Sunday, 15 March 2015
Exclusion and Embrace: Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness and Reconciliation,
Miroslav Volf, Abingdon Press, 1996, page 92
Do we let ourselves be sinned against too easily in the area of identity? Volf suggests that we do:
The desire for identity could also explain why so many people let themselves be sinned against so passively - why they let themselves be excluded. It is not simply because they may lack a sufficiently strong will to be themselves, but because one can satisfy the will to be oneself but surrendering to the other. Their problem is not so much exclusion of the other from the will to be oneself, but a paradoxical exclusion of their own self from the will to be oneself.
Jewish believers may even feel that it is their duty "in Christ" to submit to the other - Scripture's "one another" - and so allow themselves to be identity-abused by the dominant Gentile church. Volf concludes:
It is not so much sin as it is an evil that cries for remedy. The exclusion of the self from the will to be oneself not only damages the self, but makes the slippage into exclusion of the other and therefore further damage of the self so much easier.
Do Jewish believers need to assert their Jewish identity not only for their own sake, but to prevent their Gentile brothers from sinning against them? Would a stronger self-identity by Jewish believers, far from provoking the feared split or rejection, actually make acceptance and embrace easier? The experience of the Messianic Jewish - Roman Catholic dialogue group would suggest that this is so.