The Raven Foundation was established in January 2007 by co-founders Keith Ross and Suzanne Ross. In addition to the Rosses, the Foundation is staffed by Adam Ericksen, Maura Junius, and Lindsey Paris-Lopez.
Adam Ericksen, Education Director
Adam Ericksen is a graduate of Linfield College and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. At Linfield, he received his BA in Religious Studies, with a minor in History. The title of his Senior Thesis was “The Divine in Disguise: How Judaism Deals with Suffering and Death.” He continued this theme with his Honors Thesis, which was entitled “The Divine in Disguise: How Christianity Deals with Suffering and Death.” Adam received his Masters in Theological Studies from Garrett, with an emphasis in theology and ethics. His Master’s Thesis was entitled “Love and Nonviolence in Christianity and Islam.” Adam writes blogs and films vlogs for The Raven ReView and Teaching Nonviolent Atonement websites. He explores the intersections of mimetic theory, current events, religion, and popular culture. Adam is a frequent public speaker at conferences and churches and his writing has been featured in Time Magazine. He delivered a lecture entitled “Islam and the Practice of Non-violence” at Hope College where he explored mimetic theory and Islam. He delivered a similar lecture on Islam and mimetic theory at the symposium “René Girard and World Religions.” Adam gave the Baccalaureate Address at Linfield College, entitled “A Life Worth Living: On Tragedy, Revenge, and Love.” In 2017, Adam was ordained.
Maura Junius graduated from Saint Catherine University in St. Paul, MN with a double major in Mathematics and Theater. She continued her studies in the Master of Fine Arts program at SIU – Carbondale in costume design for dance. Maura brings her creativity and tech skills to support the foundation’s mission as recording engineer, event coordinator, marketing maven, website administrator, project manager and artist wrangler. She takes pride in specialty casting, producing and costuming the Raven video of James Alison’s Introduction to Christianity for Adults, Jesus the Forgiving Victim.
Lindsey Paris-Lopez, Editor In Chief of the Raven ReView, first discovered The Raven Foundation in 2012 through the 6th annual Theology and Peace conference. She holds a BA in English from Hollins University and an MA in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations from Hartford Seminary. For 6 years, Lindsey served as a lay preacher in her church in Sunnyside, NY, where she also led Bible studies and formed a children’s ministry, all proclaiming the unconditional, nonviolent love of God revealed in Christ. Lindsey has found motherhood to be a continuous lesson in mimetic theory; while she studies Girardian scholars, she also learns just as much from her 5-year-old, who wants everything she sees in commercials (including cleaning products), and her 7-month-old, who shuns her own toys in favor of Mommy’s phone. She is honored to join the flock in showing how mimesis is woven into the fabric of our humanity and how re-orienting our desires in imitation of the merciful, non-rivalrous God can foster reconciliation, peace and love.
Sam discovered a passion for filmmaking and art from a young age, spending every moment making films and drawing storyboards with neighborhood friends and his 10 siblings. He had planned to go to art school after high school but felt called to the priesthood during a retreat his senior year. He studied philosophy for three years at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. In seminary he became disenfranchised with its culture of clericalism, and left the seminary and almost the church altogether but around the same time was introduced to the work of René Girard and over the years mimetic theory has deeply informed the all of his creative work as well as his personal and spiritual life. In 2015, Sam started his production company Glass Darkly Films which focuses on documentaries and shorts drawing heavily from Philosophy, Theology, and Cinema. His most recent project as Executive Producer and writer/director of a collaborative anthology feature film based on the Beatitudes, called 8beats. He lives on the Chicago South Side with his beautiful wife, Ellie.
Board of Directors
Dr. Sandor Goodhart is a Professor of English and Jewish Studies at Purdue University and Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Classical Studies. He is the author of Sacrificing Commentary. Reading the End of Literature (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), Reading Stephen Sondheim (New York: Garland Publishing, 2000), For René Girard. Essays in Friendship and Truth, co-edited with J. Jørgenson, T. Ryba, and J. G. Williams (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2009), and Sacrifice and Scripture in Ancient Judaism and Christianity, co-edited with Ann Astell (South Bend: Notre Dame University Press, forthcoming). He teaches ancient Greek and modern drama, contemporary critical theory and philosophy, and the (Hebrew) Bible as Literature. He has long been associated with the work of René Girard, serving as the Executive Secretary of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion (formed around René Girard’s work) from 1999 to 2003, and as President from 2003 to 2007.
