Community and Connection: 8 Challenging Quotes from Kathy Escobar’s New Book – Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart

by Mark Votava


This book by Kathy Escobar is a piece of quality writing.  She engages us in a critical time when there are a lot of people disillusioned, frustrated, hurt and angry at the systems of what we call “church” in North America.  Kathy is a trusted guide of deep wisdom and guidance through what some have called the dark night of the soul when it seems everything is lost.  Here are 8 challenging quotes from the book:

  • Where we’ve been and where we might need to go

1. “Shifting can go on for years while we consider where we’ve been and where we might need to go.  For some, there will be no turning back.  Our only option is to give ourselves over to the even more terrifying and tumultuous stage of Unraveling, where we shed much of what we built in the early stages of our faith.  But for others, giving ourselves over to these shifts is too risky.  The best way to shortcut these painful feelings is to return to where we feel more comfortable – back to traditional systems and confines of a more defined and clear faith (Fusing).”

  • Feeling untethered and on shaky ground

2. “Regardless of how we get there, we start feeling untethered and on shaky ground after once feeling secure.”

  • Leaving behind the unstated and unwritten rules

3. “Affiliation, conformity, and certainty are intrinsically part of Fusing and help form what I call ‘My 10 Commandments of a Fused Faith,’ the unstated and unwritten rules of behavior and belief that guide our thoughts, feelings, and actions as believers.  These commandments summarize what directed us during the Fusing process and illustrate what we begin to leave behind as our faith shifts.  Each of us has different ones that come from our own unique experience…”

  • Don’t let what doesn’t work trip you up

4. “Don’t let what doesn’t work trip you up and instead focus on what does or what might.”

  • Celebrating or honoring

5. “This idea of celebrating or honoring is often missing from conversations during deconstructing and Unraveling.  We can share so much anger, angst, and harshness about what was wrong with our faith and church experiences that we forget that some things – many, actually – were right about them too.  Some of us have more good memories or substance than others to celebrate, but this practice can be incredibly restorative as we move beyond Unraveling and further into Rebuilding.”

  • Addressing the subtle or direct negative messages that block our movement

6. “…it’s impossible to ignite our passions without addressing the subtle or direct negative messages that block our movement.  We may have to accept that some of our friends and family may never understand, and we have to do what we need to do anyway…”

  • Exploring possibilities for community and connection

7. “Often, even the thought of risking, trusting, trying, engaging again in any organized context feels too overwhelming.  But part of moving forward as we rebuild our faith is exploring possibilities for community and connection.”

  • Cultivating a freer faith despite the costs

8. “Some people might have given up on us, but God hasn’t.  There is so much hope!  A huge sign of life is that we are actually still in, trying to talk about this hard stuff and willing to engage with difficult questions and painful realities.  People may criticize us and call us lost, angry, or a host of other adjectives, but the most enduring thing is that we’re still trying to find our way toward God…  It’s glorious that you are wrestling with cultivating a freer faith despite the costs.”

Where have you found signs of life after Unraveling?