Poetic Worship: The Renewal of Liturgical Language

Travis Edward Turner Poling (poling.travis@gmail.com)
Theologcial Studies: Liturgical Studies, Bethany Theological Seminary
April, 2011
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As of 2014, Travis Poling is a poet, liturgist, and college English teacher residing in Richmond, Indiana. Poling's interests include the work and life of the poet William Stafford, the relationship of people and the land in the Middle West, and ritual and language for religious renewal in the Anabaptist-Pietist spirit of service for peace and justice.


Poetic worship is a practical theology of liturgical language formulated primarily
through concepts in theologies of liturgical language, literary theories of poetics, and biblical
accounts of creation, language, and worship. This thesis is intended as a theological
grounding for liturgists to explore the poetic dimensions of public worship as the
congregation calls on the many names of God, encounters God in dialogue, and names the
world anew for the sake of God's reign. The composition and selection of poems and poetic
texts for public worship raise not only aesthetic concerns, but point to a belief in the radical
presence of the divine in and for the world. As human language and divine language unite in
poetic worship, the church is awakened to God's transformative reign among us and around

ISSN: 2374-4103