Dr HirHo Park gave a wonderful presentation in our Theology and Ethics group at the Oxford Institute today. She is a Korean American scholar who spoke about MinJun theology.
It was a challenging and moving presentation that spoke powerfully of a theology of liberation that can serve people across the world who encounter suffering and hardship.
Among the many things that stuck with me she coined a phrase - 'interstitial integrity'.
Interstitial cells are the biological cells that join the different cells of the body together - as far as I understand it, they are either cells or spaces that join different structures together in the one being.
I resonate with the concept of an interstitial identity - there are many elements to my identity. If one wanted to one could 'separate' them out and attempt to classify one's self according to each of these. I am male, I am African, I am English speaking, I am Christian, I am educated… These are just a few of the many elements to my identity. Yet, the reality is that they are all held together in my 'Dion-ness'.
Who I am, and as a result of that 'how' I am, is as a result of the intersection of many different aspects of being that are all knit together to form me. At the same time each of these elements is enriched, sharpened, nuanced, and informed by the other elements of my identity that relate to it.
Perhaps that is the grace of interstitial identity?
It could even be broadened to a communal understanding. Who others are, and who I am, work together to form larger interstitial identities (maleness, African-ness, Christian-ness etc.) I like this image.
I would like to believe that it is the creative and unifying work of the Holy Spirit (what Peackock calls 'active intelligence', or Bohm calls the 'implicate order', or Sheldrake calls a 'morphogenetic field').
I need to start paying attention to the Spirit of God connecting me to parts of myself, and parts of the world, in order to form and shape my identity in Him.