"What's not to like about saints 'remarytrying' one another on Lent Madness?"
As a rather uptight church lady...especially, as one who, as part the controversial Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, has left the Episcopal church (of which creator Rev. Tim Schenck is a priest), my first reaction to Lent Madness was something akin to aghast.
But then...I thought of all the questions I have received from beloved Evangelical Protestant Christians about why on Earth one would be focused on Christian dead people (at best) or expecting Christian dead people to have some sort of magic involvement in modern day life (at worst).
Most Protestants just don't get the saints.
They aren't part of the general Protestant tradition, after all. What's the deal with them anyway? I mean, there's the hair shirts, the self-flagellation, and the living in caves. And what is with those metals that "Catholic types" wear? It's just freaky....right?
However, sunglasses in the promo pictures aside, I think that Rev. Schenck may just have something here.
Not being a sports fan, I fully admit that I don't really know a thing about the basketball-associated "March Madness" that this whole thing is patterned after. But, I do know that anything that engages people in learning about the lives of the saints, for the period of Lent, in a way that doesn't make my Protestant brothers and sisters go into involuntary convulsions, can't be entirely bad.
I have noted before that it baffles me that many Christians are perfectly at home having sports and political heroes, but can be made to shake in their boots at the suggestion that they might consider embracing historic Christian heroes. It just doesn't make sense to me.
There are some pretty awesome Christians that came before the 19th century, folks....and trust me, they are worth learning about. They might even be worth...gasp...emulating. (Okay, I'll stop teasing my Protestant friends now.)
So, in the end (even though I'm still a little uncomfortable with the lightness of this thing), a Lenten devotion that introduces Christians to the lives of 32 saints...even if it does "place them into a tournament-like single elimination bracket" with a "winner of the golden halo at the end"...might just be okay with me.
After all, as Rev. Scott Gunn, has said, "Lent Madness makes us 'fools for Christ', but we're definitely for Christ".
With one eye brow raised, and some mild "church lady" reticence and trepidation....I will acquiesce to note that you can "like" Lent Madness on Facebook here. I almost hope that you will.
(And while you're at it...you might "like" Liturgical Time on Facebook too.)
More on Lent is here.
More Lenten preparation ideas to come....