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Jesus & the Expendables

All empires and complex industrial societies have what Lenski, the cultural anthropologist, describes as 'expendables.'

At the top of the pecking order of wealth, power, and privilege are the super-rich and elite.

These are those who hoard and accumulate wealth.

At the bottom end of this societal strata are those who work for peanuts, sustaining the lifestyle of the elite – the ones who are a systemic necessity.

In the ancient world, slaves were expendables. In the modern world, expendables are to be found in the mines in Africa, the sweatshops in Asia, and among the working poor within developed nations who rely on handouts and food banks.

The expendables not only include the working poor but also the destitute.

As the pressure falls on the expendable working poor, there are those who bail out and can't cope – this includes those who are disabled, those who have care responsibilities, and those driven through society-induced trauma into drug and alcohol addiction.

In the Gospels, we see that Jesus had compassion and offered hospitality to the expendables. They are not expendable to the growth of the Kingdom; rather, as image bearers, there is a preferential option towards them.

Blessed are the poor,

Blessed are those whom some call expendables,

Blessed are the destitute.

For yours is the Kingdom of God.

As Jesus proclaims and enacts the reign and rule of the Father, he encourages us to repent from societal structures that dehumanize and, instead, imagine and embody a new society—a society that anticipates God's future kingdom, in which love and justice are made manifest.



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