Category Archives: Religion

christmas 2017

The Miracle and the Mystery of Christmas



In Episode 44, Steve is joined by friend of the show, the Rev. Ed Bacon. This episode is also packed full of your stories! Check this fun-filled episode out for Christmas carols with Ben and Cara, plus favorite Christmas memories from listeners. And don’t miss Ed Bacon’s thoughts on why Christmas still matters. This is a holiday celebration for the whole family!

christmas 2017

Show notes:

Steve Austin is an Amazon best-selling author, life coach, and self-care consultant. Feeling stuck, stressed, or overwhelmed? Get your copy of Self-Care for the Wounded Soul on Amazon today!


something better than christianity

Is There Something Better than Christianity?



In Episode 43 of the #AskSteveAustin Podcast, Steve is joined by Scott Watkins – an ex-pastor, and former co-host of the Holy Heretics Podcast. In this conversation, the guys talk about to talk about life after Christianity and what it means to be a secular humanist.

Most folks who listen to this podcast love to throw around the word “deconstruction”, but most of them still call themselves some kind of Christian. But what happens when you deconstruct your faith and what you’re left with is no longer appealing? Deeper than that – what happens when it no longer feels like Truth? What do you do when you deconstruct and no longer call yourself a Christian?

something better than christianity

Highlights from today’s episode:

  • “If you love everybody, then you don’t love anybody.”
  • “When your religion becomes toxic, you need to run from it.”
  • “Religion is simply a meaning-making device.”
  • “Spirituality isn’t about answers, but meaning.”
  • “I’m not against Christianity, but I’m for humanity.”
  • “I don’t think Church is about following Jesus. I think it’s about the consolidation of power.”
  • “God is just a projection of the deepest part of our self; and quite frankly, so is the Devil.”
  • “We should absolutely say that people matter more than beliefs.”
  • “Life a life useful.”

Got kudos, questions, or criticism? Leave Steve a voicemail!

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Music by Bensound

ORDER YOUR COPY OF SELF-CARE FOR THE WOUNDED SOUL: 21 DAYS OF MESSY GRACE, BY STEVE AUSTIN TODAY ON AMAZON.

STEVE AUSTIN IS A LIFE COACH, SPEAKER, AND AUTHOR OF SELF-CARE FOR THE WOUNDED SOUL. STEVE’S GOAL IS TO HELP YOU CREATE A LIFESTYLE OF FOCUSED EMOTIONAL HEALTH AND CLARITY. SUBSCRIBE TO STEVE AUSTIN’S FREE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER BY CLICKING RIGHT HERE. 


gifts of grief

The Gifts of Grief? Are You Serious?



In Episode 42, Steve has way too much fun with the best-selling author (and ok, fine, his friend, Natalie Can-I-Get-Your-Autograph Brenner).

gifts of grief

So, in many instances, the AskSteveAustin podcast has become the place where progressive Christian authors and artists come to share their work. And let me tell you – Natalie Brenner has written a book that I love. This Undeserved Life: Uncovering the Gifts of Grief and the Fullness of Life is beautiful. The writing…omg…it’s beautiful. There are a few writers I know whose words like sing right off the page, and they are, Sarah Robinson, Anne Voskamp, and Natalie Brenner.

When books make me silently weep, without fanfare, just cry those big fat releasing tears because my soul is saying yes – that’s a good book. That’s a really REALLY good book.

Questions about the gifts of grief:

  1. You talk about Jesus in a very genuine and loving way – but your heart at times has nearly been crushed under the weight of grief. How do you reconcile the two? And what the heck do you mean when you say the gifts of grief?
  2. Can we talk about the struggle with church hurts when all you really want to do is love Jesus and his people?
  3. Who is Jesus?
  4. Why is it so important to create a safe space for others to be vulnerable?
  5. What’s it like to parent a child of a different race?
  6. Autographed book giveaway! Retweet this week’s pinned post on twitter @iamsteveaustin for your chance to win a personalized, autographed copy of This Undeserved Life by Natalie Brenner
  7. Compassion means to co-suffer. OMG. Yes, she said that.
  8. NatalieBrennerWrites.com
  9. Music: Bensound.com
  10. Get all of Steve Austin’s info at iamsteveaustin.com

Following Jesus Out of the Evangelical Church

Following Jesus Out of the Evangelical Church



In Episode 41 of the #AskSteveAustin Podcast, Steve Austin talks with David P. Gushee, author of the brand-new book, Still Christian: Following Jesus Out of American Evangelicalism. Tony Campolo says, “Still Christian takes us on the journey of a Christian leader who endeavors to maintain his integrity while navigating his way from a rigid fundamentalism with its right-wing political agenda into a progressive worldview.” Listen now at AskSteveAustin.com or on your favorite podcasting app!

