Ragamuffin thoughts and faith in the raw.
A United Methodist Certified Lay Servant (aka Speaker, aka Preacher) blogging the Revised Common Lectionary as a spiritual discipline, with other random thoughts thrown in.
On Twitter: @thenakedalien.
During Advent season, we bring Crazy John in from the wilderness of neglect, and listen to him with new ears. In Matthew 3:1-12, John suddenly appears in the desert like a natural phenomenon. In his cry of "REPENT", I hear the wrathofGodsayer that plagued my campus in the 70s calling women "whores" and Jimmy Carter an "adulterer".
I can close my eyes, and see someone living a sustainable eco-friendly life. Camels evolved for the hot desert, so maybe clothes from camel hair is logical? Since I have never worn camel cloth, I can not tell you if it itches like scholars tell me. Insects are high in protein, are ubiquitous and have a large bio-mass (plentiful), they are the ancient food of the future: "Will you have algae, bugs, or soylent green?" The health food store has long held honey in a place of honor, for its many beneficial properties. John preached the Kingdomfuture, the Kingdomnear, was he living the Kingdomhere by reducing his sandal-print upon the planet?
The River Jordan was a sacred place, even though flowing water is more of an event than a place. When theologians, and strictly religious people show up, he calls them poisonous snakes slithering away from the coming fire. (Again with the snake bashing?) He waxes mixedmetaphorical to tell the snakes to bear fruit. But then he cuts to the point: "Don't presume!" How often have I offended God about presuming against him? Against my neighbor? Against myself? "Don't presume," he says, "that just because your ancestors were faithful, you have it made! God can turn these shoreline rocks into better Children of Abraham than you! The axes lie sharpened and ready at the feet of the trees - anyone that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and used for making charcoal"
Then Sane John comes to the front: "I baptize you, even you religious folk, with water to represent cleansing and repentance, but another is coming. One comes who is more powerful than I - I am not even worthy enough to scrape camel shit off of his shoes (get back Crazy John!). He will baptize you in the ruach flame of the Holy Spirit." Sane John recedes as the other John finishes: "He has a pitchfork in his hand, and is forking the straw into the fires of hell!" Or did he mean refining fire? I am never sure with John. Are you?
"No one knows when the end of time will be. No text book, novel, or even scripture. No end-time app. No human knows - but no angel or demon knows either. I don't even know! Only the Father knows.
The Son of Man will come like the flood of Noah's time. In his day, people went on eating, drinking and having babies as if nothing was about to happen, and then WHAM! They were swept away not knowing what hit them. The coming of the Son will be like that.
Noah gathered two by two and took them, but in the end of days two will be side by side and one will be taken. Two will be working together on a project, but only one will be left. Who will be taken? Who will remain? Be aware and wise, you never know.
Listen to me and try to understand: if you had advanced warning that a thief was going to slip into your house the next night, wouldn't you be ready for them? Be prepared, for the Son of Man will come like a thief in the night."