Pulling Our Weight

By Rev. Cynthia Simmons It was not easy being a Jew in Palestine at the time of Jesus. The glory days of Israel, a strong nation ruled by King David and then King Solomon, were long past – about 1,000 years – and the intervening centuries had not been kind. The land was invaded and […]

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A Command Performance

By Rev. J.C. Austin The Letter of James almost didn’t make it in the Bible. Only Revelation was more controversial as an inclusion in the Christian New Testament when the early Christians were assembling the New Testament. Many of the early Christian bishops felt it teetered on the edge of legalistic faith and what Protestants […]

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A Clear Signal

By Rev. J.C. Austin Exhaustion is the new busy. Before the pandemic, “busy” had become the standard definition of most of our lives, so much so that people were regularly writing books and articles on the culture and cult of busyness pervading U.S. society. The standard reply to the polite greeting, “How are you?” had […]

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The Big Reveal

By Rev. J.C. Austin I was talking with a friend recently and he started off by asking, “so, how’s the apocalypse going in Bethlehem? Good location, I suppose.” He isn’t a Christian, nor is his family, so what he knows is from general and popular culture. So I think he just assumes that Bethlehem is […]

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Putting Things in Order

By Rev. J.C. Austin There are always limits to parental understanding. My formative childhood years were mostly in the 1970s, and my mother was determined to raise her two boys to be what is now called emotionally intelligent: able to be aware of the full range our feelings, to manage and articulate them, and to […]

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What Do We Do Now

Rev. J.C. Austin I had a plan for Pentecost. It was sometime not long after we had shifted the church’s life and ministry to digital-only, which was in mid-March; I’m pretty sure it started taking shape around the time that the stay-at-home order began here in Pennsylvania, which was April 1. But somewhere in there, […]

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The Grammar of Grace

In the midst of all the insanity that is on social media, especially right now, there are some fun little diversions there to enjoy in between the never-ending series of Zoom calls. Many of you won’t be surprised to know that I’ve gravitated towards the ones related to music. There’s been a renewal of an […]

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Loving Freedom

This is going to come as a shock to you… but I don’t get the whole haircut thing. My social media feeds are full of people lamenting their inability to get a haircut or a hair coloring, or posting pictures of their attempts to cut their own hair or a family member’s hair with…varying…success while […]

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Living and Loving in God Mode

For me, one of the things that has been a gift in the midst of everything that is bad about quarantine life is much more time with my son Liam. That’s because both of us are working at home now: in the morning he settles in for school in the living room while I work […]

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Unbound Grief

Two months ago, if you had told me that one of the hardest grocery items to find in a global pandemic would be yeast, I would have laughed at you. Milk and bread and eggs, sure. I probably wouldn’t have foreseen toilet paper, but it doesn’t surprise me under the circumstances. But yeast? Look, I’ve […]

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