Special Message from SKSM Board Chair

Dear Friends of Starr King,

I’m delighted to share with you that Rebecca Parker and Rita Nakashima Brock’s new book, Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire (Beacon Press, 2008) has been named one of the 2008 “Best Books of the Year” in the religion category. Publisher’s Weekly selected the book for this distinction from among 12,000 books in religion released in 2008, saying “This humane and often beautiful study of faith, loss and hope straddles the boundary between historical discovery and spiritual writing.” Read the starred review on Publisher’s Weekly site.

Reviewers praise Saving Paradise for its ground-breaking and transformative theological scholarship, its moving spirituality, its unmasking of Christianity’s unholy turn to violence, and its proposal for a renewal of Christianity grounded in beauty, compassion, justice and love for life. Unitarian Universalists are especially appreciative of Brock and Parker’s work, which places the history of Unitarian and Universalist Christianity in new light.

In a panel discussion of the book at the American Academy of Religion last month, Dr. James Cone commented, “Every theologian should read this book before saying anything else about Jesus’ death and our salvation.” Dr. Daniel Maguire noted, “Brock and Parker do a double service: they peel away the distortions of violent history and they rescue the poetic religious tradition from a prose reading . . . Gentle ideas of the early Jewish and Christian movements imbibed violence in violent times and were transformed in noxious ways. Brock and Parker are healers. Their task is difficult since they are treating illnesses that people have come to love.”

Starr King is proud of its part in supporting the research and writing of this book — it manifests the school’s commitment to nourishing new religious scholarship and to offering vision, insight, and imagination for these days of rising hope and deepening challenges for our nation and globe.

I recommend the book to you, and congratulate Starr King’s President Rebecca Parker and Starr King Visiting Scholar Rita Nakashima Brock on this distinct honor.

In Peace,

Rev. Thomas Disrud
Chair, Starr King Board of Trustees

P.S. You can order a copy of Saving Paradise for yourself or as a holiday gift for family, friends or colleagues, through Beacon Press or Amazon.com. To learn more about the book, go to Saving Paradise.net. We know of one friend of the school who has purchased ten copies to give as gifts this holiday season. Now that’s truly high praise!

P.P.S. If you wish to congratulate Rebecca directly, write to her at rparker@sksm.edu.