Monday Madness — March 16, 2020

This week, even in the midst of a crisis that seems to bring new disruptions every day, Tim and Scott are here with another action-packed, fact-filled episode of Monday Madness. They remind you that Lent Madness will be here to offer you online community and a measure of joy just when many people are craving these things. By the way, Lent Madness shared several useful resources for practicing faith at home on Saturday, and we encourage you to revisit that post.

In Saintly Smackdown action, the Round of the 32 ends this week with the epic battle between the Patron Saint of Television vs. the Patron Saint of the Internet. Just in time for everyone to be stuck at home, we’ll help you figure out whether it’s better to pass your time on the internet or watching television.

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Joanna the Myrrhbearer vs. Junia

Hold onto your halos as we move into another full week of saintly thrills and spills! With only three matchups left in the Round of 32, we’ll soon find ourselves in the Saintly Sixteen. Time flies when you’re spending time with the saints. (Oh, and for those of you who didn’t get Friday’s results, Harriet Tubman drubbed Julie Billiart 83% to 17%).

Please know that if you haven’t yet joined in the fun, it’s never too late to leap into the Madness. Whether you’ve voted in the previous 13 battles or are just jumping in now, we welcome you. Especially as more people move into online forms of spiritual devotion in the current climate, we’re glad to have you here. We just won’t shake your hand.

Speaking of which, on Saturday evening Tim and Scott shared some online prayer resources and a dose of hope in a post titled Lent Madness Carries on, which you can read here. If there was ever a time for online community, that time is now.

Today it’s Joanna the Myrrbearer vs. Junia in a matchup of Biblical women. Time to vote!

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Lent Madness Carries On

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Dear friends in Christ,

These are strange times. Who would have imagined that the other bracket-based tournament that takes place in March — the one where a “three pointer” doesn’t refer to the Holy Trinity — would be canceled? And while we’re pleased to claim the title of Longest-Running Consecutive Madness in the World, we would have preferred to receive this honor under different circumstances.

In all seriousness, we know that many of you are struggling mightily right now, in one way or another. There is much fear and uncertainty in our midst. The good news is that we’re all in this together, as fellow pilgrims on this journey of life and faith.

Some of you will find yourself unable to attend worship services or other meetings in your local churches. We hope you’ll take advantage of whatever connections are offered from your church or denomination. We also hope neighbors will care for one another, offering hope and comfort, strength and solace; thereby literally carrying out the second great commandment Jesus gave us, to love our neighbors.

Many people will be longing for connection, and we wanted to let you know that Lent Madness isn’t going anywhere. It may seem incongruous to engage in such frivolity during a public health crisis, but we have heard from many of you that the joy you experience here is important now more than ever. And you can experience that joy in the comfort and safety of your own home.

We often say that Lent Madness is an exception to the usual internet rule, “Do not read the comments.” Indeed, the pop-up Lenten community that forms around this online devotion is one of the great joys of this ministry. Here, the comments are often edifying, and even encouraging. Sure, we may trade some friendly trash-talk about those who oppose our favorite saints, but mostly the comments are a beacon of lively joy in an age where that is a rare commodity. We trust that commenters will continue to be careful with one another, as we are all carrying great fragility.

It seems we need the example of the saints more than ever in this moment of time. Allow them into your lives as bearers of hope and perseverance.

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Harriet Tubman vs. Julie Billiart

One of the joys of Lent Madness is engaging with both well-known and virtually unknown saintly souls. Many have heard of Harriet Tubman and know of her work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Few, perhaps, know the story of Julie Billiart, a courageous French nun who lived through the French Revolution. That’s your choice today as we cast our last vote of the week.

Yesterday, Elizabeth Fry scorched Florian 82% to 18% in the biggest rout of our tournament to date. Speaking of which…with the cancellation of this year’s March Madness NCAA tournament, Lent Madness is officially the longest-running consecutive bracket-based tournament in the world! (11 years and counting). Sorry basketball fans.

Try to survive without us this weekend, and we’ll see everyone first thing Monday Morning as Joanna the Myrrhbearer faces Junia. Now go vote!

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Elizabeth Fry vs. Florian

With today’s matchup we jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. Yes, it’s Elizabeth Fry vs. Florian, patron saint of firefighters. Sometimes matchups are engineered by the Supreme Executive Committee just to keep themselves amused. We assure you, It doesn’t take much.