Following Jesus Out of the Evangelical Church

A piece of my journal from March of 2016 says this:

I’m too liberal for the Republicans and too conservative for the Democrats. I’m a 30-something Southerner, born and raised in the buckle of the Bible Belt. I was dunked by the Baptists, spoke in tongues in the Assemblies of God, went to a Church of God college, returned to my Baptist roots as a youth pastor, became a Methodist, and now agree with about 80 percent of the Catholic Church’s teachings. I attended George W. Bush’s first inauguration as a senior in high school but have voted Democrat in the last election. I study the King James Bible with a concordance but I read The Message on my iPhone for enjoyment, while having a glass of wine and smoking a cigar.

I’m a walking contradiction.

Maybe there was once room for people like me. Maybe everyone is like me, if we’re all honest with each other. But our culture no longer allows contradictions. I run from discussions with other Christians because it almost always ends poorly. A loss of friendship, a loss of faith, a loss of fervor. I’m tired of being burned.

When many people of faith force it to be an either/or battle of choosing sides, how do you find your voice without losing your soul? This is what today’s episode with David Gushee, author of Still Christian, is all about.

Some questions from today’s conversation:

  • What’s it like to become a born-again Christian in 1978, during the Presidency of Jimmy Carter and the formation of the Religious Right?
  • How has stepping away from American Evangelicalism impacted the way you pastor and parent?
  • What is life like for you, as a pastor or Christian leader, when church life in America seems to be on the decline?
  • Do you have any advice for folks like me, who are in the midst of a personal deconstruction of faith…on how to hold onto their faith, while not abandoning their intellect or ignoring the questions?
  • Is the Bible literally true?
  • How similar were the religious wars of the 1980’s to whatever we’re experiencing today with the marriage of President Trump and the Religious Right?
  • If we look at life through the lens of American Christianity, politics, and culture in 2017 – when do we compromise, and when we do we stand our ground?
  • Do you have any advice for Evangelical Christian pastors who feel stuck, Sunday after Sunday, with the obligation to support their family pressing right up against their secret affirmation of the LGBT community, or their support of women, or their disdain of the President?
  • You have been described as “every liberal’s favorite evangelical” and you have also been described as “every liberal’s least-favorite evangelical”. Which one would you rather be, and why?
  • You are an anti-torture, pro-environment, LGBTQ-affirming, academic…and yet you seem to still consider yourself a Baptist? If so, how and why?
  • After all that you’ve been through, how is this not just a book about a disillusioned ex-Christian?

Favorite quote? “I’m disillusioned. But I’m not an ex-Christian.”

Music: BenSound.com

“Hey Jesus” by Trey Pearson

You can also listen on iTunes.

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ORDER YOUR COPY OF SELF-CARE FOR THE WOUNDED SOUL: 21 DAYS OF MESSY GRACE, BY STEVE AUSTIN TODAY ON AMAZON.

STEVE AUSTIN IS A LIFE COACH, SPEAKER, AND AUTHOR OF SELF-CARE FOR THE WOUNDED SOUL. STEVE’S GOAL IS TO HELP YOU CREATE A LIFESTYLE OF FOCUSED EMOTIONAL HEALTH AND CLARITY. LOOKING FOR MORE WAYS TO CREATE SPACE? SUBSCRIBE TO STEVE AUSTIN’S FREE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER BY CLICKING RIGHT HERE. 


trey pearson

Trey Pearson says Love is Love



In Episode 38 of The #AskSteveAustin Podcast, Steve Austin is honored to have Trey Pearson on the show. In this episode, Trey shares songs from his new EP, “Love is Love”, plus dives deep into his story of coming out of the closet while he was married to a woman.

trey pearson
Source: treypearson.com

Some questions from today’s conversation:

  • What’s it like growing up in a conservative home, being taught that sexual orientation is a matter of choice, and having to suppress your thoughts and feelings and desires?
  • And what advice would you give to the teenager, being raised in a conservative family and/or evangelical Christianity, who is just waking up to who they really are?
  • You were married to a woman for 7 years before you came out as a gay man, what was the tipping point for you?
  • What do you want to say to the gay man, who is scared to death, hiding behind the mask of a heterosexual marriage?

