Book Review- Down We Go: Living into the Wild Ways of Jesus by Kathy Escobar

by Mark Votava

down_we_go

What a great book by Kathy Escobar!  I love this book because it places an emphasis on being in relationship with the marginalized.  Kathy emphasizes the practice of love, community, dreaming, inclusion, equality, creativity, justice and freedom.  This book is a call to reimagine our humanity as created in the image of God, to dream together, value all people and embody authentic relationships in our lives.

  • Diversity is difficult

“Diversity usually sounds best in theory.  Most of us profess that groups are stronger and better when they include a wide range of people and experiences.  However, humans have a natural propensity towards homogeneity and structures that keep us safely contained with other people mostly like us… We tend to stick with other people who look like us, think like us, act like us and believe like us.  It makes life much easier…”

  • Becoming active networkers and bridge builders

“Breaking down ‘us and them’ means we become active networkers and bridge builders within our local communities, fostering peace, partnership, and open-handed generosity with a diverse range of people.  Why?  Because inside each person is the image of God just waiting to be discovered.  We unveil that image through the gift of loving relationship.”

  • Learning to live with the paradoxes

“If we can’t accept the paradoxes in ourselves, it is impossible to accept them in others.  This means we won’t be able to live in free and generous ‘with’ relationships because we will constantly be consciously or unconsciously working to squeeze the paradox out, instead of learning to live in its tension with others.”

  • Cultivating community requires a practice of love

“…cultivating a community requires an extremely high level of relationship that most of us haven’t really learned to do well… Christianity has largely become a system of belief, as opposed to the practice of love…”

  • The courage to dream

“Never be afraid to dream.”

  • Living with a spirit of inclusion instead of exclusion

“People engaging in a life of descent give power to those who have never had it before in noticeable, concrete ways.  They live with a courageous spirit of inclusion instead of exclusion.  They recognize that in the Kingdom of God there is room for everyone.  What’s critically important, though, is that we make sure we give to people different from us.”

  • Imagining a world where equality is the norm

“It’s hard to imagine a world where equality is the norm.  We just have to dream a little.  We have to see the world from God’s perspective, a world in which each of us is valuable and worth it.  Each of us has a deeply embedded sense of dignity, regardless of gender, race, nationality or creed.  With a sense of the intrinsic value of people at the core, we can begin to create a better reality.”

What others books would you recommend that have similar themes to Down We Go?