Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 2

VOLUME 11 NUMBER 1 2015 EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION The danger exists in our globalizing world to confuse immediacy with intimacy. We can make contact with people and places more quickly than ever before through high-speed Internet connections, trains, planes, and automobiles. But have we really encountered and experienced them, or only surface impressions? If one couples such immediacy with the prevailing narcissism in many quarters, one might be led to wonder if we really celebrate concern for otherness, and if we have an inquisitive spirit to know the other for who she, he, and it is. Could it be that what we often perceive of the other are merely projections and reflections of ourselves? If so, we will not be attentive to their life situations, concerns, aspirations, sorrows, and joys; nor will we demonstrate authentic self-awareness. This issue of Cultural Encounters addresses such issues as colonialism, cultural divisions and disunity, trauma, interfaith concerns pertaining to Mormonism, and art and music. Key to addressing various differences is a desire to move beyond oneself to encounter otherness in all its complexity and mystery, and to account for the various forces (conscious and nonconscious alike) that keep us from making such moves. It requires that we cultivate an open-hearted posture that safeguards us against seeking to control or manipulate life, reducing people and the rest of creation to mere extensions of ourselves in the hegemonic marketplace of mass-produced homogeneity. The triune God revealed in the Bible does not manipulate and control, but makes relational space for otherness through Jesus’s cruciform life. Jesus’s long and slow journey shaped by God’s self-giving love lifts others up rather than crushes them. Such sacrifice makes it possible for them to share in God’s life of diverse, rich unity through the Spirit’s descent. We do not need to surrender our personal identity and our convictions to make a similar sojourn. However, we do need to slow down and surrender a sense of supremacy in favor of the kind of patience and humility that welcomes honest, truthful, grace-filled, and beautiful exchanges. Though such encounters will involve various levels of suffering and inconvenience along the way, we will very often find that we are far better off in the long run. —Paul Louis Metzger, Editor 1