Tag Archives: religion

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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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!

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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.