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Lent Madness begins

Lent Madness begins

female_saint.jpgA fun and educational way through Lent is Lent Madness – an Episcopal Church take on March Madness (the NCAA basketball version). Print out your bracket – choose your “saints” and join the discussion. Everything you need to know (except which saint to pick) is at Lent Madness . My personal favorite is Christina the Astonishing.

Are you new to Lent Madness this year? If so, we welcome you with arms open wide in sackcloth and ashes. We’re delighted you’re along for the ride, hope you learn a lot about some pretty amazing folks, and have some fun along the way.

A couple of points to remember. First, Lent Madness is purely optional. If you disagree with the results or loathe the entire concept of saintly competition, do yourself a favor and find another Lenten devotion. We particularly like the daily videos by the monks at the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Cambridge, Massachusetts, created for Lent 2014 called Love Life. There are many ways to mark this holy season that don’t involve Lent Madness. In other words, if you don’t bring a sense of humor to your faith life, this little online devotion may not be for you.

Second, you’ll quickly notice something amazing taking place on your computer screen before your very eyes. Lent Madness transforms itself into a true community of faith during Lent. We don’t always agree and everyone comes to Lent Madness from different places theologically, liturgically, and geographically. We see this diversity as a great gift to be celebrated. How does this community form? Through the comment section of each battle, on Facebook, and on Twitter. People share how a particular saint has touched them or what they’ve learned or why they’re voting for a particular saint. We’re always amazed at how gracious people are in their comments — this is very unusual for an online community of course. We insist that people follow the norms of civilized online behavior. We have the power to block those who engage in hurtful behavior, and we’re not afraid to use it!

Here is how it works:

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Fgilbert2

Amazingly enough, this is my first year of Lent Madness. Yes it is a peculiar kind of church geeky silliness, but I know already that it will also be transformative. As I encounter the holinesses in the bracket, I feel very deeply their holiness calling out to the holiness often buried inside myself. I’m thankful for the folks that do things I never can or will, and thankful for the folks that call me to follow them and do the things that I can and that they did.

Freeman Gilbert (added by editor)

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