Yesterday, it was Hildegard of Bingen in a romp as she made Romanos the Melodist sing the blues 75% to 25%. She’ll go on to face the winner of Gregory of Nazianzus vs. Elizabeth the New Martyr in the Saintly Sixteen.

Time to vote!

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Hildegard of Bingen vs. Romanos the Melodist

Only in Lent Madness will you find a 12th century mystic facing off against a 6th century hymn writer. Well, maybe you can find a matchup between the likes of Hildegard of Bingen and Romanos the Melodist elsewhere in the world. But we’re dubious.

In yesterday’s Biblical battle, Bartimaeus saw his way past Jude 54% to 46%. He’ll face the winner of Joanna the Myrrhbearer vs. Junia in the Saintly Sixteen.

Did you know that at the 2020 Rooted in Jesus conference in Atlanta, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Michael Curry made his Lent Madness predictions? You can hear what he had to say as part of his Way of Love podcast in his conversation with Lent Madness creator Tim Schenck by clicking here. While we encourage you to listen to the entire 17 1/2 minutes, the Lent Madness conversation starts at minute 10.

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Jude vs. Bartimaeus

Today we head back to the Biblical quadrant as Jude takes on Bartimaeus. Will Bartimaeus’ attempt to dethrone Jude prove to be a lost cause? Or will he see his way to victory? These are the questions of the day.

In yesterday’s saintly action, James Solomon Russell easily defeated Evelyn Underhill 66% to 34% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen, where he’ll face the winner of Harriet Tubman vs. Julie Billiart.

And if for some shocking reason, you missed yesterday’s nominally epic episode of Monday Madness with Tim and Scott, you can watch it here. It involves rivers of purple beverages, among other things.

Now go vote!

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Monday Madness – March 9, 2020

Things are heating up as we continue to work our way through the Round of 32 in Lent Madness 2020 — and we’re not just talking about the official drink of the Supreme Executive Committee, which Tim and Scott reveal in this week’s episode of Monday Madness. It’s worth noting, once again, that you never know what’s going to happen in the Saintly Smackdown. St. Patrick may have driven the snakes from Ireland, but did that help him move beyond the first round of everyone’s favorite online Lenten devotion? No!

On screen, Tim drinks out of a coffee mug at Redeye Roasters in Hingham, MA, home to this week’s on-location recording. If you want your own  mug to enjoy a favorite beverage while watching Monday Madness or deciding which saint gets your vote, visit the Lentorium and pick up a Lent Madness mug or travel mug.

In the meantime, there’s still time to vote in today’s matchup between James Solomon Russell and Evelyn Underhill. Don’t forget to exercise your right to vote!

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James Solomon Russell vs. Evelyn Underhill

Did you miss us? We do hope you survived two consecutive days without the opportunity to exercise your right to vote. But we’re back and loaded up with another full week of first round matchups. In fact, we’re exactly halfway done with the first round — eight matchups down, eight to go.

In case you missed Friday’s result, Margaret of Castello easily defeated Simon Gibbons 70% to 30%. She’ll go on to face Eva Lee Matthews in the Saintly Sixteen.

It’s not everyday in Lent Madness that we have two saints whose lives overlapped, but that’s exactly the situation in today’s matchup. James Solomon Russell, born a slave in the American South, was a church planter and cleric. He faces Evelyn Underhill, English mystic, writer, and teacher. Time to vote!

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Margaret of Castello vs. Simon Gibbons

In a shocking, bracket-busting upset, yesterday’s matchup ended with Brother Lawrence driving out St. Patrick from Lent Madness 2020 57% to 43%. Erin go bragh? Erin go HOME!

Today we have an intriguing matchup between two saints of different eras. Margaret of Costello was a blind, disabled medieval nun who overcame great hardship to follow her faith. Simon Gibbons was Canada’s first Inuit priest, born in the mid-19th century.

With this decision, the door will close on the first full week of Lent Madness 2020. From here on out, voting will take place only on the weekdays of Lent. Which means the Lent Madness faithful must suffer the indignity of Lent Madness Withdrawal (LMW) on the weekends of Lent. This is a difficult condition to endure and, at this time, there is no known cure. Please be kind to yourselves, friends. And we’ll see you bright and early on Monday morning as James Solomon Russell faces Evelyn Underhill.

Now go vote!

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