Bridge to Water: A Theopoetics Primer

L. Callid Keefe-Perry (
Theology, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School
April, 2013
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Callid Keefe-Perry is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and travels in the ministry within and beyond that denomination. He is the founder of, an editor of the journal Theopoetics, the president of the board for the Transformative Language Arts Network, and a co-host on the podcast Homebrewed Christianity. He is a Doctoral Fellow in Practical Theology at the Boston University School of Theology.


This thesis has two primary foci: to trace the development of the nascent field of theological inquiry known as theopoetics and to make an argument that theopoetics provides both theological and practical resources for contemporary people of faith who seek to maintain a confessional Christian life that is also intellectually critical. Beginning with the work of Stanley Hopper in the late 1960s, and addressing the early scholarship of key theopoetics figures such as Amos Wilder and Rubem Alves, this thesis explores how theopoetics was originally developed as a response to the American Death of God movement, and has since grown into a method for engaging in theological thought in a way that more fully honors embodiment and the effect of human finitude upon theological proclamation. Most of the extant literature in the field is addressed within, including both literary and process theology approaches to the topic. The thesis includes a cumulative articulation of the nature and function of theopoetics, which is comprehensive of the work considered. It comes to a close with an exploration of how theopoetic insights might aid in the development of tangible church practices, and concludes with a series of
theopoetic reflections.

ISSN: 2374-4103