‘Joint Security Area’: glimpses of jeong

Excerpts taken from Wonhee Anne Joh’s Heart of the Cross: A Postcolonial Christology, Westminster John Knox Press, 2006.

Jeong is a Korean way of conceiving an often complex constellation of relationality of the self with the other that is deeply associated with compassion, love, vulnerability, and acceptance of heterogeneity as essential to life. It not only smooths harsh feelings, such as dislike or even hate, but has a way of making relationships richly complex by moving away from a binary, oppositional perception of reality, such as oppressor and oppressed. …Jeong is the power embodied in redemptive relationships. It can even be argued that redemption emerges within relationality that recognizes the power and presence of jeong to move us toward life. (p. xxi)

… While noting the importance of emancipatory praxis from structures of oppression, a theology of jeong will argue that it must be done along with a praxis of jeong – a form of relational living that daily encounters the otherness of the self in relationships…. Jeong allows us to reimagine love on the cross not as self-abnegation or sacrifice but as a radical inclusive love that is both transgressive and emancipatory. (p.xxvi)

Jeong resists easy translation into the Western vernacular categories precisely because of its many complex layers of meaning. Because of its multifarious complexity, [Wonhee Anne Joh analyzes the film Joint Security Area that unfolds] the layers of ways that jeong expresses itself relationally… what makes this film interesting is that presences of jeong seem not only to counter such han-filled ideology but also overcome a powerful militaristic ideology. Thus, in the interstices of Joint Security Area we find neither clear heroes nor clear villains. The only clear and powerfully redemptive aspect of the film is the experience of jeong, which changes the lives of those who come into it relationally through their recognition of mutual vulnerability and humanity. The power of jeong allows for a particular kind of audacity, as characters risk the consequences of disobedience by crossing militarized and ideological boundaries and as they risk their hearts by becoming vulnerable relationally. (p.31)

This entry was posted in Being human, Love, Power, Relationality, Vulnerability, Wonhee Anne Joh. Bookmark the permalink.

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