December 7, 2010 | 09:17 am

Tuesday – Spiritual Profiling

Rustici sculpture of John the Baptist
We know it's wrong for the police to detain or arrest someone based on their race or ethnicity. And there is a public outcry when an incident of racial profiling occurs. There is also such a thing as spiritual profiling in which we make judgments about who is and is not spiritual based on appearance alone. There is an interesting exchange between Jesus and a crowd on this very matter, and it involves John the Baptist. John was an eccentric fellow who dressed shabbily and lived austerely, yet Jesus said he was greater than a prophet. He was someone who really got what Jesus’ ministry was all about, but he was ignored because he didn’t look the part. Jesus said to the crowd, what did you expect? Some dressed in soft robes like those in royal palaces? (Matthew 11:8) It was a simple plea to look past the wardrobe and social status and embrace the spiritual insight that John had to offer. Though this encounter isn’t directly related to the birth of Christ, it does express the heart of Advent. Be on the lookout because God’s presence is infused in unexpected people and places.