Author: Andre Rabe

Patricia

For me, this year with MA has been life-altering. 
In the past, I had many questions about spiritual things that were either not answered or were answered in an unsatisfactory fashion by my traditional faith community. 
When I first began Mimesis Academy, I was surprised to discover that questions, uncertainty, and being wrong were a welcome and even necessary part of the experience.  There was complete freedom to explore with no judgment present in the process.  Andre and MaryAnne modeled love, acceptance, and the beautiful majesty of an ongoing conversation with God as we studied various topics.
I don’t know how to write what Mimesis Academy means to me, what has happened to me during the course of this year.  I would like it to sound wonderful, to use words that convey the immensity of the experience.  But I know about words.  They are sorely lacking in their ability to convey something large and full and rich and constantly expanding.  Words cannot contain freedom and chaos and blossoming and seeking. 
When I signed up for MW in October, I instantly wondered if I had made a very expensive, bad decision.  I ordered many of the books that they were reading in the 2017 course and began digesting them in advance.  I was alternately excited and horrified that I had committed to this year-long study.  Finally, January arrived and we began. 
In the first months, I often felt that I was in way over my head because there were many who had already completed one year of this.  They were familiar with terminology and authors and concepts in a way that I was not.  Writing those first assignments was daunting.  I was still searching to find the “right” answers to the questions.  What did they want me to understand so that I could be “correct?”  It took awhile to get my bearings and to believe I was free to ask any question at all, to express ideas that could be really, really “wrong,” and that there was no need to impress anyone at all.  Everyone had a voice and we were so encouraged to find that voice.  
One of the greatest parts of MA has been the discussions and relationships that have evolved.  It may well be the most significant part of the whole experience.  (This is where the words really break down for me.)  I could not have navigated the new ideas, the changes in life perspectives, the shifting of my entire spiritual foundation without the companionship, encouragement, and challenging conversation with the student community.  (John Kirstein, Al Carden, Andre van Wyck, Patricia-Anne, JoDee, Susann, Larize – each one has helped me, spurred me on. I wish I could meet and see you all at least once.  You have become a part of who I am today and part of who I will become in the future.) 
At first, I thought that there would certainly be a point where we would be restricted in our conversations to the topic at hand.  Outside books, authors, ideas, would surely be discouraged or forbidden.  I was sure this would happen.  It never did.  From the others, I heard of books and materials that I hungrily consumed.  I was free to ask questions!!  It was almost unbelievable.  The world outside my traditional faith community was so large and there were so many ideas that I had never heard before.  It was not dangerous.  Questions were not dangerous. They were a gateway to freedom and growth and the discovery of a God who was more loving than I had ever dreamed.  The goodness of God was not just a nice concept.  It was real. 
While the basic thrust of MA was academic/intellectual, one of the side benefits for me was the discovery of the heart.  At this point I venture to say this combination of heart and mind emphases was both an intentional and inevitable part of the Academy structure.  Mimesis Academy changed both my understanding of God, myself, and the meaning of life, and it ushered in a heart experience with Love that will never stop expanding.  This came about in a particularly individual fashion and was not a prescribed event purposely planned by the curriculum.  I notice that it has been part of the experience of every student, but comes about at different times and in different ways for each one.  It is an adventure of the greatest kind!
Mimesis Academy is one of the best decisions I have made in my life.

