In recent weeks I've been studying Jacob's life. Genesis 30 deals with the origins of the Church and the kind of unpromising soil in which the Family of God took root?
You couldn't write the script for this complex ecclesial mess - curse, flesh, plots, grief, pain, tears, guilt, blame, envy, hate, pride, strife, sleeze, vice and rage abound at every turn.
As children are born and named in tents of love, hate and experimental convenience, husband, wives and concubines prove to be experts in dark arts.
Self-righteousness, accusation true and false, despair, loneliness, chastening, judgment, insane jealously, super-spiritual hypocrisy, frustration, rivalry, attention craving and love-commodification, either bubble under the service or explode into life with predictable, yet shocking, regularity.
Boys, girls, and maids all get sucked into the vortex of relational tension and domestic fragmentation that is a predictable outcome of stubborn, wilful, repeated, prolonged, violation of God's marital ideal in powder-keg sins of bigamy, polygamy and surrogacy.
There is also a thin veneer of pseudo-sanctified speech, protest, boast and a decent smattering of prayer, blended-in with painfully-slow, authentic, true growth in Covenant faith.
All this intrigue occurs outside the Promised Land, where God's House is built under Yahweh's eye and hand, in mighty, merciful, overseeing, overruling, grace.
Gaze at your roots. Ditch all pretense. Left to yourself, void of divine help, your pedigree is no purer, nor your record any better: make all boast in God's Amazing Grace.