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Stellenbosch Theological Journal

On-line version ISSN 2413-9467
Print version ISSN 2413-9459

STJ vol.5 n.2 Stellenbosch  2019 



Living with divine discomfort. The beauty of a life of folly



Thesnaar, Christo

Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa




It is clear that within the modern age we live, that our tendency is more to live for ourselves than for the others we encounter in our families, communities or societies. In this regard it is timely to explore whether it is a folly that I can only experience the beauty of life when I live in comfort with myself and with those whom I choose to live with. Alternatively, if we embody relationship in our meetings with others, we will always experience discomfort as responsibility, accountability and justice are central within relationships. In this regard, we are interconnected and interdependent to one another and therefore we need to be hospitable to one another. As liturgy is relational in its being it should be a service to justice. In this regard we will experience the beauty of a life of folly.

Keywords: Divine discomfort; relationship; responsibility; hospitality; liturgy; justice



In their book The unexpected third the Dutch theologians Meulink-Korf and Van Rhijn (2016:132) refers to a narrative taken from the introduction to The Tenachon series on biblical and rabbinic concepts1. The narrative plays off in the same space where the Temple was built in Jerusalem many years later. In that place a father owned a field and lived on that farm with his two sons. All three of them worked hard on the lands of the farm. When the father died, the brothers decided not to divide the farm, but to continue to farm it as a unit. The one brother had a wife and children while the other brother lived alone. After the harvest, process was completed. Each brother then took his share of the harvest to his own home on the farm. That night neither of them could sleep, as they were disturbed. The unmarried brother reproached himself that he accepted to take the same amount of the harvest as his brother who had a whole family to take care of. He then decided immediately to take part of his half of the harvest to his brother's granary. The married brother reproached himself as well and realised that it was not correct to claim half the harvest for himself and his family. His brother, after all, was alone and when he will become old, he would have no one to take care for him. He then also decided immediately to take part of his half of the harvest to his brother's granary. Midway between the two granaries they met and embraced each other filled with emotion. The narrative then concludes by indicating that God, the Holy - blessed be his Name - saw their humility and their connection and said, in the place where brothers so interact, I will dwell, as the texts indicate in Exodus 25:8: "Make Me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell in their midst." This narrative is told against the background on how people of God should act towards the Other as indicated in Micah 6:8 "He has shown you. O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require from you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

We live in a world where the tendency is quite the opposite as indicated in the narrative. To act justly, love mercy and walk humble with God seems to be attributes that belonged to the ancient world. In fact, in the modern age our tendency is more than ever a strive for success, to be better than others, wealth, power, and dominance no matter what the cost are. In order to reach these goals, we as humans function from a frame of mind what Friedman (2003:3) calls the either-or. According to him either-or plays out in divisions such as: universalism versus exclusivism, knowledge versus will, error versus sin, collectivism versus individualism, environment versus heredity, reason versus emotion, discipline versus permissiveness, security versus freedom and "objectivism" versus "subjectivism". I prefer to call it exclusive thought patterns where we deliberately choose to reason in conflicting and irreconcilable opposites. We tend to objectify the Other in order to exert our power to control the other person in what we need them to be or to do. The Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas indicate the Other as a widow, orphan, stranger or neighbour (Bergo 2011:1). In our context today is also represents the poor, the black, coloured, white, etc. This increasing tendency to place the Other in opposite categories or to exclude others whom are different, in terms of race, class, religious belief, and economic status has contributed to an ever-increasing populist narrative based on a nationalist agenda. By objectifying the Other, we try to create an exclusive comfortable life for ourselves without the other whom we have classified as opposites. In this regard, we measure the beauty of life, our relations and a good life only according to our individual expectations. The drive we have to objectify the Other is not only applicable to how human's deal with the Other but also how they deal with nature.

