The author argues that identity politics eliminates Ethiopians' in-between spaces and identities and defines in-between spaces as political, social, religious, and geographical spaces that enable Ethiopians to co-exist with equity, solidarity, and justice. The elimination of in-between spaces and in-between identities creates either-or class, religious, ethnic, and gender categories. Therefore, the author proposes an in-between theology that invites Ethiopians to a new hybrid way of being to resist fragmented and hegemonic identities. The author claims that postcolonial discourse and praxis of in-between pastoral care disrupts and interrogates hegemonic definitions of culture, home, subjectivity, and identity. On the other hand, in-between pastoral care uses embodiment, belonging, subjectivity, and hybridity as features of care and praxis to create intercultural and intersubjective identities that can co-construct and co-create in-between spaces. In the in-between spaces, Ethiopians can relate with the Other with intercultural competencies to live their difference, similarity, hybridity, and complexity.
Rode Molla is assistant professor at Virginia Theological Seminary.
Chapter One: Lived Experiences of Ethiopians: How Religion, Politics, and Theology Shape the Identity and History of Ethiopians as a Modern Nation
Chapter Two: Decolonizing Identity Politics
Chapter Three: From Holistic Theology to In-Between Theology
Chapter Four: In-Between Pastoral Care: Reframing Fragmented and Hegemonic Identities Through Subjective In-Betweeness
Chapter Five: In-Between Praxes: A Pragmatic Move to Co-Create In-Between Spaces
About the Author
Rode Molla constructs macro and micro frames for understanding the challenges of living on the margins and proposes ways to co-construct spiritual and theological strategies for socially just care. Her book is a compelling pastoral theology for all those whose social identities put them on the margins or borderlands.
In a genuine tour de force of theory as well as a moving biopic of the travails of present day Ethiopia, Molla masterfully demonstrates how identity politics functions as the latest neoliberal and neocolonial subterfuge to exploit developing countries. At the same time, her analysis contextualizes even more brilliantly how what she terms a new 'political theology of care and praxis' can become an effective decolonial counterforce.
In her exploration of in-between spaces, Dr. Rode Molla crafts a passionate, personal, and erudite plea for the shared work needed to disrupt hegemonic and fragmented identities causing violence and suffering in her homeland. Through her creative and faithful work, she invites us all to imagine a way through polarization and dehumanization in our own contexts by designing embodied practices of care that bring healing through holding in-between spaces of connection and belonging. Dr. Molla offers a timely and courageous voice to a hurting world in dire need of political pastoral caregivers.