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Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empireby Rebecca Ann Parker
Synopses & Reviews
Rev. Rita Nakashima Brock, Ph.D., is Founding Co-Director of Faith Voices for the Common Good, an organization dedicated to educating the public about the values and concerns of religious leaders and organizations. She also works with The New Press in New York as Senior Editor in Religion. During 2001-2002, she was a Fellow at the Harvard Divinity School Center for Values in Public Life. From 1997-2001, Dr. Brock directed the Fellowship Program at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, formerly called the Bunting Institute, and the seven years before she became an administrator, she held an endowed professorship at Hamline University. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Dr. Brock’s first book, Journeys By Heart: A Christology of Erotic Power won the Crossroads/Continuum Publishing Company award for the most outstanding manuscript in women’s studies in 1988. She is the coauthor of Casting Stones: Prostitution and Liberation in Asia and the United States, which won the Catholic Press Award in Gender Studies in 1996, and the coauthor of Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and the Search for What Saves Us and Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love for This World for Crucifixion and Empire. In addition to publishing many essays, she was an editor and contributor to Guide to the Perplexing: A Survival Manual for Women in Religious Studies, Setting the Table: Women in Theological Conversation, and Off the Menu: Asian and North American Asian Women’s Religion and Theology. Dr. Brock has lectured in Australia, New Zealand, England, Germany, Denmark, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, and Canada, as well as throughout the United States and is a member of the U. S. group of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians, the leading global organization of liberation theoloigans. Her work continues to interweave religious questions with issues of justice in the U.S. and international contexts. As an active member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Dr. Brock has served on its General Board and Administrative Committees and, from 1996-1998, was the first Chair of the Common Global Ministries Board, a joint venture of the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ. In 1993, she represented the National Council of Churches on an ecumenical, international, high-level delegation to Guatemala and El Salvador to support the peace-making processes in both countries. She lives in Oakland, CA.
The Rev. Dr. Rebecca Ann Parker has been President of Starr King School for the Ministry since 1990 and Professor of Theology since 2001, the first woman to serve as the permanent head of an accredited theological school. An ordained United Methodist minister, Parker has dual fellowship with the United Methodist Church and the Unitarian Universalist Association. She is coauthor, with Rita Nakashima Brock, of Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering and the Search for What Saves Us and Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love for This World for Crucifixion and Empire. She is also coauthor, with John Buehrens, of A House for Hope: The Promise of Progressive Religion for the Twenty-first Century and coauthor,
One of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2008
During their first millennium, Christians filled their sanctuaries with images of Christ as a livingpresence-as a shepherd, teacher, healer, or an enthroned god. He is serene and surrounded by lush scenes, depictions of this world as paradise. Yet once he appeared as crucified, dying was virtually all Jesus seemed ableto do, and paradise disappeared from the earth. Saving Paradise turns a fascinating new lens on Christianity, from its first centuries to the present day, asking how its early vision ofbeauty evolved into a vision of torture, and what changes in society and theology marked that evolution. It also retrieves, for today, a life-affirming Christianity that the world sorely needs.
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