It all started with… dinosaurs. From an early age I was fascinated by these strange creatures that walked the earth millions of years ago. Not surprisingly, as a young boy I wanted to become a paleontologist.
This initial plan concerning my future took a slight turn from the moment I met Michaël Ghijs (1933-2008), a catholic priest and teacher at the high school I was attending. He was also the founding conductor of the boys’ and men’s choir Schola Cantorum Cantate Domino. He enabled his singers, me being one of them, to broaden their horizon on many levels: on the geographical and cultural level by literally travelling the world with us, but also spiritually by living out the message of the Gospel. Inspired by his example and my experiences within his choir, I decided to commit myself to a further exploration of the ‘Christian story’.
I hold a master’s degree in religious studies from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium). It was in Leuven I first encountered the work of René Girard (born in 1923), one of the great intellectuals of our time and immortel of the Académie Française. A little book by a great theologian, Knowing Jesus by James Alison, set me on track to discover Girard’s further developed mimetic theory. For me, this became an anthropological and interdisciplinary starting point to challenge the richness of the Christian tradition. It affected me in a very profound way, and I’m convinced that the thought provoking power of mimetic theory can support our multi layered human society on the road to ‘post-sacrificial’ peace.
Eventually, I wrote a book in Dutch entitled Vrouwen, Jezus en rock-‘n-roll. Met René Girard naar een dialoog tussen het christelijk verhaal en de populaire cultuur (Averbode, 2009), which translates to Women, Jesus and rock-‘n-roll. Taking René Girard to a dialogue between the Christian story and popular culture. I also became a member of the Dutch Girard Society and of COV&R (the Colloquium on Violence & Religion).
This blog is dedicated to share thoughts and information on mimetic theory, as well as meditations inspired by the Christian story.
I’m currently teaching at a Jesuit High School, Sint-Jozefscollege, in Aalst (Belgium). In my spare time I keep on singing, as an alto or countertenor, trained at Schola Cantorum Cantate Domino as I mentioned (I was a member from 1991-2010 – more information at www.cantatedomino.com). I took part in several recordings, both as a choir member and as a soloist – to listen to some fragments of those recordings, click:
Nowadays I’m singing mostly in ensembles like El Grillo (www.elgrillo.be) and Incensum.
One might ask what became of my interest in dinosaurs. Well, through it all, it’s still there… It’s still there because, in hindsight, my fascination for those strange creatures can be considered as a seed that grew into an inquisitiveness for everything that was other than myself – the odd and unique world in which we all live. This inquisitiveness became a love for the gift of reality and an experience of grace. The blog you’re visiting is a small attempt to share some aspects of that joyful experience. From a thankful awareness of what came before, I’m watching for the hopeful presence of ‘the ultimate Other’ – the One whose contours are creatively present in the midst of our efforts to become a loving human community.
Thank you for your ‘watchful’ visit!
As for the pace of posts appearing on this blog, the Slow Blog Manifesto says it all…
For more on how things used to be in the Cantate Domino boys’ and men’s choir,
CLICK TO WATCH: