breaking down walls

blessed are those who work for peace

this week is “healing the divides” week here on the blog, and i’ve loved the feedback and responses to the first two posts:

today i thought i’d mix it up a little and share a little video blog instead of writing. i’d love to do more video conversations like i did a few years ago, but alas, this one is just me rambling a few thoughts on walls & divides & Jesus. 

i’d love to hear any thoughts it might stir up.



my challenge to myself & to us is:

who are “those people” in our lives?

what walls have we put up to separate ourselves from them?

what would breaking down some of the walls maybe look like? 


tomorrow:  deeper dignified dialogue

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.


  • Loving this post Kathy.

    It is the heartbeat our our little faith expression here in Ireland to see both the physical , social and spiritual walls we have erected in our lives removed.

    We have found that before we can even begin to address the physical walls that surround us we need to identify, name, and own the (*internal) walls we have erected.

    I work in my day job with the homeless and one of the walls I see regularly is the wall of deliberate social blindness when individuals, groups and communities choose to ignore whole groups within society . One of the comments I regularly hear from the individuals I work with is that they long just to be seen and noticed. Some of the individuals I work with have literally gone for days without even having made eye contact, never-mind engaged in a conversation with another human being. As a group we are setting a base line that when walking past someone on the street who is homeless the very least we can do is look them in the eyes, smile and say hi….

    That is just one of the areas (walls) we are looking at.

    I could go on…….

    If you ever wish to come to Belfast, Northern Ireland (your president was just her earlier in the week) to view our physical walls in our city, (ironically called ‘peace walls’) my wife and I would be delighted to be your tour guide.

    • stuart, i am so glad that you shared and helped me remember what you guys were doing over there! i do hope that at some point i can come visit, would be so great to meet you all and i’ve never been to ireland. it’s on my list for sure. you, like israel & palestine, have a very clear physical wall that is so representative of everything underneath. a lot of my friends might not necessarily be homeless but express that same feeling–of feeling invisible, unwanted. so much dignity has been stripped for all kinds of reasons and so much can happen through simple but powerful human connection. i would love to hear more about what your community is like!

  • I loved this. Loved the message. Loved hearing you speak and your funny accent 🙂 hehe you remind me of rachel held evans in the way you talk for some reason.

    Fear – control – uncomfortableness – so there’s walls, distance, separation. Yes, sounds like my heart and mankind. So much easier to be at a distance and hate from a distance. But in the long run we know there’s no fruit there and it’s not what God is asking. It’s so much harder to not separate but continually to bring your love to the wall and have YOUR side be open – so much harder to carry the cross.

    I too have had those moments when God’s spirit just poured out – and I am amazed how our tear ducts are directly linked to His Spirit. He made us so there is a linkage between physical & spiritual many times. It’s deeper than a “feeling” – undescribable really. I am glad we don’t have those often or I’d lust after that experience and never get anything done. but so thankful for those glimpses!!

    But back to that visual – so very powerful to me. You didn’t push through the wall. You didn’t forcefully tear it down. You simply surrendered to the vehicle you were in and allowed it to drive you through. It’s just like in our journey – the vehicle is His Body, His Spirit – that we are apart of. We just surrender and be willing to go and HE does the work of getting us through. We continually are willing to go toward the wall and look for Him to move through it… look for that opening…. but can’t force it. God knows where there is an open heart on each side and He has a lot of work to prepare those openings – so we have to wait on His timing. It’s so hard to be patient. But finding the opening and then driving us through. so worth the wait & work. Going up against the wall and having our side be open and the other side still closed still hurts each time – but I do believe finally getting through truly helps us ‘get over’ the pain it took to get there.

      • it’s so weird I don’t even know what that accent is hehehe just teasing 🙂

  • Hi – enjoyed hearing you share the story of jesus and mercy “something you are going to hate” and then the contrast with the wall, how that affected you and then your own sharing.

    I think you pick up on a key thing – fear. That being where the control and power comes from, and sadly disdain for “the other”. I have wept in the last week at what is happeign in the church in Scotland.

    I hear, and I am with you 100% in the “wild ways of Jesus”. It seems to me that what comes along with this is the perfect love that casts out all fear. When we encounter the living Jesus, and God’s limiless power then human power pales in significance. I think it would take courage to go into places where we know if God doesn’t turn up we are screwed. Stepping out of comfort zones, risning disagreement, being willing to suffer etc., yet binding that all together in what I belive to be the most powerful force in the universe – God’s love.


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