In this regard, this article wants to explore whether it is a folly that I can only experience the beauty of life when I live in comfort with myself and with those whom I choose to live with? Alternatively, is it a folly that I can experience the beauty of life whilst living in discomfort with the other? To attempt to engage with the questions I will engage with the themes of healing through meeting, being responsible for the other, and interconnectedness, interdependence and hospitality. I will conclude to argue that liturgy should be a service to justice.


1. Healing through meeting

Meulink-Korf and Van Rhijn (2016:132) refer the narrative of the two brothers as a mystery meeting. When we reflect on the narrative it is clear that judgements and interpretations, we may have of the Other can change when we meet the Other. This is probably because when people meet 'face to face' there is always space for surprise and wonder and through meeting the impossible can become possible2. Dialogue is a call to a relationship of fairness that does not exist but can be found within the meeting. This entails, within a relationship that the one that claim something of another should give it up on the grounds of fairness. In this process of meeting, giving and receiving are considered dialectically: there is receiving by giving, and giving by receiving. In this way the what is considered to be fair in the relationship is trusted. This is fundamentally, what Martin Buber refer to as dialogue, as the states "each of the participants really has in mind the other or others in their present and particular being and turns to them with the intention of establishing a living mutual relation between himself and them" (Friedman 2003:195). This dialogue is constructed on the grounds of justice. The narrative of the two brothers bears witness not only to the significance of meeting but to a meeting where dialogue took place. It requires that both parties are voluntary in the process as equals (subject and subject relationship) as we have witnessed in the narrative. As equals, we need dialogue to discover the other and myself through the other. The meeting with the other makes you human. It also establishes new trust between you and the Other as they together engage in dialogue and to take responsibility that can lead to cure. In other words, it is about healing through meeting.

In the narrative of the meeting of the two brothers, there is also a third present, God, the Holy one. In their book called the unexpected third, Meulink-Korf and van Rijn (2016:11) indicate, as the title suggests the presence of a third in the relational context. For Nagy the third party is always participating in transgenerational relationships and calls it the invisible third party or silent partner/silent companion (Meulink-Korf and van Rijn 2016:11). This is not only true in terms of transgenerational relationships but also in all relationships. In this particular narrative of healing through meeting, God can be identified as the third party that is present and positioned in between the two brothers. They were actually meeting an unexpected third in there encounter with the other. I want to iterate that God is not always the third party in all relations as a third party can be in the form of humans, and any other reality that has an influence on a relationship. The third party can be my neighbour, the stranger in the street and my brother or my sister as love demands justice. In this sense not only because of my responsibility to distribute justice to the others, I am connected with but also subjectively to the others for whom the other is responsible (Meulink-Korf & Van Rhijn 2016:41). The third in this narrative, God is not only present but because God is part of the meeting between the two brothers, they act in just way towards the other.

It is clear in the narrative of the two brothers that they are serious about meeting the other, and this illustrates their ethical curiousness as well as consciousness. We also need to be aware that healing through meeting is not possible in a relation without an ethical curiousness and consciousness.

It is also not possible in a relation where there is mistrust. Buber, in hope for this hour indicate how existential mistrust can demolish relationships. If there is no trust for example in e.g. family and community relationships, it can take generations to change it.


2. Responsible for the Other

The narrative of the two brothers indicate that they were disturbed by the needs of the other. This disturbance lead to action when they both took responsibility for the other by sharing more of their harvest with the other. Levinas uses a term called 'divine discomfort' to describe a human beings overwhelming responsibility towards the other (Levinas 1981:122). This strong emphasis on responsibility is grounded within the image of God in man, and that is why Levinas calls this "divine discomfort". To Levinas this emphasis on responsibility is not just something we need to be aware of or an act that one need to do. To him this responsibility is rooted in the fact wat we as human beings are called into responsibility by the other. Responsibility entails that we always see the Other as a human being. This other is also not only limited to people in one to one or family relationships but it could also be linked to the collective. As human beings, we have a collective responsibility to others in the world we live in, not only as an individual but also as a community and even a nation.

