Monday, December 15, 2008

A rock'n'roll midrash on John the Baptist...

So I'm having a rock'n'roll midrash about John the Baptist... thinking of all the Green Men, Wild Men and hard guys who have helped me move from simply being a smartass kid in the ministry to someone who wants to dance tenderly as well as use the sword for justice (as my Celtic ancestors used to say.) Certainly the FIRST who grabbed me was Little Richard - I heard "Tutti Fruiti" before first grade and was HOOKED - and it opened up a whirlwind inside that God is still working to tame.

Then, in no clear order, came these men who continue to be prophets for me:
+ Elvis
+ Jerry Lee Lewis
+ John Lennon (who was eventually supplanted by George Harrison)
+ Bob Dylan
+ Jimi Hendrix
+ Chuck Berry
+ George Carlin
+ Dick Gregory
+ Lenny Bruce
+ The Marx Brothers
+ Firesign Theatre
+ Peter Green (in the OLD days of Fleetwood Mac)

+ Pete Townsend
+ Country Joe and the Fish
+ Jerry Garcia
+ Mississippi John Hurt
+ Jimmy Page
+ Marvin Gaye
+ Bruce Springsteen
+ Eric Clapton
+ Johnny Cash
+ Richie Havens
+ Waylon Jennings
+ Robert Bly
+ Tim Buckley

+ Miles Davis
+ Willie Nelson
+ Garth Brooks
+ Bono
+ Clarence Jordan
+ Martin Luther King, Jr.
+ Malcom X
+ Yussuf Islam
+ Gil Scott-Heron
+ Peter Gabriel
+ Old Blind Dogs

Now I list these men - and I will do a list of wild women, too - because after teaching a class tonight on the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke and their very different insights, I was struck that we ALL have spiritual/theological backgrounds that warrant careful examination.
These wild men helped me break out of the status quo and find new truths and freedom. They not only showed me what life might look like but they helped me feel it, too.

This Advent - on the second Sunday of considering the old Baptizer - I give thanks to God for the men who have kicked me in the pants and woke me up. They weren't the whole truth, but damn if they weren't vital!


Paula said...

Thank you for posting this. I love your thoughts on the many people who wake us up, shake our worlds, and make us remember the joy of the creation. Happy Advent!!

RJ said...

You are very welcome, Paula. 'Tis a joyful season for me to reflect and return thanks. Blessings to you.

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