Lorna Dueck gets biblical.
There’s a book in the Bible called Numbers that begins with God ordering a census of people wandering in a wilderness. Why the Almighty wanted the mathematical count seems to come down to the issue of nation-building. Numbers were going to be needed for Moses and his leaders to understand all that would be required to create community and the structures that would nurture and sustain it … Author and theologian Eugene Peterson has observed, “counting and list making and rosters are as much a part of being a community of God as prayer and instruction and justice.”
For those of you following along at home, that’s Numbers, chapter 1, verses 1 through 54.