Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A Premier on "Open & Relational Theology " - Part 1. The God of Evolution

I am participating in Homebrewed Christianity's course discussing Open and Relational Theology over a six week period. It is hosted by Thomas Jay Oord and Tripp Fuller. Those interested may go to their website to join. Below is a small part of our opening discussion from the evangelical theologian Clark Pinnock who began writing in this area in the 1980s. His backstory is that of a fundamentalist become overtaken with a new outlook on the bible from his former days of seminary training and teaching. In many ways Pinnock's story mimics my own as I came to realize there was more to God and the bible than what I had carefully crafted and learned over many years. I've taken the liberty to update Pinnock's thoughts while adding my own language and understanding within its discussion. As such, this is an abridged commentary of Pinnock's discourse.

R.E. Slater
March 12, 2019
revised March 14, 2019

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Thomas Jay Oord – Creation Made Free: Open Theology Engaging Science

Chapter 6 – Clark Pinnock – Evangelical Theology after Darwin

Abridged Commentary by R.E. Slater


Accepting evolution does not require abandoning belief in God. As a scientific theory it is the best scientific model out there for making sense of observable phenomena from every direction we turn our minds. Anti-Intellectualism is evolution’s chief opponent. Historically, evolution is generally accepted by Catholics after the Galileo debacle of the 17th century yet Protestants are still debating its plausibility.

Pure Reductive, Scientific Materialism opposes God-based evolution (theistic evolution). It has problems with creaturely freedom, an open future with free choices, self-transcendence, creativity, perception of the aesthetic, moral and religious values, and so forth.


Any doctrine of God must immediately account for the general theory of evolution. This is a basic axiom. If it does not it is incomplete. In the paragraphs which follow some of the major (doctrinal) themes of the bible will be interwoven into the discussion to illustrate how this might be done.

Preliminary thoughts regarding Theistic Evolution state: i) God does not impose a rigid plan on creation’s development; ii) God does, and will, experiment with different and sundry possibilities. In fact, it is built into evolution’s DNA; iii) God remains the source of all creaturely possibilities; iv) There is no coercion (or pre-determined “plan”) placed upon creation or upon its ultimate destiny (sic, its “telos”) – evolution is free to create on its own. As example, consider the corollary of raising children – they may be taught but they will usually create on their own with no fixed outcome of the parent; v) The process is adaptive. It is, and is becoming, a reality other than Godself; vi) Lastly, it has no divine constraint on its process.

Consider Natural Theology which was formerly focused on divine design (example, the human eye) rather than being focused on grander outcomes (example, quantum physics) which sees the universe unfinished, always evolving, always indefinitely in progress/process without end, and requiring a lot of time to realise its promise. God has seeded the world of evolution with possibilities; He has given the cosmos, the earth, and humanity a vast potential for life.

Evolutionary Creation must work together with both i) invariant lawfulness and contingent happenings along with ii) randomness with corresponding new possibilities. Each of these spectrums all held in-tension with one another. It could be said that evolution’s process is composed of fundamental elements such as lawfulness, contingency, randomness, and possibility all mixed together in the batch of deep time. This process can be known yet unexplained; studied yet a mystery; but always held in deep relation to each other’s orbit. Throughout all of evolution’s unfolding process as the cosmos, the world, and life unfolds, we may expect to find the mutuality and relationality of the Social Trinity of the God of love in continual partnership, guidance, and engagement. In essence, God experiences creation much as we do but in an infinite sense.


Evolution should not lead us to deism (sic, the absent Creator model) or to a form of Calvinism which regards God as ever-tinkering with His divine model - or disrupting or adjusting it – with regards to creation’s initiating process. Rather, God has both a vision and a hope for what the world may become and does not need a fixed divine “plan” to sovereignly overrule creation’s unfolding events. Because of this, the Open and Relational model (OR/ORT) understands evolution as God’s sovereign design of embedding an open and dynamic ontological character into creation itself through the process of evolution. This ontological character then bespeaks of the very nature of God Himself which is embedded in evolution as it morphs and changes and creates ever new possibilities. In itself evolution has no choice but to move forward on its own without need for a determinative outcome to which other theological systems subscribe. It is complete in itself without requiring divine interventionism or coercion as it began from the heart of the God wishing to share Himself.

