March Gladness 2017: The Christian Culture Tournament (Round Three)

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UPDATED BRACKET (click to biggify)

Update: Round 3 voting now closed.  Check out the results below, then head on over to Round 4 to continue voting!

In the time between Round 2 and Round 3, several folks reached out to me to point out that other people have done Christianity brackets in the past.  I was not familiar with any of these before we put March Gladness together, but now I am, and it seems like a good idea to recognize them: Here is Zack Hunt’s bracket, which is excellent, though I wish it contained more Chrisagis Brothers.  Also there is the Best Christian Book bracket, Lent Madness, the Episcopal budget bracket, and the oddly compelling Church Song Bracket.  So there you go.

Now then.  A moment of reflection for the Round 2 losers:

/holds lighter aloft, sways back and forth forlornly

/youth pastor appears, demands to know where I got a lighter

/makes up story about needing it for fireworks

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Okay, let’s get to it.  Round 1 is here, Round 2 is here, and Round 3 is below:

Region 1

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Flannelgraph has cut a wide swath of destruction through the opening rounds, shutting down Christianity Today like so many late-90s Christian music magazines.  7Balled?  Is that the correct verb?  Need Alan Noble to make a ruling on that.  Meanwhile, how did Tony Campolo make it this far?  I have received more puzzled, who is that guy? questions about Campolo than anyone else.  I can only assume that church ladies are voting for him based solely on his sex appeal, or something.

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When you get down to it, the Rich Mullins Hologram was really a tough draw for Cleavage Think Pieces.  Not only does he not have bosoms, he’s a hologram, so he’s not distracted by them, either.  So anyway, Rich advanced to face WWJD Bracelets, and I can’t imagine he’s happy to see them.  Commercialized, simplistic platitudes on a fashion accessory?  Doesn’t really seem to fit his sweaty-prophet-in-jorts ascetic.  Anyway, I had a teal WWJD bracelet and I wore it from 1998-2000 and that thing was doggone worthless, it didn’t give me ANY special powers with babes, I was a total disaster.

Region 2

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Tebow is the tournament’s sole remaining #1 seed.  An alert tournament observer messaged me some story about Tebow wanting to adopt a child from every continent with the caption WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MARCH GLADNESS?  I don’t know, Xander.  I just don’t know.  Another thing I don’t know: When Psalty poops, do words come out?  Or maybe like whole phrases from the fifth verse of some obscure hymn nobody ever sings?  Wait, is Psalty a hymnal or a book of Psalms?  If I had DL Mayfield’s number I would wake her up just to ask that question.  Also, I realize this write up is not helping anyone decide who to vote for, but it’s 2am and this is what my brain is like at 2am.

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In the upset of the tournament, Nadia Bolz-Weber rallied her Twitter followers and came from behind to win a razor-thin victory over Larry the Cucumber.  Did she punch herself out?  Does she have anything left in the tank to do battle with Bibleman?  More pressing question: are there different versions of Bibleman, one for each translation?  Like some kind of League of Biblemen?  KJVman would be super anal and denying that the other Biblemen were real, and ESVman would hate NLTman and NIVman would be super popular and have like 300k followers on Instagram but the other Biblemen think he’s kind of a flake, anyway I don’t get invited to many dinner parties.

Region 3

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Look, as soon as someone explains to me what is happening in Region 3, I will be happy to pass it on.  Carman and Russell Moore ran up big leads in their matchups, then just sort of wandered off, mid-round, to go punch demons and antagonize other Baptists, respectively.  We’re left with Whit versus Beth Moore, and I have no idea who will win this.  Do you think Kay Arthur secretly resents Beth Moore?  I do.  I bet every time she walks into a LifeWay and sees Beth Moore’s name she’s like “How many precepts does that little tart know?  I AM THE PRECEPT QUEEN”.  Anyway, why didn’t Whit co-host Focus on the Family with Dobson after Mike Trout resigned?  That would have been hella meta.

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The Farewell Rob Bell tweet came out of nowhere to crash the round of 16.  Meanwhile, Josh Harris has embraced his inclusion in the bracket and is tweeting smack at his tournament rivals.  He looks quite formidable.  And how weird is Josh Harris’ life?  This cat is living in reverse: he wrote a popular book, then became a pastor, then went to seminary.  I guess his next step is to enroll in a Christian high school and start a Jars of Clay cover band?  I would totally be in that band, for what it’s worth.  Does he eat dessert first, too?  By the way, eating dessert first is good if you’re worried that Jesus could come back at any moment, don’t @ me with your eschatology, I was making a point.

Region 4

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Well this is an awkward matchup.  Who designed these brackets?  DC Talk turned an anticipated fight with the Babylon Bee into a walkover.  Meanwhile, WOW CDs upset pre-tournament favorite Song of Solomon.  So anyway, WOW 1999 was a weird release.  The CD cover said it had 30 songs; there were 34, including ones from Veggie Tales, The Ws, the not-alive-for-2-years Rich Mullins, and someone named “Moya Brennan,” whom I have no recollection of, and sounds like a character from one of those Omega Code movies that TBN made.

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You guys, Lecrae has just been chilling at the bottom of the bracket and quietly taking care of his business.  Next up: Yoga Pants, which are the most scandalous thing to happen to American Christianity since your youth pastor’s wife had to talk to that one girl on the retreat because she didn’t wear shorts over her swimsuit.  Butts, man.  It’s like some Christians don’t even realize that they’re sinful.

Round 3 voting closes Tuesday night

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