Advent in July

by Rev. J.C. Austin If there’s a universal experience of life during the pandemic, it must be the loss of any real grasp of how to count time. Honestly, if I didn’t have Sunday worship as a reliable touchstone, I really don’t know how I would keep any of it straight, and even then I […]

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Love in the Background

Television commercials are one of the most powerful mediums for communicating cultural values in our society. That doesn’t mean they are the best or most constructive; just very powerful. They have to be in order to be effective. It’s often thought that the point of advertising is to convince us of a need that the […]

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A Magnifying Faith

It’s happening again; it seems to happen every year now, actually. Right after Thanksgiving the battle lines are drawn. Declarations are thrown into group conversations; challenges are issued in social media posts. Animated arguments erupt, with people on both sides declaring that their position represents both moral purity and demonstrable fact, while those on the […]

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Jesus’ Opening Act

The most common format for concerts in popular music for decades has been for there to be an opening act, occasionally more than one, followed by the headliner act. The idea behind it is a mutually beneficial experience for all the acts involved. The opening act is usually relatively unknown but up-and-coming, and so it […]

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In the Meantime

Occasionally, I get asked what my biggest wedding disaster was as an officiant. The truth is, I haven’t had what I would consider a disaster, but there were a couple that caused an awful lot of anxiety. One was when I was a pastor in New York City. The couple getting married had met when […]

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Knowing Who You Are

I started shaving my head about five years ago. It was the culmination of the long retreat of my once glorious mane of hair. And it was glorious; but in my late 20s, I noticed that it was no longer quite so glorious on the back of my head. I started cutting my hair shorter […]

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