If You Can’t Pray Anything Nice

By Rev. J.C. Austin When I first took the bus to Bethlehem from New York City during the interview process for this church, I immediately recognized the name given to the section of Route 33 between Route 22 and I-78, which is designated the “General Anthony McAuliffe 101st Airborne Memorial Highway.” Now, if you’re not […]

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Keeping Our Enemies Close

by Rev. J.C. Austin This week, we’re reading some more of Paul’s mail. The word epistle, as you may know, literally means “letter,” and all of the epistles of the New Testament were originally letters that Paul and other apostles sent to fellow Christians to teach and encourage and even sometimes admonish them. Last week, […]

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A Useful Problem

By Rev. J.C. Austin Philemon. It’s kind of a strange choice, I’ll admit it. It would be even under normal circumstances, but it feels especially strange given where we find ourselves these days: in a society that seems ever more anxious, fearful, angry, and polarized as we grapple with the worst global pandemic in at […]

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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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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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Family Feud

Based on Isaiah 5:1-7 and Luke 12:49-57 All of us have been given the gift of our five senses: touch, taste, hearing, sight and smell. We also are gifted with the sensing organs that are associated with each of these five senses and it is these organs that send information to the brain to help […]

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What’s Love Got to Do With It

When our children were young Brad and I would volunteer at the Center City Homeless Shelter. From time to time we would take the two younger ones with us, as their older siblings had something else to do. We would arrive at 6 p.m. on a Friday night and leave after breakfast on Saturday about […]

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The Well-Dressed Christian

One of the interesting things about serving this church is who recognizes me out on the street in Bethlehem. People at the contemporary worship service don’t have any trouble, because what I wear in that service is, more or less, what I wear in “normal life.” But people from the traditional service sometimes have a […]

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A Lingering Scent

A couple of years ago, my wife Tammy was out of town for the weekend, and I had been traveling a lot for my job in theological education at the time, so while she had gotten a lot of one-on-one time with our son Liam, I had not. So Liam and I were both looking […]

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