Rev. Tripp Hudgins is an ordained American Baptist Minister and the Director of Admissions at American Baptist Seminary of the West. He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond (1992). His seminary study began at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond in Richmond, VA and continued at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL with an MDiv and an MTS in Liturgy. Tripp is currently working toward a PhD in Liturgy and Ethnomusicology at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California and serving as a musician at All Souls Episcopal Parish in Berkeley, California.
Tripp has spent much of his adult life serving various congregations as a musician. He moved to the Chicago area in 1997 and has served as a musician at Holy Name Cathedral, St Peter’s in the Loop, and North Shore Baptist Church. Ministry for Tripp has included work in the creative arts, as a member of an intentional Christian community and retreat center in Richmond, Richmond Hill, and as a chaplain at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. He also served as part of the pastoral team at Church of Jesus Christ Reconciler. Tripp is married to actress Patricia Austin. Their first child (EP) has greatly enriched their lives.
Dr. Andrew J. McKenna, emeritus professor of French language and literature at Loyola University in Chicago, earned a Ph.D. in Romance Languages [French & Spanish] from Johns Hopkins University after receiving his B.A. in French from Holy Cross College. In addition to acting as the host of the French club, he taught courses in French Literature of 17th, 19th, 20th centuries, Stylistics, French culture and civilization, and Masterpieces of European Literature and Comparative Literature (in translation). He now teaches inmates currently incarcerated in the Illinois prison system literature and theology.
For the decade between 1996 and 2006, he was the Editor-in-Chief of Contagion: Journal of Violence, Mimesis, and Culture, 1996-2006. Andrew is the author of Violence and Difference: Girard, Derrida, and Deconstruction.
Andrew share a few of his thoughts on the importance of mimetic theory in five short videos.
Michael McLean is a songwriter, composer, author, performer, playwright, film producer and director. He has written music and lyrics for more than 20 albums and has sold over a million tapes and CDs since his first release in 1983. Since 1991, Michael has performed The Forgotten Carols to sold-out audiences throughout the United States. He was the original story writer, producer and director of the film Nora’s Christmas Gift starring Academy Award winner Celeste Holm. He was also producer and original story co-writer of the holiday television classic Mr. Krueger’s Christmas starring film legend Jimmy Stewart. Other films Michael’s written and directed include Together Forever, What Is Real? and The Prodigal Son. In September 2000 his stage musical The Ark, written with Kevin Kelly, was featured in the Festival of New Musicals on Broadway in New York City.
As an ad man, I understood desire
Songs for The Wicked Truth About Love
The Wicked Truth opened my eyes
Making religion reasonable
Dr. Martha J. Reineke (Ph.D. Vanderbilt University) is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy and World Religions at the University of Northern Iowa. She previously served as Director of the Graduate Program in Women’s and Gender Studies at UNI. Her areas of teaching and research expertise include theories of sex and gender, psychoanalytic theory, religion and society, and Existentialism. She is the author of Sacrificed Lives: Kristeva on Women and Violence (Indiana University Press) and Intimate Domain: Desire, Trauma, and Mimetic Theor (Michigan State University Press). She has published extensively on the work of René Girard and considers Girard’s mimetic theory to be a vital resource for understanding and responding to violence in today’s world.
Professor Reineke discusses the issues of sexual predators explored in the Lookingglass Theatre’s production of Trust.
Keith Ross is a Princeton University graduate who has worked in the financial markets for 30 years. Currently, Keith is engaged with several entrepreneurial ventures. A member of the Colloquium on Violence & Religion, he has been a student of René Girard’s work and in January 2007, founded The Raven Foundation with his wife, Suzanne, to increase awareness of Girard’s ideas. Keith formerly served as the treasurer for the Colloquium on Violence & Religion.