John Kirstein

Dear future Mimeticians,

Well, you have and will always be Mimeticians (even “face to face” if you will) even though you may not know it yet.
I’m a wee bit nervous because even though I’ve been baptized twice and come forward a few too many times to “receive Christ (and salvation, an all-inclusive affair) during a few too many youthful rallies once upon a time, I have never given a formal testimony yet.
Is there some sort of literary protocol here?
How do I express, short and sweet, what Mimesis Academy (MA henceforth) has meant to me?
I couldn’t sleep last night, because this question was being chewed upon the day before the kids would return to school and myself to teaching piano lessons and teacher’s college.
And that’s just the thing, MA is a slow-cooker, slow-seeping, sort of undergoing that feels like a kind of wrestling between head and heart that “bleeds” into all your going-on-about.
It is one thing to read and talk about being self-reflective creatures who imitate each others’ desire. It is another thing altogether when you begin to meet what you have been learning about everywhere you go and in everything you do. I’m a parent and teacher so this is pretty much a daily affair. What I mean to say is that my awareness of ordinary, daily, human humbug has undergone a slow, surprising, “awakening”. This awareness, when you say it, in terms of what we think people are like, by nature so to speak, and what God may be(come) like, may be the stuff of peachy-preachy rhetoric and books-begetting-books; but when you begin to witness it “for yourself” as they say, you feel like–or I felt like–being a kid again, seeing the world again without that “tourist”-like sleepwalking-like over-familiarity.
But, anyways, as I was saying, I couldn’t sleep last night, because I did not know what I would say about MA.
A moving image of sorts came to me that reminded me of the words of some travel-weary apostle, something about only seeing in a mirror something of an impression rather than the HD-quality we so readily crave: it was my recurring welter & waste (formless and void..chaos) dream again. When you are in the thick of it you are part of the whirling-swirling movement. You can’t tell the hound from the countless, forest-like, hairs. But as you rise above or plummet below it all, the faint outlines of “the hound of heaven’s” gaze begin to find form. A title of a book well worth reading for yourself comes to mind: Desire Found Me.
I say this not only to toot someone’s horn, but to affirm–if this may become–a testimony if it may be called that.
That is, if you may recall that little bit in the beginning of the book about beginning, where MamaSpirit broods on their “formless and void” nest egg, I have felt my life and, really, the life of the cosmos, as one “brooded upon”…a severe hope stirring up a messy life, my own. A life of childhood faith undergoing not only continental drift and the drama of tectonic plates shifting ever-so-slowly–sorry my geological know-how is limited–but the baffling process of humpty dumpty being put together again. Part of this belongs to the process (I came into it after going to seminary and encountering Girard’s work in a formal academic context) of repentance–the mind’s upending and reconfiguration–brought about by one, Rene Girard. But, the greater part of it belongs to meeting the slow turning of the biblical crank until the God of Jesus meets you devoid of pretentious theological know-how.
This has not been a case of “the Jesus I never knew” but more so “the I-I did not know”, because of the way Jesus emerges in a kind of humanity I did not know.
If not a lot of this makes much sense to you I apologize. Perhaps I have way more undergoing ahead of me than I would like to know about.
In the end, I would say that the MA journey has been unsettling for me in the best possible way. I could have said much more about the great authors and deep learning/conversation/friendship the program fosters. But I wanted to focus on its more intangible worth. Something about its (very easy-going btw.) manner gets right into the existential Love of God that we seem to avoid, perhaps because it is somewhat unsettling to the well-touted ego, which has now, at least for me, encouraged me to delve into a further adventure, a deeper Country (kingdom of God perhaps) I would not even have known about were it left up to me.
With deep appreciation and a hunger for peace,
John Kirstein

Ben & Larize

Riveting open discussions on all the “forbidden” subject matter,  that you would not dare mention in church circles, are exactly what we touch on in the Mimesis Academy!

This Academy is for anyone and everyone who seeks a deeper understanding, concerning their own existence, the existence of God and the revealing of the devil and its origin. The “what , who and why” is discussed and new insights are revealed using credible sources like anthropology, science and logic.
If you have lost faith in God; if you have grown up in a religiously smothering household; or if you have had something horrible happen to you that makes you question your faith, then this Academy is what you are looking for!
These series of courses has left my husband and I pleasantly surprised, invigorated, enlightened and most of all, “in love” with humanity and creation in all its intricate glory…

Anthony Bartlett

Isn’t it annoying when you’re trying to explain something and somebody rushes in to comment, “Actually, what she’s trying to say is this,” and then goes on basically to misrepresent your thought? Well, Christianity as a movement has suffered from poor or plain bad explanations of its core “good-news,” really for the best part of two millennia. Jesus died and rose for us, but why? How do these things make a difference? Andre and Mary Rabé’s Mimesis Academy provides us with a language and meaning around these topics which seem astonishingly new, yet which have been there all along, and they are as transforming to hear as they are healing to the whole destructive path humanity is set upon.

Based in the revolutionary bible-sourced anthropology of René Girard, the Academy moves us away from traditional pay-offs by Christ for the price of sin, and reveals instead the overwhelming truth of God’s plan to transform his creation falsely mired in original violence. Abel was the second offspring of human parents, killed by the first, Cain. Jesus is the new Abel, both reflecting to us our constant murderous behavior, and at the very same time offering us forgiveness and an entirely new life-giving pattern for being human. Step by step the lectures lead us deeper into this dramatic new perspective, bringing to our eyes and hearts a Christianity we have never known but which we recognize at once as authentic. Is there a biblical name that can be given to this remarkable happening? Yes, I believe there is. It is, I think, the return of the Messiah, but not with violence and unspeakable suffering, but by means of the genuine possibility of change in the human heart. As this goes forward will disciples be called to suffer? Undoubtedly. The world does not surrender easily. But the end result will be a renewal of human life, both personal and widespread, the like we have never known. Mimesis Academy is a crucial voice and agent of this redeeming action by the Father of Jesus for our time.

Kirstin

Learning and unlearning with the Mimesis Academy has been the best and worst thing that has happened to me. It wrecked me in the best possible way! I felt a strong sense of an ending as I read, stumbled, fumbled for words, wrote, reflected, healed and shared my thoughts, my world, my foundation, in a safe space weekly. It’s been a beautiful and refreshing way to learn – my voice counted in this family and nobody ‘marked me’ or ever felt offended/intimidated by my lens as we all shared deeply. It’s been paradise and brought incredible inner healing to my heart!

I feel like there is a definite sense of an ending to my version of God and evil…I feel like Jesus is tucking me in bed at night reading me a bedtime story that is fresh and free of any tormenting characters! I get to participate (without fear) in this story too! I was given the opportunity to journey with my wonderful Mimesis friends as the light (rather than evil) in this story unfolds, and introduce new friends to the fresh, glorious narrative! Mimesis bought me back to my childhood dreams! I feel like a little girl in the car on a long journey, saying “are we there yet“…after we’ve just driven out the driveway!

It’s been a good reference for me to unpack how drastically the story on “evil” has been personified and politicised. Humanity is fascinated and overwhelmed by wildness and chaos! We made assumptions before the next chapter even arrived. I learnt that we are not thrown into the fire. We are the fire! I am no longer intimidated or afraid by different views. Participating in others’ narrative, and allowing it to overlap my own narrative, is now intriguing to me, thanks to Mimesis! Breaking out of myself and my old dialogue is now far more exciting than intimidating! Mimesis has brought to light how often I re-hash my own life story…how often I adjust, embroider, & make sly cuts to fight everything, good and evil, into my lens? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge my account, to remind me that my life is not my life, merely the story I have told about my life. Told to others, but—mainly—to myself.

My advice – enroll in Mimesis. Write rawly and reflect weekly. The messier, the less diluted and edited, the better. Very few places and people in this world will allow you to do this, to process authentically. Mimesis is a “gem stone scratch patch/playground” which gives you the space to explore what your truth really is.  Everything that kills your (false) assumptions and embroidered stories, will make you come alive!

