I’ve given up various thing for Lent over the years: internet access after 6:00 pm, salty snack foods, alcohol. The only thing I’d never consider is coffee. After all I have to actually get through Lent in order to make it to Easter.
This year, once again, I’m giving up my archnemesis, Scott Gunn. Believe me when I say that this is a true spiritual discipline of the highest order. Not only do I have to be civil to him for a seemingly interminable 40 days and 40 nights, I also have to work closely with him on Lent Madness. This little deal that has made Lent Madness the world’s most popular online Lenten devotion is not without its consequences. My yoke is difficult and my burden is heavy.
Yet for the sake of the greater good, I am donning sackcloth and ashes in the form of the Executive Director of Forward Movement. I’m not sure if this will bring me closer to our Lord but it will definitely make the joy of Easter complete.
Please see the statement we have jointly released. And wish me luck starting at midnight tonight.
Statement of Detente
Dateline: Akron, NY, halfway between Hingham, MA and Cincinnati, OH
Be it known to all present, either bodily or online, that as of Ash Wednesday in the two thousand and thirteenth year of our Lord, certain persons, of necessity in the present time, are hereby setting aside a designation of Archnemesis, and laying aside the enmity that has existed from the beginning, until the end of the Lenten Fast. Whereas, to cooperate on Lent Madness for the edification of all Christendom, Father Schenck and Father Gunn shall thereby set aside their feud until the New Fire is lit at the Great Vigil of Easter. After that, anything is possible.
I had an enjoyable time in Indianapolis the last couple of days being AT General Convention rather being OF General Convention. In less than 48 hours I did the Lent Madness thing, went to two Eucharists (heard Bishop Michael Curry Preach), caught up with a bunch of seminary friends, met all sorts of online acquaintances for the first time, and drank coffee. I also sneered at the natives as I walked around in 107 degree weather since I’ve never forgiven the city for stealing my football team back in 1984.
But the main reason for my cameo was to promote Lent Madness Day with Scott Gunn and the folks at Forward Movement. It really was a lot of fun meeting people from all over the country who are seriously passionate about Lent Madness. I knew it was popular and touched the lives of a lot of people but WOW. I’ve always considered leaving parish ministry to become a rock star and start touring with the band I don’t have and the instrument I don’t play. Now I don’t have to since the Episco-groupies were all over me: I had people taking pictures with me and asking me for autographs.
Of course I was back in Hingham for Sunday morning where the gospel was “A prophet is not without honor except in his own hometown.” In other words, back to reality. I was lucky to get a simple handshake after the service.
Intrepid reporter Sharon Sheridan of Episcopal News Service wrote a piece about Lent Madness with the greatest headline ever: “Lent Madness Infects General Convention.” Talk about going “viral.” Sharon did a nice job capturing the whimsical nature of the whole endeavor.
Celebrity Blogger Heidi Shott, Canon for Communications and Social Justice in the Diocese of Maine, did a video interview with us (and 2012 Golden Halo winner Mary Magdalene). What can I say? Heidi rocks.
Of course, not to be outdone, Scott and I went on a tour of General Convention seeking evidence of Lent Madness fever running rampant. This is hard-hitting journalism at its finest.
So it was mission accomplished on the Lent Madness front. It was fun to announce the 2013 bracket and I’m delighted that this little online devotion that I started on a whim has taken off.
Prayers for all who remain in Indianapolis to conduct the business of General Convention. I had the fun part — you all have the mind-numbing part. Presumably your reward will be in heaven.