March 6, 2014

Lent Madness

The brackets are due. If you haven't yet labored over which saint should win the Golden Halo, you have a few mere hours to complete your bracket. Voting begins today.

We’ve written about Lent Madness before but here’s a brief recap: Lent Madness takes a page from the March Madness basketball tournament but instead of sweaty ballplayers, it pits thirty-two saints against one another in a single-elimination bracket as they compete for the coveted Golden Halo. Silly? Yes. Slightly irreverent? Of course. But this zany project is also a great online devotional tool to learn about the saints—and to be in conversation and relationship with others throughout Lent. 

Since Lent Madness began in 2010, tens of thousands of people have participated in the madness. Last year, the Lent Madness website recorded more than 100,000 unique visitors. Several churches use Lent Madness in creative ways, from raising money for local charities to teaching and preaching about the saints during Lent. 

Frances Perkins won the coveted Golden Halo in 2013 – and Lent Madness introduced participants to Perkins and her unflagging commitment to the poor and working class. I have to admit: I didn’t know very much about her until Lent Madness last year. Now I’m a big fan. (Read more about this amazing Episcopalian).

I should tell you that Forward Movement, where I work, is the sponsor of Lent Madness. That may make me somewhat bullish on competition, but I was participating before I came onboard. It’s just that much fun. It reminds of what learning was like as a kid, when we’d play games to learn our multiplication facts and the long list of prepositions. I would have so much fun that it wasn’t until the end that I realized how much I had learned. Here’s hoping Lent Madness offers the same experience for you.