How do we respond to church members who hold very strong views which cause conflict within the church?  How do we respond to neighbours, or colleagues at work, who challenge our way of thinking and make implicit criticisms of the views we hold?  I suspect that most of us would shy away from these people, avoid them altogether or even make complaints about them behind their back.  This week marks the second Sunday of Advent where the Bible reading assigned focuses on the story of John the Baptist.  John the Baptist caused conflict in the church.  John the Baptist was the source of division and argument amongst the religious people and their leaders of his day.  What about us?  How would we treat a ‘John the Baptist like figure’ in our church every Sunday morning?  How would we respond to his powerful preaching, his challenges to the lives we live, his call for a radically different approach to God?  I suspect a lot of us would be upset; we may even make a complaint to our church leaders.  But, of course, this is the whole point.  Christianity never was, never is and never will be a ‘walk in the park’ for the rich and respectable.  Rather, it is about confession, repentance and obeying God.  This is what John the Baptist was saying in the wilderness and it is as true today as it was then.