“I’m a Christian,” said my oldest daughter, seven-year-old Miriam. “Really?” I replied. “So what makes you believe that you are a Christian?” “Because I love God, God loves me, and I know Jesus came back to life after dying on the cross.”
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.