Poet, essayist, and Yale Divinity School professor Christian Wiman will be featured at an event called The Art of Faith, the Faith of Art on Friday, March 9 at 7:30 pm in the Sanctuary of First Church Berkeley. He will speak and then engage in conversation with poet Marvin K. White who is First Church’s Public Theologian in Residence.
The evening is co-sponsored by All Souls Episcopal Parish.
Christian Wiman is the author, editor, or translator of ten books, including his essays My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer, and his poetry collection Every Riven Thing. From 2003 until 2013 he was the editor of Poetry magazine, the premier magazine for poetry in the English-speaking world.
Wiman is an intellectual mystic for our contemporary moment. Raised a Southern Baptist in West Texas, he rejected the religiosity of his childhood for many years as a secular poet, having adopted a “brand of bookish atheism” in college. An adult conversion experience emerged out of first, falling in love with his now wife (“it was human love that reawakened divine love”), and shortly thereafter, a diagnosis of a rare and incurable blood cancer.
Wiman is one of the leading voices calling for a new language of faith. “We need a poetics of belief,” Wiman writes of our age, “a language capacious enough to include a mystery that, ultimately, defeats it, and sufficiently intimate and inclusive to serve not only as individual expression but as communal need.”
Mr. Wiman has written for the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, the Atlantic Monthly, and numerous other publications. His particular interests include modern poetry, the language of faith, “accidental” theology (that is, theology conducted by unexpected means), and what it means to be a Christian intellectual in a secular culture.
Tickets: $10 suggested donation, available at Brown Paper Tickets.