John the Baptist

In with the Vipers

John the Baptist doesn’t make any friends by calling everyone brood of Vipers. Now note that Jesus doesn’t contradict John. To understand their shared message, we need to focus on what is healthy and not, relating to pride and shame. What would John, or Jesus, make of the boast, “I am proud to be an American” or the current rush in France to buy tricolor flags since the Paris attack?

 

Does the Voice in the Wilderness Matter?

Every four years our country makes a show of sending the presidential candidates through the rural villages of Iowa and New Hampshire. For a few fleeting moments, common people seem to matter. They have a voice in Ottumwa.  Individuals in Concord can ask the next president if he or she knows the price of a gallon of milk. Yet the Bible speaks about the voice in the wilderness as being something more than just symbolic. We are all made to travel through wilderness from time to time. Life is enriched by trauma and displacement. There the soft voice of God has a chance to rise above the static.

Avent 2
Sunday, December 6, 2015

John and Austerity

Meditation consists of intentionally eliminating the things that are so familiar that we have allowed them access to our souls. Spirituality begins with naming our inner idols and the material albatrosses hanging around our necks. So, Jesus comes to be baptized by John in the Jordan. Then, he immediately goes further into the wilderness for forty days. These two events lack noise. They lack clutter. What specifically is missing from these two events?

 

Epiphany 1
Sunday, January 11, 2015

Authority?

I warned our dog, Bella, that she’d be in the blog this week. She didn’t care. She prefers to be stubborn. The current problem involves antibiotic pills that I am hiding in her doggie treats. I say, “Trust me.” She doesn’t. She eats the treat and spits out the pill. We argue. She growls, “Who made you an authority over me?” It’s the same place Moses was in as he led people across the wilderness. People were grumbling because Moses picked camping sites without regard to water.

 

Pentecost 21
Sunday, September 28, 2014

JB baptizes Thomas

One morning, John the Baptist and his disciples went out to the water. This day a variety of people had come out, many from the mixed race cities of the Decapolis. So the prophet said to his disciples, “Try to imagine the Day of Judgment. Will the God who fashions a unique face and home for each soul rebuke us for being different from each other? Will the king herd us like cattle, placing us either in the slaughter line or on the road for redemption according to our nationality? No! I think the king will ask each of us about our acts of compassion.”

“But that will take too long,” his disciples gasped.

“It will last, like, forever,” the youngest added.

“That’s the point.” The Baptizer laughed.

Advent 2
Sunday, December 8, 2013
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