Friday, 27 March 2015
Exclusion and Embrace: Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness and Reconciliation,
Miroslav Volf, Abingdon Press, 1996, page 143-144
Act Three in Volf's Drama of Embrace is closing the arms. Not in a trap or a bear-hug, but in an embrace. This must be reciprocal; it takes four arms for one embrace - two is either just an invitation, or a clutch. Volf goes on:
For such free and mutual giving and receiving to take place, in addition to reciprocity, a soft touch is necessary. I may not close my arms around the other too tightly, so as to crush her and assimilate, otherwise I will be engaged in a concealed power-act of exclusion.
Similarly, Volf argues, it is necessary for both parties to maintain their own identity boundaries. This is not an uncontrolled merger, anihilating one identity or the other.
In an embrace the identity of the self is both preserved and transformed, and the alterity of the other is both affirmed as alterity and partly received into the ever changing identity of the self.