The Head of John the Baptist

It NEVER FAILS.

You know that thing that some people do when they want to pray or get a sign from God for something, and they say a prayer and then flip open their Bible to a random page, and whatever they land on is what God is saying to them?

Whenever I do that, I always get some type of Jeremiad or some crazy verse in which the people are mourning – or if they’re not,  God is telling them they should be mourning, since woe is them and they are horrible, offensive people.

(Thanks, Lord.  It’s not like my self-esteem was super-awesome to begin with, or anything.)

And it happened again today! I was thinking about how I haven’t updated in a while, and so I thought I’d hit today’s Gospel and try to write about that.  And what does it say? It talks about how it would be better if I wasn’t even born and that I’d be better off still in Hades and…

Oh wait.  That’s September 30th’s reading.  Not August.

Yep, I feel awesome.

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Today is the Memorial of the Martyrdom of John the Baptist, and I always get really squicked out whenever I read about his death.  Squicked out and kind of annoyed, because he died for such a stupid reason: pride, and shame.

John the Baptist, to me, always kinda seemed like that crazy uncle we all have but never really remember.  Like we know he’s all into eating locusts and wild honey and draping himself with whatever animal skin he could find because he can’t be bothered to shop for real clothes because he has a message to send, and we just sort of take his passion for granted.

He’s such a foil for Jesus.  Like you can just read the Gospels and see how calm and with-it Jesus was as He went about doing things, and how just…not-that-way John the Baptist was.  And they were both on the same team.  I like that, though; I like how God uses different kinds of people to do the same work.

In college I was part of a retreat team that traveled around the East coast giving retreats to high schoolers.  The guy that founded the group was a guy named Justin, and he was a total John the Baptist, except that Justin took showers and worked out at the gym a lot and could do push-up handstands.  He preached God’s word, and he shouted, and praised, and was really passionate about it.  Like again, you could see that passion, that charism.  And people were drawn to it.  The kids loved it.  And they still love it.  He went on to found another ministry, called Hard as Nails, and his team travels around the world to minister to everyone through talks and skits and prayer.  He had an HBO special done on him, and he’s been all over TV and magazines and everything, which I think is so cool.

I’m proud of him.  I think he’s great.

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John the Baptist got cheated out of such a glorious death.  It was ugly, you know? Beheaded just because some lady didn’t like what he was saying.  And I know that’s what martyrdom is – people killing you because they don’t like your message – but he was just so played.

Like you can see the scene, right? Salome all comes out and does some great dance (which, for John the Baptist to die, must have been some crazy, Beyonce-pop-star-level of choreography) and now she gets to have whatever she wants.

She doesn’t really know, so she asks her mom what might be nice.

Herodias: Ask for the head of John the Baptist on a plate.

Salome: Oh…really? I was going to ask for a $50 gift card to the Gap.

Herodias: To buy what, like one sweater? No.  This is better.

Man, if Salome hadn’t spoken up sooner, John the Baptist might have lived to preach another day.

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I know a few John the Bapists.  I know that I myself don’t have his style, but that’s all right. Those who do have it do push-ups, and I do sit-ups; but we’re both exercising, know what I mean? Each of our styles are the right one, if we’re using them to honor God.  🙂

Have an awesome day!

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