absence makes the heart grow fonder

31 days of no blogging.  well actually i wrote one easy post for the refuge blog called hope is dangerous so maybe it was only a total of 30 days! but really i was more disciplined than i usually am and barely ever logged on to the carnival dashboard the entire month.  we also instituted a computer moratorium at our house from 4-8pm every weeknight that will hopefully stay in place for a long time (best decision we made since banning tv (except idol) & video games during the week years ago).  but i will admit, it’s been pretty brutal for both jose and i; it did probably help me get in the groove of actually just not having the ability to even attempt to feed my addiction, though.  this month was a nice break and i definitely noticed how crazy my life is WITHOUT blogging and i wondered how i ever fit it in in the first place.  i am not sure if it was just an extra weird month, but it felt more intense.

every where i looked i seemed to notice how freaking hard the incarnation of Christ through us really is.  that being in the trenches of real life with each other is possibly harmful to our health. that it stirs up trouble, dissonance, fear, and some sleepless nights.  that sometimes at the end of my day i retrace the conversations & the connections and i become painfully aware of why people don’t actually like to live this way. it’s just a little too real, a little too exposed, a little too unpredictable.   God in a neat and tidy box is nowhere to be found (oh, how i sometimes miss those days!) but instead i see a wildness, a weird unexplainable Spirit unleashed, a passion for his people, an intense desire for us, as God’s precious children living in a messed up world, to recognize our value & worth and be anchored to something far deeper than the amount of our paycheck or the number of prescription drugs that are being taken to settle down the mental storms.   the loneliness, the pain, the injustice, the beaten-down-ness , the brokenness, the lack of hope are all things Jesus cares so much about.  so why wouldn’t we?  i think i know why, at least for this moment, more than ever:  we want to leave it in the hands of “God” and keep ours clean.  i know this is a really harsh statement and i will probably get flak for it.  no, i don’t think we are God or that we have more power than he does.  but if i read the scriptures right, God’s spirit is supposed to be alive and well in us.  we are called to be his spirit-incarnate, in the flesh, tangible lovers, offerers of hope, the givers of cold water & a warm blanket. and this, i believe, is why Jesus kept reminding people: umm, this is going to be hard.  the law, yeah, you got that one. doing the things you think you are supposed to do, you’re good at that one, too. arguing about theology, no problem.  the new law, the law of love, you’re going to need some serious help with.

so anyway, that’s what this last month reminded me of, just how truly hard it is to live out what we believe.  that it will cost us something and we will find ourselves in the deep end with very  poor swimming skills more than a few times.

yeah, i am looking forward to another year of growing in my faith, of learning what it means to let go of the things that i think are important and grab hold of the ones that are much more likely to matter, what Jesus meant when he said to pick up the cross and follow him-not just personally but corporately.  what it means not just to love God & love others, but also to be loved by God & be loved by others.  and i hope to continue to keep my eyes and heart and hands on what is right in front of me instead of looking at what others are doing and thinking that somehow they are better or are more blessed by God or all kinds of things that end up distracting me and increase the likelihood that i can feel  like a loser in the evangelical world.

so here we go, february 2009.  i have 8 interviews coming with some of my friends who live in the margins for all kinds of reasons.  i believe the church is supposed to be one of the fullest expressions of the kingdom now; this means no one is marginalized, oppressed, discriminated against, perceived as ‘less-than’ and that all, that means all, are equally valuable and important no matter what.  period.  end of story.  and much easier said than done. they all have some great perspectives to share.  i will post 2-3 each week through february & then will somehow figure out what a new rhythm of creative posting might look like in 2009.   during the month of february i will be training for a new part-time faculty position teaching online bachelors degree courses. i am kind of nervous to learn something so new,  but this is something i have been wanting to find since we planted the refuge-a flexible very-part time job with good pay, no set hours, that will supplement my support from the refuge & enable me to keep doing what i love and am deeply committed to.   i guess now i’m officially bi-vocational.  it’s not really something i have a ton of margin for but i have needed to find something for a while now so i am excited that a door to something this flexible finally opened (thank you, dear stacy). yeah, i’m not afraid to say i wish that someone with a big checkbook would say “hey, we’ll hook you guys up forever so you never have to worry about money” but i know that’s probably a pipedream (except for i can’t help thinking how irritating it is that it does indeed happen quite often actually for some pastors & ministries i know. i think i just don’t run with the right crowd, hahaha).  oh well, envy is one of the seven deadly sins & very unbecoming.  i am actually really, really, really thankful for my life & for the crazy & beautiful ways God takes such amazing care of us.  anyway, we’ll see how this next chapter goes & just know that i am going to be a little busier than i expected for the next few months while i figure this out.

absence has made my heart grow fonder.  it’s good to be back.  i can’t to hear more of your stories again!

