Changing Yourself to Change the World
by Kathy Escobar
Pub Date 18 Feb 2020
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You have more power to change the world than you realize—and it starts with changing yourself.
From the masses of young people spurning organized religion to faithful followers of Jesus, there is a deep hunger across gender, age, socioeconomics, and denominational backgrounds for practical, tangible ways to live a life of love, mercy, and justice in our divided, fragmented world. But where do we start? It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the world's problems, with solutions to violence and poverty and oppression seeming so far out of reach.
In Practicing, Pastor Kathy Escobar inspires and challenges readers with practical encouragement to live their faith through real action using ten transformational practices, including listening more, including the marginalized, advocating for justice, and mourning with those who grieve. By putting our hearts, hands, and feet behind our good intentions, we can transform our groups, our communities, and our world. Extremely interactive, relational, and practical, Practicing can be read alone or processed together with a group, church, or class.
“Kathy is a leader I trust completely. Her work is so vital, so needed in our current landscape as the church struggles to navigate a path forward that is healthy and life-giving and truly an embodiment of Good News. Tender, weary, disoriented ones, take heart: here is your pastor. Kathy is a faithful companion to those who wander, stumble, and against all odds continue to hope.”
—Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist and Miracles and Other Reasonable Things
“I don’t go to Kathy for the latest social justice hot take. I go to her to learn how to translate meaningful ideas into meaningful action—to move from speaking truth to living out the truth in sustainable ways among the complicated realities of human lives intersecting one another. She never promises quick fixes, but the slow labor of practicing in the direction of justice. She lives this stuff, as you’ll see inside the pages of this book, and she lit the road so we can travel on it together."
—Cindy Wang Brandt, author of Parenting Forward: How to Raise Children with Justice, Mercy, and Kindness
“Kathy Escobar understands that the call toward authentic living is sacred and holy and for the greater good. In Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, she shares the wisdom of her journey with fellow travelers who dare to take the road less traveled by. Her clear and cogent guide is the kind of companion we all need as we practice generous living in these turbulent times.”
—Paula Stone Williams, TED Speaker and advocate for gender equity
“There are few people who live so fully, so thoughtfully, so serenely as Kathy Escobar. Now she has written a marvelous guide to help the rest of us do the same. A wise and gracious primer on life in the Spirit.”
—Philip Gulley, Quaker pastor and author of If the Church Were Christian
“In an era of world history where the word ‘Christian’ has become synonymous with theological debate, social inaction, and discrimination, Practicing emerges as a healing balm, offering a practical guide for people of faith to reconnect with our faith not just on a pious or intellectual level, but in a way that impacts every aspect of our lives. With winsomeness, insight, and practical teaching, Escobar guides us on a path that will breathe new life into our faith and cause Christians to become a people who not only believe, but embody Good News to ourselves, to others, and to the world around us. If you’re ready for a spiritual renewal, read this book!”
—Brandan Robertson, Lead Pastor of Missiongathering San Diego and author of The Gospel of Inclusion: A Christian Case for LGBT+ Inclusion in the Church
“Changing ourselves to change the world inspires me. I love the way that Kathy calls us not just to personal reflection and action but also to community action. Kathy’s diverse experience and her willingness to be vulnerable provide a unique and enriching approach to spiritual practices that is refreshing to read and compelling to apply to our lives. This is a very important book for all who want to grow in faith and deepen their intimacy with God.”
—Christine Aroney-Sine, contemplative, activist, author of The Gift of Wonder, and facilitator Godspacelight.com
“Kathy Escobar’s book is a welcomed work, especially now when so many good people are overwhelmed with bad things happening in the world. Kathy’s concern for seeing healthy values translated into effective action is evident not only in her own life, but also in the lives of the communities she’s associated with. Each chapter is so deep, informative, and helpful. But at the end of each chapter she helps us render it into everyday living. What a great resource for personal transformation, community development, and world change!” —David Hayward, the 'nakedpastor'
“Amidst the chaos of a deeply divided world, as well as churches that have conflated the Good News with the illusion of the American dream, there has risen a heart-wrenching cry for love, dignity, and genuine belonging. Kathy Escobar hears and responds with hard-won wisdom that is pastoral, humble, and refreshingly honest. Drawing deeply from her Christian roots, the practices she teaches are not only well-researched but have been well-honed through the beautiful ‘everyday’ of real life with real people. If you want to learn more about what love looks like, read this book. If you want to become a lover of human souls, read this book. If you want to create a community of love, read this together. While it will certainly bring some discomfort, I am convinced that what Kathy Escobar offers is the most gospel-oriented, practical book on personal and communal transformation that exists today.”
—Ellen Haroutunian, M.A., psychotherapist, Benedictine oblate, and spiritual director
“A good book delivers on its promise and this book does just that—challenging us to explore questions of faith that refuse to find satisfaction in a pithy response. We are invited to explore and venture out of our comfort zones—to practice—and dare to change. Practicing does not raise a ruckus and leave us hanging like an unscrupulous contractor who vanishes halfway through a major home renovation project. Instead, it allows for our fear of change while refusing to bow to the relentless pressure to stay small and safe. Kathy provides us a map and perhaps most importantly—permission. Permission to try, to fall down and to rise. Permission to have a little faith. What a great book!"
—Teresa McBean, co-pastor at Northstar Community and Executive Director of the National Association for Christian Recovery.
“Practicing reminds us how much we need each other, and how much we need to see what is right with us. This book nudges us all closer to ourselves, to each other, and to God by outlining simple spiritual practices. It is an essential guide for transformation in the messy and beautiful.” —Jan Shegda, M.A., PCC, IEA Accredited Professional, Founder of Clarity Coaching, and Enneagram Teacher