Walk Away René

by Timothy Lusch

You’re Not To Blame

The One By Whom Scandal Comes by René Girard 

I can’t help but think of the Left Banke’s 1966 chart breaking song when I read the Frenchman René Girard. Historian, critic, and anthropological philosopher, Girard wrote deeply and widely. Known primarily for his work, Violence and the Sacred, as well as his mimetic (imitative) theory of desires and rivalry (with profound thoughts on scapegoating), he sheds great light on the thinking, acting, and mythologizing of our age. He is worth reading by non-academics for many reasons, chief among them that Girard writes of human development from the perspective of several disciplines (philosophy, sociology, literature) with penetrating theological understanding. He is not so narrow as to be blind to the big picture, or so broad as to miss the quotidian experiences of human life. Reading Girard, who died only last year, you will discover, as the lead singer of the Left Banke did, that “the empty sidewalks on my block are not the same.”

“The Church has never been a scapegoat more than it is today. But one must see the symbolic value of this: whatever the Church may have lost by its compromises with the world, its enemies now give back by obliging it to play the same role as Christ. This is its true vocation. And now that it has been reaffirmed, it will enable the Church to shake off the indolence and decadence of the age that is now drawing to a close. ”