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