ps:  a few things that happened while i was offline that i want to highlight…

  • most of you already probably have heard about it, but if you haven’t, the missional tribe started!  check it out if you haven’t already.  it’s a way for “all things missional” to be in one place & is sure to include some great conversations & challenging thoughts.  i hope to hang out there more in the upcoming months as i get back in the groove.
  • voca femina, the women’s creative site we have been working on, is finally going to launch on february 2nd. we’ve had a lot of technical difficulties, but check it out when you have a chance.
  • we also set the dates for our 2010 africa trip.  the whole fam is going to kenya & uganda mid january & i am going to do some speaking & teaching there, too.  i am really excited as i’ve always wanted to go to africa (and india, too) and with our united flight benefits our whole family can go for the price that one person usually pays for a missions trip.  yeah!
  • i am heading to convergence in portland february 20-22nd to hang out with some of my friends from the bridge & make some new ones, too.  let me know if you are going!  and a few  refuge friends and i are hoping to make it down to albuquerque for the emerging church conference in march (i love what richard rohr says on the site:  “the best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better“). those are a few gatherings i am really looking forward to.
  • oh, and since you all know i’m a bit of a movie freak,  i thought i’d give you my latest  movie roundup, too, since i saw 7 of them over the holidays, thanks to all my friends who gave me movie tix for christmas!  there was oh so much to write about several of them that i’ll never actually do because the moments came & went.  favorite:  slumdog millionaire & gran torino.  honorable mention:  doubt & the reader.  good but not great:  7 pounds. ah, just good sweet fun for the kids: bedtime stories.  glad i didn’t pay for it: marley & me.  mad at its lack of redemption but mesmerized by the acting: the wrestler.  next up: revolutionary road. yes, it’s a little embarrassing that i saw this many movies in a 2 week period. i am most definitely a movie junkie.

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life, online, and outside. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a hub for healing community, social action, and creative collaboration in North Denver, co-directs #communityheals, a non-profit organization dedicated to making spaces for transformation accessible for all, and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.


  • You’re back, you’re back, you’re back! Yippee! I won’t lie and say that I haven’t been counting down the days til February. And I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t plotting a way to move your clocks forward, just slightly, so that you came back to the carnival just a few days early… Welcome back. 🙂

  • Wow! What a catch up!
    I have been feeling the overwhelming nature of what it means to be in the trenches lately, too. I wonder why something that once filled you up can drag you down at other times? I imagine it is just a season…
    Can’t wait to read the interviews!

  • “we want to leave it in the hands of “God” and keep ours clean.”—-Kathy, that is a GREAT line!!! I love your heart and can’t wait to see you at the Convergence!!

  • “every where i looked i seemed to notice how freaking hard the incarnation of Christ through us really is.”

    I agree. Maybe we should get our memories erased and go back into the matrix. 🙂 Ignorance is bliss…? 🙂 JK

    Saw Gran Torino yesterday; great story.

    Good to be hearing from you again.

  • Hi Gal,
    It is good to hear your voice back online this way. I really connected with finding “ourselves in the deep end with very poor swimming skills more than a few times.” Glug, glug. Love you lots, Dawn

  • Kathy,
    Soooo happy that you are “back!” Missed your posts. Thank you for updating all of us on what you learned through the past month of no blogging, as well as updating us all on upcoming events, activities and goals of yours. Sounds super. As well, congratulations on getting the part-time online teaching position!!

    As well, I’m sure you know, but we have a mutual friend…Drew, who attends The Refuge. Neat stuff! Thanks to connections.

    Again, so happy for you, Kathy. You are such a proficient writer, you have such an amazing heart and soul!

    ~Amy 🙂

  • Mi querida hermana Catarina, bienvenida de vuelta…

    Send your blog site to some friends and they are thorougly enjoyng it…

    As for the movies, I don’t go much, but slumdog was a good one and very realistic according to some of my Indian colleagues at work; surprised you did not list The Visitor” – awsome and I will buy me a Jambie drum….

    Un fuerte abrazo…


  • ryan – ha! yeah, it’s good to be back. i really did miss everyone. i hope you had a good break, too, and that we can hang out soon!

    jamie – i think that’s what it is, seasons and just weird circumstances that make it harder sometimes than others. i think that’s just more realistic than always good or always bad, just a crazy blend of hard and good and beautiful and ugly all mixed together. hey, submit some of your pix for voca femina! you have some really, really good stuff. hope all’s well there…

    donna – i am glad you liked that line. i thought it was kind of harsh but i do think it’s true. i can’t wait to hang out in a few weeks…

    jeff – i always say that, that ignorance is bliss, but fortunately we’re all too far gone to turn back now…yeah, i loved gran torino. what’s up with you guys these days? i loved seeing shelby’s work on voca femina!

    dawn – it’s so great to hear from you there. glug. glug. love you. let’s just keep throwing buoys…

    amy – you are always so encouraging. yes, i think it’s so fun that you & drew connected through the hope blog. all of these connections out here are always so fun. have you ever checked out the emerging desert community in phx? there are some great people there, wasn’t sure how close or far you were or if that was even something you were interested in?

    carlos – always nice to hear from you and i am glad you have passed on the carnival to some friends…yeah, i only listed the flix that i saw over the holidays, but i saw the visitor a few months ago and enjoyed it. what a beautiful story. peace.

  • Kathy I’m so glad you are back and that I got a chance to start catching up on what you have been writing already.

    One thing you said struck me. “i think i know why, at least for this moment, more than ever: we want to leave it in the hands of “God” and keep ours clean.” The reason I think this is true is to do this in genuine love makes us have to look at and expose our own brokenness. It forces us to see and acknowledge we are dealing with the same things ourselves and need father to heal and set us free just as much as our neighbors do. It forces us to knowledge we do not have it any more together then anyone else.

    Secondly I think that many of us are to obsorbed with our selves and our own marginalization, disenfranchisement, and brokenness that we have no time for anyone, but ourselves.


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