A Poetical Proposal: Diversity in Lutheran Traditions
The design of many contemporary theological frameworks seems notably deficient as it pertains to a creative poetics of the possible, especially as applied to alterity and in dealing with difference. I will propose a discourse and praxis reaching beyond the factional and, from an eschatological analysis, fictional understandings of diversity—limited as they are by categories primarily grounded in sociological disciplines—toward the recognition of our commonly unique humanity via the Imago Dei as analogia relationis (cf. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Creation and Fall).
A proximate spark for my topic emerges from a single sentence in a recent prescient book review of Terry Eagleton’s Culture and the Death of God. This former chief rabbi of the Commonwealth of Nations, Jonathan Sacks, writing in the Jewish Review of Books muses: “Too little has been done within the faith traditions themselves to make space for the kind of diversity with which we will have to live if humankind is to have a future” (2014). These words, at a minimum, form an echo of Martin Luther King’s prophetic axiom, “If we cannot learn to live together as sisters and brothers we will surely perish apart as fools.”
But I am reading Sacks also to say that there is a particular creative opportunity to imagine or even re-imagine our koinonia with categories resonant to a fuller range of the Christian theological enterprise. The poetics of the possible proceed from the future, redeem the present and interpret the past, all through an eternal lens of recognitive relationality, die Anerkennung.
KeywordsPoetics Postcolonial theology Imago Dei Diversity Critical modernism
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