This then should bring a solace to the human breast. That God’s love is neither forcible nor coercive in relation to His creative design within the foundations of evolution. Consequently God’s sovereignty is at once undergirded by His grace and love which partners and participates in redemptive engagement with His creation. In contrast, the determinative model requires forcible divine omnipotence (power) to rule whereas the Open and Relational model disclaims divine omnipotence in favor of divine non-coercive love (or, non-omnipotence) to guide, participate, and engage creation’s processes.

This means then that we and creation may shape our own future fully and freely within our bounds and abilities to create. In this sense evolution is biased in the direction of complexity and consciousness. God allows for experimentation, risk taking, room for novelty, and flexibility. God may have a purpose but He does not predetermine the future. It is truly open without determinative outcome. Divine purpose does not imply divine determination.

Firstly, Divine Providence does not guarantee orderliness. Rather, disorderliness is very much a central part of creation’s process. It is good but unfinished. Some creatures adapt, some do not. A static cosmos is a lifeless/mindless cosmos.

Secondly, what we call “accidents” in nature are actuality instances of adaptation, novelty, and freedom to try something different from the present order of things. Novelty must include and allow for trial-and-error. Ontological chance thus allows for real randomness with infinite possibilities.

Thirdly, evolution can be orderly though complexly organized yet allowing for an intensification of consciousness over the course of its process as its Creator-God guides the cosmos towards a positive future. This divine direction is most likely imbued within the very fabric of evolution itself rather than as a moment-by-moment “directive” feature. As the Spirit of God breathes life into creation it lures the world to greater and greater complexity and consciousness. God is ever guiding the emerging universe and is the source of serendipitous creativity everywhere.

Evolution is compatible with the (essential) kenotic model of providence in which God self-limits Himself for the sake of love. God does not coerce obedience but participates with creation while respecting its freedom to be and to become. Open and Relational theology understands this idea as the God who is always willing to risk.


The argument of evolution by design, though popular, is spurious. Creation is as much orderly as it is disorderly. The role of predation and violence is a necessary part of its becoming. This process is otherwise known as a necessary and imperfect adaptation within evolutionary creation which has a long history of wasteful experimentations. Paradoxically, the present orderly façade of nature masks epochs of suffering alongside epochs of amazing creativity. Then why does God allow such suffering and waste in the process of evolution?

Part of the answer lies in the fact that sin is a part of the freedom God has endowed creation with… Divine justice (theodicy) allows for sin while adjusting to its presence for optimal outcome over sin. Thus God’s self-sacrificing love is ultimately bourne through His redemption of the world in Christ Jesus. His grace becomes His suffering. It is not done in divine isolation but in full relationship to all of creation’s being, hope, and promise. In this way does divine imbuement of creation through divine redemption provide creation with a future of completeness and fullness with its Creator God. All living and dying things readily share in the suffering death of our living God as well as the redemptive hope this death has provided.

The gospel is about a new creation which will end violence, suffering and death. Not only for man but for all of creation. We live in an unfinished world with a future full of unrealised possibilities. Evolution opens the future up as God calls to the cosmos to reach beyond itself to become a fully new creation without sin in its substance. As such, the cosmic journey is heading somewhere – it is not a pointless process. That somewhere is towards a cosmic redemption. Christianity’s mission is to share this hope for a better world.


Evolution is the story of the emergence of the soul gradually producing creatures more self-conscious, free, and able to love. God’s Spirit is present in all life proportionate to its complexity. The emergence of the human soul is not an exception to the animating process of evolution but an intense example of it. At this point in evolutionary history humans may be the only species endowed with heightened qualities more distinct than animals - some of which bear these same qualities in a less heightened state. But this should not be expected to remain the same as homo sapiens as a species comes, and goes, and is replaced in the long history of evolution.

Regarding morality, “survival of the fittest” may be part of a reductive, materialistic theory but it doesn’t take us very far along the pathway of God as a theistic theory of evolution does. The rise of cultures and religions represents a new evolutionary stage is the cosmic story. We may therefore expect it to reduce the power of natural selection for a time as social institutions, laws, customs and beliefs act to protect (or not protect) the weak, the unfit, etc. In the area of ethics even the unfit get the opportunity to survive.

