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The Beatles and “Queenie Eye” through the Lens of Mimetic Theory

(This article written by special guest contributor Curtis Gruenler, Professor of English at Hope College) On March 21, 1964, “She Loves You” hit the top of the U. S. chart. It was The Beatles’ second American hit, but their first triangular song—the first to begin to explore love as a relation not just between two people, but involving a third who acts as a model of desire and can become also a rival and an ...

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Why Arizona’s Anti-LGBTQ Law was Religious But Not Christian

Arizona has been in the news because of an attempt to get a law on the books that would give Christian business owners the right to refuse products or services on religious grounds. Many commentators feared it would create a right to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. A robust debate has ensued around the question of whether or not it is Christian to refuse service for any reason or more Christian to ...

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Sex and Violence Go to Church: Breaking the Habits of Machismo

Sojourners is offering an important opportunity for Christian churches to examine their attitudes towards women. Following up on an article by Michelle A. Gonzalez entitled “Breaking the Habits of Machismo”, Gonzalez and Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, will conduct a live video discussion on Wednesday, February 12 to “discuss what the Bible really says to encourage, affirm, and empower women and girls ...

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David Brooks and Religious Hostility: Tasting Goodness

In his column for the New York Times called Alone, Yet Not Alone, David Brooks laments the “strong vein of hostility against orthodox religious believers in America today, especially among the young.” Even more disturbing for Brooks is that in his experience, the opinion of young people is too often justified. He observes that religious believers can be “judgmental,” “hypocritical,” “old-fashioned” and “out ...

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My Interview about Sacrificial Systems on Peace Paradigm Radio

I had the great pleasure of discussing the sacrificial system, mimetic desire, scapegoating and peacemaking with my wonderful friends at the Metta Center for Nonviolence, Stephanie Van Hook and Michael Nagler. The interview was broadcast on Peace Paradigm Radio on December 27 and I hope you enjoy our discussion of how René Girard’s insights enable us to take responsibility for our own complicity in the perp ...

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Sermon: Advent Hope: The Works of Darkness and the Armor of Light

When I was in college, one of my best friends had a poster in his room that said, "Stay awake! Jesus is coming.” I hated that poster. The words come from both of our New Testament readings this morning. (Matthew 24:36-44 and Romans 13: 11-14.)  Both readings admonish people to stay awake, and the fact that I hated my friend’s poster might give you a sense about my feelings for how these passages are usually ...

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New York Times Video and Mimetic Theory Part 2: Busty Women and True Beauty

Big boobs. No, I haven’t reverted to my sophomore year in high school. The New York Times brought up the topic, so I feel like now I have to talk about them. According to the New York Times, big boobs are all the rage in Venezuela. Of course, we can’t just accuse Venezuela for cleavage run amok. Women throughout the world are paying big bucks to augment their breasts. The question is why? In my first post i ...

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Dieting to Extremes: Anorexia, Mimetic Desire and the Death of Isabelle Caro

Are you on a diet now? Are you starting one tomorrow? Dieting is a preoccupation for most of us, the result of living in a land in which we are bombarded with two competing messages: advertisements of often irresistible foodstuffs and media idols celebrated for their svelte figures. Some of us manage to lose some weight, many gain it back, but for a few of us the healthy desire to control our eating and she ...

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Agamemnon Revisited: Peace and Violence at “The Water’s Edge”

There is an unholy trinity at the center of Theresa Rebeck’s play, The Water’s Edge, making its Chicago premiere with the AstonRep Theatre Company this fall. Helen and her two adult children, Nate (27) and Erica (23), have been living for seventeen years in their house at the edge of the lake in which a third child, Lea, drowned at the age of five. They are bound together by an unholy compact: Helen assigns ...

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Live Chat This Thursday: What Is Interdividuality? Why Does it Matter? And What Is Tom Cruise Doing In This Post?

This Thursday over at the Teaching Nonviolent Atonement live chat, subscribers will be discussing one of the key elements of mimetic theory: interdividuality. (For more information on how to subscribe and register for this live chat, visit the Teaching Nonviolent Atonement website here.) During our first Teaching Nonviolent Atonement chat, we discussed the difficulties of teaching the mimetic insight of int ...

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