Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Lent Madness Bracketology:
Seeding the Saints for the Tourney
Lent Madness is taking the world by storm!
By "Lent Madness," I refer of course to the online competition in which two saints are matched up daily for popular vote on the way to the ultimate prize, the Golden Halo. By "world," I mostly mean my relatively small circle of Episcopal clergy friends who use facebook. But hey, we're having a good time.
The online set-up is exceptionally creative in its educational purpose: each saint receives a short write-up to inform the voter's decision. These write-ups are exceptional well written and brief, giving each voter plenty of biopic material to ignore on the way to voting for Enmegahbowh because his name is super cool.
By way of confession, I haven't joined - and probably won't - in the voting festivities. All my heart, mind, soul, and strength says that it's just a game - and a really well conceived game, too. But saints pitted against saints? In the heat of battle? Joan of Arc v. Lancelot Andrewes? I start to get queasy. And that's before Stanley Hauerwas's voice starts rattling in my head: "'Best' is not a theological category," he says. I know, I know, it's just a game...
To be fair, I think Hauerwas himself would have fun with the Madness. My neuroses are my own, and I own them.
Of course, my second difficulty with Lent Madness betrays the gross inconsistency within my own logic. If on the one hand I am made queasy at the thought of competition between the saints, on the other hand, I am equally grieved that the saints are not seeded (ranked) on the merits of their lives and reputations.
Simply put, while I don't want to have to pick between James the Apostle and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I really, REALLY don't want to pick between them in the first round of the tourney. That's a 4 v. 5 match-up, not an 8 v. 9 or 5 v.12. Monnica v. Augustine may have all kinds of Freudian intrigue, but Monnica against the Blessed Virgin Mary is probably more honest for the first round. In this mother of all match-ups, the BVM walks away in a landslide. After all, isn't it the David v. Goliath nature of the early games that makes March (or Lent) Madness compelling?
I don't want to see Thomas Merton and Philander Chase in the opening round; I want to see myself squaring off against Matt Gunter or Sean Maloney in a play-in for the privilege of being crushed by Thomas Aquinas.
So...seeding the saints: where would you start? Who has the coveted one seed locked up? Who's on the bubble?
The Number One Seeds
3. Augustine of Hippo
4. Thomas Aquinas
The Two Seeds
5. The Blessed Virgin Mary
Admittedly underrated as a two-seed, a dangerous match-up that no one seeds wants any part of.
6. John the Beloved
Francis is a bit of a surprise here, but, like Mary, his SOS numbers (strength of statues) are off the charts.
But what do I know? Post your top fours and two seeds. If we're going to do this thing, let's do it right. Let the real Lent Madness begin!
Posted by Jonathan at 11:49 AM