Regarding original sin, we can recognize the concept without purporting or ascribing to it its biblical legacy recounted in the story of Genesis. Unlike many other biblical doctrines, sin, as a concept,  is a truth well attested to empirically throughout the cosmic and human story. Essentially, the doctrine of sin testifies to the truth that creation - as well as humans - are estranged from God and need a Savior. That all things everywhere are deeply flawed because of sin. Only God can save us. Or rather, redeem us. This is the concept of original sin without requirement for a single human couple, a garden, a possessed snake, and so forth.

Unlike Reductive Materialism, Theistic Evolution requires the need for a cosmic Christology, whereas Reductionism or Materialism does not. Jesus has defeated the powers of darkness and has begun to set the universe right. God’s power and love are radiating throughout the whole world revealing the magnitude of His redemptive love. Hence, theistic evolution should stimulate us to recover the themes of a cosmic Christology. It can be the occasion for a renewed and expanded Christology. In short, Jesus is the guarantee that the self-transcendence of creation will come to pass because it has already come to pass in Christ. Jesus is therefore the start of a new cosmology. Restated, history is headed towards redemption with-or-without the human species.


Evolution is a very big story. The universe has been advancing and evolving in the direction of increasingly organized complexity for a very long time. It has passed through many stages over many aeons and is now at work guiding human communities towards a redemptive future. During its course societal consciousness has grown in proportion to the increase in organized social and physical complexity (such as a social/spiritual morality, ethics, the human body and mind, etc.).

The end goal of evolution is what Teilard de Chardin called the Omega Point: Essentially, “things are going somewhere.” In theistic terms, God is drawing the whole universe to Himself. Historical time is always moving towards a good and redemptive ends. It began with the physical geo-sphere, has continued through the biological bio-sphere and is moving towards the heart of humanity, the soul of man – the noo-sphere. This is the direction to the story of evolution even though the text will meander in its long journey.

Creation is becoming newer and newer in its unstoppable process of becoming whatever it will become both in the near future and the far future beyond. It is restless. It is pregnant with hope. We must not expect that God will preserve some state of “status quo” nor be a deity of coercive rather than persuasive power from which order and novelty arise. God’s world is a world open to possibility yet ever driving towards a new creation in Christ. We may then see in evolution an intensification of God’s consciousness into the cosmos. This is a most salient point full of possibilities. But within this divine consciousness God has left the future undetermined. Creation is free to create any future it wishes to move towards. We live in a truly open future moving towards the redemption God has provided the cosmos through Christ.

Nor does God force the universe into a rigid design but calls creation to listen and follow His voice. God has made a world in which chance and randomness exist alongside order because God values order and novelty. Even random occurrences play a role in an unfinished and open universe. The present order is continually moving away from its older order to make way for a newer order. True, suffering, pain, death, are a part of this journey but as Christians we trust and believe that the power of God’s love will prove more influential than coercive, deterministic power. Nature’s beauty, vitality and creativity are intimations of this new creation and the promises of God’s love.

Lastly, ours is a world that gives joy to God while giving joy to creation itself. In giving Himself away God has added valuable experiences from His life to ours. God’s love is self-giving. It is also self-realizing. His love grants new kinds of value, freedom, and community. Certainly such a world adds value to God’s divine experience even as it does to creation itself or to our experiences. Ours is a world capable of becoming the Kingdom of God. The purpose of our lives is to carry forward the values of the divine spark of creation. Sin is the refusal to participate in this arrangement. We may think of the Omega Point not as a rigid goal but as God’s vision for the world and what it may become as He calls forth the possibilities that are inherent in the very fabric of the cosmic order He has created.

Abridged Commentary: Clark Pinnock by R.E. Slater


Amazon Link

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

R.E. Slater - The Holy Trilogy: Process Theology, EcoTheology & TheoPoetics

The Becoming of God
by R.E. Slater

Winter's long spell has finally broken as
slumbering woods shed snowy coats in
long wispy billows of falling snow
blizzard-like to the frozen ground below.

