Many people of faith feel a desire to speak about that which is most precious to them, about that which has transformed their lives, that which they feel has liberated them. Yet that needs to be contrasted with the concern that every time we speak of that source, that place of liberation, we somehow do it an injustice. Our words are always inappropriate. At their best, they point toward something, and at their worst they eclipse it and encrust it, and prevent people from actually experiencing that source for themselves. So the believer feels they must speak, but in another way also remain silent.

This means that theology is analogous in many ways to poetry. Poetry, at its best, tries to express something that always slips out of language. It speaks of subjects that go beyond words. Love, desire, birth, death & loss–these are things that mark us, but yet we find difficult to put into words. Poetry offers a language beyond language. When done right, poetry (and all art) serves as an invitation to another which allows them to, in some ways, experience something that has effected you in such a profound sense that you can’t quite express it through normal means.

The above two paragraphs are paraphrased and taken from a podcast by Peter Rollins.

Painting above by John McCormick

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