In their book The unexpected third, the Dutch theologians Meulink-Korf and Van Rhijn (2016:44) argues that based on their understanding of Livinas' concept of divine discomfort they describe it as good faith and compassion for the other (Levinas 1981:122). For Levinas this is profoundly about an ethics of hospitality and responsibility that is based on an ethics which can be described as a 'After you" or 'you first' ethics (Levinas 1982:89). In the narrative of the two brothers, it is clear that there is genuine mutual compassion. Meulink-Korf and Van Rhijn (2016:50) help us to understand that it is not the reciprocity that is the deciding element of the narrative, the decisive factor is the fact that the one is being moved by another and that this other originates in an unexpected "elsewhere". In situations of complete exhaustion or disruption, the ethical disposition is a complete human miracle. The disturbance or disruption can be the openness where the light can come through to bring new meaning. The challenge is to be open within the dialogue to the cracks so that the light can shine through. The narrative of the two brothers indicated that they experienced divine discomfort within their relationship with the other, based on their ethical consciousness, responsibility, accountability and justice for the other. Because of the discomfort they experienced within the relation they where called into action to do justice to the other. This action lead to a surprised meeting where they encountered each other in dialogue.


3. Interconnectedness, interdependence and hospitality

Meulink-Korf and Van Rhijn (2016:132) indicate that in the narrative of the two brothers their encounter bears witness to the ethical in the relationship between the two brothers. For Boszormenyi-Nagy (Boszormenyi-Nagy & Krasner 1986:420) relational ethics is about being interdepended in a relation as to him "life is a chain of interlocking consequences linked to the interdependence of the parent and child generations. In human beings, relation ethics require people to assume responsibility for consequences." As human beings, we are therefore, interconnected and interdepended to one another. Nagy further indicate that all human beings has an ethical dimension. Nobody exists alone by him/herself. We are always connected to a significant 'other' and even more significant others. To be ethical is to be free in order to be able to truly see and meet the other as other. This is only possible if we are able to drop our own preconceived or static notions of the other person. To be ethical is therefore to be open to the other in their particular being as well as to be able to listen to the other. To be ethical is to position oneself in an honest way as well as to be open for the position of the other. It also requires that one should also focus on what do they have between them. Receiving and giving from one another is the lifeblood of human existence. The ability to receive and give provides meaning to how humans live life within relations. Boszormenyi-Nagy calls this an irrevocable bond.

In this chapter, I want to argue that the African concept of Ubuntu provides a deeper and more fundamental understanding of the concepts of interdependence and interconnectedness. In an interview with Bohlmeijer (2017:2), Krog emphasizes the significance of interconnectedness in Africa as it is based on the complete intertwining of all life (Ubuntu). It is because people in Africa are interconnected, they are depended on each other. Gathogo (2008:276) explains this interdependence and interconnectedness by using a metaphor of a bridge and logs to illustrate how important working together is in order to ensure the continuity of the life of the community. He indicates that ".. a log needs other logs to combine and make a firm bridge to ensure safety in order for us to cross over the valleys of life together." As a Kenyan Gathogo (2008:276) deepen the meaning of the concepts interdependence and interconnectedness by quoting a Kikuyu proverb "Gutiri gitatuirie kingi", meaning "All things are interdependent." However, he indicates that the original translation should rather have been, "no one can dare live without support from another person as success cannot be assured." It means that in the society of men and women, every one's contribution is important and necessary and thus interdependent (Gathogo 2008:277). In his interview with Krog, Bohlmeijer (2017:2) refers to a Belgian priest who describes the meaning of interconnectedness in Africa as a web and "If you touch the web, the entire community will vibrate."

Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu uses a further Zulu maxim to describe the meaning of interdependence and interconnectedness, "a person is a person through other persons" (Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu) (Tutu 1999). Gathogo (2008:285) indicates that "It both describes human being as 'being-with-others' and prescribes what 'being-with-others' should be all about." This emphasises that a person would not know how to be a human being if he or she was not taught to be one by other human beings. Within this network of the relational web interdependence and interconnectedness, emphasise the fact that humans are there to complement each other. In Africa the meaning and value of interdependence and interconnectedness is so embedded in the DNA of Africa that it remains to exist even though the society they live in remains politically, economically and socially unequal and divided. Gathogo (2008:275) indicate the meaning of this further when he states: "For in my view, whenever an ancient African man or woman goes, he or she carries his or her hospitality and naturally displays it in the fields, in the ceremonies and in all religio-social gatherings. And even though this ancient hospitality cannot remain intact, it is by no means extinct."

Gathogo (2008:283) adds another dimension when he indicates that Ubuntu philosophy would best be illustrated by African hospitality. To him Ubuntu is an expression that shows the essence of African culture, a culture, which is initially perceived as pure unadulterated form, untarnished by Western cultural 'corruption' or market economical drives and so on. Gathogo (2008:284) explains that Ubuntu includes all the qualities and traits, which go into making a person fully human and include the willingness and ability to respond positively to the Creator. Gathogo (2008:284) argues that while Western humanism tends to underestimate or even deny the importance of religious beliefs, Ubuntu or African humanism, is resiliently religious. As a concept that is well rooted in the African hospitality, Ubuntu nevertheless deserves to be revitalized in the hearts and minds of the African people so that its ethos can be truly one of the major contributions that African philosophy can bequeath other philosophies of the world. With this in mind Gathogo (2008:284) further states that it is important for us (in Africa) to find a way of living Ubuntu in a society where the dominant cultures are both European and African; and where many other cultures from other parts of the world exist together. By acknowledging and appreciating the diversity of the racial or the ethnic realities of Africa, Africa would prove to be the shining star of the world, as it would set good examples of peaceful co-existence, especially in the era of globalization.

Gathogo (2008:285) does however caution when he states that despite the values embedded in Ubuntu such as respect, human dignity and compassion3, it can, however, be exploited to enforce group solidarity and therefore fail to safeguard the rights and opinions of individuals and the minority (though this is a Western concept). True Ubuntu, however, requires an authentic respect for individual rights and values and an honest appreciation for diversities amongst our people. Africans, does truly recognize that their point of departure also lies within the individual, but the movement will always be focused on the community and the broader cosmos.

Gathogo (2008:283) concludes that hospitality, in the social sphere, plays the role of the life affirming and life sustaining. For indeed an individual is never alone as hospitality eradicate loneliness. This view is affirmed by a saying among the Zulu that, "individuals cannot exist alone. They are because they belong." Meulink-Korf and Van Rhijn (2016:50) reiterates that humans never function alone, also not in relation to God. Humans are integrated people and stand before God seven days of the week. Because humans are always in relation to God they are also always in relation to others. Concrete others and the others with others. Responsibility and loyalty is connected in the fibres of trust within the relations we find ourselves. It has to do with durable accountability.

A further significant aspect is that Ubuntu can only be achieved by and with others, especially including our ancestors and the cosmos. Gathogo (2008:278) affirms this when he indicates that the meaning of African hospitality, in the religious domain, includes relating well with the ancestors. The ancestors are the deceased people who become ancestors and remain part of the community. In this regard, Mkize (2016:9) states that interconnectedness between the living and the dead is deeply part of African Identity. He explains that ancestors' spirits are pillars and custodians is our lives and therefore "umsamo" is also seen as a protection against the evil spirits etc. by many. Mkize (2016:9) explains that "umsamo" is a concept. In this regard, "umsamo" is then indicated as a holy place. Not everyone can go there. You need to be invited. In is a connecting place between the living and the dead. This is a place where the animals are slaughtered, and rituals are done. Living dead are the mediators. They were not created they came into being. "Umsamo" is an umbilical cord, a string of connectivity. African spirituality is about integration.4 The spirit is the key element. It is about linking the chain by restoration and integration. Teaching a spirituality of understanding. In this regard, Mkize (2016:9) continue to emphasize the importance of dialogue and relationship with the ancestors and with the current people in African culture.

