Lila’s Weblog


Fear of the Other
August 11, 2009, 10:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

For about five years I’ve been cogitating on the debate in the church around the homosexual.

One man that I thought quite perspicacious said that the church could not condemn homosexuality as long as she refused to face the “fear of strangers”–the lack of embracing those who are not like us–which is rampant in the church.

Just lately I was looking for the NT Greek word for stranger or foreigner and came across “xenophilos” which I would suppose literally means “loving the foreigner/other” but is translated as “hospitality”  Say what?? I guess not a true mistranslation, but we lose the force of it, and talk about entertaining our pew-mates and not about bringing the homeless or friendless off the street and into our homes.

All this, and I’m reading The Other by the Polish writer, Ryszard Kapuscinski.  It’s a tiny book, a collection of lectures, a “distillation of reflections” on how we in the West have viewed the non-European.

It’s natural to fear the Other, but one of the geniuses of the West has been the curiosity that led to exploration just for the sake of seeking out the Other.

Richard (I take that to be his English name) points out that Descartes is wrong–it’s not “I think therefore I am”.  We really only know ourselves in the face of the Other.  Some branches of Christianity take that to mean in the face of the wholly Other, God Himself, but even looking into the face of the stranger, the foreigner we can know ourselves.

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