My spirit in this way too is casting off
its remaining tendrils of frozen clutter
stopping life from imagining wonder,
hope, and care, in a world dead to wonder.

Dead things in a world becoming undead
under the warmth of God's radiating Spirit
undoing both church and world's long history
of politics and war upon the spirits of men.

Languishing for a word of awe, of curiosity,
of the Divine nurturing life into a lost world,
lost in unbecoming dark thoughts, habits, and acts,
lost as a race of nonbeings in an evolving universe.

Rather than nouthetic beings embracing both
world and Spirit together as one, not two,
integral and integrating, unlives made separate
by church misapplying religion for gospel.

A gospel of oneness in Christ, oneness in God,
oneness in Spirit divine to a living cosmos
becoming all in one and one in all,
reminders that winter's hold can break.

Must break if world without end can be
imagined again, hoped again, breathed again,
as in Eden of old - before there was man,
before there was death, before, before, life everlasting.

R.E. Slater
March 5, 2019

@copyright R.E. Slater Publications
all rights reserved

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Wikipedia - 
Ecotheology is a form of constructive theology that focuses on the interrelationships of religion and nature, particularly in the light of environmental concerns. Ecotheology generally starts from the premise that a relationship exists between human religious/spiritual worldviews and the degradation of nature. It explores the interaction between ecological values, such as sustainability, and the human domination of nature. The movement has produced numerous religious-environmental projects around the world.
The burgeoning awareness of environmental crisis has led to widespread religious reflection on the human relationship with the earth. Such reflection has strong precedents in most religious traditions in the realms of ethics and cosmology, and can be seen as a subset or corollary to the theology of nature.
It is important to keep in mind that ecotheology explores not only the relationship between religion and nature in terms of degradation of nature, but also in terms of ecosystem management in general. Specifically, ecotheology seeks not only to identify prominent issues within the relationship between nature and religion, but also to outline potential solutions. This is of particular importance because many supporters and contributors of ecotheology argue that science and education are simply not enough to inspire the change necessary in our current environmental crisis.

Image result for ecotheology and process  Image result for ecotheology and process  Image result for ecotheology and process

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Missing Bland Crowder

Why Sustainability Needs Poetry

I can never hear the word “sustainability” without also hearing the word “sustenance." That’s because about fifteen years ago an English professor at Hendrix College, Ashby Bland Crowder, taught me to hear the word that way. 

Bland was in a working group of faculty interested in what we called SAGE: “the sustainability and global education initiative.” We were sitting in what was then called the Raney Building. There were about twelve of us. Many who were present were from the natural and social sciences, and they naturally thought of sustainability in terms of resource management and responsible public policies. Sustainability was about what we “do” with “the environment,” as if the environment was something outside us, consisting of all that was not human: land and water and plants and animals and atmosphere.

Isn't Sustainability Connected with Sustenance?

Bland was himself an environmentalist in the sense my science friends would understand and appreciate. He was very much concerned with protecting the more-than-human world, and that’s one reason why, when he died, donations were to go to the Environmental Defense Fund. (You can read about him here.) But Bland also knew that sharp divisions between “the environment” and “human life” missed something very important. We humans are within, not apart from, the larger web of life; we are creatures among creatures on a small but beautiful planet. And he knew that truly sustainable societies need people whose minds and hearts are sustainable, too. 

In our gathering that day he casually asked: “But isn’t sustainability connected with the word sustenance, and don’t we need sustenance, too.” He wasn’t talking about physical sustenance alone; he was talking about moral and spiritual sustenance: kindness, awe, wonder, play, imagination, hope, honesty, compassion, care, a love of life. And of course he was right. In our meeting we were forgetting the human and cultural side of sustainability. With his simple question, he opened our minds toward a wider, gentler, more inclusive way of thinking. A more sustainable way of thinking.

You Need to Shift into Second Gear

Bland was a scholar of poetry. He loved language and words. I was a new father at the time, and I found that I didn’t have the time to read novels, so, a former English major myself, I started to read poetry because (so I thought) it would take less time. But I felt that I wasn’t reading it rightly. I was too intent on finding “meanings” quickly. So I asked Bland if he could advise me on how to read poetry.

