Specialized Graduate Certificate in Theopoetics and Theological Imagination

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Specialized Graduate Certificate in Theopoetics and Theological Imagination

Many on a spiritual quest are now turning from theo-logics to theopoetics in an attempt to name themselves and render God’s name in history. God may be the poet of the world, but the world itself does not speak. We therefore look to poets and preachers, artists and intellectuals, scientists and gardeners, young mystics and old saints to artfully manifest spiritual truth, goodness and beauty.

Theopoetics suggests that religion’s nearest analogue is art and therefore practices theology as a poiesis: an inspired, inventive, intuitive and imaginative act of composition performed by authors. Theological imagination opens up the mind, heart, and soul of the individual for the church and world. These explorations bring new themes and understandings into conversation with where we’ve come from for where we are going.

~ Dr. Scott Holland


Primary Faculty

Dr. Scott Holland, Slabaugh Professor of Theology and Culture and Director of Peace Studies and Cross-Cultural Studies
Dr. Denise Kettering-Lane, Associate Professor of Brethren Studies
Dr. Steven Schweitzer, Academic Dean and Professor



The Certificate in Theopoetics and Theological Imagination provides a means to deepen one’s understanding of theology, especially as it is articulated in public venues and in wider cultural contexts that bring theology into conversation with the whole of life. Supplementing the required courses, additional coursework may come from a variety of theological areas, including classical and contemporary approaches, ecological theology, public theology, theology and culture, and ministry of writing.

Graduates with a Certificate in Theopoetics and Theological Imagination will

  • engage in constructive understandings of the nature of theology, with attention to its function in the public sphere and connections to wider cultural contexts;
  • demonstrate knowledge of the diversity of approaches in theological thinking and writing, including familiarity with terminology, categories, and methods;
  • express their own theological imagination informed by theological investigation.



This certificate requires two foundational courses and three elective courses, a total of 15 credit hours. Students can take any number of courses in a semester. Not all courses are offered every year. The certificate can be completed in one to two years.


Required Courses
  • Introduction to Theological Reflection
  • Theopoetics


Three Elective Courses
  • Elective courses may come from the list below (other MATW courses) or may be any course offered by either Bethany or ESR.
  • Applied Storytelling
  • Art, Justice, and Peace
  • Christian Ethics
  • Christian Themes in the Gallery, Contemporary Images in the Church
  • Contemporary Spiritual Writing
  • Creative Non-Fiction
  • Cuba, travel course
  • Ecological Theology and Christian Responsibility/Eco-theology
  • In Their Own Words: Readings in Christian History
  • Interfaith Dialogue
  • Liberation Theologies
  • Narrative Theology
  • Peace of the City and Quest for Public Theology
  • Preaching, Poetry, and Prophetic Imagination
  • Preaching, Theopoetics, and Society
  • Poetics of Jesus
  • Poetry Writing Workshop
  • Science Fiction and Theology
  • Spirituality and Ecology: The Sabbath Poetry of Wendell Berry
  • Spirituality courses, ESR
  • Theatre, Theology, and Public Performance
  • Theological and Artistic Understandings of Jesus
  • Theology of Place and the Built Environment
  • Visual Communication and Faith
  • Writing for God and God’s People
  • Writing Mental Illness/Writing as Mindfulness
  • Writing Public Theology
  • Writing the Story


Admissions Process Deadlines

Fall session:           May 15th
Spring session:     November 15th



Total cost for 15 credit hours is $7,200. Students may apply for financial aid through Bethany: Church Service Covenant Grant, Academic Excellence Scholarship, and need-based aid.

Through our generous financial aid program, students may reduce their total tuition costs down to as low as $2,200 for the entire certificate if completed in four semesters. There is a $350 extension fee if a fifth semester is needed. An institutional loan program is also available for those who qualify. For full details on financial aid, payment plans, and extension fees, contact the Admissions Office.

For more information on this certificate and courses, refer to the Academic Catalog.