From TreyPearson.com

With his band Everyday Sunday, Trey Pearson has sold hundreds of thousands of records, and amassed millions of streams. He has scored 5 #1 U.S. singles and 20 Top 10 hits. His song “Wake Up! Wake Up!” was the most-played Christian rock song of 2007, and his 2009 album, “Best Night of Our Lives,” broke onto the coveted Billboard 200 chart. Pearson has toured in all 50 states and 20 countries, playing with top Christian musicians such as Toby Mac, Switchfoot, MercyMe, Jeremy Camp, Relient K and others.

Recently, Trey Pearson, the founder and owner of Everyday Sunday, has come out of the closet to make national news. His announcement started a national conversation with a television appearance on The View. It has been covered by The New York Times, Billboard Magazine, CNN and more, as he became the most trending topic worldwide on Facebook.


Trey is so generous and so excited about this album that he wants to give away one autographed copy of his brand-new Album, love is love. For your chance to win, follow me on Twitter @iamsteveaustin and Retweet my pinned post that’s all about today’s episode. I’ll announce the winner of the autographed copy of Love is Love at the beginning of next week’s show.

You can also listen on iTunes.

JOIN THE EXCLUSIVE #ASKSTEVEAUSTIN FACEBOOK COMMUNITY FOR AS LITTLE AS $1 PER MONTH! DETAILS AT PATREON.COM/IAMSTEVEAUSTIN

ORDER YOUR COPY OF SELF-CARE FOR THE WOUNDED SOUL: 21 DAYS OF MESSY GRACE, BY STEVE AUSTIN TODAY ON AMAZON.

*Music: Bensound.com

“The Good Grief” and “Love is Love” by Trey Pearson. Both songs shared with permission.


burned out sabbath

Burned Out? How to Sabbath in a Noisy World



In episode 36 of The #AskSteveAustin Podcast, Steve Austin chats with J. Dana Trent about her new book, For Sabbath’s Sake: Embracing Your Need for Rest, Worship, and Community. If you’re burned out and ready to learn how to create a sabbath plan in this busy, 24/7 world, this is the episode you’ve been waiting for!

burned out sabbath

Show notes:

Today’s questions:

  • What are the roots of sabbath and why is it applicable in today’s world?
  • How can we begin to see Sabbath as liberating, rather than just one more thing to add to our already insurmountable to-do list?
  • For those of us who identify as clergy, or even spiritual helpers, self-care often gets tossed to the wayside, due to the various tasks that seem to beg for our immediate attention. What are a few tips you’d give to those who are too busy to practice much Sabbath on Sundays?
  • What issues does the church (as a whole) need to address when it comes to sabbath-keeping?
  • What do you mean when you say relational Sabbath?
  • What are some practical tips for overcoming obstacles and keeping sabbath in a noisy, 24/7 world?
  • You talk about crafting a sabbath plan. Where do we even begin?
  • Stealing Sabbath Back (series from 2014) http://jdanatrent.com/2014/09/new-blog-series-stealing-back-sabbath/

The Rev. J. Dana Trent is an ordained Baptist clergywoman, award-winning author and World Religions faculty member at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, NC. Her work has appeared on Time.com, Religion Dispatches, Religion News Service, The Christian Century, and Sojourners. Her second book, For Sabbath’s Sake: Embracing Your Need for Rest, Worship, and Community, is available now. She loves naps with cats, vegetarian food, and teaches weight-lifting for the YMCA. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @jdanatrent on Facebook.


To the God Nobody Knows

To the God Nobody Knows



“I believe that the greatest truths of the universe don’t lie outside, in the study of the stars and the planets. They lie deep within us, in the magnificence of our heart, mind, and soul. Until we understand what is within, we can’t understand what is without.”

Anita Moorjani

Do you ever have those moments where your skin tingles a little extra, like someone else’s guardian angel just whisked by in a hurry to get to their next assignment? Those moments where you’d swear God was sitting right next to you, be it in the car, at the office, or the coffee shop? It doesn’t have to be for any reason in particular, and the space doesn’t have to be particularly sacred, but do you ever have those days where it seems like God is whispering things – yet unknown – to the deepest parts of your soul?

Your ways, O Lord, are higher and

Your knowledge is immense;

So give us strength to trust You when

Life doesn’t make much sense.Sper

Logic might say it was just a strand of hair that tickled my neck. Or the air conditioner being turned on in the office. It could have been a nerve-ending gone haywire. Or a random case of goosebumps.

Maybe so. Maybe not.

The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion.

1 Corinthians 2: 14-16

These rare and precious moments happen to me from time to time, and all I can say is that they feel like God. I can’t argue it with logic. I can’t explain it away with science. I can only tell you that in those brief moments, time stands still, and I sense the embrace of God. Those silent few seconds, when no words are audibly spoken, deep things are being written on my soul.

