Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Notes about theology
as a failed poem,
a poetic statement
by Peter Menkin

For some time my interest to write a poem telling what theology is about has failed. What is presented below is one of my attempts, posted to a poet's workshop and the following brief discussion of its failure. The content of the poem remains an explanation of an important aspect of theology, and gives a reason to study the subject for as the "poem" points out, theology helps us in our relationship with God.

Theology as a means of refining
faith is the ticket
Rowan William's offers.

So this offering, a response,
to the Trinitarian reflections on
"The Grammar of God."

Heady stuff, meant for the heart and life,
phenomenon of human history.
Of faith,
Jesus brings us to an encompassing knowledge
of new, refreshed, evergiving love in a life
emulated by Christians- the event of Jesus
a man named Panikkar says.

These concepts, written
to give fertile ground to inner life
calls us to consider belief in Church,
that institution of mythical cosmology.
Words that sounds celestial,
large, god reaching.

The theologian has the task
to help us know this God.

There is too the attitude
of confidence,
that hopeful enterprise
of the "general human future"
-Are these too lofty for one,

so grand to soar and enjoy some understandings
in dialogue with large thinkers.
The "Christic" vision.

See how many times
quote marks appear.
Copying from the book, "On Christian Theology",
this commentary praises
the recognition of Trinity in history,
defining relationships
"to catch a glimpse."

Audio of poem by poet is here:


I read this more like a sermon. The preaching overpowers the poetics and
steers the reader rather than stimulates.

It's a narrow track with few turnings...I'm completely straight-jacketed by
I see god is not capitalised in S3L4 and I don't know if it should be,
but a hyphen may be useful, following.



Thanks for taking the time to read this poem, which is an attempt to note
some ideas about God with the big G, and even a mention of god with the little
g. A little here, a little there is what I try with that one. Sometimes I do
better than others, and in this effort did try for a poem. That it seems more a
sermon I hope has to do with some theological integrity, or the subject itself,
more than the lack of flexibility. For it uses as its format statements by a
theologian who has distinct ideas, which I agree with and believe help us
understand God and religion. That's why I am reading the book, "On Christian
Theology: Challenges in contemporary theology." I find the book a challenge, as
the writer, Rowan Williams, writes an erudite book and I must lift myself with
the writing to come along with it as a reader.

Here's a sentence, which I did not touch on in this restricted expression
that was inspired
by his points on the Trinity and the church. Maybe
something along these thoughts added would have helped: "It will effectively be
claiming that what is vital to Christian discourse about the resurrection can be
stated exclusively in terms of what happens to the minds and hearts of believers

when proclamation is made that the victim of the crucifixion is the one through
whom God continues to act and speak." I can understand that, but it is better to
take ones time with it-so I think.

What I want to express is my agreement with a statement about
the..."different phenomena and different perspectives of Christian history..."
Kind of my effort as a book review. They are faith, belief, and confidence. I
guess I better take some time and reread the poem in light of your comments on
it being too restrictive, hopefully not so esoteric for most readers as what I

have quoted. That won't do.

Thanks for reading what is probably a more rarified (complimentary way
of putting it, if it is that) exercise of mine to make a poem. I appreciate your
taking the time to comment, and I am glad to have your thoughts.


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