2014. where did it go?
every year’s end i think “well, that was a wild year!” with 5 kids, a crazy faith community that’s always filled with pain & beauty (and finally our own space after 7 years), finishing the initial manuscript for faith shift, and the ins & outs of real life, there’s never a dull moment around here! every year i usually hope that the next year won’t be quite so crazy. this time, i’m becoming a little more realistic and just embracing that 2014 is going to be an extra-crazy year for the escobars. i’ve got one kid graduating from college & another from high school (on the same day, at the same time, in different states–that’s just mean), and another studying abroad. our twins then start high school right about the time that faith shift is released. in the midst of this, the refuge is still transitioning into our new home as a local mission center. instead of stressing out about it, i am just going to ride it out, one day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time–trying to enjoy & savor & notice the good & beauty in the midst as best i can. we do work hard but we play hard, too.
i don’t have any big plans for the blog here in 2014. every time i make them, i don’t follow through all the way so i decided my only commitment in 2014 is to write when i have something i want to say and leave it at that. in my dream-world i would have more video interviews so you could hear from awesome people wrestling with the same things. i miss the wrestling-with-the-word-christian series & church refugee series from a few years ago. that was fun.
every year on the 31st i celebrate the blog’s anniversary. 2013 marks 6 years. it’s hard for me to express how grateful i have been for this little blog. the wonderful people i have met, the kindred spirits, and even the people-who-completely-disagree-with-me-and-like-to-send-me-mean-emails have all strengthened me in more ways than i imagined. writing here for the past 6 years has been a practice in showing up & telling my truth in that moment & letting it go. it’s been an exercise in vulnerability, and sometimes i hate it and want to shut the whole thing down. as an enneagram 2, i just want everyone to love me. it’s hard to hear when people don’t like what i say, that they want to “correct” it theologically, or that they think i’m too harsh or mean or too nice and amenable. it’s been a tough practice because i’m a people-pleaser at heart. one of the best things a people-pleaser can do is start a blog, write from the gut, and let it go. it’s extremely scary, but very healing and freeing, too.
anyway, i always think it’s fun to look back on the year and see what posts were the most popular. it is interesting to me, how you just never know which ones get the most love.
here’s the top 10 (well, 11) posts here in 2014.
1. please, let’s get outraged about more important things (i long for the day when we are better represented)
2. 8 ways those from more liberal-progressive and conservative-evangelical persuasions can better love each other (oh, we have to learn to live in the tension of our differences!)
3. abusive pastors & the crazy $*#!&!&! they get away with (because we have to break our addiction to charisma & fairy dust)
4. everyone’s fighting some kind of battle (there’s always more going on underneath than meets the eye)
5. what seems to help in the midst of pain (may we be people who are willing to welcome pain to the table)
6. a nifty chart for the journey–stages in the life of faith (from 2008, so funny how much long that post has lasted)
7. whatever you do, don’t let them take your faith (systems & unhealthy power can try to take our faith, but don’t let them have it)
8. what’s your position on? (i’d love to see us start with better questions than this)
9. ex-good-christian-women (from 2012, the best thing i ever did was give up “good”)
10. “i just feel like i’m one of the guys” and other subtleties working against equality (we’ve got to support each other better)
11. (just because i really liked this one) – losing beliefs, not faith (sometimes we think we’re losing our faith when really we’re just shedding beliefs)
and a few other blog-gy things not on this list:
- the post nobody read that i wish got more love: habits of the heart (because these 5 principles would be so helpful if we actually applied them!)
- my favorite post at sheloves magazine: stand back up (because we must) & too much and not enough (because this is my head-case-stuff that i always struggle with) (the entire list is here)
- my favorite formation friday: enneagram love (and hate) (i swear, i look at that chart all of the time).
- series: three things about one word: power, church, justice, serving & healing the divides (oh, how i hope we can find better ways to be together)
- favorite faith shift posts: 10 ways to re-engage with the bible when we’ve become allergic to it, 8 things that help us survive spiritual vertigo, and 8 ways you can support family and friends experiencing a faith shift
- favorite equality posts: the road to equality is paved with friendship, 10 reasons i’m an advocate for women’s equality, and educate, advocate, agitate
lastly, i always have a little template of looking back & looking forward at the end of the year. there are many different ways to do it, but here’s what i’ve used in the past. it’s a fun exercise and i am working on mine this week. here are the links:
i will end with two gems that i have loved this year. the first is my favorite quote by walter brueggemann:
and the last is a reminder of why i write here about God & church & life and care so much about the refuge & this kind of stuff. it’s from my friend david hayward‘s collection and sums up my hope for “the church” and a wider, free-er, more creative faith:
happy new year! wishing you peace, hope, and courage in the new year ahead. may it be a year of wonder & hope.