A Student Reflects on Rebecca Parker’s Visit

May 10, 2019

By: Emily Bruce, MDiv ‘19

I am so grateful to Prof. Mark Heim for arranging Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker’s recent visit to Andover Newton Seminary. In our UU Theology class this semester, we read two of her books - Saving Paradise and A House for Hope. Both books brought up a lot of questions and ideas for us. Having her here so that we could sit with her and ask those questions was invaluable! 
I was most energized by our conversations around defining liberal and/or progressive theology - how it supports liberation in many ways but also how it can often live alongside classism, racism and inequality. Disentangling those two is difficult work, and it was inspiring to hear from a leading voice in the UUA about the progression of that work in our faith. 
Rev. Dr. Parker was a wise and witty presence and our long conversation over dinner was an incredibly worthwhile experience for me and my UU peers. I was also grateful that she made time for a public conversation with Prof. Heim the following day, which was open to our community. Attendance was robust, and there were students from many different faith traditions present to hear from her and ask questions. Many told me afterwards how edifying the conversations was and I know at least a few of them have already bought her books for summer reading. I hope Rev. Dr. Parker will return, and I expect that this experience has laid a groundwork for more visits from theologians like her in the future.