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Hereafter-Focus

"Abelard, Heloise, Bernard, and Hildegard were harbingers of change in Western Europe that would long shape the modern world’s understanding of love. Bernard’s Christian faith, loving and yearning, pastoral and kind, had a Janus face of hatred for the “other” that sanctified killing for God as a form of love and exalted self-abasement as true love. Hildegard’s affirmations of incarnation, the greening of the soul, could be glimpsed in cloistered life, but it could not overcome the horrors of the age. She held the beauty of Christ suspended beyond Bernard’s world of Eros and Mars, until it could be fulfilled in the future. Abelard’s scholasticism and use of logic were the first glimpse of education independent of the church; at the same time, his ideal of self-sacrificing love as the highest Christian moral achievement encouraged victims to acquiesce to violence in passive, forgiving love. Heloise stood in a long line of Christian dissenters who rejected the worship of violence, the demonizing of sexuality, and the valorization of suffering. She offered a love grounded in honesty, mutual care, obligation, and responsible uses of power."    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parkera ; Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, p. 305


"The non-ethical practices and beliefs in historical Christianity nearly all centre on the winning of heaven and immortality. On the other hand, the Kingdom of God can be established by nothing except righteous life and action."    - Walter Rauschenbusch ; A Theology for the Social Gospel, p. 15


"The non-ethical practices and beliefs in historical Christianity nearly all centre on the winning of heaven and immortality. On the other hand, the Kingdom of God can be established by nothing except righteous life and action. There is nothing in social Christianity which is likely to breed or reinforce superstition. The more the social gospel engages and inspires theological thought, the more will religion be concentrated on ethical righteousness. The social gospel is bound to be a reformatory and Christianizing force inside of theology."    - Walter Rauschenbusch ; A Theology for the Social Gospel, p. 15


"Popular forms of Christianity that embrace redemptive violence and look to heaven in a world to come have become a major public and political voice for Christianity in recent decades. Reiterating Christian perspectives that echo imperial Christianity, they bless conquest and colonization, privilege those with wealth and status, sanction war against “evildoers,” and exploit the environment. The paradise they offer is on the other side of the end of the world. Their apocalyptic expectations imagine that God’s plan is to destroy this earth and rapture an elect few into heaven."    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parkera ; Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, p. 378


"Rather than engage people more deeply in the world, the Great Awakening lifted the soul beyond earthly life, to the 'upper world.' Edwards’s earthly loves had always to point beyond themselves—to primary beauty—and, as he said, even the love of other human beings was 'secondary beauty.' To look through earth into heaven, through death into eternity, through the beloved into God was the spiritual ideal. To love in this way was always to have your heart, mind, and soul turned elsewhere, perpetually departing the present for something better. Edwards’s beauty did not draw people into ethical engagement with life in this world, but moved them beyond the spirits in trees and clouds, dirt and rain, fish and deer, and bodies and winds. He asked them to dwell with one foot always in another, better world, not here, not now."    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parkera ; Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, p. 371


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