all things blog

mban2974h

happy new year!  as i mentioned in my last post, the carnival in my head just celebrated its 3 year birthday.  every year i re-evaluate and wonder if i’ll keep it going or not. some days i think i’ve said everything i want to say & then other days i get a host of new fun ideas i want to try here.  i think i’ll stick around in 2011.  i am so thankful for each of you–those who read & comment, those who read & email,  those who read & tell me in person what parts you liked (or didn’t, ha ha) & those who read & never make yourself known.  the primary purpose of this blog was always to help some people feel less alone, to stir up some challenging thoughts & to share whatever i am learning or wrestling with along the way related to life & church & faith.

i don’t think i’ve ever done this before (but sometimes i forget) so i thought i’d do a little summary of the past year & also a little dreaming for 2011.

  • most read posts of 2011:

#1. a nifty chart for the journey: stages in our life of faith – this 2008 post continues to get a lot of love.  i think so many of us can identify with the wall, the journey inward & the journey outward that follows.

#2. wrestling with the word christian – a video conversation.  this was the first of 3 video interviews i did with my friend john. it stirred up a lot of lively discussion, that’s for sure.

#3. drinking the company kool-aid – a rant, this one got a lot of traction from both perspectives.  many of us connected with the sadness of these stats & just how truly messed up “christian womanhood” is, others chalked it up to me being angry and bitter.

#4. the difference between “building churches” and “cultivating communities” – this is still one of my favorite posts about church cultivation.  i hope more communities are cultivated, less churches built in the years to come

#5. Jesus school – not the most inspiring in town.  i am constantly reminded how hard it is to be a student in Jesus school.

#6. dignity restorers – i was only going to post the top 5, but this was one of my favorite posts of the year, a letter to the north american church as part of the 8th letter synchroblog hosted by rachel held evans.

oh well, i’ll just do 7 through 10, too:

#7. Jesus & “excellence”

#8. “the kingdom isn’t going to just drop out of the sky”

#9. it’s easy to be against health care reform when you have insurance

#10.  rethinking the word “pastor”

  • one thing i’m really happy about related to blogging in 2010 is the revival of the monthly synchroblog.  my friends liz dyer & sonja andrews stepped up to help organize & i love reading the wide variety of posts each month.  there’s an open invite to anyone who wants to participate, so if you’re interested, join the facebook group or check out the synchroblog site.
  • i have been writing every month or so for communitas collective.  some are re-posts from here, some are new thoughts.  i think my favorite original post there was:  it’s about the people, people.

so, there you have it, a very quick recap of 2010 here.  over the next month i need to update my blog roll.  i am not the best at keeping up with lots of blogs regularly but i try to read when i can & there are some new voices i don’t have listed yet.

  • for 2011, the only things i know i want to do for sure are:

1. more video conversations here and there, i need to get a better microphone first

2. a few more interviews for a view from the margins & out of the darkness

3. a series on the beatitudes in practice

4. a series on advocacy, based on the monthly group we have at the refuge that’s focused on cultivating skills & passion for journeying with people in hard places.

4. a series on 8 ways to shrink a church, one of my all-time favorite refuge blog posts

5. most importantly, what would you like to see explored here? let me know, i’m always open to input & your feedback really helps!  you can put it in the comment section or send me an email.

lots of love for the new year.  again, thank you for reading & for caring about some of the things i care about, too.  it makes me feel far less alone.

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

10 Comments

  • So very very glad to know your blog will be around for another year. I love reading your thoughts and challenges.

    Reply
  • I, too, am glad you’re continuing on. I have found your blog to be one of the most encouraging, thought-provoking ones I’m following, inspiring many head nods and gratitude that I am not alone. I really should comment more! Keep up the good writing!

    Reply
  • Kathy, I’m glad you are continuing. 🙂
    Your blog – the existence of the Refuge – have been a place of refuge for me. Even though I have not been able to get over to see you all, the fact that you exist – and talk about what you are going through and learning – gives me hope. I believe one day, we will get to meet face to face. 🙂
    This business of learning who God really is and how He actually does thing – His way – is an interesting journey…. but worth every step.
    Love and hugs from over the mountains…..

    Reply
  • One of the nice things about blogging is that you don’t have to say anything. You can write when you have something to say.

    The only problem is, of course, if someone reads your blog regularly and finds nothing new. I’ve found some blogrolls can list according to the newness of posts, so I can see which of my blogging friends have posted new stuff. Another thing I’ve been trying is Tumblr, which does many things, but can also act as a blog aggregator, so though I have several blogs, the main ones feed into Tumblr, so people can just check that to see if I’ve posted anything new, and can click on it to go through to the full entry if they find the abstract interesting enough. Mine is here, if you’d like to have a look.

