the order of the brokenhearted

order of the brokenhearted

even though i posted a few days early for international women’s day with the power of being wanted, i want to remind everyone that today, march 8th, is officially it so i hope that each of us take some time today to consider our contributions to the advancement of women in today’s world.  i love what mother teresa says “if you can’t feed 100 people, just feed one.” if you can’t help 100 women, just help one. maybe this is by using your power in some small way today on behalf of another woman at work, at school, at home, in some other avenue.  maybe it’s by sending money that supports a woman’s empowerment and economic freedom.  maybe it’s making a phone call or sending an email that reminds some women in your life of their worth & value.  maybe it’s by you as a woman standing a little taller today, stepping into your dignity and worth instead of letting the voices that try to pull you down get the best of you.

i encourage each of you to take just a few minutes and read this powerful declaration of sentiments written by elizabeth cady stanton, a leader in the women’s suffrage movement, 1848 at seneca falls.  i read through it last night & was deeply struck by how far it appears we have come but how far we still have to go.  i think i’m going to read it as a spiritual discipline every international women’s day (thanks, jessica.  please, everyone, read my dear friend jessica roye’s powerful post called the past and future of things. she is in the trenches on the streets of portland co-pastoring home-pdx & is seriously amazing.

i just got back from a lovely convergence weekend up in portland with an amazing group of wise & powerful & courageous women leading & living in all kinds of shapes and forms. i am struck by the need, more than ever, to continue to provide places of encouragement & support so that women’s influence can continue to touch this broken, disconnected world, this broken, disconnected church.

i shared this poem that was written by my blog friend j.ted voigt in his book pages called holy.  i highly recommend getting a copy of it as it is packed with beauty & hope for the kingdom.  i was privileged to write an endorsement on the back cover, and one of my all-time favorite church-related poems–springtime for a church–was inspired by a post i wrote early on at the carnival called a community where men cry.  anyway, i thought in honor of international women’s day i’d share it here, too.

i hope that men & women everywhere join this order of the brokenhearted.  that we listen & notice & strain to see what women & the oppressed & marginalized are experiencing.   that our hearts break over it.  and that we boldly listen to the Spirit’s prompting on what it means for us individually & as communities that care beyond just words.



We are Holy Order

of the brokenhearted

unreasonably in love

with sinners

nauseated by the thought of sin

hopeful-ly in love with the poor

counting ourselves among them

we strive to help even when we can’t help

as we lack visible, tangible, credible resources

we meet violence with peace

knowing this is


how martyrs are made.

Our call to holiness

is a call to broken heartedness

The One who calls us

is The One who heals us

our creed is The Spirit

The Spirit is our only hope

and we are a hopeful




– J. Ted Voigt

i’d love to hear what this stirs up in you.

* * * * *

a few other links in honor of international women’s day i’d like to point you to, there are so many out there but these are just a few in my inbox this morning:

  • my dear friend elaine hamilton is in this week’s recycle your faith video–embracing the mess.  she cornered me in the bathroom at a church in san diego and invited me to this group 16 years ago. it changed my life forever & started me on the path toward healing & hope in my relationship with God, myself, and pretty much everyone important to me.  safe community is  beautiful, empowering thing not just for women but for men, too.  we need more places like this.
  • and if you haven’t already heard about compathos, please check out the site. my friend cynthia la-grou started it along with a few others & their work is incredible. they are an amazing network dedicated to raising awareness of innovative, collaborative, restorative projects around the world on behalf of social justice issues.  check out this piece called women who dare.

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.


  • Speechless. Almost. This post needs to be read again and again. Nice work.

  • You preach that you care for the broken hearted yet I know of so many who have been completely rejected by the church who are easily the worst of the worst – the most hurting of all people. So many times have I met people who have been rejected and condemned by a church who not only doesn’t understand how the human soul is able to be wounded and broken but goe sa step furthur and does its utmost to get rid of these people who are “too difficult” to manage. Too many people have I dealt with who have been written off by a church who, instead of just admitting they don’t have enough love to give them, make themselves look righteous by fobbing these broken individuals off with excuses like “you just an unrepentant sinner – you need to take responsibility for yourself”. I have nmet too man who have been so repeatedly rejected by christians they no longer can trust anyone enough to let them come near to tend to their agonizing wounds. I for one am over your bullshit preaching of the word with little action to reach the truly hurting and oppressed people. If you think being stuck at home without job is all the marginilization one can suffer you live in a false reality – but one that is comfortable. When you have to go with a child who has been tortured and raped for years and years into their spiritual safe place and convince them to come out from under the bed because some demon is trying to murder and rape them over and over and over – you start to get a grip on what Jesus talked about when HE talked about being the one who was to come and liberate the captives and free the oppressed. If your worst suffering is having too little money your living in a paradise in comparison to the child who grew up in a coven that practices ritual torture in order to break the childs spirit so badly they can keep complete control over the person for the rest of their lives. The absolute most disgusting thing I have witnessed in your so called churches today is the practice of denying such peoples agony with a bullshit excuse such as “your decieved this stuff doesnt happen” or even worse “it’s all dealt with on the cross just forget about it, your isnning when you despise the cross so much as to keep dwelling on it”. Absolute friggen horrible rubbish ….. this church has murdered its share of children with its hard heartedness.


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