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Paradise-on-Earth

"The eros of beauty calls to us and bids us be fully in the world, attentive to particularities, emotionally alive, open to grace, and responsive to injustice."    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker ; Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, p. 419


"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


"Living justly in this world requires people to name evil and sin accurately. Since the tenth century, Christian theology has often obfuscated violence, calling torment redemptive, sanctioning war as holy, deeming invasion to be liberation, and invoking self-annihilation as love. Precise recognition of that which harms life is a prerequisite for living in this world as paradise."    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parkera ; Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, p. 399


"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


"What brought about these changes? Why did Christians turn from a vision of paradise in this life to a focus on the Crucifixion and final judgment? How did images of terror, torture, and the desolation of the earth come to permeate the religious imagination of Western Christianity?"    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parkera ; Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, p. 224


"The community’s work was to restore human life in paradise by healing the sick, instructing the ignorant, loving its neighbors, liberating the captives, resisting evil, practicing nonviolence, and appreciating the beauties of life. This understanding of salvation permeated many regions and branches of the first millennium of Christianity."    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parkera ; Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, p. 170


"Today this passage [John 3:16] is invariably interpreted to mean that God placed Jesus in the world to die on the cross, but at no point does this story mention death. It does not use the Greek verb paradidomai, the word that John’s Gospel specifically uses to describe the action of those who 'gave' or 'handed over' Jesus to be crucified. John 19:16 makes clear that Pilate, not God, 'handed him over to them to be crucified.' Jesus’s words to Nicodemus are about birth and life, not death and the afterlife."    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parkera ; Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, p. 40


"Loose the bonds of injustice, Undo the thongs of the yoke, Let the oppressed go free, bring the homeless poor into your house, offer your food to the hungry, and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the dawn, you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isa. 58:6—11, excerpts)"    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker ; Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, p. 21


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