15 Great Quotes from Kathy Escobar’s book Down We Go: Living Into the Wild Ways of Jesus

by Mark Votava


I became familiar with Kathy Escobar’s work several years ago as I read her book Down We Go.  She is a spiritual director and co-pastors a community in North Denver called The Refuge.  I absolutely love this woman’s writing, blogging and passion.  Her new book Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart just came out last week and I can’t wait to read it as I think it will be one of the best books of the year!

We all should learn from, study and pay attention to this wonderful women as her voice is prophetic in the twenty-first century.  One of the things she encourages people to do is stop going to church to save their souls.  She thinks the whole system of church is unhealthy and there needs to be a faith shift within ourselves to embrace something more honest and authentic.  Here are some great quotes from her book Down We Go (I absolutely love this book) that came out a few years ago:

  • Seeing hurting people find authentic, healing community

1. “There is nothing more beautiful to me than seeing hurting people find authentic, healing community.”

  • In the darkness and pain

2. “When I am with my friends in the darkness and pain, I am acutely aware of God’s presence more than in my comfortable places.”

  • Structures that keep us safely contained with other people mostly like us

3. “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 toward homogeneity and structures that keep us safely contained with other people mostly like us.  A herd mentality permeates much of our current culture – including the church.  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.  People who aren’t like us usually bug us.  Our differences can create a wedge between us because we don’t know how to hold a space for disagreement…”

  • A cost we may not actually want to pay

4. “Relationships will be the most difficult and spiritually transforming experiences we will ever participate in, but they require a cost – a cost that when we’re really honest, we may not actually want to pay…”

  • The poor, unloved, lonely, rejected, outcast, marginalized, and oppressed

5. “If the Gospel is true, then the place that we should be looking to live out our faith is not only to the pretty and popular, but also towards the margins – the poor, unloved, lonely, rejected, outcast, marginalized, and oppressed…”

  • I’ve got it all figured out attitude

6. “An ‘I’ve got it all figured out’ attitude leaves no room for God or others.”

  • Our disconnectedness from the heart and soul of another human being

7. “Invisibility has to do with our disconnectedness from the heart and soul of another human being, which then disconnects us from the reality of God.  It has to do with our weird prejudices that lead us to believe that certain people are acceptable, and other people aren’t.  It has to do with our busyness, self-centeredness and tendency to hoard and self-protect.  It has to do with generations upon generations of invisibility in families, with no end in sight.  It has to do with our fear of truly engaging in the messiest parts of other’s lives, that cause us to pretend that we don’t see, don’t know or don’t have time.  It has to do with being known and seen in the midst of our own mess and our tendency to want to stay invisible, too.”

  • Finding hope in the midst of pain

8. “…everyone experiences pain.  When it comes to finding hope in the midst of pain, those who look like they are at the bottom have remarkable gifts they can offer to those who look like they are on top…”

  • With each other relationships

9. “’With’ relationships are messy, unpredictable, hard, confusing, and sure to tap into our pain, history, fears, and annoyed, frustrated places.  I understand how easy it is to stick with ‘to’ and ‘for’ models of relationship.  They protect us because they keep us in a place of power.  They keep the focus off of us and on the other person.  In the end, we don’t need ‘them;’ they just need ‘us.’  Even though that’s easier, I believe that ‘with each other’ relationships create true transformation.”

  • The undeniable dignity that each human person possesses

10. “Our basis for interdependence is the undeniable dignity that each human possesses.  When we begin with the dignity of each human being, we can begin to transcend the judgments that typically tear us apart.  It gives us the courage to be whole in the midst of brokenness.”

  • Vulnerability and transparency

11. “Vulnerability begins with transparency…”

  • Taking God out of the box

12. “Without taking God out of the box, we’ll never be able to make what could be, a reality.”

  • Living in community together in a variety of contexts

13. “Since we need to be active participants in cultivating the Kingdom now, we have to create new wineskins – radically different models of living in community together in a wide variety of contexts…”

  • It’s hard to dream

14. “For a lot of us, it’s hard to dream.  Almost every time I challenge people to dream it stirs up fear and trouble.  We’ve hoped before and had many of our dreams dashed, mocked and called unrealistic or impractical.  I know that many have tried to make their dreams a reality in systems that rejected them, and they lost a lot of hope.  The thought of opening hearts back up again is too scary…”

  • Learn the ways of love

15. “The only way to actually learn the ways of love is to extend it, try it, do it, risk it, live it – to enter into another person’s life and let someone into ours.”

What is your favorite quote?