church bingo: before & after our faith unravels

image of bingo game

I got a funny email from a friend a while back about checking out a new church after a radical faith shift.  It’s always so brave to explore new possibilities and take the plunge and see what’s out there. The part that made me laugh the most was when he said he felt guilty for liking the coffee bar!  Oh, the joys of our church baggage.

It made me think of the things that used to matter to some of us when it comes to church and how much things can change after we find ourselves unraveled but somehow long for a community to be part of again (there’s a whole chapter in Faith Shift centered on exploring possibilities of community after our faith comes apart).

But for fun here–and with a little help from some friends–I finally finished 2 Church Bingo Games I had been working on for a while–one for before a Faith Shift and one for after Unraveling.  All of them might not resonate, depending on what faith tradition you came from.  My background on the whole was in attractional conservative evangelical churches, and I’m sure you guys could make similar ones for different denominations and experiences.

If you are part of churches that have the things on the first one, please don’t take offense. If you are searching for new communities and still like things from before, this isn’t to make you feel bad. If you read the things on church-after-unraveling and are like “these ones will also make me break out in hives”, that’s okay, too. None of these are good or bad. Sometimes it’s just good to laugh at the whole crazy thing.

This first one was so me for so many years. I would always go for blackout:

church bingo page 1 jpegAfter we go through the weird and brutal season of Unraveling, sometimes we try to give it a go again, hoping to find spiritual community. Oh, how things change:

church bingo page 2 update

What would you add? What was important to you then?  What is important to you now?



ps: I forgot to let anyone know that last fall I created a new page on the blog called “share your faith story.” If you want to share a bit of your faith journey or how you connect to these different seasons in your story, or any reflections from the book, it always helps others feel less crazy, less alone.

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.


  • Yayyyyy for church pot lucks making it into both bingo cards 🙂

    I think I understand what you mean by faith shift but could I jus check to make sure? Are we talking here about shifting from stages 1-3 thru 4-5? What I first understood by that was any shift in faith?

    What was important then was being accepted in the community, having a solid grounding in biblical principles with a mission statement to make the word of God fully known and the people of God fully mature. Oh yes and food was a big part of it. The being accepted part meant that I deferred to some teachings I thought a bit odd like leadership being male. I thought it wierd that this happened in the church building but in homes it often was the women in charge!

    Nowadays it’s more about ok what can I get excited about with where God is at work in community both in and out of church. And what is church anyway? A strange paradox of child like awe but knowing that’s a more mature approach to faith. Is this making any sense? Less of a sense of duty but mor free joyful and if something doesn’t meet with approval of others then shrugging the shoulders and doing it anyway.

    I’m struggling to put this into words and I feel that how I describe it is poor in relation to how meaningful it is but in some small way I hope some of what it is like comes over.

  • Before: “Do they really like me or do they just want me to join their MLM?” After: “Yes, I successfully steered clear of the MLM people.” Way after: “Must avoid people who are too familiar too soon–it’s creepy and cultish–or they want me to join their MLM–yuck.”

  • Kathy, do you have an email address that I could write to you at? Thanks.

  • Church bingo, this looks kind of interesting. Actually I like this idea of church bingo to stay near the god while playing. Thanks for sharing this.


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