Dr. Michael Regier

Most of us need to be jarred loose from old ways of thinking about the Christian faith. While the word of God does not change we need to come to terms with how much human psychology gets wrapped up in the way that we read scripture. It has been fascinating for me to go through this course and see how much of what is written in scripture is copied from pagan myth. No matter how you slice it humans humanize their own relationship with God. We see this happen again and again through out the scriptures.
This course does a great job of deconstructing our humanized assumptions about the mission and message of Jesus. It cuts through the fear and shame based tenants of religious myths that keep us from the transformation that we all long for. It makes sense of the angry God of the Old Testament and redefines the power of the cross. It helps to free us from competitive strivings and shame.
I am grateful as a psychologist to finally find a theology that elevates God and mankind and does away with sacrifice!

Adrienne

I decided to take this course on the recommendation of a friend and it certainly has been beneficial to have several people I know to bounce things off of. That means that there are some rattling of belief boxes that are pretty revolutionary as you begin and as you continue! It has been absolutely exciting as I have opened my heart to the recognition that the things I have believed all my life are not all correct. In fact in opening up to that possibility, my world has been revolutionized in the best of ways. My heart resonates with the truth of who our creator God and Father is which truly is not who I understood Him to be initially. I am so happy in the knowledge of His undivided, infinite Love in a way I have not known before.
Don’t be concerned in the writing of assignments. They are the way the truth comes through in greater clarity! There is no judgement or right or wrong response and to be honest, I don’t think I have had any idea how to answer one of them on first reading. I depend on Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth and He has faithfully brought me into incredible light as I have done the assignments.

Lastly, one really special part of the school,outside of the teachers and teachings, is the rest of the students taking the course. I have grown to love so many of our class as we read one another’s posts and hear their hearts. A very wonderful friendship with so many!
I have been truly blessed and had my eyes opened to so many things it would be impossible to list.
One of the best decisions I’ve made was to take the leap and take the Mimesis Academy Course!

Britt

This course is for anyone who has the ears to hear it and eyes to see it.  On the surface, Mimesis Academy looks and smells academic, and it is, but it is more than that.  Don’t let the name fool you.  It sneaks up on you and takes your heart and soul for a ride. I started out studying it and found it studying me.  Like a unified field theory uniting multiple disciplines in a common understanding of what it is to be fundamentally human, mimetic theory’s scope is so far-reaching it is hard to exaggerate.  This course is not for those who wish to shore up their beliefs or to become more certain of what they already know. There were many times when I had “Why didn’t I take the blue pill?” moments, alternated with moments of epiphanic “ah ha’s.” Once you see certain things, you can’t unsee them.  If you are certain in your faith, it will shake you. If you are shaking in your faith it will certainly bring you joy.   But most profoundly, it brings an understanding of the Gospel that is more ancient than our interpretations, clearing the cobwebs of the traditions of men and our doctrinal speculations.  While the material presented in Mimesis Academy is essential, it is the space of love and acceptance that is carved out here by Andre and Mary-Anne Rabe in the online portion of the course, that becomes this womb of such great conversation, that it brings us to the edge of our seats in a space that makes ready a cradle for the birth of the metanoia moment in anyone who has ears to hear and who is willing to discover what “No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no heart has imagined.”

Fiona

I was keen to embark on this course having come to a huge crisis of faith. Having had the privilege of knowing the Rabes for over ten years, I knew them to be full of God’s light, life and love. They never presume to know all the answers and they present this course with great humility. It is clear that years of studying and being open to new (yet often old but forgotten) ways of looking at Scripture (without ever thinking that they have arrived) have enabled them to share the love God has for us. I’m excited to find that our God is all about inclusivity, love, forgiveness and so much more that we could never have dreamed of!
Eternally grateful,
Fiona Atherton

Mark

Spoiler alert! – This course has changed my view of God beyond what I expected and it  means a profound change for moving forward with my faith. The comments of my new found friends on the course echo a similar transformation. You will need time to process your new thoughts and read the references that far exceeds the relatively short time to read the weekly lessons. But it is worth it for the excitement it brings in seeing who God is and what is written about him in a very different light.