When you’re muse is an indigent carpenter who gets himself nailed to a tree by the worst bad guys this side of the Death Star but who COMES BACK from the Dead you have yourself the underdog story for the
It’s fitting then that the first round of Martyr Madness saw plenty of upsets.
Over a hundred of you filled out the bracket survey. So the first piece of data to share is this:
Over 100 of you need a girlfriend.
Or a hobby.
But what’s that say about me?
You can see the results: Theology Madness
Here’s a quick summary of how it went down.
Be sure to fill out the next bracket ballot below to see who from the Round of 32 (ἄγγελος) makes the Sweet Nicene Round of 16.
John Chrysostum, the ‘golden tongued’ preacher of the ancient Church (and its first anti-semite!) couldn’t hold his own against Anthony of Egypt. Despite the seedings, experts saw this coming. After giving up his fortune to live in solitude and do spiritual warfare with the Satan (‘acedia’), Anthony made cake of John Chyrsostum. Summers in the Egyptian desert are a good motivator to survive March.
Athanasius proves he doesn’t just teach theosis, he lives it, putting on a display against Sergei Bulgakov that could only be described as ‘divine.’
Gregory of Nyssa destroyed his namesake from Nazianzus. Having your life threatened at every whim of the Empire apparently steels you.
Origen advances to the next round, ‘pseudo’ winning when referees couldn’t verify Dionysius’ identity.
John of Damascus smashed the competition like it was a false idol.
In the battle of the beards, upstart David Bentley Hart defeated his hero, Maximus the Confessor. While DBH waxed at length about Max’s many virtues, and even used the adumbrate more than a few times, his seemingly pedestrian sentimentality masked a ruthlessness which ultimately took Maximus by surprise, who could only shake his head and say ‘I thought you came in peace?!’
Proving that Jesus wasn’t the only one elected for rejection, #1 Seed Karl Barth continued Jakob Ariminius’ streak of ignominy. ‘Free will doesn’t matter if you suck’ Barth taunted as victory tunes from Mozart kicked on.
Though shorter than James Madison, John Wesley was a surprise victor when Friedrich Shleiermacher bowed out, claiming to despise such an uncultured contest.
Paul Tillich, meanwhile, fell behind early and often, wasting precious time attempting to ‘translate’ the rules of the game into terms to which everyone could agree.
Leslie Newbigin was on his way to beating John Nelson Darby when he was disqualified for beating the s#$% out of his opponent. Details are still coming in but fans overheard Newbigin shouting about the forthcoming Left Behind film as kicked JND in the teeth.
Martin Luther proved on game day he’s more peccator than justus and handily beat Jurgen Moltmann, who complained that this skills are still just emerging.
Fearing that a loss would result in his opponent burning him alive, John ‘Don’t Let Ontological Peace Fool You’ defeated John Calvin.
Rudolf Bultmann bested Ulrich Zwingli by convincing him that the competition between wasn’t really real.
Though a veteran of radical reformation era persecutions, Menno Simons fell to the former Archbishop with the bushy eyebrows, Rowan Williams- proving that the Anglican Communion is even more f’d up than you suspected.
In the One True Region, Francis of Assisi played with the abandon of a naked fool.
Though Bonaventure never stopped contemplating to compete, victory was awarded to him when officials concluded Hans Kung was attempting to play in the wrong region.
Abelard upset the heavily favored Anselm as the cries of ‘Win it for Heloise’ filled the stadium. It’s reported that Anselm left with his ‘honor deeply offended.’
Hans Urs Von Balthasar beat St John who complained he was having a dark night of the soul.
Iraeneus took no pity on Julian of Norwich and refused any overtures for a ‘do-over.’
Herbert McCabe advanced on to the next round because, well, what do you expect against a Frenchman named On-ree?
Finally in the Mostly America Region, Reinhold showed that a dim view of humanity translates to ruthlessness on the court. ‘I did what I had to do’ he explained after the damage was done.
Jonathan Edwards defeated Hans Frei. The former seemed to intimidate his opponent while the latter never seemed to deliver any ‘absolutely singular’ response.
Walter Rauschenbusch was clearly the fan favorite and handily beat an opponent in James Cone whose performance seemed derivative at best.
From the opening second, George Lindbeck seemed confident that he understood games. His opponent however never looked like the Almighty had a preferential option for his victory.
Mortimer Arias first mistook John Howard Yoder’s pacifism as gentleness and fell behind quickly but responded in the later quarters as though a ‘cause’ was exactly what he needed.
Stanley Hauerwas got t’d up for several fouls and warnings about profanity but, in the end, he prevailed because, as he said later, ‘John Cobb sucks.’
Elizabeth Johnson introduced Charles Hodge to a few more fundamentals and sent him packing while Robert Jenson cruised to victory when the Catholic fans in attendance swayed from Rosemary Radford Reuther to him.