A Theopoetics of Seeking Cultures of Peace

Scott Holland


This article asks what theopoetics might contemporarily contribute to seeking cultures of just peace in the public square. It uses Maurice Merleau Ponty's comment, “the tongue is both an organ of language and taste,” as a sexy, fleshly, incarnational reminder of the corporeal nature of language, which calls us to ask both aesthetic and ethical questions about our poetics. If we imagine theology or theopoetics without a human body, then we can become cruel and violent, allowing exploitation and war. Drawing on ten years of service with the international, ecumenical peace-building work of the World Council of Churches’ Decade to Overcome Violence Program, the vision of peace presented here draws on narrative examples from case studies in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. It explores theopoetics within, yet also beyond, the disciplinary discourses of conflict transformation, peace studies, and political diplomacy.

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