In the silence, I’m transported to another dimension. I close my eyes, and I feel grace washing over me. I know it’s grace, and not just a whiff of the honeysuckle outside my window because the honeysuckle has never given me eternal hope in the midst of trying times. This silence – this washing – the Comfort belongs only to the Holy Spirit of God – an invisible Connector between my soul and my Creator.

In Acts 17, some Greeks inscribed a message TO THE GOD NOBODY KNOWS, but the greatest mystery of faith is that this seemingly unknown God is intricately familiar to every woven fiber of my soul.

THE GOD NOBODY KNOWS isn’t a human-made statue. It’s not an idol, carved by hand. God doesn’t equate to dogma, devised by the imagination of those who hunger for power. The God of Mystery is thicker than the incense that fills the altar. And in that Mystery, I store up hope for future days when my heart is overwhelmed.

So to whom will you compare me, the Incomparable? Can you picture me without reducing me? I am God, and there is none like Me.Isaiah 46:5-9

It’s easy for me to get caught up in trying to answer all of life’s big questions. In this season of my life, there seems to be a new existential crisis at every turn. Should I take the Bible at face value? Is the Jesus of the Bible the only way to God? Can I embrace my faith without abandoning my intellect? While the old me sought solutions for these and many more stumbling blocks, the new me is learning the power of the pause.

With each breath, God is whispering truth to my soul:

Breathe in: I love you.

Breathe out: I am here.

Breathe in: I will never turn my face from you.

Breathe out: I am more than your wildest dreams.

For in Him we live and move and have our being.Acts 17:28

I’m leaning in. I’m taking deep breaths. At this point, I’m not even asking what God is saying. Instead, I am embracing Divine Mystery. My spirit is being cultivated by The God Who Sees Me. I have a deep inner-knowing that the Source of Love is here with me, breathing life back into my dry and cracked lungs. And that is more than enough for me.

To the God Nobody Knows

Steve Austin is a life coach, speaker, and author of Self-Care for the Wounded Soul. Steve’s goal is to help you create a lifestyle of focused emotional health and clarity. Looking for more ways to create space? Subscribe to Steve Austin’s free weekly newsletter by clicking right here. 

If you have a suggestion for this weekly feature, please email Steve at steve@iamsteveaustin.com today. If you’d like to suggest a topic or request Steve’s perspective on a particular word, please reach out!

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Music Provided by BenSound.com


Is it Time to Rethink Church?



Is it time to rethink church? In Episode 33 of The #AskSteveAustin Podcast, Steve Austin welcomes Ryan Dunn to the conversation. Lots of folks have been wounded by the church. And others feel that the church has lost touch with modern life. Does that sound like you? Or are you a clergy person, struggling to connect with those who have walked away from traditional church? If any of those examples sound like you, don’t miss this episode!

rethink church

Show notes:

  • Is church just a thing we do for an hour on a Sunday morning?
  • What do we think about when we think about church?
  • What is it about the Church that makes you want to walk away?
  • Can people of faith really ever walk away from the church?
  • What advice do you have for pastor’s to re-engage with people who have walked away?
  • “Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open Doors” – why does this phrase matter today more than ever?
  • How should the church respond in trying times like these?
  • The church should be an invitation to authenticity and intimacy.
  • How does someone continue to live with their questions, but not run (or disengage) from a church who is constantly giving them the answers?
  • A lot of times when it comes to faith, we’re aiming at moving targets.
  • What if we created a church community around the questions?
  • One Thing Depressed People Need from the Church (by Steve Austin)
  • Scars and Church (by Steve Austin)
  • Music: “Sunny” https://www.bensound.com

Ryan Dunn bio: Convinced that social media is increasingly where people gather, Rev. Ryan Dunn seeks to help the church meet the world through online relationship building. He currently serves with United Methodist Communications as the chief blogger, editor, and social media minister for the Rethink Church initiative. His prior work experiences include youth pastor, sports blogger, web marketer, and radio producer.

On Sunday, November 5th, I’m participating in the Out of the Darkness Walk in Birmingham and my personal fundraising goal is $1,000. Want to support the cause? Click here to donate!

Also, are you looking for a safe community, where you can kick your shoes off and just be yourself? Join the OFFICIAL #AskSteveAustin Facebook group. You can join for as little as $1/month by going to patreon.com/iamsteveaustin

Steve Austin is a life coach, speaker, and author of Self-Care for the Wounded Soul. Steve’s goal is to help you create a lifestyle of focused emotional health and clarity. Looking for more ways to create space? Subscribe to Steve Austin’s free weekly newsletter by clicking right here. 