He said something very simple: “You need to shift from third gear to second gear. No need to hurry. Let your reading be relaxed and thoughtful.” In a way, Bland was telling me something a little more about the “sustenance” needed in a sustainable society. Such a society needs people who are less compulsive, less hurried, not always on the way toward a happiness that never quite arrives. It needs people who find wisdom in patience, in listening, in the wisdom of what is slow and beautiful.
These two lessons from Bland have been with ever since: “Sustainability includes sustenance” and “In order to read poetry you need to shift into second gear.” As I consider his recent departure, I miss my teacher, but I carry with me these lessons and many others: his presence, his easy laugh, his slow gait, his smile.

by Jay McDaniel
March 2, 2019

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Amazon Link
How should we believe in God today? If we look beyond our little lives to the vast cosmos, we may even ask: Why all that? And even if we spiritually feel the universe: Why believe any religion? After all, there are many; and haven't they contributed to the predicament of humanity? Process theology gives provocative answers to these questions: how we are bound by the organic cycles of this world, but how in this web of life God shines even in the last, least, and forgotten event as the Eros of its becoming and as its mirror of greatness; why anything exists: because it is from beauty, for harmony and intensity, and through a consciousness of peace rising from our deepest intuitions of existence. We can change: not only in our thoughts and lives, but even in the way we experience this world. This book introduces such a new way of experiencing, thinking, and living. Based on the fascinating work on cosmology, religion, and civilization of Alfred North Whitehead, this book develops the main theses of process theology and elucidates it as a theopoetics of mutual care for the unexpected, the excluded, the forgotten, and a future society of peace. - Roland Faber, Professor of Process Studies at Claremont School of Theology and Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Claremont Graduate University.

*Faber has been influential in the ongoing development of process philosophy and theology through organizing annual conferences since 2007 in Claremont. His own research focuses on constructive and deconstructive theology, postmodern and process philosophy, poststructuralism and mysticism, theopoetics and eco-process theology and interreligious studies (particularly transreligious discourse). He announced joining the Bahá'í Faith in 2014.

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What is TheoPoetics?

Theopoetics is an interdisciplinary field of study that combines elements of poetic analysis, process theologynarrative theology, and postmodern philosophy. Originally developed by Stanley Hopper and David Leroy Miller in the 1960s and furthered significantly by Amos Wilder with his 1976 text, Theopoetic: Theology and the Religious Imagination. In recent times there has been a revitalized interest with new work being done by L. Callid Keefe-Perry, Rubem AlvesCatherine KellerJohn CaputoPeter Rollins, Scott Holland, Melanie May, Matt Guynn, Roland Faber, and others.


Theopoetics suggests that instead of trying to develop a "scientific" theory of God, as Systematic Theology attempts, theologians should instead try to find God through poetic articulations of their lived ("embodied") experiences. It asks theologians to accept reality as a legitimate source of divine revelation and suggests that both the divine and the real are mysterious — that is, irreducible to literalist dogmas or scientific proofs.

Theopoetics makes significant use of "radical" and "ontological" metaphor to create a more fluid and less stringent referent for the divine. One of the functions of theopoetics is to recalibrate theological perspectives, suggesting that theology can be more akin to poetry than physics. It belies the logical assertion of the Principle of Bivalence and stands in contrast to some rigid Biblical hermeneutics that suggest that each passage of scripture has only one, usually teleological, interpretation. The dismissal of the aesthetic as a living part of language has turned the academic enterprise of biblical studies and theology into a language more at home with lawyers than poets. Theopoetics is the art of using words and thoughts that speak to the reader in an aesthetic and existential way to inspire spirituality in the reader.
Whereas those who utilize a strict, historical-grammatical approach believe scripture and theology possess inerrant factual meaning and pay attention to historicity, a theopoetic approach takes an allegorical position on faith statements that can be continuously reinterpreted. Theopoetics suggest that just as a poem can take on new meaning depending on the context in which the reader interprets it, texts and experiences of the Divine can and should take on new meaning depending on the changing situation of the individual.

