What is Faith Circus?


Welcome.  We are glad you made your way here.

Faith Circus is a podcast hosted by Karl Wheeler and Kathy Escobar, co-founders of The Refuge, a mission center and Christian community in North Denver.

Each episode will be a little different, however the point is always the same–raw, honest conversations about faith, church, and life that we hope you can enter into with us, too.

We also really want to talk about the elephants in the room–hard topics that many of us tend to avoid.

We call these big-tent, high-wire conversations because we want as many people as possible to feel the freedom to participate; we also know we will be talking about some dicey topics.

We are wrestling with all kinds of things together as leaders and friends–theological differences that have threatened to divide us, dreams for church and how to live that out, faith shifts that are rocking Christianity right now, and the challenges of being a follower of Jesus in today’s world.

This podcast isn’t for everyone. It’s not for people who are looking for easy answers, clean conclusions or simple formulas. It’s also not for people who want to fight or argue.

It’s for men and women of all ages and faith experiences who want to talk about things that are hard to talk about. Who want to engage with ideas that will challenge, form, and annoy us.  Who want to see change not only in our own lives and relationships, but with the wider church and world, too.

You can learn more about us here and get regular updates about new episodes and other conversations on the Faith Circus Facebook Page  or follow us on Twitter.

You can also subscribe on ITunes so they will drop right into your account each week.

We hope you will not only listen, but also consider commenting and sharing what is stirred up inside of you in the comments section here or on the Facebook page.  Better yet, join our Closed Facebook Group, Faith Circus-ing, for more private conversations with listeners who want to engage more deeply.

We invite you to not only observe the circus, but join in it with us!


Season 2 Wrap

We are so sorry it has been two months since you heard from us!

We have had some changes and challenges in our schedules.

The biggest change is Karl Wheeler is making a transition in his involvement at The Refuge. Karl and his wife, April, are not sure what is next but they are taking the summer to pray and discern what might come next.

In this episode, we look back over the last couple of years and highlight the episodes that have been the most downloaded. We found a few surprises and some confirmations about what interests our friends who are listening in.

We always take the summer off from recording, so that was in the works before Karl’s decision. We are not sure what will be next for Faith Circus, but we will wait and see what shakes out after summer and will let you know when we know.  If you’re new here, there a lot of archived episodes to catch up on.

Thanks for listening!

You can find updates at Faithcircus.org or in the Faith Circus-ing closed group on Facebook.

Part 2 of Burning Questions (Episode 24, Season 2)

Our second season is winding down and we finish what we started last week by answering the final four questions that appeared on the Faith Circus-ing Facebook group.

Please give us your grace as we attempted to give our best and most honest answers in the moment, but we know we could not fully resolve what our brothers and sisters have been wrestling with for hundreds of years in 5 minute chunks of time.

Burning Questions, Part 1 (Episode 23, Season 2)

As we wind down Season 2, we offered to answer your questions and you put us to the test!

Great questions, hard questions, questions that give voice to what so many of us are wrestling with.

We ask your grace as we are not professional theologians but pastors who are attempting to figure out for ourselves issues that have been divisive for so long.

We pray that the questions will drive you deeper toward God and cultivate more conversation.

Dear Kathy & Karl…

We are getting ready to wind down on Season 2 and thought it would be fun to do a few “Ask Karl and Kathy” episodes, with questions that you might write in if we had a Dear Abby column (some of you might be too young for that!). These can be questions on anything that you’re wanting some input on. A burning question, something you’re wondering about, advice on a struggle. If you can put any of those questions in the comments or email us or send via Facebook private message on our Faith Circus page, we’ll have a little fun answering them…

Thanks, everyone!

Peacemaking vs. Peacekeeping (Season 2, Episode 22)

A follow-up to our conversations about Codependency is this timely episode helping us discern the difference between “peacemaking” and “peacekeeping.”  They are two completely different things but we can easily get them confused. While unrest and chaos surround us, it is easy to fall back into old and harmful practices that avoid deeper healing and connection and rob us of our life and freedom.

Peace is our birthright as citizens of heaven and Jesus says those who “make peace” are part of the foundation of a Kingdom of Heaven on earth. So is it that important to distinguish between making and keeping? Are tranquility and harmony fruits of the spirit?

We hope you find this week an encouragement to you as you make peace in the world around you.

Codependence (Season 2, Episode 21)

At the root of most addiction and relational dysfunction lies a deep desire to be accepted and loved. That is good and God infused that into our lives. But what happens when life and people are not cooperating with our plan to be happy?

Many of us learned long before we knew we were learning that if we can only get those around us to affirm, like, acknowledge, care take, or admire us we can be happy. This need to control those around us or to have an unhealthy attachment to how others perceive us is codependence. Healing from codependence is a bumpy road, filled with difficult decisions to break free from others while in fact deepening our interdependence with others.

In this episode, we only scratch the surface of learning how to notice when codependent patterns are happening and what are some of the first, small baby steps towards freedom.

If you want to engage with others listening in, too, join us on Faith Circus-ing on Facebook.

More on Recovery Church (Season 2, Episode 20)

Recovery is an important word. It appears that in the church world it describes a small minority group that is somehow different from the church as a whole.

Drawing on last week’s conversation with our friend Teresa McBean, Executive Director of National Association of Christian Recovery, we continue our conversation with just the two of us about why we think recovery should be part of the everyday fabric for Christian communities.

We would love to see the word “recovery” inspire hope instead of worry or speculation. We see the honesty and transformation that occurs in recovery communities as part of the mission and joy of being called together.

If you want to engage more with this conversation, join us at Faith Circus-ing on Facebook.

Recovery Church (Season 2, Episode 19)

Recovery is at the foundation of the story of the Refuge. This week is a fun episode with a marvelous guest who has found the intersection of healing and church in a powerful and sustaining way.

Teresa McBean is the Executive Director of National Association of Christian Recovery and the Co-Pastor of NorthStar Community Church in Richmond, Virginia. She brings so much hope and wisdom to the conversation about the future church and what can be as we discover our “inadequate coping mechanisms” and communities that have honesty and healing as core values.

You can learn more about National Association of Christian Recovery at www.nacr.org and NorthStar Community at www.northstarcommunity.com.

The Refugee Crisis (Season 2, Episode 18)

The current political situation requires that we remain vigilant and aware. We’re all navigating life in the USA differently at the moment, but we can’t escape the reality of big shifts happening at the highest level of government.

Last week, the world changed for thousands of Americans and for those who were only steps away from a new life in the USA.

Our faith will continue to bump up against the empire, the system, and we will need to wrestle with it on many different levels.

We hope that hard and energized conversations will help us find our way forward. We do not really offer any answers, but we have lots of questions and concerns. We are guessing you have a lot of strong feelings, too, and we’d love to hear them.

Future Church (Season 2, Episode 17)

Christians seem to often talk about church–what they like and what is disappointing, what they long for and what they would change. It is possible to think of almost the entire New Testament as an answer to the question “What does it look like to be a follower of Jesus?” or “What is church?”

We invite you into our angst, our joy and pain around the word and our deep desire to be part of the better future of the word “Church.”

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