- Series: Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and the Search for What Save
- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Beacon Press; New edition edition (November 18, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0807067970
- ISBN-13: 978-0807067970
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #430,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Proverbs of Ashes : Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and the Search for What Saves Us New edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
"Your maxims are proverbs of ashes!" Thus spoke Job when his friends spouted pious platitudes in the face of his considerable suffering. Brock, a Harvard theologian, and Parker, a seminary president, echo Job's cry in this deep theological study of suffering and its role in the Christian faith. The two women became friends in graduate school and continued to meet after graduation, discussing their personal lives and how their experiences shaped their theology. "We were convinced Christianity could not promise healing for victims of intimate violence as long as its central image was a divine parent who required the death of his child," writes Brock. The two authors take turns communicating their views, sharing deep and painful traumas (such as Parker's childhood sexual abuse, estranged marriage and abortion) as they weigh the concept of "redemptive suffering." Too many Christian women, they argue, have remained in abusive situations because they have been taught that their suffering is necessary for spiritual growth. The authors are serious theologians, confidently challenging such explicators of the faith as Anselm and Abelard, Wesley and Whitehead. Readers may not agree with Brock and Parker that the fundamental Christian doctrine of Jesus' atonement is inherently dangerous and destructive for Christians, especially women. But they cannot help but be swayed by the book's searing passion and profoundly literary writing style (a remarkable achievement in a coauthored work). Brock and Parker have thrown down a gauntlet that cannot be ignored.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Brock (director, Fellowship Program, Radcliffe Inst., Harvard Univ.) and Parker (president, Starr King Sch. for the Ministry, Graduate Theological Union) have written an intensely personal and provocative book. They aim to show that the theological assertion that God required the death of Jesus to save the world sanctions violence. This is not a theological text but more of a dual memoir in which the authors alternately tell the stories of their lives, emphasizing the violence that they have encountered. Basing theology on their own experiences is not a problem, but on balance, the narratives swamp the theological arguments presented here. The most telling indictment of the harmful effects of traditional Christian views comes from their stories of women who have stayed in abusive relationships because they felt that the church taught them to accept suffering passively, if not gratefully. A first step in an interesting but unfinished theological project, this is recommended for larger public libraries and academic libraries with religious studies and women's studies collections. Stephen Joseph, Butler Cty. Community Coll., PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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My soul was deeply moved by the writings of authors Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Parker. Proverbs of Ashes speaks to the pain I experience as an Christian. As I recognize the immense power of story in people's lives, I find myself grimacing more and more at the reality that the story that has primacy in the Christian tradition is the story of the crucifixion of Jesus. The story is at its very core a violent story, and one that brings humiliation and shame (as do domestic violence and sexual abuse). Nakashima Brock and Parker describe that angst without apology. They don't sugar coat it; they don't try to lessen the pain. They acknowledge and name it, and therein lies the seed of healing.
This is a book for those pondering the violence in our Christian tradition. It is a book for those who are questioning their place in the Christian church, especially those who have experienced violence or abuse. This is a book for the church to ponder. It is time to reorient our focus in Jesus' story from death to resurrection, to locate salvation beyond just a personal relationship with Jesus to a recognition of the whole human family, and to live out the compassion that can be found at the root of every world religion. This book is a starting point for that grand journey of the world's soul.
Conservative Christians will not like this book. I'm telling you that right now. But they are not the intended audience. This book is for those who have been hurt by religion, for those who have been hurt by lovers, for those struggling with depression, and for those who are totally worn out from pretending they're okay and everything is fine, when their lives are falling apart around them. Even more so, this book is for those who have been hurt by religion, or in the name of religion, but who do not want to leave Jesus behind.
I actually gave a copy to a friend who was struggling from her broken relationship and resulting abortion. One of the authors experiences matched that of my friend very closely, and my friend was very grateful to hear the message that she is not alone. Whereas other authors might condemn such an act, the last thing anybody hurting enough to consider suicide needs is a religious message about how bad abortion is and how they have sinned so badly. The authors of Proverbs of Ashes do not condemn. They sympathize. Their message of "me too" is one of the most meaningful things anybody in that situation can hear. They recognize the pain abortion can and does cause, but at the same time, they tell how they worked (and are continuing to work) through their situation.
I read this book because it was recommended within some other book, of which I don't recall.
If you are willing to learn, and you are not afraid of crying, please read this book. I would not be at all the man I am today were it not for reading this book and a few others like it. Yes, this book is classified under feminist theology, and yes I am a totally straight guy, and yes this book did help me a lot. Though my takeaway from the book may not be that of others, I have learned to be gentle with others, to treat women with respect that is lacking in many relationships today, and to be a kinder man. And for those reasons, I am profoundly grateful that the authors chose to share their lives so candidly with me, a reader they will never know and who comes from very different circumstances as themselves. It took a lot of courage for Rita and Rebecca to write this book, but I am so glad they did. Thank you.