Notable publications


  • Ricoeur, Paul (1976), Interpretation Theory: Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning, Fort Worth: Texas Christian Press, ISBN 0-912646-59-4.
  • Wilder, Amos Niven (1976), Theopoetic: Theology and the Religious Imagination, Philadelphia: Fortress, ISBN 0-7880-9908-6.
  • Alves, Rubem (2002), The Poet The Warrior The Prophet, SCM Press, ISBN 978-0-334-02896-3.
  • Cruz-Villalobos, Luis (2015). Theological Poetry. Foreword by John D. Caputo [1]
  • Hopper, Stanley Romaine; Keiser, R Melvin (1992), Stoneburner, Tony, ed., The Way of Transfiguration: Religious Imagination As Theopoiesis, Westminster John Knox Press, ISBN 0-664-21936-5.
  • Faber, Roland (2003), Gott als Poet der Welt: Anliegen und Perspektiven der Prozesstheologie [God as Poet of the World: Concerns and Perspectives in Process Theology] (in German), Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, ISBN 3-534-15864-4.
  • Miller, David L (2006), Hells and Holy Ghosts: A Theopoetics of Christian Belief, USA: Spring Journal Books, ISBN 1-882670-97-3.
  • Miller, David L (2005), Three Faces of God: Traces of the Trinity in Literature & Life, USA: Spring Journal Books, ISBN 1-882670-94-9.
  • May, Melanie A (1995), A Body Knows: A Theopoetics of Death and Resurrection, Continuum International Publishing, ISBN 0-8264-0849-4
  • Keller, Catherine (2003), The Face of the Deep: A Theology of Becoming, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-25649-6
  • Bronsink, Troy (2013), Drawn In: A Creative Process For Artists, Activists, and Jesus Followers, Paraclete, ISBN 1557258716
  • Harrity, Dave (2013), Making Manifest: On Faith, Creativity, and the Kingdom at Hand, Seedbed, ISBN 1628240229
  • Keefe-Perry, L. Callid (2014), Way to Water: A Theopoetics Primer, Cascade, ISBN 978-1625645203
  • Garner, Phillip Michael (2017), Theopoetics: Spiritual Poetry for Contemplative Theology and Daily Living, Wipf and Stock, ISBN 9781498243742

See also

External links

Jay McDaniel - Why the God of Process Theology is Like Marian Anderson's Courageous Voice Crying in the Wilderness

Marian Anderson
(February 27, 1897 – April 8, 1993)

​If God has power in the world, surely it must be more like the power of Marian Anderson's voice at the Lincoln Memorial on April 9, 1939, than that of guns and bombs. Surely the God who can't make the world 'right' with unilateral power, can inspire it toward goodness through the power of a beautiful, brave voice. And surely as we follow her example, using our talents whatever they are to lift burdens and reduce fear and promote compassion, we become, in our small way, God's voice, too.

"On Easter Sunday in 1939, more than 75,000 people come to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to hear famed African-American contralto Marian Anderson give a free open-air concert.... Anderson had been scheduled to sing at Washington’s Constitution Hall, but the Daughters of the American Revolution, a political organization that helped manage the concert hall, denied her the right to perform because of her race. The first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, resigned her membership from the organization in protest, and Anderson’s alternate performance at the Lincoln Memorial served greatly to raise awareness of the problem of racial discrimination in America."

NPR Story on Marian Anderson 
​singing at the Lincoln Memorial

Patricia Campbell Carlson of Spirituality and Practice

"Born in 1897, American contralto Marian Anderson was the first African-American to sing at the Metropolitan Opera (Verdi's "Masked Ball," 1955). Equally gifted in renditions of spirituals and German lieder, Anderson combined her faith, dignity, and gentle spirit with her uniquely beautiful voice. The great conductor Toscanini felt that "hers is a voice that we hear only once in a hundred years."

When Anderson's scheduled performance at Constitution Hall was not permitted by the Daughters of the American Revolution (which caused Eleanor Roosevelt to resign from the D.A.R.), Anderson sang instead outdoors at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, 1939 to an audience of 75,000 people. Afterwards she observed, "I could not run away from the situation. I had become, whether I liked it or not, a symbol, representing my people. I had to appear." Click here for more.