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Being thought from beyond our borders: Towards ethical global citizenship

Johann-Albrecht Meylahn

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 30, No 2 (2009), 6 pages. doi: 10.4102/ve.v30i2.56

Submitted: 16 July 2009
Published:  29 September 2009


This article is a response to the challenge of global citizenship in an age of global crisis. Citizenship has to do with where one feels ‘at home’, namely the space that gifts identity and life. What kind of narrative is necessary to transform global space into a home from where we can go beyond our borders to embrace the other in multidisciplinary research or interfaith praxis? The different models for multidisciplinary research are made possible by the idea that research seeks that which is beyond its borders. This search could be a common space where the different traditions can accommodate one another, but it is not a home. The dominant discourse of this common space is to seek commonality and identities across borders while being aware of but ignoring differences – identity at the expense of differences. A home founded on identity at the expense of difference will always exclude. Theology can either be interpreted as thinking beyond the borders toward the Divine, or the Divine thinking us. The Exodus, the Incarnation and the Cross are all narratives of the Other crossing borders, liberating from boundaries, deconstructing the laws and norms that exclude. The religious traditions of these sacred narratives have something to offer, namely: to be thought by the Other, to receive life and (alien) identity from the Other, the gift of a home which is continuously deconstructed by the home still to come, therefore always open for the Other.

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Author affiliations

Johann-Albrecht Meylahn, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria


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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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