Theology and Peace was formed in 2007 with the goal of developing an annual theological conference grounded in the thought of Rene Girard. Known as mimetic anthropology or mimetic theory, Girard's work enables a revolutionary understanding of human violence and argues the critical role of the bible in distilling this understanding in contemporary culture. A focused and sustained theological discussion out of Girard's thought seemed long overdue.
Events at Sandy Hook Elementary School CT, and then on Christmas Eve at Webster NY, rocked the US in a way never seen before, prompting also anguished contrasts with the nonviolent sign and message of the child of Bethlehem. T&P continues its work within this ever-deepening sacrificial crisis in US culture, seeking a transforming gospel of peace.("Sacrificial crisis" is Girardian-speak for what happens in a society when standard "religious" sacrifices no longer work and there results a continual deadly search for new victims.) For a take on the crisis see the blog at: Theology & Peace blogspot.
For a more light-hearted (but still intensely serious) response see James Martin S.J.'s parables at: "More Parables For Our Times: Not Your Grandma's Prince of Peace."
THEOLOGY & PEACE is pleased to announce its 6th annual conference, which will take place June 4-6 in North Carolina on the UNC campus, Chapel Hill. Since 2008 Theology and Peace has created a meeting place for committed Christians, theologians, pastors, scholars, activists and others concerned with the formation of an effective theology in response to the violence of our society and culture. In particular, the organization is dedicated to the application of Rene Girard's groundbreaking work in revealing the root of violence.
The 2013 Conference theme, LYNCHING, SCAPEGOATING and ACTUAL INNOCENCE, offers a fresh opportunity to address the brutal history of racism in the United States and in the West. Girard's mimetic theory, based on a life-giving understanding of the unconscious interaction at the core of humanity's violence, opens a new way forward. Dr. Anthony Bartlett, author and Theology and Peace's Resident Theologian, suggests that Girard's work helps us tackle this wound in the Christian story by "moving us beyond victim and victimizers, perpetrators and oppressed, to building new human communities rooted in the transforming spirit of love."
A 3-hour PRE-CONFERENCE SESSION, "Mimetic Theory 101," will take place on June 4 in the morning! Designed for people new to Girardian thought, four different presenters will introduce the cardinal points of mimetic theory - imitation, scapegoating and scripture as revelatory of human violence - and take a look at pop culture.
The conference continues with a series of PLENARY SESSIONS and SPEAKERS. Each session is followed by small group discussion and a follow-up question and answer period with each presenter. Speakers include:
Dr. Julia Robinson, teacher at UNC Charlotte, is recognized as a significant voice in applying Girard's mimetic theory in the traumatic area of race in the United States, her forthcoming second book is titled "Race, Religion and the Pulpit: The Making of Urban Detroit."
Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, teacher at Goucher College in Maryland, has published numerous books focusing on the African American body experience, including her latest publication, "What's Faith Got to Do With It?: Black Bodies/Christian Souls." She uses Girard as one of the few white thinkers able to illuminate this experience.
The Reverend Paul Nuechterlein, Senior Pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Portage, Michigan, Nuechterlain has been applying Girard's mimetic theory to scripture since 1992, and in 2002 launched the website "Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary."
Christine Mumma teaches at UNC's School of Law and is executive director of the N.C. Center on Actual Innocence, which coordinates the work of the North Carolina law school Innocence Projects, has championed several criminal justice reform initiatives. She and the Center work to exonerate wrongfully accused and convicted individuals, i.e. actual scapegoats.
Vince Bantu will represent The Christian Community Development Association, an organization founded by Dr. John Perkins in the wake of the Civil Rights struggle, which has grown to a movement of many thousands in the U.S., seeking reconciliation in situations of violence and division. Vince holds degrees from Catholic University of America and Princeton, and pastors a small, multiethnic fellowship in D.C. He has been involved in CCDA since 2004, led numerous workshops, participated in its Emerging Leadership Cohort, and is a founding member and contributing author of its Theological Committee.
We hope you will join us for these important, life-giving discussions and become part of the solution as we work together to restore a theology of peace that will help create relationships grounded in love and nonviolent action.
Proclaim the Lord's death
until he comes! (1 Cor. 11:26)
An emerging movement seeking the transformation of theological practice through the application of mimetic theory.
2013 Conference Registration Open!
Remember we are offering a Special Discount Fee of $150.00 per person for 4 or more commuters registering together. This includes lectures and all meals. Also, $25 off regular price per person for resident groups of the same number. Please state this and any further request on the scholarship page of the registration form. See you in Chapel Hill!
JOB OPENING: Theology & Peace is glad to invite applications for the post of T&P Contributing Theologian, an important stipended role which demonstrates our organization's commitment to doing theology developed out of Mimetic Anthropology. Click HERE for job description and application process. Applications by June 15.