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    Plough Quarterly No. 29: Beyond Borders

    Autumn 2021

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    front cover of Plough Quarterly No. 29: drawing of a hand reaching through a fence with a pencil to draw footprints leading away from the fence

    About This Issue

    Over the past decade, the yearning for rootedness, for being part of a story bigger than oneself, has flared up as a cultural force to be reckoned with. There’s much to affirm in this desire to belong to a people. That means pride in all that is admirable in the nation to which we belong – and repentance for its historic sins.

    A focus on national identity, of course, can lead to darker places. The new nationalists, who in Western countries often appeal to the memory of a Christian past, applaud when governments fortify borders to keep out people who are fleeing for their lives. Yet such actions contradict the teachings of the very Christian faith they often claim to be defending. Is our yearning for roots doomed to lead to a heartless politics of exclusion? Does maintaining group or national identity require borders guarded with lethal violence?

    The answer isn’t artificial schemes for universal brotherhood, such as a universal language. Our differences are what make a community human. Might the true ground for community lie deeper even than shared nationality or language? After all, the biblical vision of humankind’s ultimate future has “every tribe and language and people and nation” coming together – beyond all borders but still as themselves.