Richard Niebuhr’s. Sally McFague’s major contribution is bridging literature and theology. Her works frequently touch on literary theory and theology, and her theories are known as Metaphorical Theology. Metaphorical Theology has four defining aspects and this has greatly influenced how McFague created her idea. It will be discussed in the subsequent paragraphs. First: theology is achieved by “hearing” out God’s word. Secondly, God being in Jesus Christ means that all the flaws in humanness, all the problems and ambiguousness, is significant. Thirdly, theology should be reviewed and renewed constantly to avoid “idolatry and irrelevance”. And lastly, the world, or the human world at least, is made of language. Theology is achieved by “hearing” out God’s word. If a person does not “hear” or understand the word of the God, then it is unsuccessful, it is a farce. This thought echoes throughout McFague’s work, and it is has seen to be heavily influenced by Barthesian ideas. The mere fact that it constitutes communication as a part of major theory, is a sign that McFague’s thrust understanding of literature is evident in her study of theology. The second aspect, “God being in Jesus Christ means that all the flaws in humanness, all the problems and ambiguousness, is significant”, is an aspect that shows that McFague tries to bridge the gap between the relationship of theology and literature. It is quite evident that the tension.
... This second aspect is an attempt to articulate that tension, and it turns out to be possible. The third aspect of McFague’s Metaphorical Theology is theology should be reviewed and renewed constantly to avoid “idolatry and irrelevance”. This is also heavily influenced by Barth’s ideas and the nature of language, which is dynamic. Anything that is related to God can be deemed powerful and substantial. These images, or words, related to God can be overvalued (as it is related to something divine) and abused. This makes some words and images prone to overvaluation and idolatry. Corollary, the overvaluation of some things can make other aspects of faith and belief overshadowed and will exclude them in other analyses of idolatry. This makes theology, or religion in this matter, rather biased (Wildman, 1994). The fourth aspect is about language. For McFague, the world, or the human world at least, is made of language. This theory is quite Barthesian in nature and proposes that everything exists because of its own definition. This is probably the most important aspect of metaphorical theology. This is where McFague’s literature background comes in. Language is quite powerful. It dictates meaning, and with meaning comes reality. Therefore, language is the medium of reality, because it conveys it: how we mean things and how we interpret things. Without words and things of expression, we cannot have realities. Although with language comes not the realities of fact, it qualifies meaning; meaning is different for every reality, for every person. Meaning-making is practically making a metaphor for one uses contrasting words and comparisons to convey meaning.