blog down we goinspiration & challenge for ecclesial dreamers, church burn-outs, missional practitioners, and ordinary people who want to live out the ways of Jesus in practice. 

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down we go: living into the wild ways of Jesus in paperback & kindle (released june 2011 by civitas press)

based on the idea of living into the beatitudes, this book explores what it means to follow Jesus down into the hard places of suffering, inequality, and injustice in order to cultivate, hope, beauty, justice, equality, generosity and healing.  in all kinds of ways, this is the project that’s nearest & dearest to my heart because it embodies so much of what i believe about living out the kingdom of God in the here and now.

here’s a little excerpt:

“The dream of living out the upside-down ways of Jesus is in our hearts, but many don’t know how to make “what could be” really be. We need practical, tangible ideas to make dreams reality. We need to hear how it can work, from people on the margins and practitioners living in the trenches. We need real stories of practice that will fan our hopes and dreams for justice, mercy, equality, and healing in the kingdom of God into flame. Down We Go fleshes out practicing the ways of Jesus in action, personally and through life in community.”

watch this video for a little bit more about what’s inside:

section 1 – downward mobility

1. it stinks down here but i really love the smell

2. dreams are prettier when they are just dreams

3. there is no “us and them”, only us

4. “the kingdom isn’t going to just drop out of the sky”

section 2 – creating life down here

5.  extending love, mercy, and compassion

6. welcoming pain

7. honoring doubt

8. diffusing power

9, practicing equality

10. pursuing justice

11. expressing creativity

12. celebrating freedom

section 3 – staying the course

13. beautiful and hazardous

14. we may look like losers

15. we may be crazy but we’re not alone

16. born again and again and again

check out the latest amazon reviews

you can buy it paperback or e-reader formats on amazon, barnes & noble or at civitas press

here are some reactions to down we go:

“Like Kathy Escobar, and like a lot of Christians, I’ve spent a huge chunk of time and energy trying to climb the ladders of religious success. Ascend to higher knowledge. Rise to loftier faith. Climb to a position of more influence. You know the drill. But like Kathy, I keep discovering that this upwardly-mobile program is about 180 degrees off course. The way of Jesus, the way of the Kingdom of God, celebrates descent. It’s about solidarity with the needy, not isolation with the elite. It’s about being the friend of sinners on the margins, not of the hot shots in the inner circle. And it’s about abandoning  ‘Christian witness’ to ‘the unsaved’ down below us and moving instead towards ‘Christian with-ness’ where we join God with those who are considered outcasts, losers and lost causes. Page after page in Down We Go, I feel the crazy sanity of the kingdom of God seeping back into me. I’m so thankful for Kathy Escobar, The Refuge, the TransFORM Network and everyone who dares to switch directions and become more profane — in the holiest sense of the word.”  – Brian D. McLaren, Author of Naked Spirituality and A New Kind of Christianity

“In Down We Go, Kathy Escobar explores how to move from ‘doing’ ministry for others into creating sacred spaces where all can be a part of the Kingdom of God. Those desiring something beyond  ‘comfy church’ will find inspiration in Kathy’s downwardly mobile journey that puts human skin on Jesus’ radically inclusive parables that redeems those the world rejects.” – Becky Garrison, Author of Jesus Died for This? 

“In Down We Go, Kathy Escobar leads us on a guided tour of the wild ways of Jesus. Traditionally, leaders who intentionally choose to work among the poor, disadvantaged and mentally ill come from upper middle class backgrounds (think St. Francis and Mother Teresa). Unlike them Kathy came from a background of economic deprivation and struggle. Wanting to escape that fate, she pursued the American (and Christian) dream with laser focus and became a star both outside and inside the church, rising to the status of mega-church staff pastor. Her love for Jesus however would not let her rest. She voluntarily walked away from predictability and professional comfort, knowing the cost. Today she finds herself leading a community of people Jesus loves and together with them has invented a whole new way of understanding what it means to be the church. She is one of my favorite leaders. I hope to continue to learn from her example for years to come.” – Jim Henderson, D. Min, Author of Jim and Casper Go To Church and The Resignation of Eve

“In Down We Go, Kathy Escobar takes us down into the trenches where ordinary hurting people live and where we, too, need to live out our faith.  Her personal faith journey from mega-church pastor to ministry with the destitute and marginalized is a compelling and convicting read.  An important book for all who want a deeper walk with Jesus.” – Christine Sine, Author and Executive Director of Mustard Seed Associates  

“Through her bold, beautiful blog and now this book, Kathy Escobar shares her story and shows us how to live into the way of Jesus in the midst of our swirling, confusing communities that tell us everyday that ‘bigger is better’ and more is better than less. From her nearly two decades of life experience, Kathy redefines success in an accessible way. I may not be able to sew my own clothes like Shane Claiborne, but I can follow Kathy Escobar where she is going — down into the mess of our real lives where it’s dark and smelly but beautiful things grow. I don’t have to go there alone, either. I can go in community and with Kathy Escobar’s wisdom along the way. And there’s no better guide to have on this journey of discovering that the last will be first and the weak will ultimately punk the strong.” – Steve Knight, Community Architect for TransFORM Network (www.transformnetwork.org) and Leadership Development Consultant for the Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation

