Exclusion & Embrace : A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation
Life at the end of the twentieth century presents us with a disturbing reality.
Otherness, the simple fact of being different in some way, has come to be defined as
in and of itself evil. Miroslav Volf contends that if the healing word of the gospel
is to be heard today, Christian theology must find ways of speaking that address the
hatred of the other. Reaching back to the New Testament metaphor of salvation as
reconciliation, Volf proposes the idea of embrace as a theological response to the
problem of exclusion. Increasingly we see that exclusion has become the primary sin,
skewing our perceptions of reality and causing us to react out of fear and anger to
all those who are not within our (ever-narrowing) circle. In light of this,
Christians must learn that salvation comes, not only as we are reconciled to God,
and not only as we "learn to live with one another", but as we take the dangerous
and costly step of opening ourselves to the other, of enfolding him or her in the
same embrace with which we have been enfolded by God.
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December 01, 1996
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