“Like being dragged through a bush backwards”: Hints of the shape of conversion’s adventure (Alison, 2010)

It is a very great honour to have been asked by you to share some thoughts about conversion in your midst. You have invited me to develop hints of the way that the understanding of Christianity which I have been pursuing in the light of the thought of René Girard, can open up insights for us. Insights into the role of participation and conversion in religious knowing; into the place of contemplation and the spiritual disciplines in developing ‘post-conversion eyes’; and into how belonging to the Eucharistic community of disciples, with all the attendant difficulties to do with processing conflict, plays its part. Given that this is a modest little question, requiring no more than three or four months worth of lectures, but that I have only a single shot at it, I thought I would at least try open the matter up by means of reading the parable of the Good Samaritan with you, since I think that it plunges us directly in medias res.