Embracing the Other: The Transformative Spirit of Love


“We live in a time of great racial strife and global conflict. How do we work toward healing, reconciliation, and justice among all people, regardless of race or gender?”

With that description of Grace Ji-Sun Kim’s new book, I gladly agreed to review it for The Christian Century.

Embracing the Other: The Transformative Spirit of Love  (Eerdmans, 2015)  brings together a number of strands:

  • an examination of the “foreign women” of Ezra 9;
  • the history and experience of Asian immigrant women in North America;
  • insights from feminist, postcolonial, and Asian-American studies;
  • and the author’s own experiences as an Asian-American woman.

I identify with many of the issues raised in this book. The myth of the model minority tells us that we will get ahead if we work hard, while masking the institutionalized racism faced by all minorities, including those of Asian descent. Although I was born and raised in Canada, as were my parents, I am seen as a perpetual foreigner. I have been asked many times: “No, where are you really from?” That might make for a humorous cross-cultural exchange as an isolated incident, but it also suggests much larger and more pressing questions. How do we relate to those we see as foreigners? How do we free ourselves of stereotypes and marginalization of the other in favor of welcoming their unique perspectives and gifts? How might we embrace the other and work toward healing, justice, and reconciliation?

Please read my full review at The Christian Century.