“Living theology” has its home in symbols, images, and songs. Theology lives in the music, imagery, and cultural symbols of those who must live out that which “textbook theology” attempts to understand.
–Alejandro R. Garcia-Rivera, A Wounded Innocence: Sketches for a Theology of Art
Writing about his own quest to discover the authentic, “living theology” of Latin American, Alejandro Garcia-Rivera does not reject “textbook theology” and the understanding it provides. He brings to the table a deep appreciation of the symbols, imagery, poems, drama, and dance of the Latino community of faith. It is in his study of these living expressions that he finds the substance of the Latin American tradition and, he suggests, a model for looking more broadly at artistic expression as a key for articulating theology. Art, he believes, has the potential for overcoming the linguistic misunderstandings which so often plague ecumenical dialogue. “There is,” Gracia-Rivera says, “a dimension of art, however, that articulates doctrinal insight in a way language cannot. Perhaps by recognizing and reflecting on works of art that address certain issues in doctrine, communities that doctrinal language has separated might find reconciliation in the aesthetics of the doctrine.”