    Reply
  • Thank you for being an inspiration in 2010, and I look forward to reading more in 2011. And I LOVE the picture! Glad the blog will continue.

    Reply
  • Funny cartoon! I don’t think your blog will keep you out (of heaven, but maybe out of the good graces of the IC types).

    Thank you for your blog. I appreciate your really positive attitude, even when discussing some serious and sometimes crazy stuff. I e-mailed you on the 30th with a suggestion for a future post.

    Yeah, I think we need other believers, but I also think that all the churches that I have encountered have strayed off the path and have pretty much lost sight of the Jesus I find in the pages of the Bible.

    This really hit me one Sunday morning about a year ago. I was picking up trash across the street from a charismatic church. The church doors were open and I could hear the people inside trying to get blessed. These were the same people who had parked around the corner twenty minutes earlier and had tried to avoid me and the people in the street, the people who actually lived there, on their way “to church”.

    I found myself talking to several of the neighbors, who told me they wanted nothing to do with that church, which had made it clear they wanted nothing to do with their neighbors. These neighbors were asking me why I was cleaning their street. When I explained that it was to show the neighborhood the love of Jesus, I was quickly involved in some spiritually significant conversations that my new friends assured me had never taken place between them and anyone in that church in all of the years the church had been there.

    On New Year’s Eve we invited about a dozen of our neighbors over for pizza and snacks. We were surprised by the significant things that happened. I have never seen this kind of stuff happen in any church I have been part of – ever. So we’re changing around our house and yard to accommodate large groups so we can party! When my broken leg is working again, we’ve gotta get back on the streets among the people, picking up trash and whatever. Some people avoid us, and some aren’t appreciative, but these are the places where we’ve been finding Jesus the last year or two.

    I know we’re heretics! We didn’t find Jesus in the church, but ran into Him picking up trash across the street from the church on a Sunday morning and at a New Year’s Eve party. I think several of us got a glimpse of Him on those occasions.

    Reply
  • Oh it goes without saying that the carnival has changed me forever in so many ways. Your language gifts are one thing, but the fact that you truly.walk.the.walk is so inspiring. I am so thankful for the conduit of the carnival to bring me to a place where “what could be” is more than just a dream…..More than we bargained for, eh? 🙂

    Reply
  • I would like to add – There are those of us who need your voice. We need to know we’re not alone on this journey. Church for us is not getting together with a bunch of pretty people in a pretty building with a handsome guy up front with pretty teeth telling us how pretty we are. That model excludes so many of the kinds of people Jesus hung with.

    The traditional church also needs to hear us. They pretend we’re isolated nut cases. So that is why so many people have departed from their institutions, especially those under 30??? The church as a whole is AWOL from the lives of most people I know, especially minorities, most people under 30 (35?), lonely people, people with addictions, the homeless, poor, LGBT. This trend is picking up, not slowing down.

    We love people. We don’t make them answer a hundred questions before we decide to accept them. We don’t care if they’re rich or poor, straight or gay, pretty or not. We party with the kind of people Jesus partied with, and they’re often not the religious types. We love people because Jesus loves them.

    I’m very aware there’s a whole ‘nuther gospel out there. I, however, do not have another moment in this life to chase after that. Like the aged apostle John was reported to have said at the end of his life “love one another”. Some thought him senile. I don’t agree. I think he had figured out the pure essence of the gospel.

    Reply
  • I wish you a blessed and prosperous 2011, praying that God will continue to inspire your writing.

    God bless.

    Reply
  • liz – i am so glad we are connected out here in blog-land, i am thankful for your voice & friendship & love

    beth – thanks for reading & never feel pressure to comment but it’s always fun to hear what this stuff stirs up. i like to hear what’s happening up there, too!

    katherine – it does somehow feel like a piece of the carnival is an extension of the refuge. i know the day is going to come when you can hang out and i really look forward to it. for now, thank you for your story, your hope, your heart and the ways that you share it here.

    steve – i like that part, too, and always committed to never writing just for the sake of posting. i really enjoy the synchroblog and glad we can stay connected that way. i am totally lame on tumblr & technorati & stumble upon & all the other possibilities out here in blogland but maybe some day i’ll learn.

    laurie – i am so glad we met out here in blogland & i can in some small way be part of the beautiful work you are doing down there.

    sam – my fellow heretic, i am so thankful our paths crossed and look forward to the year ahead. thank you for commenting & always reminding me i’m not crazy and not alone & that the church should look, feel, smell, and be like Jesus. your stories are always challenging & inspiring. also, parties seem to be where so many beautiful things happen that can never happen sitting in a pew listening to someone talk.

    stacymichelle – so glad we’re in the muck and mire together. you are a gift, a true and precious gift, and i am so glad you left it all to be part of this nutty life here…

    simon – thanks for reading & for the encouragement. glad you’re here.

    Reply

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