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Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation Kindle Edition
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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%.
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.
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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