John the Baptist in Various Faith-Traditions and Art

Last night's final class for the SoL Center was a fun one! I ventured outside of my expertise regarding John the Baptist into other areas of interest: namely, John's representation in other faith-traditions and art. I chose to talk about John's meaning in Islam, Mandaeism, and Mormonism because (1) these groups have holy writings other than the New Testament and (2) they mention John. Quick word of clarification: I did not deny that the LDS are a Christian group. Their inclusion in this final talk has to do with their writings that aren't shared by other Christians, especially the Doctrines and the Covenants. 

The second half looked at John's representation in music, film, paint, and sculpture. The class seemed to have enjoyed the content immensely and I enjoyed teaching it! For those who are interested, here are my notes and the ppt from last night: LePort. SoL Center. John the Baptist Then and Now Wk3 (Word) (PDF). (All the pictures were accessed via a Google search.)

People ask for God, till the day he comes

For some reason, not quite sure yet, I really like the chorus from "Understand" by The Roots on their new album ...and then you shoot your cousin. Here are the lyrics (for the whole song go to Rap Genius):

People ask for God, till the day he comes
See God's face - turn around and run
God see the face of man
Shaking his head, say's "he'll never understand"
People ask for God, till the day he comes
See God's face - turn around and run
God see the face of man
Shaking his head, say's "man'll never understand"

I presume my appreciation for these words has something to do with how brilliantly they capture humanity's on going struggle with understanding God and maybe even God's ongoing effort to understand and relate to God's own creation, especially those made in God's image. 

The music video is pretty great too:


Oceans

I think the first time I heard this song was when visiting my home Church in San Francisco. Since then I've heard my wife play it around the house a few times. I've come to adopt some of a lyrics as a bit of a prayer in recent months. I tend to be the type of person who wants to be in control, who wants to have a plan, and the last year and a half has been teaching me that I am not in control and that all plans are tentative. This has opened my heart to saying these words, word I hope others might find themselves saying during this Lenten season:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior