About Preaching Peace

Why and How We Do What We Do

THE NEED FOR PREACHING PEACE

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.

The Preaching Peace Team

OUR HISTORY OF MEETING THE NEED

NOV 2002

Preaching Peace went online in November 2002 edited by Michael Hardin and Rev. Jeff Krantz (Episcopal).  The website has since expanded to include a team of writers and full-time administration. We now serve over 20,000 visitors a month.

AUG 2004

Michael and Lorri Hardin developed the first annual Making Peace Conference, a weeklong event focused on a holistic approach to spiritually and practically living in peace (instruction in the mimetic theory is also prominent).  The success of this event, offered since 2005, can be measured by those who return year after year and by the transforming impact it has had in the lives of those who participate.

SEP 2006

In 2006, The School for Peace Theology was created to provide classes for laity and clergy on various Biblical and theological topics as they related to peacemaking and the mimetic theory. Michael Hardin, principal instructor and Lorri Hardin, occasional instructor, frequently contribute to various church groups and Sunday School classes.  One of the strengths of the teaching method is to make complicated theological topics accessible to the common person.

JAN 2007

In January 2007, Preaching Peace convened a group consisting of peace scholars, peace pastors and peace activists; Theology and Peace was born and is the only group of its kind in the United States. TAP was such a success that it has since formed its own Executive Board and launched its own website.

Also in January 2007, Preaching Peace organized The Nonviolent Atonement Conference, a two-day event, where participants learned a new way of perceiving the death of Jesus from a nonviolent perspective in the light of the mimetic theory. From this Conference, a line of resources has emerged which includes the book Stricken by God?, Speaker DVD’s, a textbook, and the one-day Nonviolent Atonement Seminars.

JUL 2007

In July 2007, Preaching Peace formed a Board of Directors and was organized as a 501(c)3. This allowed us to begin a whole new level of ministry with the support of faithful, generous individuals and annual foundation grants. Please see link above for our most recent Annual Report.

FEB 2017

Feb 14, 2017 Preaching Peace proudly announced the launch of our online school The School of Peace Theology; featuring courses from some of the foremost scholars in the fields of peace theology, mimetic theory, hermeneutics, biblical studies and more.

Preaching Peace brings quality, cutting edge biblical and theological education and curriculum to lay people; (future) we also will be working as a major booking agency for peace theologians, biblical scholars and practicing therapists to bring their expertise out to the entire local ecumenical community.

Preaching Peace facilitates the use of the mimetic theory on a practical level, developing an ecumenical paradigm of peace and nurturing a positive mimetic peacemaking understanding within all Christian faith traditions. We encourage the peaceful spiritual development of the whole person, intellect, heart, spirit and body;

Preaching Peace assists clergy in their preaching and teaching by resourcing them through a variety of media;

Preaching Peace helps individuals and groups to integrate personal spirituality with creation care and healing;

Preaching Peace enables pastors and therapists to practice from within a faith model that is healthy and holistic oriented to peacemaking, restorative justice and healthy relationships;

Preaching Peace has helped to popularize the mimetic theory through publications, conferences, seminars and Internet technologies.


Preaching Peace serves multiple communities.

Scholars and therapists benefit through exposure to larger audiences, clergy can fulfill their Continuing Education requirements with quality training, and laity can explore crucial topics within their own faith traditions-all through our School of Peace Theology.  Scholars benefit by the inter-disciplinary nature of our meetings, while clergy find preaching and teaching aids and laity discover the power of the biblical text.  Activists have found a model of working within the community that is positive, constructive and relationship sustaining.

We cut across cultural, racial, economic, and ecclesial boundaries. Preaching Peace nurtures a wide-ranging and diverse audience as they take concrete steps within their faith communities to practice living in peace.  Underwriting our Conferences and Seminars allows us to share our resources with communities and persons that could not afford such events but desire to attend.

It is imperative that the common person be taught the hermeneutic implications of reading the Scriptures from the perspective of the mimetic theory.  Every major movement for reform in the history of Christianity has come about because of a grass roots movement made up of clergy, theologians and laity.  It is a primary goal of Preaching Peace to stimulate and act as a catalyst for such a grass roots movement in North America (utilizing both top down and bottom up strategies).