Inclusion? Jephthah, John and Brennan

Our ‘new minister’ was asked, ‘So just how inclusive are you?…’ I ask myself the same question…

I love the less-known Bible stories… Jephthah’s kicked out of his home because his mother was a prostitute; his brothers, sons of his Dad’s wife, thought he shouldn’t be part of his family…

There’s battles against the enemy, a promise to sacrifice his only daughter, civil war… but the involvement of his God: ‘the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah’…

Inclusion? Jephthah’s complicated life illustrates the theme that runs through the Biblical narrative: God includes – often discriminates in favour of – the outcast, the reject, the failure…

I love ‘Miss Saigon’. John and Chris are American soldiers in the Vietnam War…

After the war John addresses a conference in Atlanta, Georgia about ‘Bui Doi’, the estimated 50,000 children of American soldier fathers and Vietnamese mothers, outcasts of the Vietnamese society: ‘half-breeds from a land that’s torn… children whose crime was being born’.

They’re called Bui-Doi
The dust of life
Conceived in Hell
And born in strife
They are the living reminder of all the good we failed to do
We can’t forget
Must not forget
That they are all our children, too

Inclusion? John acknowledges, owns and takes action against the suffering and discrimination he could easily ignore.

I love reading Brennan Manning. He describes the heavenly vision of the multitude dressed in white robes (Revelation 7:9):

‘I shall see the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me that she could find no other employment to support her two-year-old son. I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could, faced with gruelling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions…’

Inclusion? Brennan reminds me… I look to God’s higher power of acceptance and transformation rather than my prejudice, or criteria of acceptability or niceness.  

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