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The Self of Mission

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Drawing on his experience as a missionary in Korea for over three decades, Edward W. Poitras reflects on the way a person expands him or herself as he or she encounters the culture in which he or she works as truly "other." A complete identification with the culture, of course, is never possible. Nevertheless, the authentically open person is changed in profound and life-giving ways. Poitras speaks of this change happening in three stages. At first the missionary works for others; then he or she identifies with the local culture. Eventually, however, the self is discovered within the local community; identity is received from it, as a gift. Such a development, says Poitras, is profoundly biblical in orientation, and is at the heart of the theology of mission.

Affiliations: 1: Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas

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