well that year went fast!

6th birthday

2014. where did it go?

every year’s end i think “well, that was a wild year!” with 5 kids, a crazy faith community that’s always filled with pain & beauty (and finally our own space after 7 years), finishing the initial manuscript for faith shift, and the ins & outs of real life, there’s never a dull moment around here! every year i usually hope that the next year won’t be quite so crazy. this time, i’m becoming a little more realistic and just embracing that 2014 is going to be an extra-crazy year for the escobars. i’ve got one kid graduating from college & another from high school (on the same day, at the same time, in different states–that’s just mean), and another studying abroad. our twins then start high school  right about the time that faith shift is released. in the midst of this, the refuge is still transitioning into our new home as a local mission center. instead of stressing out about it, i am just going to ride it out, one day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time–trying to enjoy & savor & notice the good & beauty in the midst as best i can. we do work hard but we play hard, too.

i don’t have any big plans for the blog here in 2014. every time i make them, i don’t follow through all the way so i decided my only commitment in 2014 is to write when i have something i want to say and leave it at that. in my dream-world i would have more video interviews so you could hear from awesome people wrestling with the same things. i miss the wrestling-with-the-word-christian series & church refugee series from a few years ago. that was fun.

every year on the 31st i celebrate the blog’s anniversary.  2013 marks 6 years. it’s hard for me to express how grateful i have been for this little blog.  the wonderful people i have met, the kindred spirits, and even the people-who-completely-disagree-with-me-and-like-to-send-me-mean-emails  have all strengthened me in more ways than i imagined.  writing here for the past 6 years has been a practice in showing up & telling my truth  in that moment & letting it go. it’s been an exercise in vulnerability, and  sometimes i hate it and want to shut the whole thing down.  as an enneagram 2, i just want everyone to love me. it’s hard to hear when people don’t like what i say, that they want to “correct” it theologically, or that they think i’m too harsh or mean or too nice and amenable. it’s been a tough practice because i’m a people-pleaser at heart. one of the best things a people-pleaser can do is start a blog, write from the gut, and let it go.  it’s extremely scary, but very healing and freeing, too.

anyway, i always think it’s fun to look back on the year and see what posts were the most popular. it is  interesting to me, how you just never know which ones get the most love.

here’s the top 10 (well, 11) posts here in 2014.

1. please, let’s get outraged about more important things (i long for the day when we are better represented)

2. 8 ways those from more liberal-progressive and conservative-evangelical persuasions can better love each other (oh, we have to learn to live in the tension of our differences!)

3. abusive pastors & the crazy $*#!&!&! they get away with (because we have to break our addiction to charisma & fairy dust)

4. everyone’s fighting some kind of battle (there’s always more going on underneath than meets the eye)

5. what seems to help in the midst of pain (may we be people who are willing to welcome pain to the table)

6. a nifty chart for the journey–stages in the life of faith (from 2008, so funny how much long that post has lasted)

7. whatever you do, don’t let them take your faith (systems & unhealthy power can try to take our faith, but don’t let them have it)

8. what’s your position on? (i’d love to see us start with better questions than this)

9. ex-good-christian-women (from 2012, the best thing i ever did was give up “good”)

10. “i just feel like i’m one of the guys” and other subtleties working against equality (we’ve got to support each other better)

11. (just because i really liked this one) – losing beliefs, not faith (sometimes we think we’re losing our faith when really we’re just shedding beliefs)

and a few other blog-gy things not on this list: 

  • the post nobody read that i wish got more love:  habits of the heart (because these 5 principles would be so helpful if we actually applied them!)
  • my favorite post at sheloves magazine:  stand back up (because we must) & too much and not enough (because this is my head-case-stuff that i always struggle with) (the entire list is here)

lastly, i always have a little template of looking back & looking forward at the end of the year.  there are many different ways to do it, but here’s what i’ve used in the past.  it’s a fun exercise and i am working on mine this week. here are the links:

i will end with two gems that i have loved this year.  the first is my favorite quote by walter brueggemann:

brueggemann quote

and the last is a reminder of why i write here about God & church & life and care so much about the refuge & this kind of stuff.  it’s from my friend david hayward‘s collection and sums up my hope for “the church” and a wider, free-er, more creative faith:

naked pastor two views of GOd

happy new year!  wishing you peace, hope, and courage in the new year ahead. may it be a year of wonder & hope.

love, kathy

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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.

6 Comments

  • thanx, Kathy! It’s been really great meeting you here this year. I pray that the next one will be a blessing for you and yours!

    Reply
  • Love this, Kathy … love you and your heart for the good-but-hard things of real LIFE. Blessings to you in 2014. I will be celebrating seven years of blogging on Epiphany….

    Reply
  • Hey Kathy,

    Brilliant quotes from Bruggeman and David’s cartoon! And with what you talk of with wrestling wiht the word – you are scratching where i itch! :).

    I am a little concerned thought – not sure if I am one of those that you consider to be a kindred spirit or someone who likes to send you mean emails. Still we have something in common in that we are both showing signs of getting old. I was just saying to someone at the weekend that as we get older time seems to go by more quickly. (All written in a friendly spirit and an twinkle in the eye). 🙂

    May you have a good 2014. Looking forward to reading more of your blogs. Is there a publication date for “Faith Shifts”?

    Adam

    Reply
    • Oh by the way enjoyed your video. “Way to open a can of worms” you crack me up! LOL

      Your conversations around the table look like fun! :). Felt like I wanted to jump in through the screen and join you guys 🙂

      Reply
  • I always read what you write and appreciate you. You and I think very much alike, so I’m sure that’s part of the reason I come here. If we didn’t I’d probably just go elsewhere rather than send you mean e-mails. To me that is akin to going to a burger place and complaining bitterly about the burgers because you think they shouldn’t be serving meat.

    Reply
  • I heart this blog. I think that I am going to spend some time re-reading some things, as being in a different place than in years past #thankbabyjesus, one would imagine that they would hit in a different way. Grateful for this conduit in SO many ways. Keep writing and being brave, and will continue to LOUDLY cheer you on! #fiveyearslateromg

    Reply

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