The Place to Be

The other day I was listening to Christmas music and the song “No Place Like Home for the Holidays” came on. As a child, I always perked up when I heard it because of the second verse, where he talks about people going home to Pennsylvania from Tennessee and vice versa, because I was born […]

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Do Not Be Afraid

By Rev. J.C. Austin I spent a year in Australia following my wife Tammy around the country; she had won a fellowship to spend a year studying issues of inequality in access to education there. It was a pretty sweet deal for me, because I got to do all the fun stuff of living and […]

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Rising in the Ruins

By Rev. J.C. Austin “I’m hitting a wall,” she said; “I think everyone’s hitting a wall. We are not ok.” I didn’t know her or even recognize her name; her tweet simply showed up in my Twitter feed because I think a couple of the people I follow liked it.  And that’s all she said; […]

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Lifting the Valley

By Rev. J.C. Austin I’ve talked before about how important beginnings are in any art form: books, movies, poetry, symphonies, sermons, anything. Think about one of your all-time favorites among those, and I’m willing to bet it has a good beginning. I remember the first time this really came home for me was when I […]

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Preparing a Way in the Wilderness

By Rev. J.C. Austin The college I attended, known as Sewanee, has a number of unusual attributes, but one of the most notable is that it is the second-largest university in the country…in acres, that is. The actual student enrollment is only a little over 1000, but the campus is actually around 10,000 acres, second […]

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Mercy Buckets

By Rev. J.C. Austin What do you think is the least you can know of a language in another country and still get by? As a fairly experienced independent traveler, I’ve been in many places and situations where nobody spoke any English, and I’ve found that if you know just nine words, you can handle […]

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A Sure Thing

By Rev. J.C. Austin One of the most humbling aspects of parenthood is your increasing incompetence at helping your kids with schoolwork. My son Liam didn’t make it out of elementary school before I was over my head trying to decipher his math work; that was pretty humiliating. In middle school, I was still holding […]

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Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning

By Rev. J.C. Austin One of the most stunning scenes in the entire epic Lord of the Rings movie trilogy comes well into the third film, as a climactic battle is about to break loose between the forces of good and the minions of evil. The forces of good, the army of Gondor, is hopelessly […]

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Hardly Getting Over It

By Rev. J.C. Austin One of the things I miss the most from the pre-pandemic days is live music. My last concert was at the end of January 2020, here in Bethlehem at the Musikfest Café at SteelStacks, and it was to see Bob Mould, who was the lead singer of the seminal 1980s band […]

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Oriented by Love

By Rev. J.C. Austin A few weeks ago, I went with my family to visit the memorial for Jim Thorpe, who of course is widely regarded as the greatest athlete of modern times. I knew Thorpe’s story pretty well, having read biographies of him when I was growing up. What I didn’t remember was that, […]

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