Rev. Ben McBride is an internationally recognized peacemaker, faith leader, activist, and sought- after speaker who has spoken to large audiences in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Middle East. McBride is the co-founder of the Empower Initiative, a capacity building firm devoted to empowering organizations and communities to foster belonging. Previously he served as director of PICO California, the state’s largest faith-based community organizing network. McBride was featured in the Sundance Film Festival award- winner The Force, and in 2020 the Center for American Progress listed him as one of the top faith leaders to watch. Ben lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, Gynelle, and their three daughters.
Can you imagine a future that includes your enemies? If not, what happens next?
From one of the most courageous and visionary leaders of our time comes Troubling the Water, an immersive book about the violence and injustice that threaten to drown us all. Activist Ben McBride recounts how he first waded into the water: from the Kill Zone in Oakland, where he moved with his young family, to the uprising in Ferguson, to the moral impoverishment of the white evangelical church. In the truth-telling tradition of Bryan Stevenson and Bishop William Barber, McBride leads us right into the fury and fragmentation of our moment, and then steadies us once we're there.
What would it take to truly belong to each other? Radical belonging, McBride argues, means looking at our implicit biases, at our faulty understandings of power, and at how we "other"—or "same"—people. Sometimes it even means troubling the waters—speaking hard truths in situations that appear calm but that cloak injustice.
With a blend of provocation and good humor, McBride leads us beyond inaction on the one hand and polemic on the other. What results is an indelible manifesto—a troublemaking reverend's call to the most urgent task of our time. As inequality, racism, and alienation weaken our common life, well-meaning people ask: What do I need to do to create a world where all can belong? But McBride asserts that instead, we need to ask: Who do I need to become?
Building a shared humanity is hella messy. "Peacemaking" sounds cloying and staying apart seems safer. But unless we want violence to intensify, we are running out of options. In this unforgettable book, McBride reminds us that wading into conflict and stirring up truth is the only way to find real healing.
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Please join us Friday, November 3: Registration starts at 7:30 am. Breakfast & Program will begin at 8:00am on the Northside. Breakfast will be served.