The Plurality of Theopoetics
(In this sixth section of my paper “Metaphoring Manifold: The Plurality of Theopoetics,” I dive into the heart of the paper by exploring the foundation and the way in which theopoetics is plural.)
Foundation for Plurality
Before diving in the plural theopoetic river, it is paramount that a foundation is laid as to how the different streams of theopoetics can even relate to one another. With the rise of theopoetics coming in the wake of postmodernism, theopoetics is inextricably connected to the philosophical movement. While postmodernism did not engender pluralistic difference (it already and always existed!), it does explain it. With postmodernity’s dissemination of metanarratives came an emphasis on otherness. In a postmodern world, otherness is not neutral but rather moralized in that it is considered good. For postmodern Christians, otherness is a promising aspect of postmodern thought! Not only is otherness a promising aspect, it is theological in that “the love of God does not seek to assimilate the Other and make it the same but rather relates to the Other as Other.” Therefore, if we are opened theologically to otherness (like we are in theopoetics), plurality makes it way into the fold.
The Confluence of Otherness
Despite the unique differences between each stream of theopoetics, they do all do converge at the confluence. Yet, this confluence is not a space in which each stream relinquishes its own unique particularity. Just like what Franke proposes in Manifold Witness, the different streams are not assimilated at the confluence but rather relate to one another. However, they are only able to relate to one another as other because of Derridian deconstruction. Deconstruction fractured language in a way such that language could be played. While on the surface it appears deconstruction may purely be a linguistic game that educated 1960s French men played in their spare time, there is a reason the radical, process, and even the liberation streams all embraced deconstruction: otherness. Deconstruction did not just amount to an elite linguistic game but to a political, theological, ethical, and cultural fracture in history for its embrace of otherness. And it is in theopoetics, in each stream, where the embrace of otherness is not only theological but also political, ethical, and cultural. While each stream has its own unique emphasis in its theological, political, ethical, and cultural values, the streams converge in confluence at the otherness.