"Robertson’s words may pry open the hearts of those who have been closed to this conversation because they don’t see themselves as privileged. He makes it clear that privilege is morally neutral, not negative. It’s what we do with our privilege that matters…" – The Christian Century
"Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself . . .' - Philippians 2:5–7a
These ancient words offer a guide for modern Christians wrestling with their privileged place in an unequal and unjust world. The Kenosis Hymn (as this passage quoted by the apostle Paul is known) celebrates Jesus for his willingness to forego the divine glory that he is due, instead humbling himself to serve the oppressed and outcast of his society.
Through a combination of in-depth Bible study and social analysis, Filled to Be Emptied invites readers to explore the hymn verse by verse and see Jesus’ self-emptying example as a model for privileged people to see their advantages not “as something to be exploited” but as something to be laid aside to seek the good of others. Brandan J. Robertson walks readers through a step-by-step process of identifying their privilege, exploring their privilege, and ultimately leveraging their privilege as a tool for the liberation and redemption of the world. Filled to Be Emptied is an essential book for all followers of Christ who are seeking to live lives of justice.
"Robertson’s words may pry open the hearts of those who have been closed to this conversation because they don’t see themselves as privileged. He makes it clear that privilege is morally neutral, not negative. It’s what we do with our privilege that matters…"
–The Christian Century
“Robertson has written a vigorous summons to the advantaged to heed the call of Christ. By an alert, sustained appeal to the ancient Christian hymn of Philippians 2, Robertson lines out how we who are advantaged may embrace an alternative life that resonates with God’s good news. Though we may be ‘filled’ with the trinkets of capitalism, may we be ‘emptied’ of them in order to be ‘filled’ with the goodness of God. The focus is relentlessly on actual concrete practice. Robertson shows us a path that is emancipatory and reconciling—a major gift.”
-Walter Brueggemann, author of Journey to the Common Good
“Robertson invites vulnerable self-reflection by his own example. Releasing ourselves from captive privilege and power to pursue peace and equity is uncomfortable. Yet ultimately, it is the path toward human flourishing. Read and be challenged to deeper levels of spiritual impact right here, right now.”
-Cedric Harmon, executive director of Many Voices: A Black Church Movement for LGBT Justice
“Jesus is the ultimate example of laying down his privilege for the sake of love and justice. Through this book, Robertson offers a thoughtful exploration of how we can follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Robertson challenges each of us to confront our own privilege and choose the path that leads to flourishing for all.”
-Jennifer Butler, CEO of Faith in Public Life
“In Filled to Be Emptied, Robertson provides a challenging, compelling, and ultimately profoundly encouraging case for understanding and practicing Christianity as a socially transformative faith that requires dying to the pursuit of privilege. Anyone who seeks to understand Jesus’ call to transform the world in which we live to look more like the kingdom of God—to labor without ceasing to cocreate a more just, inclusive world ‘on Earth as it is heaven’—should read this book.”
-Adam Russell Taylor, president of Sojourners