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Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation by [Volf, Miroslav]
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Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

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.

About the Author

Miroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and the founding director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. His books include Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation, winner of the 2002 Grawemeyer Award in Religion.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1418 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (1 Mar. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008UARQ0Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #397,094 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating book about reconciliation, about the way people can be excluded by "tribal" prejudices, about what it means to belong.
However, the Kindle version is spoiled by many errors. It has presumably been produced by optical character recognition and has many inaccuracies. It would seem not to have been adequately proofed. For example, 'Paul's' on one occasion is rendered 'PaulYs', on occasions 'f' is rendered '£'. 'I' as '!' etc. This is very annoying especially in the light of the high purchase price.
Amazon often excuses the high price of digital books by the fact of VAT being payable. However, this only accounts for 20%. The cost of printing, warehousing and distribution are presumably a lot more than 20%.
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Format: Paperback
This is a dense and academic read, but a rewarding one. Volf explores what the cross means for his home country of Croatia, having emerged from the bitterness of the 90s civil war with Sarajevo. To oversimplify, Volf focuses on sin as ‘exclusion’ and reconciliation as ‘embrace’. His thesis is that the cross has a dual element for both victims and perpetrators of evil.

For victims of crime and suffering, the cross is a embrace - a message from God of solidarity. Christ identifies with victims of injustice and those who suffer. For perpetrators of suffering, it is not only a message of forgiveness, but of how costly forgiveness is - that it involves battle with dark powers; blood, pain and sorrow.

For perpetrators, the cross is not only something that they 'receive' - ie they don't simply 'benefit' from the blessings of forgiveness - but it's a call to live differently, and to pour out their life in repentance and sacrifice for others, as Jesus did. For the victims, it is at once a display of God’s loving identification with those who suffer, but also a call not to respond in a vengeful fashion, perpetuating a further cycle of exclusion, but to embrace and forgive, (whilst recognising the struggle to forgive evil).

What grounds this book is his real-life examples of those caught up in hideous war crimes - this is lived-out theology. I tend to struggle with academic theology books (with the exception of biblical studies), but I was glad to have persevered with this. An important book and timely book on the cross and the 'other' - highly recommended for lovers of theology.
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Format: Paperback
This is a tremendous book. While the author writes in an academic style, there is a warmth and questioning tone that makes the method engaging. Perhaps the important thing is that I learned from this book and it is making a difference in my life. The concepts of looking at others in an attitude of embrace and of love being a necessary precursor to justice are antithetical to my societal training. I was also struck by the section comparing the concepts of covenant and contract. Permanence in relationship, what a novel concept. Volf's book is an honest attempt by a scholar to look at the complexities of relatedness and identity. An attempt to summarize his thoughts in 1000 words is bound to fail - read the book.
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Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful and powerful examination of the forces that bring us together or tear us apart. The book contains many profound ideas with abundant illustrations from the Bible and modern history. Volf is a thoughtful Protestant theologian born in Croatia who has experienced first hand all of the devastating consequences of "exclusion" as practiced between his people and Serbia. He looks at the many ways we exclude people who are different from ourselves by dehumanizing, judging, labeling and demonizing. Thus, we render inferior and less than human, people who differ by race, culture, economic status, religion and gender. And so we perpetuate injustice and victimization.
Volf then shows us that the injustices of "exclusion" can not be righted by revenge. Victims need to repent of what the perpetrators do to their souls lest they mimic the behavior of their oppressors and let themselves be shaped in the mirror image of the enemy. Neither revenge nor reparations can redress old injustices without creating new ones. The only healing path is forgiveness and reconciliation. He suggests that agreement on justice depends on the will to embrace the other and that justice inself will be unjust as long as it does not become a mutual embrace.
He has an interesting view of God's justice. We usually think of justice as treating everybody the same. Volf says that God treats different people differently so that all will be treated justly.
This book is a treasure.
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