I am so honored and excited to have my book, Embracing The Other on Syndicate.
The Symposium on Syndicate is introduced by Drs. Peter Heltzel and Kay Higuera Smith. Every week for the next four weeks, we will read a new scholar’s perspective on my book, Embracing the Other.
This week’s post is from Dr. Please feel free to respond and comment on Syndicate.
The Spirit of the Other in Jesus
I have profound appreciation for Grace Ji-Sun Kim’s Embracing the Other and its Trinitarian and post-colonial Pneumatology of human relations. I am thinking about the life of Jesus the Messiah, led by the Spirit, moving beyond the Messianic with its ancient militancy and zealotry. It is a life that moves further to the triumphs of the suffering servant whose solidarity with all who suffer establishes an exemplarity that goes beyond the therapeutic to a generosity that contributes to human flourishing in the perichoretic communion of the Holy Spirit.
What we know about racism is that in the first instance it is a complex construction of biases, symbols, and micro-aggressive maneuvers exercising dominance and privilege wherever it wills. We also know that there are many racisms—not only North American but wherever “civilizations” develop their taxonomies of value. These include all sorts of aspects but particularly of skin color, and it has become more pronounced in the twenty-first century. One sees it in advertising, whether in Beijing, Bangkok, New York City, or Mumbai. The discrimination is obvious and is driving the consumer economies of the globalized world. The Han of which Grace writes so eloquently is a global reality wherever discrimination has imposed systems of hierarchy and false justifications of racial oppression—“the opposite of grace,” as she declares (39). Kim offers a prophetic theology that is critical of how Christian theological principles and symbols have been used to justify such systems of racial exclusion, as in the case of Japanese internment during World War II and above all the enslavement and continuing discrimination against African Americans. Embracing the Other is a work of Minjung theology.
In looking at Kim’s constructive theological material, she skillfully resources the Ruth and Naomi and Rahab narratives as they overcome oppressive orders of purity in the Hebrew Bible. Such material becomes the basis of a “faith-rooted feminism” (100). Working with the insights of Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza on Jesus’ woman-affirming basileia teaching, the healing of gender division comes into view. Concretely, this became a “discipleship of equals” forming the earliest ecclesia (Gal 3:28). But of course in dealing with the church in the developing world, it is often hierarchically and patriarchally structured.
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