So begins Chapter 1 of Kathy Escobar’s fantastic new book, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Falling Apart. From those first few pages to the very last, I found myself nodding along, scribbling in the margins, breathing 'amens', and thinking to myself, now THIS is the book I wish I’d had ten years ago, THIS is the book I’ll be recommending to family, friends, and readers experiencing crises of faith.
It’s been a magnificent fall for book releases, and I know I’ve been recommending a lot these days (sorry!), but for those of you who resonated with Faith Unraveled (formerly titled Evolving in Monkey Town), Faith Shift is a must-read. While there are plenty of spiritual memoirs that describe what it’s like for a person of faith to enter a time of deep questioning, and plenty of theological books designed to address those questions, Faith Shift is unique in that it offers practical, pastoral advice for managing the emotional, relational, and spiritual fallout from those questions.
Nearly every time I do a Q&A time after a presentation, someone in the audience asks how my changing faith has affected my relationships with my family and friends. Often, there are tears in the person’s eyes, and I know I’ve found a fellow traveller, a sister sojourner traversing the dark and difficult road of doubt. The fact is, when your community, identity, and sense of purpose and security are all tightly intertwined with your faith, challenges and changes to that faith can wreak havoc on your relationships and spiritual and emotional health. And unfortunately, for many, the people they most want to turn to for support and guidance—pastors, friends, even spouses and family—at best simply don’t understand their experiences and at worst condemn them as sinful.
This is why Kathy Escobar is the perfect person to write this book. Not only has she gone through a faith shift of her own, she has years of experience counseling people who find themselves in some sort of spiritual wilderness. So in addition to including Kathy’s own story, Faith Shift is packed with resources, prayers, ideas, conversation-starters, questions for personal reflection, and exercises. The appendix includes an incredibly helpful guide for talking about faith shifts with friends and family and even provides suggestions for “how to be a good friend to someone in a faith shift” that you may want to photocopy and mail to that aunt who has been sending you Christian apologetics books every week since she found out you were questioning young earth creationism.
For these reasons and more, I highly recommend this book not only for people experiencing a crisis of faith but for people who love and care for someone experiencing a crisis of faith and don’t know how to respond. Pastors too would benefit immensely from a quick read-through.
Now, this is not a book for skeptics looking for answers, or for those interested in seriously exploring atheism. From the get-go, Kathy assumes that her readers are interested in holding on to some remnant of their faith even as their beliefs dramatically change. If you do not share that presupposition, the book could be frustrating at times.
But for all the people who come up to me at book signings with tears streaming down their faces because they feel so isolated in their journey through questions and doubt, I am thrilled that I can say with more confidence, “you’re not crazy, and you’re not alone, and you’re going to love this book…”
Note: While I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, I am not paid for reviews.
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