Raise Your Voice: Why We Stay Silent and How to Speak Up, By Kathy Khang
Raise Your Voice
  • Length: 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: July 31, 2018
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4540
  • ISBN: 9780830845408

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You have a voice. And you have God's permission to use it.

In some communities, certain voices are amplified and elevated while others are erased and suppressed. It can be hard to speak up, especially in the ugliness of social media. Power dynamics keep us silent and marginalized, especially when race, ethnicity, and gender are factors. What can we do about it?

Activist Kathy Khang roots our voice and identity in the image of God. Because God created us in our ethnicity and gender, our voice is uniquely expressed through the totality of who we are. We are created to speak, and we can both speak up for ourselves and speak out on behalf of others. Khang offers insights from faithful heroes who raised their voices for the sake of God's justice, and she shows how we can do the same today, in person, in social media, in organizations, and in the public square.

Be silent no more. If you have wondered when and how to speak, hear God's invitation to you to find and steward your authentic voice, whether in word or deed, to communicate the good news in a messed-up world. As you discern God's voice calling you to speak, you will discover how your voice sounds as you express God's heart to others. And the world will hear you loud and clear.

"Raise Your Voice is a powerful call to action. The book is full of moving personal stories, excellent writing, and judiciously scattered solid theology. This delightfully written book summoning us to courageous action to promote racial, gender, and economic justice could not come at a better time. Khang calls us to speak out. And she helps us see how to do it."

Ronald J. Sider, distinguished professor of theology, holistic ministry and public policy, Palmer Seminary at Eastern University

"As a reporter and church leader, Kathy Khang has spent her life lending her voice to other people’s stories. This book is essential reading for those who wonder about the spiritual power of saying hard truths out loud."

Kate Bowler, assistant professor of American Christianity, Duke Divinity School

"There have been a number of books in the past several years about the need to speak up. What Khang accomplishes in Raise Your Voice is a significant addition. The book explores the motivations behind silence, deconstructs them, and suggests ways to rebuild them into motivations for prophetic speech. Khang is a builder and careful arguer who engages and challenges readers to notice not only their own fears of speaking up, but ways in which they might contribute to silencing others. Raise Your Voice comes at an imperative time and the church would do well to listen."

Preston Yancey, author of Out of the House of Bread

"We live in a loud, hyperconnected world where finding and using your voice for good can seem like a daunting, if not impossible, charge. And yet all Christians are called to speak the truth in love. So it's more important than ever to find wise and experienced guides for this new terrain. Kathy Khang is one of those guides, and in Raise Your Voice she offers insights that are both philosophical and practical, biblically informed and tested in the lab of real-world experience. By incorporating stories from her own triumphs and failures, as well as the stories of other prophets and practitioners, Khang guides the reader along with the experience of a teacher and the warmth of a dear friend. I gained so much wisdom from spending time in these pages, and I hope everyone who wishes to use their voice with integrity and holy force will do the same."

Rachel Held Evans, author of Searching for Sunday

"In a time of social division growing wider every day, so many of us struggle with how to engage in all that is happening around us. Often it's easier to retreat and ignore the chaos and confusion rather than to try to wrestle with how God might have us respond. Kathy Khang challenges us to see that our trust in God's sovereignty is not independent of our responsibility to act. She guides us through why it is biblical for us to learn to use our voice for good, and imperative to stand against injustice in order that our silence might not become complicit."

Vickie Reddy, executive producer, The Justice Conference

"From the first chapter, Khang's book Raise Your Voice brings you in. She masterfully uses her story, biblical passages, and wisdom of the everyday to create an insightful and practical tool. Leaders, artists, writers, and anyone who feels that God has put something in them (everyone!) will be refreshed, challenged, and spurred on. This book is a compass, instead of a map, that helps you navigate terrain that has no roads. Khang's book provides an essential tool for navigating the tricky pathways of following Jesus in real life—evolving social media, racial land mines, and increasingly polarized communities. Raise Your Voice is an honest, funny, and utterly practical book. You will want it on your shelf to refer to over and over again."

Nikki Toyama-Szeto, executive director of Evangelicals for Social Action

"As I read Raise Your Voice I remembered the times I needed a book like this! I needed its invitation to discover my voice when I felt invisible and voiceless. I needed its mentoring when I started out in leadership, wondering if I could lead in the way I was wired to, rather than fit uncomfortably into a more culturally acceptable mold. I needed its wisdom to help me discern the cost of having a voice and daring to use it, and then its comfort when using my voice ended in hurt. Raise Your Voice is here now, and I still received all the things I'd once longed for and more—challenge and empowerment in equal measure. Kathy Khang has crafted a gift for us—receive every page she offers you!"

Jo Saxton, author of The Dream of You, cohost of the Lead Stories Podcast

"Khang's Raise Your Voice is a powerful call to use our voices—whether in print, artistic, or social media form—for God's kingdom and glory. As a powerful advocate of justice, her own story is a testament of overcoming one's imposter syndrome, one's cultural inhibitions, and one's gendered expectations. Put together with scriptural insights and Khang's unique dry humor, this book is a great read. It offers practical, loving, and wise lessons on how each of us can speak out and be heard."

