon law which Cole had little choice but to acknowledge openly.”


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Enmegahbowh vs. David Oakerhater

Another manic Lent Madness Monday kicks off with a match-up focused on the western United States. Enmegahbowh squares off against David Pendleton Oakerhater in this Battle of Native Pride. Is it unfortunate that these two ended up in the same bracket? Perhaps. But we also know that neither one of them ever backed down in the pursuit of Gospel Truth.

While we never know how these thing will turn out -- that's up to all of you -- the Oakerhater camp did get an early jolt of mojo in an article about Lent Madness that appeared in yesterday's Oklahoma City Oklahoman. And after a first-round teaser,"Celebrity Blogger" Heidi Shott finally gives us the goods on Enmegahbowh's wife.

Make sure to check out the updated bracket and if you need a refresher on Enmegahbowh or David Oakerhater from the previous round, you can go to the bracket page and scroll down to find links to every previous Lent Madness battle (thanks to Bracket Czar Adam Thomas for thinking of this and making it happen).

One hundred and ten years may have passed since the death of Enmegahbowh, but the voice of “the one who stands before his people” sounds remarkably contemporary.

At age 25, fed up with missionary work as a Methodist and vowing to return home to Canada, he and his wife Biwabiko-geshig-equay (or Iron Sky Woman or Charlotte, as she was christened on their wedding day), boarded the ship John Jacob Astor bound for Sault Ste. Marie across Lake Superior. The worst storm in many years sent the ship back to shore but not before Enmegahbowh received a visitation from the prophet Jonah. Many years later he recounted the experience to Bishop Whipple of Minnesota,


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Philander Chase vs. Jerome

Today in Lent Madness it's the long-anticipated Battle of the Curmudgeons: Philander Chase vs. Jerome. To put it into rhyme (and demonstrating a nuanced, if gender exclusive, use of French), "I do declare, this is not a touchy-feely pair, mon frere." Will the Kenyon College mafia again rise to put Philander over the top? Or will Jerome's jihad put an end to this Cinderella story? Many plot lines, but only one will make it to the Elate Eight.

Yesterday, Mary Magdalene trounced Joan of Arc 74% to 26% to advance to the next round. Make sure to check out the updated bracket courtesy of our unsung Bracket Czar and Celebrity Blogger Adam Thomas. This beautiful bracket even got top billing in yesterday's Houston Chronicle article about Lent Madness.

As this is the last clash of the week, we do wish everyone luck in dealing with their Lent Madness Withdrawal (LMW) this weekend. If you're feeling particularly lost, feel free to call the Lent Madness Counseling Hotline (LMCH) 24-hours a day. You might recognize the digits as you dial since they're quite similar to Scott's home number. Lent Madness insomniacs are encouraged to contact the LMCH at all hours of the night -- just ask for "Scott." (Please note that after-hours calls may be transferred to our Hingham call center.) And we'll see you all bright and early Monday morning as the Round of the Saintly Sixteen continues with Enmegahbowh vs. David Oakerhater.

“Well, this will do!” exclaimed Bishop Philander Chase upon seeing the “landscape of unsurpassed loveliness and beauty” that would become the site of Kenyon College near Owl Creek in Knox County, Ohio. Lawyer Henry B. Curtis recorded Chase saying these words, his way of expressing “delight and satisfaction.”

This exclamation seems to be as laconic as Bishop Chase was wont to become; indeed, he subscribed diligently to the lengthy and complex sermon, which, to be sure,was the style of the day (making it difficult for this author to pick out quotations for you, dear reader). In preaching at the consecration of three other bishops, one moment stands out. Perhaps the Bishop was thinking about the vista of Kenyon when he preached,

“Once more: not only in the main and leading features of the Law and the Prophets do we see the illustration of the truth contained in the words of the text, but the same appears in those things which, were it not for the importance of the subject, might be deemed of small moment; the revelation of God, in this respect, being like his works in nature. It is not only in the sun, in the moon and in the planetary system, and the vast order of the Universe, that the wisdom, the power and the goodness of God appear: but even the flowers of the field in their minutest examination, by microscopic glasses, equally gratify the taste for divine knowledge in every humble and diligent inquirer.”


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Joan of Arc vs. Mary Magdalene

Well, friends, Welcome to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen. We started with 32 holy men and women and we're down to sixteen as the battle for the coveted Golden Halo marches on. Round One consisted of basic biographical information about the saints. Since there’s no need to rehash previously covered ground, the this round is made up of what we like to call "Quirks & Quotes." So prepare for some little known facts accompanied by quotes either by or about the saint in question.

In the final battle of the initial round, Paul of Tarsus handily defeated Theodore of Tarsus 61% to 39%. Check out the updated bracket to see the full slate of saints who made it to the next round.

We kick things off with the much-anticipated match-up between Joan of Arc and Mary Magdalene. This battle has been hyped so much that it would make even Don King blush. But the waiting is over; let the voting commence. Winner heads to the Round of the Elate Eight!

Joan of Arc (1412 - 1431), a French peasant, began to hear the voices of Saints Michael, Catherine, and Margaret at age thirteen. By seventeen, those voices urged her to become involved in the struggle for the contested French throne in the Hundred Years War. She convinced Charles the Dauphin to allow her to command an army, which she led to spectacular victory in Orleans, paving the way for him to be crowned king. She was later wounded in battle and then captured, sold to the English, and put on trial by the Inquisition. Tried as a witch and a heretic but finally convicted of cross-dressing, she was burned at the stake at nineteen.


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