This is an unusual book, combining memoir with theology. Both authors contribute their life stories, which for the most part do not intersect. The authors argue that the traditional Western Christian focus on Jesus' suffering on the cross has resulted in a too easy acceptance of suffering, and in particular, has encouraged women to remain in abusive relationships.
Parker relates the story of Anola Reed, who was counseled by a a fellow Methodist minister, who tried to help her escape from an abusive relationship. Instead, Reed remained with her husband, considering it her religious duty to keep the family together. Eventually, her husband killed her. Parker then writes of a woman she herself counseled, named Lucia. She had been repeatedly beaten by her husband, and had years before been told by a priest, "If you love Jesus, accept the beatings and bear them gladly, as Jesus bore the cross." Parker told Lucia that she need not accept her husband's beatings. Lucia left her husband.
Brock was born in Japan, of a Japanese mother and American GI father. She grew up in Kansas as a Christian, though she was aware of Buddhist relatives. When Brock's mother left for the United States with her husband, Brock's grandfather said to her, "In his country, people are Christians. Your family want you to know that, if you decide to become a Christian, it will be all right. We will still love you, and you will still be our daughter." Would that Judaism, Christianity and Islam had such a liberal attitude. I'm afraid, however, that the dominant position of the three Abrahamic religions in the world is in part based on their intolerance of out-conversion.
Brock grew up with a Christianity that was dour and pious, until she became close to a family who put fun into fundamentalism. They never convinced her, however, of the literal truth of the Bible and creationism, and it being the 1960's, she opted for a version of Christianity which emphasized social justice. I can relate to this experience myself, as my own Orthodox Jewish background was mostly a serious of don'ts--"don't eat unkosher, don't ride on the Sabbath" until I met Hasidic Jews who combined a number of spiritual do's with the don'ts. They even convinced me of creationism for a while, before I broke away from them.