Church should be an invitation to authenticity and intimacy.


Stop Trying to be The Proverbs 31 Woman



Stephanie Long joins Steve Austin for Episode 28 of the #AskSteveAustin Podcast. Stephanie says women should stop trying to be The Proverbs 31 Woman (because she wasn’t even a real woman). In this episode, we’ll talk about women in the church, feminism, rape culture, and so much more!

proverbs 31 woman











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stephanie long

Bio: Stephanie Long is a writer, editor, wife, and mother. She writes at redeemedformore.com about life, faith, social justice issues, and mental health. Connect with her on Twitter @stephanielong85 and on Facebook at facebook.com/redeemedformore.

YOU CAN ALSO LISTEN ON ITUNES OR PODBEAN.

Show Notes:

  • Women are not the afterthought of creation.
  • The Proverbs 31 Woman was not a real person.
  • Link to Not Your Pastor’s Pulpit Episode
  • Relevant Magazine Article – #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear
  • Objectification of Our ‘Dangerous’ Bodies
  • Abuse and Rape in the Church
  • Women’s Roles and Identity
  • Racism and Sexism
  • So if I’m a male leader in the church – or just a Christian who happens to be a man – what do you need from me? 
  • Abortion
  • Rape culture
  • Why does the church assume it is the woman’s responsibility to not in any way ‘provoke’ men?
  • Music by Act of Congress

Steve Austin is a life coach, speaker, and author of Self-Care for the Wounded Soul. Steve’s goal is to help you create a lifestyle of focused emotional health and clarity. Looking for more ways to create space? Subscribe to Steve Austin’s free weekly newsletter by clicking right here.


When You’re Not Sure What You Believe



On Episode 26 of the #AskSteveAustin Podcast, David Hayward (The Naked Pastor) joins Steve Austin to talk about dealing with theological anxiety. Why would a pastor of 30 years choose to walk away from church? We’ll talk about this and so much more in this can’t-miss episode of the show.

deconstruction for beginners











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Show notes:

  • What is deconstruction? “When the earth under our feet seems to be shaking uncontrollably and we need this (whatever this word is) to try and describe that our heads are going to explode and we’re going to die and go to the hell we aren’t sure exists anymore, it’s nice to have a word to hold onto.” – David Hayward, The Lasting Supper
  • Who are the “nones”?
  • “We have been taught to obsess over what we believe until it makes us physically sick, due to mental anguish.”
  • James Fowler, “Stages of Faith” book.
  • Dealing with questions and doubts – and the fear that surrounds them.
  • Facing the devastating fears that all this might not be true is scary as hell. What do you do now?
  • “Don’t worry about what you believe. I personally don’t think Jesus ever threatened people with judgment about what they believed. Jesus wasn’t a professional theologian. He was a mystic and a teacher. He was most concerned with what people said and did. Not what they thought or believed.”
  • What do you do in the early days of deconstruction when you feel all alone?
  • What do you do when you get asked the questions you can’t or don’t want to answer?
  • The problem with arguments? Words. It’s our choice of language that seems to divides us.
  • The level of intimacy we’ve had with people in the church isn’t normal or healthy.
  • The importance of self-love, self-care, and self-compassion during deconstruction.
  • What is the TLS Community and how can I get involved? www.thelastingsupper.com
  • Send David your questions! haywardart@gmail.com

Steve Austin is a life coach, speaker, and author of Self-Care for the Wounded Soul. Steve’s goal is to help you create a lifestyle of focused emotional health and clarity. Looking for more ways to create space? Subscribe to Steve Austin’s free weekly newsletter by clicking right here.

You can also listen on iTunes or Podbean.

Bio:

David Hayward was baptized Anglican as a baby, came to faith in a Baptist church when he was a teenager, changed to Pentecostal in his late teens, married another Pentecostal named Lisa, was ordained Presbyterian, pastored a Vineyard church, and planted others.

David started a blog callednakedpastor in 2006, and initiated his public analysis of religion, religious community and spirituality through his writings, art and cartoons. Thousands of people are challenged and entertained by nakedpastor every day. He also launched an online community called The Lasting Supper where people can learn and live spiritual independence.

Looking for more?

Check out Steve Austin’s brand-new weekly feature, “Who Are You?” A combination of affirmation, Christian meditation, contemplation, and prayer. Week One is live now and it’s all about LOVE. Click here to listen.



The Lasting Supper: Letters for Deconstruction

By David Hayward