The mimetic theory proposed by René Girard has been tested within multiple disciplines: anthropology, literary criticism, theology, religion, psychology, epistemology, sociology, philosophy, political science, economics, linguistics, etc. and now is being tested within the hard sciences – mathematics and medicine. It explains the origins of violence and negative mimesis and the central role that violence plays in structuring our perceptions of reality as well as the structures humans create to govern their world. Further it shows in its interpretation of the Jesus event the power of nonviolence and positive mimesis to transform the human condition.
Over the past several decades, a growing number of biblical scholars and theologians have seen the value of understanding religion in the light of mimetic theory. There is a convergence occurring between the Christian theologians who use the mimetic theory and scholars that write from a peace-building perspective. The time is ripe for a new and creative way of speaking about the God of Peace, of God as Peace, and the mimetic theory is becoming a major catalyst for this emerging conversation. Preaching Peace has begun to organize these scholars and create opportunities for them to be sharing this new paradigm all over North America. Preaching Peace is unique among organizations in popularizing the mimetic theory and is able to reach a broad and diverse audience.
There is a need for an organized holistic theological curriculum that builds on the common strengths of the mimetic theory and the Christian peace traditions. Preaching Peace has created the foundational components of that curriculum, continues to develop it and will reach audiences through a variety of media including our conferences and The School of Peace Theology. There is also a need for small church study groups that work a common curriculum together. Historian Brinton Rutherford states:
In order to do good theology, it is necessary to test your theology in community, not academia.
There seems to be a growing discontent with the spirituality of American Christianity. The need to address the whole person, body, mind, heart and spirit in positive relation to the whole creation is met through the programs offered by Preaching Peace. Prime target audiences include the fast growing “Emergent Church”, “Missional Church” and “Progressive” movements in American Christianity, as well as mainline denominational churches and the Historic Peace Churches.
We find an urgent need to train clergy in practices that are non-hierarchical and beneficent in character. Current pastoral care models often rely on psychological theories and techniques that are ‘violent’ in nature and practice. The mimetic theory interfaces with a number of growing approaches to therapy and new theological models. The development of these models will bring a crucial dimension to pastoral practice often missed in traditional seminary education.
There is a need for the popularization of the Mimetic Theory. The Preaching Peace Family is making great strides in seeing this need fulfilled through our online school, local seminars, annual conferences, literature, and online media archives.