Jay Milbrandt on How to Change the World One Story at a Time
Beliefnet interviews the lawyer-turned-author on why he left the courtroom for the mission field and how he found God working half a world away.
Beliefnet blogger Gayle Trotter speaks with Jay Milbrandt, author of Go and Do: Daring to Change the World One Story at a Time . Jay is an attorney and serves as the director of the Global Justice Program and as associate director of the Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion and Ethics at Pepperdine University School of Law.
You were on the path to be a highly paid and high-powered attorney in private practice. What derailed you?
To be honest, I don’t even know exactly what it was. I remember having this experience in law school where I started questioning myself and questioning what I was doing and what this was all for, what it was leading to. And that challenged me to start getting outside my comfort zone and find out why I had chosen to do something like law. When I saw international issues that were coming up — even local issues — that places where lawyers, people like me, could be involved and make a difference in the lives of people in a way that no one else could, it really stopped me in my tracks and sent me on a different path.
Through your book, are you encouraging people to go out and change the world or change themselves?
I’m encouraging them to go out and change themselves. Although the title is Daring to Change the World, my thesis chapter really is chapter four, which is entitled, “It’s Not About Changing the World.” And I think that we need to start here. We need to say, it’s not about going and trying to create these giant, sweeping changes that we celebrate. We celebrate these giant organizations and foundations that are doing great global things, but we start to feel that that’s the only useful thing to do or that’s the only measure, yardstick, of success for us. And I think if we come to it and approach the world and these issues again, both internationally and locally, if we approach them through the lens of: How can I change myself, how can I be more useful, how can I make myself important and be a part of this — even a small piece of this — problem or the solution of the problem. That’s the way that we can really change ourselves and find that we become different people in the end of it.
How did you find God in a red light district in Thailand full of street kids?