Equipping disciples to engage in the politics of justice

Mimetic Theory* (MT) reveals a profound new understanding of Jesus’ call to follow him. Elaborating on the Bible’s anthropology — Christ being God’s Word in human form — MT shows how Jesus brought us a new Way of being human. Learn about the prophetic dimension of Jesus’ mission of engaging politics in his day, and how to apply his teachings with a scientific worldview to our postmodern times. These seminars are aimed at equipping disciples to engage in today's political issues from a Biblical perspective, answering the call to bring in God’s Kingdom, with justice for all.

This is an opportune time to learn and be engaged by a powerful theory at the time of its emergence. Recent cross-disciplinary conferences are making it evident that MT has the ability to join together the neurosciences, evolutionary theory, and all the human sciences under unifying concepts and hypotheses -- with potentially transformational impact for the church. Concerning Evangelism, for example, MT is increasingly offering itself as a key in the 21st century North American context. The Christian message had evangelistic success in the First Century Roman Empire because it was obvious to hearers that it stood as a healing alternative to the sacred violence of the Empire and all the sacrificial cultural religions in support of empire. MT not only helps us understand the Christian message anew, so that we can more readily see and address the sacred violence of our day, but it also gives us the means of connecting to the language of our now secular world, the language of scientific and technical knowledge. (Check out this incredibly important book -- fruit of the recent conferences: How We Became Human: Mimetic Theory and the Science of Evolutionary Origins. You can also preview its Introduction -- by permission from the publisher to preview only.)

*Mimetic Theory was pioneered and named by Stanford University scholar René Girard. "Mimetic" is from the Greek for "imitation" and is used to signal a deeper reality of being human. Aspen trees (left) appear as separate trees above the ground but share a common root structure underground which binds them together in unseen ways. Similarly, according to Mimetic Theory, human beings appear as individuals but share a subconscious interconnectedness that is "mimetic." MT proposes that the human capacity for being "mimetic" provides the core idea for distinguishing and understanding the uniquely human ways of being social -- that human beings are interconnected in unseen ways named as "mimetic." In short, "mimetic" is not currently a familiar word, but the bet is that it soon will be. According to this theory, it does no less than define our humanity.

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“I’m convinced that the seminal work of René Girard is the single most promising and productive contemporary resource capable of stimulating fresh readings of the Bible, constructive critical thought about Christian theology and practice, and incisive inducement to productive activism.

      Paul Nuechterlein has helped me more than anyone else to read the Scriptures in light of Girard’s groundbreaking work. I’d encourage anyone and everyone to seize an opportunity to learn with Paul.”

Christian author and teacher

2016-17 Seminars

One-Day Seminars
This year the emphasis is on single seminars on a topic of the host's choosing. Schedule a seminar today! (A general guideline is being able to recruit 10+ colleagues to the share expense of bring Paul Nuechterlein to your location.) Contact Paul Nuechterlein to explore options and to schedule a one- or two-day seminar which introduces Mimetic Theory and applies it to special topics, including:
  • Racism / Mass Incarceration / Policing
  • The Current (Mimetic) Scene in American Politics
  • Economic Justice
  • Full Inclusiveness in Church Communities / The Bible and Being Created LGBTQ
  • Atonement Theology
  • Biblical Interpretation / Nonviolence
  • Eschatology / Apocalyptic
  • Recovering the Prophetic Dimension of the Gospel
  • Militarism
  • Mimetic Theory as a Powerful Tool for Interpreting Scripture
  • Mimetic Theory 101
  • A topic of the host's choosing
One-day seminars on selected topics can be negotiated for any available date.

October thru May Monthly Seminar Series -- 8- or 3-Session Options -- Now Forming for 2016-17

"Reframing the Gospel for Mission: Recovering the Prophetic Dimension of Jesus' Way of Being Human" (click here for more info and registration)
This 8- or 3-session series introduces and applies the work of René Girard to gain a better understanding of and engage in central issues of our survival, e.g., racism, economic justice, and militarism. It is an immersion experience for learning Mimetic Theory. (Share with friends through this pdf flyer.)
Where: We are currently recruiting and negotiating for new sites in 2016-17. If you have ten+ people interested in this series, contact Paul Nuechterlein by email (paulnue56@sbcglobal.net) or phone (269-290-4533) to inquire about scheduling a series. Please note that locations more than a 3-hour drive from Kalamazoo, MI require overnight accommodations and travel expenses.

Link to the Discipleship Seminars in Mimetic Theory (DSMT) payment page for secure PayPal payment of registration fees.

Paul Nuechterlein has been a student of René Girard’s work for over twenty years. He has presented at multiple international conferences of The Colloquium on Violence and Religion, makes Mimetic Theory accessible through his website Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary (girardianlectionary.net), and is currently the Contributing Theologian for Theology and Peace, a para-church organization dedicated to “the application of René Girard’s groundbreaking work to subvert the matrix of human violence.”