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Seeing the Other Whole

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If the gospel is authentically to be preached in today's fragmented and globalized world, Christians need to develop an attitude of profound regard for one another in all their difference and diversity, and a profound regard for those with whom they share the Christian message. Such a basic, transforming attitude Herbert Anderson calls in this article a habitus for globalization. The foundational question for Christians, he says, is what attitude we take toward the "Other." The Other can be understood in three ways: as not me, as not like me, or as like me but different from me. In this era of globalization, however, an understanding of the Other in the third sense--as what Anderson calls the "proximate Other"--is perhaps most fruitful, most challenging and holds the most theological potential. When we see the Other "whole" we are called out of our narrowness and into God's way of seeing the world. In order to unpack what a habitus for globalization might consist, Anderson reflects on four characteristics that it evidences: a sense of wonder in the presence of the Other, the practice of hospitality toward the Other, a sense of recognition of the Other's uniqueness, and a life lived in commitment to genuine reconciliation despite injustice and lack of understanding. Christian mission is carried out with a firm conviction of the basic interconnectedness of all things, and the promise of ultimate human and cosmic integrity.

Affiliations: 1: Catholic Theological Union at Chicago


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