African interconnectedness, interdependence and hospitality is not about the individual, but it is profoundly about the group or communal identity. Mangena (2019:3) refers to Onyebuchi Eze (2008: 107) who states that: "More critical ... is the understanding of a person as located in a community where being a person is to be in a dialogical relationship in this community. A person's humanity is dependent on the appreciation, preservation and affirmation of other person's humanity. To be a person is to recognize therefore that my subjectivity is in part constituted by other persons with whom I share the social world". The significance of Ubuntu in Africa transcends all forms of Western philosophy, with its dominance to overemphasize the individual. In this regard, Gathogo (2008:276) states, "That is, instead of, "I think, therefore, I exist" (cogito ergo sum) of the French Philosopher Rene Descartes, the African asserts, "I am because we are," or "I am related, therefore, I am" (cognatus ergo sum). This compares with Mbiti's summary of the philosophy underlying the African way of life, thus, "I am, because we are; and since we are, therefore I am."

Earlier I referred to the work of Buber and Levinas with their focus on meeting and the other, however this emphasis on meeting and the other should always be transcended with the significance of Ubuntu and the unbreakable spinal cord that connects the individual to the community. Ubuntu with the emphasis on interconnectedness, interdependence and hospitality indicates clearly that an individual does not have a choice when it comes to the other, the beggar, the murderer or the malnourished child, as they are mutually bond to the other. Krog (Berger 2017:5) is adamant that this interconnectedness is "something more than empathy, more than being with someone in mind, more than charity or solidarity. I am talking about being liberated by being swallowed up by a plurality of selves." In her understanding of interconnectedness, she emphasizes that we are "already the beggar, the soldier, the murderer, the malnourished child; we are already dying within the unjust systems of the world." Krog (Berger 2017:13) illustrates what happens to your body when you are interconnected to the other "When someone dies, cells also die in your own body. In other words: my body feels it when the other person is hungry, when he has to flee in fear and despair, I feel his bulging clouds reaching my spine. I am the beggar, I speak lion, I snow, I hear the tree shout at the saw." Being interconnected with the other imply that we have a responsibility and are accountable to the other to ensure that the connectedness is based on justice. In this regard, she emphasized that "... we have no choice: we have to fight to improve our impoverished lives, to force change; we need to open houses, streets, cities, countries and resources and make them available to everyone as free air."


4. Liturgy as service to justice

Everything the narrative of the two brothers is to my understanding an illustration of a liturgy. Meulink-Korf & Van Rhijn (2016:158) make a very connection between pastoral care and liturgy. To them liturgy, leitourgia, is unpaid service to the community. This is voluntary "work" of freedom, for which the one that serves does not get a result as reward. They refer to Levinas when they state that this "... work has no aim but hope in the community for the kingship of God, of which 'only the patience is certain'" (Levinas 1994:70-71). In the liturgy we get a different perspective on reality, our self-included: an ethical and eschatological perspective. Part of the responsibility to engage with a person in need is to be patient but also to be patient for the patience of the person in need in his or her relationships with the third parties. For Meulink-Korf & Van Rhijn (2016:167) this very important as patience is based on trust. Levinas (1969:64) affirms the significance of patience when he states: "The modern world forgets the greatness of patience. The rapid and effective action, which put everything at risk at once, has made the hidden splendour fade of the ability to wait and to suffer. However, the glorious expansion of energy is murderous. One has to remind of the excellence of patience; not by preaching resignation against the revolutionary spirit, but in order to make one feel the essential bond that connects true revolution with the spirit of patience".

