faith circus & new adventures in podcasting.

I love trying new things. I love unedited conversations. I love what can happen when you don’t have a script and don’t try to craft something in a certain direction but just let things emerge.

That’s what Faith Circus is all about. 

It’s a new weekly podcast I am doing with my dear friend and co-pastor at The Refuge, Karl Wheeler. We are calling it Faith Circus: big tent, high-wire conversations about church, faith, and life without a net (and an occasional elephant in the room).  It was an idea he had last summer and we finally pulled it all together.

As a lot of you know, Karl and I have had a tricky relationship when it comes to certain topics.  We planted The Refuge together almost 10 years ago, and while we were different then in a lot of ways, some of the differences became much more apparent over the years. Faith shifts, new issues in the world and church arising, the political climate, and a whole host of other things magnified some of our differences.

I lean toward the left (if you haven’t noticed, ha ha) and he leans to the right.  Side note: a few years ago, at my son’s college graduation, Karl was taking a picture of all 7 of us Escobars. He told us to lean to the left, and it was the most perfect picture ever!  Then, the next day when we took one more family shot, we tried to lean to the right.  Guess what, it just didn’t work; we were all jumbled up and didn’t quite know what to do, ha ha. Left is just who we are.

I am not crazy with the language of progressives and evangelicals, but sometimes it’s the best we’ve got. So, in short, I’m definitely more progressive and he’s definitely more evangelical. It’s created a lot of interesting struggles over the years and a lot of people have wondered why we are still together.

Here’s why:

We have tried to put our relationship above our theology.  

We also have worked our tails off to stay together.

We have a lot of the same dreams. 

We also both have the same hope for the wider body–where we can somehow all be together despite our differences.

There is a cost.  On a lot of levels.  We will talk about this more on Faith Circus over time. It’s tested a lot of things inside of me, and I sometimes have to remind people that we didn’t start The Refuge this way. When we started, we were probably in a more similar place. Plus, certain hot topic church issues weren’t even on the table 10 years ago.

At the same time, I really think this is exactly who we were supposed to be.

That churches were never supposed to be homogeneous. Goodness gracious, the early church was anything but that.

Staying in and embracing our particular path has been a beautiful gift to me because I have learned so much through these past 10 years–about what I believe, about the glory and mess of true friendship, about being part of cultivating the kingdom of God, and about how jacked up our measures are on what is success. So many days, we look like losers.

But oh, I know something’s always been happening underneath through life together in this community that is far deeper than what meets the eye.

I’d love for you to enter into the Faith Circus conversations if  you’d like to be part.

Some of what we talk about you have heard me ramble about here in different ways. However, the juice and the fun is Karl and I talking together. We aren’t doing anything professional. We aren’t editing it and taking certain parts out. We are just pushing record and having conversations about interesting things.

The first two episodes are now up:  An Evangelical and a Progressive Walk into a Church Plant, Part 1 (the beginning of our story) and Part 2 (what happened when we disagreed on gay marriage).

Coming up in the next few weeks: Pet Peeves, I Don’t Like Who You Like, What’s a Post-Evangelical Anyway?, and Why Evangelical?  Then, we had some fun with politics.

There are a lot of ways to be part:

If you listen, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Like blogging, it feels so vulnerable but I believe it’s worth it. If you have ideas for future episodes, things you’d love for us to talk about, please let me know.

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.


  • Kathy, I think this is a fantastic idea. You and Karl are both great people and I love the idea that you come from opposite ends of the spectrum. It IS possible to coexist peacefully. So many people, especially in religious circles seem to think it is impossible, but you and Karl show it is possible, that you can love and respect each other and even work together. I have my opinions and believe others have the right to theirs, even if they think much differently than I do. What drives me crazy, however, are the people who think that I MUST think as they do, and that anything less calls into question my faith. That’s nuts! Of course that is what religion is for many people. Here’s hoping you and Karel can show us that it need not be that way.

  • i am SO excited about this!!! can’t wait to listen to these. thank you!!

  • “We have tried to put our relationship above our theology.” I love that. And thank you for being vulnerable! I love reading/listening to people who are.


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