Russell Jeung, author of At Home in Exile: Finding Jesus Among My Ancestors and Refugee Neighbors

"In Raise Your Voice, Kathy takes us on a journey of excavation as she digs deeply into Scripture and into her own story to write about the power of finding and using one's voice. Her words walk alongside us, push us, and put us on notice that using our voices for the sake of justice, holiness, and truth telling is important and necessary work. As Kathy raises her own voice, she inspires me to do the same."

Amena Brown, spoken-word poet, author of How to Fix a Broken Record

"Our voices are paramount to our faith and witness! If you've ever found yourself questioning, doubting, or squelching your voice, this book will intimately speak to you. Raise Your Voice illuminates the forces—social, cultural, and familial—that seek to silence us and guides us through the wilderness of finding, claiming, and using our voices to seek the kingdom first and live into our created purpose. Kathy uses the story of Esther and her own growing pains as concrete examples of how we learn to raise our voices in the face of the fear, coercion, and the powers that be which all too often cause us to question, soften, and mute our voices. This book is compelling, empowering, and instructive."

Dominique DuBois Gilliard, author of Rethinking Incarceration

"Kathy has spoken up and spoken out with wisdom at great cost to herself. Learn from her expertise. Since there are lessons we can't learn in theory, I urge you to read this book and learn to use your authentic voice in meaningful, authentic ways."

Sandra Maria Van Opstal, author of The Next Worship

"True story—I turned in a book proposal called Speak Up the week before I read Kathy's manuscript. I read hers cover to cover and emailed my publisher to say, 'I withdraw my proposal. Kathy already wrote the book and it's a thousand times better than mine would have been.' Every word of Raise Your Voice is profound, courageous, and important. We need this right now, and we need this prophetic teacher to lead us."

Jen Hatmaker, author of For the Love and Of Mess and Moxie

"For those too comfortable to sit in silence, the book shows that, yes, speaking up is risky, but it's profoundly worth the risk. For those who relish debate and controversy, the book shows them how to pause, consider, and use words to their greatest effect. Raise Your Voice is the prompt that Christians need to encourage and equip them to speak up for justice and hope."

Melissa Wuske, Foreword, July/August 2018

"Khang brings a bold and challenging perspective on 'voice' to the evangelical Christian lifestyle and a refreshing approach to the convergence of religion and culture. . . . Khang details how the perception of one's own personal safety versus the safety of the community at large can make it challenging to speak up for oneself and for others. . . . [This] book will appeal to Christian readers looking for ways to unify the church through community and acceptance."

Publishers Weekly, May 28, 2018

"The time is right for Raise Your Voice. In our real lives and our digital ones we need to identify our voice and raise it for the sake of justice. Kathy Khang's contribution will almost surely be a powerful and lasting catalyst for change."

Fathom magazine, August 7, 2018

"The book works so well, I think, in part because Kathy Khang's unique perspective grounds her reflections in real stories, while still making space for others to have different experiences. This remarkably human and dialogic mode acts as an invitation for other voices to join in the discussion, which is one of the secrets of assertiveness. Khang's voice is not one that seeks to dominate—and yet it is definitely not passive. On the contrary, her voice assertively and persistently sticks up for her own needs and those of others, using her own individuality and idiom to do so while fully acknowledging the challenges of those acts and that position."

D. S. Leiter, Englewood Review of Books, Fall 2018

"Khang brings a bold and challenging perspective on 'voice' to the evangelical Christian lifestyle and a refreshing approach to the convergence of religion and culture."

Publishers Weekly, May 28, 2018

"If you've ever wrestled with when or how to speak up, then you'll be excited to hear about this . . . book from author Kathy Khang. 'You have a voice,' the book's description reads. 'And you have God’s permission to use it.' Khang explores how we find our unique voices in the imago Dei, and how to raise our voice as God has called us to."

Cat Knarr, Faithfully Magazine, April 27, 2018

"In these days of intense political division, online vitriol, and alternative facts, we desperately need these perspectives and stories to help us see the whole picture of God's coming kingdom. For the sake of the gospel, we should each be willing to undergo the costly, yet ultimately redemptive process of sharing our voice with the world. And we should each seek out opportunities to call out this gift in others. That's what Khang does wonderfully in Raise Your Voice. She is both mentor and advocate, challenging each of us to add our unique voices to the God-honoring chorus and speak up."

Dorcas Cheng-Tozun, Evangelicals for Social Action, July 30, 2018

Read an Excerpt


Introduction: The Risk of Silence Versus the Risk of Raising Your Voice

Part I: Why We Stay Silent
1. Seen But Not Heard
2. Who Am I? How Imago Dei Gives Us Agency and a Voice
3. Learning to Speak
4. Fear and Failure

Part II: How to Speak Up
5. IRL (In Real Life)
6. When You Post It: Everyone and No One Will Care
7. Everyone Has a Part

Discussion Questions


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Kathy Khang

Kathy Khang is a speaker, journalist, and activist. She is a columnist for Sojourners magazine, a writer for Faith and Leadership, a coauthor of More Than Serving Tea, and the author of Raise Your Voice.