Rita Brock


Rita Nakashima Brock, Rel. M., M.A., Ph.D., is Research Professor of Theology and Culture and Director of the Soul Repair Center. A noted theologian, she has lectured all over the world. As Co-Founder of the Soul Repair Center, Dr. Brock has become an internationally recognized expert on the emerging study of moral injury and recovery. Dr. Brock was a professor of religion for 18 years and held the Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, from 1990-1997. She has taught courses in Asian religions, philosophy of religion, spiritual biography, and Christian feminist theology. In 1997, she became the Director the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College, a think tank for distinguished scientists, scholars, humanitarians, and artists. An experienced non-profit program and institution builder, she was a member of the strategic planning team for the 1999 Radcliffe-Harvard merger that led to the creation of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University. From 2001-2002, she was a fellow at the Harvard Divinity School Center for Values in Public Life.  She is a commissioned minister of the Southwest Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and has served at national and international levels of leadership in her denomination. An award-winning author, her 2008 book, Saving Paradise, co-authored with Rebecca Parker, was a finalist for the American Academy of Religion award for excellence in constructive/reflective theological studies and Publisher’s Weekly selected it as a 2008 best book in religion. In December 2008, she and Dr. Gabriella Lettini began work on the Truth Commission on Conscience in War (, which, in November 2010, recommended extensive public education on moral injury. In response, she and Dr. Lettini co-authored Soul Repair: Recovery from Moral Injury After War(Beacon, 2012).

A native of Fukuoka, Japan, whose mother was trained in nursing by the Red Cross after WW II, Dr. Brock’s birth father was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War and her stepfatherwas a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and the Vietnam War who served 29 years in the military. Dr. Brock earned her Ph.D. in philosophy of religion and theology in 1988 from Claremont Graduate University, becoming the first Asian American woman in the country to earn a doctorate in theology and the first ever to serve on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). From 2004 to 2012, she co-founded and directed Faith Voices for the Common Good, which generated online and in-person networked social change projects for progressive faith leaders and organizations and which helped organize the Truth Commission on Conscience in War. She has held a number of leadership positions in the academy and led the effort to create a program unit in 2013 to study moral injury in religion, society, and culture, a unit she co-chairs with Dr. Elizabeth Bounds of Emory University. 


Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University, 1988
M.A., Claremont Graduate University, 1981
M.Rel., Claremont School of Theology, 1975
B.A., Chapman University, 1972


Commissioned Minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)


  • Special Topics in Religion and Culture - Biblical and Theological Perspectives on Moral Injury and Soul Repair


  • Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury After War, co-authored with Gabriella Lettini. Beacon Press, 2012.
  • Saving Paradise: Recovering Christianity’s Forgotten Love for This Earth, co-authored with Rebecca Ann Parker. Canterbury Press UK, 2012. (British edition of Saving Paradise Beacon, 2008.) Used as festival theme book in Cheltenham, UK, at the annual Greenbelt Arts and Religion Festival.
  • Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, co-authored with Rebecca Ann Parker, Beacon Press. Publishers Weekly starred review as a best book in 2008. Excerpted in UU World, July 2008.
  • Off the Menu: Asian and Asian North American Women’s Religion and Theology, co-edited with Jung Ha Kim, Kwok Pui Lan, and Seung Ai Yang. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007.
  • Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering and the Search for What Saves Us, co-authored with Rebecca Ann Parker. Boston: Beacon Press, 2001.

Journal Articles and Chapters in Books

  • “Coming Home Is Hell: Moral Injury after War” The Continuum Guide to Pastoral Care, eds. Bernadette Flanagan and Sharon Thornton. Continuum Press. Forthcoming 2013.
  • “Dying for Love: Abelard and Liberal Christianity,” Beyond the Pale: Reading Christian Theology from the Margins, Miguel De La Torre and Stacey Floyd Thomas, eds, Westminster John Knox, 2011.
  • “Paradise and Desire: Deconstructing the Eros of Suffering,” Saving Desire: The Seduction of Christian Theology, Jan-Olav Henriksen and LeRon Shultz, eds., W. B. Eerdmanns, 2011.
  • “Eros in Paradise: Resisting Imperial Love,” Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion, special issue, Resisting Imperial Peace, December 2010.
  • “Who Do We Say He Is?” Chalice Introduction to Christian Theology, Peter Goodwin Heltzel, et. al., eds., St. Louis, Chalice Press, 2008.

Professional Affiliations

Editorial Board, Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion
American Academy of Religion (AAR)
Society for Biblical Literature (SBL)
Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT), U.S. Group
Pacific, Asian, North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry (PANAAWTM)
Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative (APARRI)
PEN American Center, A Global Literary Community
Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS)
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ): Gay and Lesbian Affirming Disciples (GLAD), Disciples Peace Fellowship (DPF) (President 1985-87), North American Pacific Asian Disciples (NAPAD)
Forrest-Moss Institute of the Christian Church (Disciples), Founding and Lifetime member (Secretary and Project Director from 1991-96). An Association of Feminist Scholars in Religion
Association of Disciples for Theological Discussion (Program Chair 1991, Chaplain 1992)
Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP), Los Angeles, CA