Hybridity or The Third Space and How Shall We Describe the Kingdom of God

Author: Dr Jonathan Ingleby, Head of Mission Studies, Redcliffe College.


It will be clear from what I said in my first article that I think we need changes in mission thinking in the West and South alike, both of which remain trapped in the colonial mode. Too often we see things in terms of the old ‘us and them’ division, with the South only knowable through an almost inevitably false representation. (This is the big idea behind Edward Said’s Orientalism). By means of a familiar psychological mechanism the West defines its virtues by contrasting them to the South’s lack of virtue, and the South responds by reproducing the behaviour of which it is accused. For a while it seemed that the idea of multiculturalism might be an antidote to this pervasive stereotyping. But I suspect it has the same divisive effect. Different groups stake out their identities in ways that tend to emphasise their differences. (There is more on identity politics below.)
In view of this impasse, this article puts forward a simple proposal. We need to develop ways of cultural interaction, of forming community, that both destroy existing oppositions and create newness, resulting in what I am going to refer to as ‘hybridity’ or ‘a Third Space’, following the terminologies adopted by postcolonialism.

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