Excerpt from the e-book “The Starfish Manifesto” by Wolfgang Simson
Many prophets have seen the birth of Rachel and Jacob’s son Benjamin (Gen 30-35) as a prophetic type for the future of the church. Rachel, who had become a bit grumpy at not having children, finally became desperate and said to Jacob: “Give me children or I’ll die!” Very much like a church that is not fertile at all, but pushes all the buttons to appear fruitful. After a few successful births, she finally starts to deliver her last child on her way to Bethlehem with so much difficulty, that she dies. Before she dies, she names the boy Ben-Oni, that is, son of my sorrow. In many ways, today’s church is like Rachel, that in her desperate attempts to multiply herself, she fi nally delivers a seemingly untimely birth – on the road to Ephrat (Bethlehem). She delivers a trouble maker, someone she does not merely lose sleep over, but she loses her life. And before she passes away, she attempts to give one fi nal, devastating label to the boy: Ben-Oni. But, as the story tells us: “…his father named him Benjamin,” which translates, son
of my right hand.
How many prophets and apostles have been born in the church at a seemingly inopportune time, and been called by the established system a Ben- Oni, troublemaker, son of sorrow? But God stepped in and renamed the boy, putting away that label of shame and replaced it with the greatest privilege a man could give: to declare a son to be his right hand man, his executive. At this time in history, many prophets declare that an untimely birth is about to happen – a church born inside the church that is not welcomed by its mother, but by God. An entirely new breed, rejected by a mother that ultimately only wants to build itself up, like Rachel, but this new-born is accepted and empowered
by God the Father. An off spring no longer named after the Mother-Church, but after the Father God.
Perhaps, you yourself are such a troublemaker, at least in the eyes of religious folk around you. So let me tell you: you are not alone; you are normal; come home. Dad calls you Benjamin, not Ben-oni.