Michael Purcell (1997:144) following Emmanuel Levinas, indicate that he understands the meaning of liturgy as "a movement of the Same towards the Other which never returns to the Same." He indicates that the structure of liturgy is essentially "for-the-Other '. Purcell (1997:144) explains in this regard it is "responsible service, which is at one and the same time divine service and human service, is at the heart of the liturgy." He sees liturgy as a movement of responsibility where we are drawn out of ourselves towards the Other. He explains "It is not that we first worship and then are called unto service in a movement out of self towards the Otherness of God and thereafter towards the Otherness of the other person. The movement out of self - liturgy - is at one and the same time worship and ethics, an ethical worship, in which justice is rendered both to God and to the other person." Meulink-Korf and Van Rhijn (2016:125) indicate that in liturgy, "... you get a different perspective on reality, yourself included: an ethical and eschatological perspective. That is the usefulness of the 'useless'."

I further want to argue that Ubuntu and the African understanding of communal liturgy can enrich the understanding of liturgy as service to justice. We know that in the African understanding all kinds of things can go horribly wrong when a person or a community break the fundamental Law of their being. When this happens there needs to a liturgical process that needs to follow with the community which could include consultation, community meetings, sharing meals, dance, singing, drama, slaughtering, cleansing, etc. It is clear that the strength and power of the liturgy in Africa is not in the individual person but in the communal aspect there off. In this regard, Gathogo (2008:283) refers to Mbiti who aptly summarizes the meaning of the ideal hospitality in Africa when he states that "a person who eats alone dies alone". Gathogo (2008:283) explains further that there is in each person something exceedingly valuable, wonderful, and indestructible . When an individual is integrated in the social life with others, he or she will participate in social activities that will in return provide new meaning and identity. It is in this regard that Gathogo (2008:281) indicate that activities such as dancing and singing are "perceived as hospitable activities in that they bind the community together". It is also an affirmation of being deeply interconnected and interdependent as when Africans dance, they celebrate every imaginable situation - joy, grief, love, hate, to bring prosperity, to avert calamity. In addition, singing and joyful conversation enable African people to minimise tensions within enclosed community. Katongole (2017:257) refer to the work done within the ethnic groups in Burundi where they had a process where students journeyed together to create trust by truth telling and establishing a culture of truth. In this regard, he stated that dance played a particular significant role in healing, but also in cementing the unity between the ethnic groups. The Kirundi traditional dance, Bukuru notes, "called us beyond ourselves into generosity, joy, relaxation, sharing, dialogue and purity" and "brought us together in a single culture, uniting us beyond our differences in ethnicity, age or social status."

Gathogo (2008:282) further stresses that whether in the church, in politics, in education or in social life, songs have not lost their value in Africa. Katongole (2017: 68-69) indicates how songs of lament by the child soldiers of Northern Uganda has helped them to voice their pain. In this regard, Krog indicates that "How everything changes here affects the role that music plays in this process: the vibration of the sound, the language, the songs, the voice" (Bohlmeijer 2017:2). Another common expression of our African hospitality is through community drama. As Njino notes, drama is a play performed by actors based on poetry, legends, myths, past or present events, for either entertainment or teaching moral and social lessons. Katongole (2017:75-85) also referred to the songs and poems naming the unspeakable/inexpressible in the Congo and also indicated how the expressions in songs, poems and sculptures assist female lament (Katongole 2017:80, 87, 92-93,99-100).

Interconnectedness, interdependence and hospitality requires that a person, family, community and a nation have to actively deal with the past, the present and future by means of consultation and rituals. Restoring the past via consultation and rituals to bring healing for an individual person as well as collective healing processes regarding a family, society, community and even a nation, is also possible according to Mkize (2016:9). However, he clearly states that this is possible but challenging as we have lost our sense of community and collectiveness when we lost access to land and our wealth (wisdom). Realities such as Apartheid and colonialism has dismantled our community and collectiveness by taking away the land and our wisdom.

Collectiveness with the soil and land is about access to land in particular to the kraal where my father needs to be buried as a link to the collective culture. Now, this kraal is not accessible anymore to a large number of people. Because of this existential reality liturgy as a service to justice is not only to create a space for a fundamental and lasting connection between people as a way to repair the fracture of the apartheid past, it is also to restore the injustices of the past that effects the community from being interconnected and interdependent. On the basis of full acceptance of interconnectedness (interdependence, hospitality and justice) Krog (Berger 2017:13) challenges South Africans to go even further than they have ever gone since the transition and begin to share what they have and to prepare to share in what the other person may have. She warns that the implication of this is not to share in the form of charity and she emphasizes that that this entails that we need to share fairly with women and everyone in the LGBTQIA community.


