I am honored to be invited to speak at Georgetown University in Qatar on Wednesday, September 27, 2017. I will be basing my lecture on my book, Embracing the Other (Eerdmans). My talks were “Justice and Solidarity in a Divided World” and “Christianity and Violence”.
Embracing the Other examines healing, reconciliation, and justice among all people, regardless of race or gender. The book develops a new constructive global pneumatology that works toward gender and racial-ethnic justice. Through the power of Spirit God, our brokenness is healed and we can truly love and embrace the Other.
Justice and Solidarity in a Divided World
Grace Ji-Sun Kim
Earlham School of Religion
In a broken world of misgivings, misrepresentations, and misunderstandings among the diverse human family created by God, we need to go to the margins to create a pathway toward healing and hope. As a poor Jewish peasant teacher from Nazareth, Jesus was marginalized and stood in solidarity with the marginalized throughout the Roman Empire. Jesus’s incarnate life, kingdom teaching, and crucifixion on a Roman cross unveil God as a lover of justice, peace, and liberation.
Those in power often share a gospel of an all-powerful God that is disconnected from the poor’s daily struggles through which their community resists oppression and struggles to achieve fullness of life. The God of the privileged does not exist in the margins but rather remains in the center, safe and secure from all alarm. The God of the center who may be spoken of in the margins, but never comes to live there, in the dire circumstances of dirt-poverty. The direct movement of coming towards the marginalized peoples with the intention of building deep solidarity with them as they “enflesh freedom” is an affront to the God of the privileged center.
Pushed to the margins, women around the globe have an attentive sensitivity to experiences of oppression. The deep wounds of women are raw and painful within a patriarchal world. Traditional theologies posit that the God of the Center reaches out to the marginalized with inclusive love. Yet, in such theologies the center remains central command, determining who will be included and excluded. This creates an obvious structural disadvantage for those on the periphery. In many ways, church politics and theology still rely upon modern, masculine epistemologies of the center and continue to institute them. Epistemologies of the center only perpetuates the status quo and keeps power with those who are at the center. This center epistemology needs to be challenged and redefined so that the marginalized can claim their rightful seats at the table and voices in the dialogue.
Bio of Grace Ji-Sun Kim
Grace Ji-Sun Kim received her M.Div. from Knox College (University of Toronto) and her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. She is an Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion.
Kim is the author or editor of 12 books, most recently, Mother Daughter Speak, co-written with Elisabeth Sophia Lee; Making Peace with the Earth: Action and Advocacy for Climate Justice (WCC); Embracing the Other: The Transformative Spirit of Love (Eerdmans); and Here I Am: Faith Stories of Korean American Clergywomen (Judson Press).
Kim is a co-editor with Dr. Joseph Cheah for the Palgrave Macmillan Book Series, “Asian Christianity in the Diaspora”. Kim is on the Board of Directors for the American Academy of Religion. She is a co-chair of AAR’s steering committee, “Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching and Activism Group.” She is a steering committee member of AAR’s “Comparative Theology Group” and “Religion and Migration Group.” She sits on the editorial board for the Journal for Religion and Popular Culture and is a referee for 3 journals: Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion, Journal of Religion and Popular Culture and The Global Studies Journal. She is an Advisory Board Member for the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School.
Kim writes for The Huffington Post, Sojourners, EthicsDaily.com, Wabash Center and Feminist Studies in Religion (co-editor).
She has also written for TIME, The Feminist Wire, Feminism and Religion, The Forum for Theological Education, 99 Brattle and The Nation.