another blog birthday, the big 7

I always consider this blog’s birthday January 1st of every year.  I had written on the Refuge Blog a few years before here, but The Carnival in My Head officially started on January 1st 2008.

How could 7 years have gone by? Seriously, I’m getting old. 

It was interesting today to read my first real post here exactly 7 years ago. It was called when is the time? after watching the movie The Great Debators. My issues with gender inequality and the church were fresh wounds then, that’s for sure. And I can’t help but think how relevant that movie is with the movement for racial equality in 2014 gaining critically important new traction. No question, the time for all forms of equality is now and, thankfully, people are not willing to wait any longer.

It’s always wild reading back on the twists & turns over the years. Every season around this time I re-evaluate blogging and wonder if I should keep going for another year. I toss around dreams of sharing more of the creative stuff we do at The Refuge or hosting more video & blog interviews and creating some better series; however, pulling those into reality is sometimes rough in the midst of real life (and I’m seriously trying not to have unrealistic expectations). For now, I am just planning on keeping this space open in 2015, writing when things come up like I have been, and mixing it up when I can (hoping to bring back Formation Fridays here and there, too. I needed those for myself!).

Meanwhile, I always like to look back on the past year and remember some of the highlights. Here were the top 10 posts of the year, in order, that got the most love, an interesting mix:

1. when mother’s day is hard / This really touched a chord and I think tells us something important to consider since it’s coming back around in a few short months.

2. 5 false things the church often teaches us about healing / I don’t think healing should be a separate part of church but a core part of life together.

3. leaving church to save our souls / The longing for a free-er, more creative & active faith is real.

4. post-traumatic church syndrome is Real (and worthy of a capital letter) / Yes, it sure is & a lot of people are suffering from it.

5. when our christian faith is questioned / It hurts.

6. an evangelical and a progressive walk into a church….  / Oh, it’s tricky to do and only with God’s help is it possible, but we’ve got a find a way to stay together instead of only stick with our own kind.

7. justice is more than equality / We’ll have to participate in creating it.

8. survival of the fittest church / I’d love for this trend to be stopped in its tracks.

9. when father’s day is hard / A month after mother’s day, this day stirs up a lot of hard stuff, too.

10. don’t feed the narcissists / Let me just clarify–abuse needs to be called out, no question, and I am so glad that an empire toppled (and because people are addicted to celebrity, it’s already being rebuilt which makes me feel a little sick).  But I do wish we’d starve them all out.

My 2014 personal favorites:

1. grief week / These stages are part of the rhythms of life in all kinds of ways. I am hoping to do Failure Week in early 2015, finally!

2. new life and non-violent communication. / These charts and tools have been so transforming for me, so hard to apply.

3. I always have fun with the monthly Down We Go column at SheLoves Magazine. Here’s 2014.

4. It was really fun talking about faith shifts & hope for the church with Travis Reed of The Work of the People.  All of those video links are here.

And here are the top 5 posts of all time over the past 7 years (that was fun to peek at):

1. ex-good-christian-women / Here’s to ongoing freedom…

2. please, let’s get outraged over more important things / Yeah, I wish we’d get as riled up about poverty & pain & inequality in this world as we do about TV shows & celebrities.

3. a nifty chart for the journey: stages in the life of faith  / I will always love this book by Janet Hagberg & Robert Guelich; this chart is a summary.

4. when mother’s day is hard / This year’s post made the top all-time, wild.

5. rebuilding after deconstructing / This series was the genesis of Faith Shift and I am so grateful for all of the comments & perspectives over time.

My still-all-time blog favorite over the past 7 years was from 2012:  well behaved women won’t change the church.  Here’s to misbehaving.

And since going to the movies is one of my favorite spiritual disciplines and I always forget to write about them here, my favorite of 2014 were:

1. Begin Again

2. The Imitation Game

3. Boyhood

4. Whiplash

5. The Theory of Everything

What were yours?

Lastly, because I always like to get book recommendations (bring them on), here are some books I definitely enjoyed reading in 2014 (3 fiction & 3 nonfiction):

The Invention of Wings / Sue Monk Kidd

The Goldfinch / Donna Tartt

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats / Jan Philipp-Sendker

Blood Brothers: The Dramatic Story of a Palestinian Christian Working for Peace in Israel / Elias Chacour

The Empathy Exams: Essays / Leslie Jamison

Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace / Anne Lamott

If you like to spend a little time thinking about the past year and considering the one ahead, here’s a template I always share if you want to download. Use whatever works for you:

Goodbye 2014 & Happy Birthday, little blog. Looking forward to 2015.

Thanks for being part of this space! I am so grateful.

peace & hope for the new year, kathy

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.


  • Glad you’ll be keeping on, Kathy! And I DO hope you will find time and occasion to share more, post videos or whatever of creative things going on at The Refuge…. Similarly how you are (or are not) finding compatriots or various allies on similar missions.

    And thanks for the summaries, “best of” lists and such. I find that useful to my own learning and mission. I missed many on those lists and may yet go “back in time” to read some of them.

    My own blog has dwindled down in both the posting I’ve done and (understandably) the number of views… Frankly, not even thought about a year-end summary. And incidentally I think I’m approaching about 7 years also. However, I’m just as active in various ways and feeling continually more settled in the last few years (at age 65 now) following a slow transition. That’s been from “mainstream” Evangelicalism with its attendant “core doctrines” to “Can-I-even-call-myself-a-Christian?” (about 7 years – during which I was actively studying & interacting) to “I AM Christian – of the Jesus-follower, pro-spirituality, anti-imperial-god-of-this-world” type. And in reply to YOUR reply recently on another thread, I AM looking toward an opportunity to come visit you and your people when possible, hopefully not TOO long from now. Will be in touch on that!

  • Happy Birthday, little blog! It is weird to think I met you when you were a wrinkly 2 month old! 😮 … Woah. The mother’s day one this year really touched me, obviously, but it is always nice to have something speak into my soul. I often think of the line here about who you are in your worse moment isn’t who you are, and about letting one’s self off the hook. Different bits and pieces, but it is always helpful. And I will likely do the pdf, because I am still into that after all these years. Grateful for this space and your time and energy put into it!

  • I found your blog through a friend, sharing one post on facebook, and have been reading it ever since. It has been a healing balm to read exactly what i have been wrestling with forever. It comes at the right moment since we’ll be taking of time to consider our next steps. We’re in a very unhealthy structure and need to get out asap. The hard thing is to keep the hope that healthy groups are possible. I have been around for many years and seen too much junk. But i just don’t want to give in… reading your blog encouraged me to strengthen my resolve to keep going and believe that with our focus on God somehow, somewhere it will be possible.


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