5. Conclusion

In this chapter I used the narrative of the two brothers to illustrate the importance of the Other in a relationship. I have indicated that Levinas affirms the importance of responsibility, accountability and justice within a relationship with the other as this will ensure that I always live in divine discomfort for the Other. I have also indicated the emphasis Buber put on the meeting and dialogue with the Other as to him healing is in the meeting. Morgan (2005:5) argues that Buber does voice some critique on Levinas's emphasis on the acts of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and caring for the orphan, the widow, and the stranger. To Levinas these acts are part of being responsible, accountable and just to the other. However, for Buber the critique is that these acts are already engagements and therefore it lacks true deep relationship. This is in line with Buber's emphasis on dialogue and that healing is in the meeting. On the other hand, Levinas also challenges Buber's understanding that at the deepest level we are beings capable of unrestricted generosity. However, we need to keep both their emphases close together in our quest to live in divine discomfort with the Other.

I have further indicated that if we are able to understand liturgy as voluntary work done without seeing the result of the work, an aim to bring hope in the community, a movement to the Other, as ethical worship and a movement out of yourself to render justice to God and to the Other, then we are able to be free in our engagements with God and with the other. In the narrative of the two brothers, we see a clear movement to the Other based on the ethics in the relationship. It also bears witness to an unselfish service of justice by the brothers to each other. No matter what my situation may be the situation of the Other is always more important than my situation. I have also indicted that the African concepts of interconnectedness, interdependence and hospitality has assisted us to deeper our understanding of what meeting, dialogue, the Other, responsibility, accountability and justice entails. It confirms that liturgy is a communal activity and not just a movement where the individual move to the Other, but it rather is an illustration of how the whole community is in movement with the Other as part of the community. In the community relations are deeply ethical and all is included in the liturgy to ensure that justice is done to all via the rituals. This affirms that liturgy is deeply communal and therefore a service to justice

I started this chapter with the goal to explore whether it is a folly that I can only experience the beauty life when I live in comfort with myself and with those whom I choose to live with? Alternatively, is it a folly that I can experience the beauty life whilst living in discomfort with the other? In my argumentation, I tried to argue that it is indeed a folly to think a person can only experience the beauty of life in the comfort of his or her own individualistic needs. The fundamental challenge these individualistic persons will constantly face is that they will be driven by fear and greed. This is why Krog (Berger 2017:15) indicates, "those who live in the ruins of individualism build walls and guard the boundaries so that they can further destroy humanity with their suffocating privileges."

To the second question I have argued in favour that people can experience the beauty life whilst living in discomfort with the other. I have strongly argued that we are not able to experience the beauty of life if we are not willing to be interconnected, interdependent and hospitable to the other. Even more is we are not willing to take responsibility for the Other, be accountable to the Other and to ensure that justice transforms our relations. For many people who think the price is to high this is indeed a folly.



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1 Periodical published by Stichting PaRDeS, Amsterdam. [Online]. Available:
2 In this sense, we are inspired by the term Levinas uses "difficult freedom". We can deny that we see and hear the appeals from the other, but we cannot escape it because we are aware of it. He calls this appeal of the other or of victims 'Possible Impossibility'.
3 See Mangena (2019:5) for the The Distinctive Qualities/Features of Hunhu/Ubuntu, namely: Humaneness, Gentleness, Hospitality, Empathy or taking trouble for others, Deep Kindness, Friendliness, Generosity, Vulnerability, Toughness and Compassion.
4 See the work of Somé, Malidoma Patrice (1999). The Healing Wisdom of Africa. New York: Tarcher/Putnam. pp.1-15. ISBN 0-87477-991-X.

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