It was a Thursday morning, and I was preoccupied with writing this article and considering the words of John the Baptist from the passage in Luke 3. John seems so out of place in Advent, I thought to myself. He speaks such harsh words of judgment and repentance when what we truly want to hear is Tiny Tim’s “God bless us everyone” to put us in the Christmas spirit.
John the Baptist is an acquired taste, like roquefort. He’s complex. He is an amalgamation of unanswered questions: Is he a zealot acting out the Exodus as a kind of political comedy sketch? Is he the leader of a rival faith community, a serious threat to the fledgeling Jesus movement? Is he a kind of Enkidu figure—a fugitive of our collective consciousness from the epic Gilgamesh—who crawls out of the wilderness, learns our ways well enough and then attempts to wrestle and pin our society to the ground, only to be admired briefly and then destroyed?
Whatever John is, he’s not easy to put on a cracker.
Matt Yeater was blinded in a meth lab explosion at age 20. Imprisoned numerous times, he was not the typical seminary student when he matriculated at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. After learning that there are few resources in Braille for studying biblical languages, he contacted a company that produces software for Braille translation. The result: now, with the touch of a button, biblical Hebrew, Greek, ancient Syriac, Latin, and Coptic can be translated into Braille (The Mennonite, July 12).