Suzanne Ross is a graduate of Bucknell University and a certified Montessori educator. She taught preschool and kindergarten before working as a corporate training consultant. As a member of the Colloquium on Violence & Religion, she has attended and presented at the annual conferences and currently serves on its Board of Directors. In January 2007, she and her husband Keith founded The Raven Foundation to increase awareness of mimetic theory. In 2010, Suzanne served on the staff of the first mimetic theory summer school sponsored by Imitatio. Her first book, The Wicked Truth: When Good People Do Bad Things, examines the lessons of myth, scapegoating and forgiveness in the hit Broadway musical Wicked. Her second book, The Wicked Truth About Love: The Tangles of Desire, explores patterns of romantic love and how to create a fulfilling relationship. Suzanne continues to lecture on mimetic theory and popular culture at universities, conferences, churches, bookstores and libraries. Her articles have appeared in Contagion and online at Sojourners and Patheos. She is currently working on project that connects mimetic theory with the work of Maria Montessori.
Jack Miles is Distinguished Professor of English and Religious Studies Emeritus at the University of California, Irvine. In 1996, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for God: A Biography (translated into 16 languages) and is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship (2002-2007). Professor Miles was a Jesuit seminarian from 1960 to 1970, studying at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem before completing a doctorate in the department of Near Eastern Languages at Harvard. He has been an editor at Doubleday, executive editor at the University of California Press and literary editor at the Los Angeles Times. His second book, Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God, was named a New York Time Notable Book of 2002. His writings have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, and The Washington Post among other publications. He is the general editor of the Norton Anthology of World Religions and is completing a new book, tentatively entitled God in the Qur’an.
René Girard is a member of the Académie Francaise, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is Andrew B. Hammond Professor Emeritus of French and Comparative Literature, Stanford University. Internationally renowned for his work on the nexus between violence and religion as well as his “mimetic theory,” René Girard’s publications have been translated into numerous languages, and the secondary literature on his thought numbers in the hundreds of articles and over fifty full-length books. His major works include: Deceit, Desire and the Novel (Hopkins, 1965); Violence and the Sacred (Hopkins, 1978); Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World (Stanford, 1987); The Scapegoat (Hopkins, 1986); I See Satan Fall like Lightning (Orbis, 2001). His latest book in French, Achever Clausewitz, was published in 2007. His most recent books in English include Mimesis and Theory: Essays on Literature and Criticism, 1965 – 2005 (edited by Robert Doran), published in May, 2008, on Stanford University Press, Battling to the End: Conversations with Benoit Chantre, 2010 (translated by Mary Baker) on Michigan State University Press, and Sacrifice (translated by Matthew Pattillo and David Dawson, edited by William A. Johnsen), published in 2011 by Michigan State University Press. René was a man of towering intellect, humility, and grace. Our ongoing work at the Raven Foundation is inspired by and dedicated to his memory.
Robert Hamerton-Kelly was Senior Research Scholar Emeritus at the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford University, and the president emeritus of Imitatio Inc., an organization that furthers the study of mimetic theory. As Dean of Chapel and Consulting Professor, he was a full member of the Stanford Faculty. He lectured in Religious Studies, in the Greek section of the Classics, and in the Ethics of International Security in general (Just War Theory and the proper use of military force) and the ethics of nuclear weapons in particular (Deterrence), in the department of Political Science. He retired early from Stanford in 1997 to become Senior Minister of the Woodside Village Church in the vicinity of Stanford, retiring in 2004. Since retirement he continues to host a biweekly seminar with René Girard on the theme of Religion and Violence. He is one of three founding members of the COV&R , and is the author of Pre-existence, Wisdom and the Son of Man ( Cambridge, 1973 / 2004) and Sacred Violence (Fortress, 1992). He has edited Violent Origins: Walter Burkert, René Girard and Jonathan Z. Smith on Ritual Killing and Cultural Formation (Stanford, 1986) and Politics and Apocalypse (Michigan, 2007).