Author Kathy Khang on why Christians need to speak up — on politics and everything else

“Raise Your Voice: Why We Stay Silent and How to Speak Up” and author Kathy Khang. Images courtesy of InterVarsity Press

(RNS) — It took Kathy Khang a lifetime to write “Raise Your Voice: Why We Stay Silent and How to Speak Up.” But it took just a week this summer for the Christian writer, speaker and yoga teacher’s first solo book to go into a second printing.

Khang first entertained the idea of writing a book about 10 years ago, but even with years of experience in journalism and a decade of campus ministry behind her, she didn’t think she had anything of value to say to readers.

In short, she silenced herself — something all too common, she said, in particular for women and people of color.

Now she hopes her fellow Christians will learn, as she did, that finding and raising one’s voice is not a “perfect science.” Drawing on the examples of Esther, Moses and others who find their voices in the stories of Scripture, she shows in the book how speaking up inevitably means making a few mistakes.

“For those of us who are Christians or come from a Christian background, the book we so revere actually reminds us that God invites imperfect people to raise our voices and to make a difference,” she said.

Khang also writes in “Raise Your Voice” about joining the Women’s March after President Trump took office, demonstrating at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago after Trump announced a travel ban affecting people traveling from Muslim-majority countries and using social media to call out white Christians on racism.

In recent weeks, many people of faith also have spoken out online and in person about the #MeToo movement, Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court and the upcoming midterm elections. With those things in the news, she said, many Christians “are wrestling with what do they believe and how should that influence the way they engage with the world around them.”

But the book is not just about politics, the author said, and it’s not just for women.

Khang talked to Religion News Service about raising one’s voice at protests, on social media and around the dinner table. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Why is it important for Christians to speak up on issues that are important to them?

I believe Christians ought to be engaged in civic duty as well as all that is going on in the world around us, in part because of what we believe and what we say we believe. It should be so basic when we pray the Lord’s Prayer (“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”) that God’s kingdom is not going to come if we’re just sitting around and waiting to go to heaven.

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