Thanks to all who made the 2011 Theology and Peace Conference such a dazzling success! To participants, presenters, group leaders, liturgists, singers, entertainers, booksellers, board members, college staff, to all thanks and well-done! As Tony Cicariello said, "It was just a wonderful conference. We achieved all the goals we set out for ourselves. Our evaluations were all positive. We asked , 'What did you like about this Conference?' Answer, EVERYTHING and underlined."
In this conference T&P moved from good idea into contemporary Christian history.
The pre-conference Mimetic Theory review gave an "A" grade morning seminar on the structure and scriptural force of Rene Girard's thought. One participant said she heard it, she got it, she went home and read "Sacrifice" (Girard's latest) in bed and every page made complete sense!
Our presenters Michael Hardin, Suzanne Ross and Brian McLaren individually and together provided an inspiring, cohesive account of what Girardian anthropology means in relation to theology, church and educative interactions with children and, indeed, all others. They set before us not so much a program as another way of life. No one suggested a creative, nonviolent way of being church might be easy, but the depth and reach of the presentations shaped it compellingly as contemporary Christian worldview.
We were blessed to have Brian McLaren with us for the full three days. His role as public theologian and elder-statesman of what's called "emerging church" meant our conference was linked to the national stage. And, reciprocally, through Brian's engagement with the biblical anthropology stemming from Girard, the Theology & Peace conversation can enter more and more profoundly into evangelical theology. Theology and Peace 2011 has made a real breach in the artificial barrier that has so far kept this conversation largely within Roman Catholic theological circles.
Our group process enabled us to bring almost one hundred people into face-to-face dialogue and sharing, by turns passionate and compassionate, thoughtful and personal. The strength of this sharing points the way to more consciously narrative and community oriented conferences in the future.
We were especially graced by the presence of representatives from the West Baltimore Sandtown community, schooled in decades of social involvement and the "inward/outward journeys" taught by Gordon Cosby at Church of the Savior D.C. Here was another critical path by which Theology & Peace entered our North American contemporary story. We hope actively to nourish these community links.
Once again then, thanks to everyone, and thanks to the Holy Spirit by which all these new things of God come to be!
May 31- June 2, 2011
College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Baltimore
Report on Fourth Annual Conference
Jim Warren, Biblical Peacemaking
Elder C. W. Harris
Founder, Newborn Holistic Ministries
Anthony Bartlett, Wood Hath Hope
Michael Hardin, Preaching Peace
Suzanne Ross, The Raven Foundation www.ravenfoundation.org