“In the flowing rhythmic style of the prophets of old, Kathy speaks on issues that the church needs to hear. By shedding light on what the realities of the Kingdom of God truly are, she exposes the underbelly of the counter-kingdoms of power, division and exclusion for all to see. This is a must-read for anyone considering the notion of planting a church and anyone currently taking on a leadership role in an existing community of Jesus. Likewise, this book is mandatory for anyone choosing to follow Jesus into the weird, wild, realities of Kingdom living that take them to places and people that no one has gone to before.” – John Martinez, Co-Pastor of The Distillery Church, Albany, NY

“In a time when we are inundated with books about re-thinking church and rediscovering Jesus, Pastor Kathy Escobar describes for us a refreshing and unpretentious alternative as it is lived out in her own church community — The Refuge. Her focus is not about new structures, forms or cool ideas but the church itself, the real people living in both their human dignity and broken disarray. With the tender eye of a good shepherd, what Escobar describes is not merely a new spin on the therapeutic model of church in which people are cared for and ministered to. Instead, she proffers what it means to create a community in which people are gathered together in true communion as a ‘we.’ People are free then to live in their imperfect and authentic selves, and free to grow, create and work together to redeem and restore the brokenness in the world around us. This book is a beautiful theology of descent into the depths of real human lives, where Jesus lives and heals and creates the Kingdom right here in our midst.” – Ellen Haroutunian, Therapist, Pastor at Urban Skye and Co-Author of A New Kind of Conversation, with Brian McLaren

“As I read this book I am reminded of the question from poet Mary Oliver, ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’ Kathy is persuaded by beauty and grace and she has followed that beauty and grace into some unlikely places. When she can’t follow she falls into that same beauty and grace.  Either way, she occupies those places with such generosity. It makes me want to do the same.  What a gift!” – Kris Rocke, D. Min., Executive Director at Center for Transforming Mission

“I wish everyone who picks up a copy of Down We Go: Living Into the Wild Ways of Jesus, could spend a few days at the elbow of its author, Kathy Escobar. If you did, you would discover what I already know — that Kathy is the real deal. She speaks, not from her head, not from a lofty theory, but from her actual practice. The wisdom she shares in these pages is the fruit of cultivated, intentional and courageous community, lived in the company of souls who have the most to teach us about the ways of Jesus.  In Down We Go, Kathy confronts our safe ideas with exuberance and love for the ones Jesus loves, with the beauty and the pain, the hope and the tragedy of real kingdom living. She invites us to lay aside our comfortable fortresses and dare to follow Jesus where he died to lead us — into the trenches of messy humanity.  I wholeheartedly endorse this book. May it light a fire in the hearts of those who long to spend their lives following that wildest of wild men, Jesus of Nazareth.” – Phyllis Mathis, M.A, Professional Counselor and Life Coach

“Many of us have been sort of forced to embrace downward mobility by virtue of a collapsing economy. Kathy Escobar thinks it’s a good idea to choose it intentionally, and by it she means something far more costly than just living on less money. This is a disturbing (in a good way), vulnerable, gritty field guide to places and people that many of us have avoided in our quest for happiness and security. It’s an eye-opening glimpse into what the downward journey looks like at a place called The Refuge, and a rather compelling and passionate case that calls us to consider what it might look like to lose our lives so we might find them. Read at your own risk. Kathy will likely win you over, and you may find yourself choosing to make the great descent, too.” – Randy Siever, Executive Director of Doable Evangelism

“Kathy takes the reader on a trip down the rabbit hole with this challenge:  ‘If we are really living out the gospels the way that Jesus modeled for us, then we should be known as the weirdest, craziest risk takers and lovers of people in town.’ She prophetically calls out the ethos for the church of the future with these sage bits of wisdom — learn to experience neediness; learn to receive from others, as well as give; wholeness is accepting our own brokenness. Kathy Escobar has forged her wisdom in the crucible of everyday experience, enabling her to cut to the heart of Kingdom living, which is  ‘let the greatest among you become the servant.’ It is a dangerous read for the complacent!” – Deborah Koehn Loyd, D.Min, Church Planter and Adjunct Faculty at George Fox Seminary

“Kathy has given readers a playbook on how to flip the script when it comes to being a faith community of Jesus followers. Her message of living downwardly mobile as Christians is counter to the pursuit of excellence and ministry accomplishment that is prevalent in many churches today.  She reminds us that success is measured differently in the upside-down kingdom of God when we make loving people the point, rather than ministering to people. This book will rattle your missional bones and might even break a few.” – Pam Hogeweide, Blogger at www.godmessedmeup.blogspot.com

“No other author, from her powerful blog to now this incredible book, has had more of an impact on my life than Kathy.In the gentlest way possible, Down We Go challenges previously held notions of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.Sometimes it is easy to wonder about the real life of an author, and if their words are reflected in their actual practice. Rest assured; there could not be a more solid lover of people, who is open to share the depth of her wisdom in this book.  My hope is that as you read through these pages, Kathy’s compassionate voice will resonate how possible the journey of downward mobility truly can be.” – Stacy Schaffer, M.A., Therapist and Co-Pastor of The Refuge

“If you wonder where the ‘letters’ to today’s church are, wonder no more! Kathy Escobar calls us to hear what a living God has to say about how we can currently live out what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount. It’s incendiary, having changed the way The Refuge approached church and guides how we operate at The Bridge as well. This call to reflect God’s heart isn’t for the faint of heart, but Kathy makes it approachable and doable.” – Donna Van Horn, Co-Pastor of The Bridge, Portland