Stream of Process
(In this fourth section of my paper, “Metaphoring Manifold: The Plurality of Theopoetics,” I discuss the process stream that has deeply influenced the river of theopoetics.)
While the liberation stream of theopoetics inhabited the field from essentially the onset, the process stream of theopoetics comes much later in the ballgame. The differences between the two do not end there: While there is a rejection to emphasize metaphysics in the liberation stream, the process stream fully embraces a re-production of metaphysics. Nonetheless, despite becoming a recent tributary to the river of theopoetics, the process influence has its lasting mark.
Roland Faber is one of the most important process theologians to date, holding the John B. Cobb Chair of Process Studies at Claremont School of Theology. Although Alves, and even Duigid-May, jumped into the river of theopoetics because of their frustration with prosaic academic discourse, Faber is fully immersed in the academic genre. Therefore, Faber enters from the opposite side of the river as Alves and Duigid-May. Yet, he enters the river nonetheless and contributes extensively to it. From his process perspective, Faber has skin in the game of theopoetics because he finds “that it is of the essence of process theology to be an uncontrollable undertaking in the infinite adventure of God-talk.” The unsaid, and even unconcerned, metaphysics of theopoetics is explicitly said and concerned through Faber’s process metaphysics, in that Faber recognizes that both seek to “roughen up unified appearances by differentiating the various deep-lying, multiple voices hidden under various powerful contenders of an alleged ‘orthodoxy’ of content, method, and direction of thought.” Both Faber and the original process philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead, utilize “poet,” which places them squarely with theopoetics. For Faber, describing God as Poet is not simply a metaphorical description but the divine’s very ontology. In conjunction with process metaphysics, God as Poet elicits that God is ontologically “infinitely engaged in continuing to create the world” and “drawing forth the world into possible reconciliation.” Therefore, Faber and theopoetics harmonize in that both propose God as a Poet whose poem never began nor will end: “The Poet of the world is not the producer of a poem that is complete; the poetry of God and the world has no end or beginning…”