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Community

"Ethical grace is full-bodied life in the present—attuned to what is beautiful and good and responsive to legacies of injustice and currents of harm. For ethical grace to flourish, however, we require strong communities, rituals to train perception, and beauty to hold us and give us joy."    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker ; Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, p. 418


"Entering paradise in this life is not an individual achievement but is the gift of communities that train perception and teach ethical grace. Paradise provides deep reservoirs for resistance and joy. It calls us to embrace life’s aching tragedies and persistent beauties, to labor for justice and peace, to honor one another’s dignity, and to root our lives in the soil of this good and difficult earth."    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parkera ; Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, p. 410


"We can come to know the world as paradise when our hearts and souls are reborn through the arduous and tender task of living rightly with one another and the earth. Generosity, nonviolence, and care for one another are the pathways into transformed awareness. Knowing that paradise is here and now is a gift that comes to those who practice the ethics of paradise. This way of living is not Utopian. It does not spring simply from the imagination of a better world but from a profound embrace of this world. It does not begin with knowledge or hope. It begins with love."    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parkera ; Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, p. 409


"Deep mourning is not something a person can do alone. A high tide of grief can drown a stricken soul. Those who are too alone may find they can survive loss only by damping all feeling down. Closure of the heart protects against overwhelming sorrow and debilitating rage. One of the most important functions of religious community is to provide a container for grief. Held in the embrace of a community’s rituals and traditions, grief can find its depth, anger can voice its anguish, and protest can fuel creative action that holds out the possibilities of restored and protected life even in the midst of or aftermath of injustice and tragedy. Paradise is a place for the brokenhearted. Its accommodating environment can hold the sharp pieces of shattered lives, allowing sorrow and despair, incompleteness, rage, and struggle. Within the embrace of paradise—the realm of God’s ongoing creativity, the realm of the Spirit’s all-permeating breath—those who suffer may find balm. The brokenhearted victims of violence, neglect, or abuse may find recovery. Life in paradise does not mean that conflict or despair or injustice are eliminated. It means that being present, fully feeling, and passionately engaged is possible and that the struggle for life can be sustained."    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parkera ; Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, p. 407-408


"Theosis was a collective activity of the whole church community—embodied in love, which is always a social reality and never an individual achievement. Like the interactions of teaching and learning, theosis was a group process. Individual commitment and effort were required, but the divinization of humanity was realized in the common good, not in private salvation."    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parkera ; Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, p. 178


“Democracy is not simply a license to indulge individual whims and proclivities. It is also holding oneself accountable to some reasonable degree for the conditions of peace and chaos that impact the lives of those who inhabit one’s beloved extended community.”    - Aberjhani ; Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays


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