About

I am Steve Austin, a thirtysomething husband and dad. I scored “above average” on my psychologist’s ADHD test, different foods on my plate cannot touch, and I binge watch Netflix like it’s my j-o-b. I am a family man, a writer, and a professional photographer. I’ve also been a youth pastor and worship leader off and on for the better part of a decade, but sign language interpreting is what pays the bills (even if coffee swallows up most of the profits).

I write about the messiness of grace, finding Christ in the midst of mental illness, the struggles with childhood trauma and the ordinary, powerful ways God heals us. You may also hear about my foibles in fathering, see me gush over my kids, or brag on my wonderful wife. I’ll also probably complain about how it sucks to be a Christian right now, but how I’m doing it anyway.

I am not a politician, a theologian or a professional Christian. They have written plenty of blogs, but this is not one of them. For me, this faith journey is not about being on the left or right or judging the actions of others.  It’s about taking my story and using it to positively impact others with similar struggles.  It’s about giving all those rotten things in life meaning, and eventually a purpose.

Thanks for joining the conversation! Feel free to email steve@iamsteveaustin.com with questions or comments.

And sign up for the FREE weekly newsletter by clicking right here.

Grace is messy,

Steve

huffington-post-logo

GMP-Author-Badge

Image result for venn magazineCovenant-Eyes_focus

untitled.png

14 thoughts on “About

  1. Such an encouraging story. My wife and I shared similar pain and are now approaching 36 years together by grace. I am an absolute grace junkie, so I look forward to your thoughts. Grace is just as miraculous as it is messy! Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 36 years, my friend! What an inspiration. “Grace junkie”…I love it! Thank you for commenting and for your testimony of God’s miraculous goodness…I needed to hear that today.
      Please do stay in touch,
      Steve

      Like

  2. Straight up, bro. VERY sharp site. It pleases the eye, and you are pleasantly transparent in your writing, which is refreshing, since bloggers aren’t near as transparent as they might like us to think. :) Appreciate your thoughts!

    Like

  3. Hi Steve,

    I just read your “I Refuse to Demonize Gay Christians” article on Huffpost (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-austin/setting-the-record-straig_25_b_9774052.html?) and I just had a few graceful questions for you. Obviously, this will come across as one-sided unless you reply, and I’ll add that I think if we sat down over coffee (I’m buying) that this would probably come across a little nicer. I’ll do my best to not be a jerk!

    As a Christ-follower and non-theologian, I’ve worked with many openly gay people at my last few jobs without incident. I’ve found them to be just as human as I am. I can’t pretend to understand their situations nor will I attempt to get to the root cause of homosexuality here. Yet aside from being a good coworker, I didn’t attempt to engage them in any die-hard conversion activities that might be required of me as an Evangelical. I have been a good coworker to them and a decent human being. I think every follower of Christ should do the same, under the Apostle Paul’s guidance as follows: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” It’s not a cherry-picked Scripture by any stretch, it’s just good policy. Would you agree?

    That said, I’m not here to judge a gay person, any more than my heterosexual desires are of any less merit to be judged by another man. I don’t have a stone to throw.

    So you might ask, “what issue does this fellow believer have with my blog post?” Well, I believe God is a balance of grace and truth, and these two words lie at opposing ends of a spectrum. It’s a spectrum I see a lot of believers fall into: the legalistic believers (conservatives) who love the law and come across as bullies about it – as well as hypocrites when they themselves cannot keep it (only Jesus can). Yet I believe on the other end of the spectrum of “grace and truth” are people more graceful than God, the “liberals.”

    You might argue that it’s not possible to be more graceful than God.

    Yet I believe I can illustrate this spectrum and how both legalistic believers as well as too “more graceful than God” believers respond – both poorly, or rather “incompletely” – to the example where Jesus catches the woman in adultery in John 8. I won’t cherry pick the Scriptures. I do believe this is a perfect example of the “grace and truth” balance. In case anyone reading is not familiar with the story and not near a Bible, Jesus Christ is presented by the Jewish leaders of the day with a women caught in adultery and their law demands she be put to death. Jesus dismisses them by saying, “Whoever is without sin, cast the first stone.” Of course, the Jewish leaders all slip away, and our legalistic believers are put in their place.

    You might think that’s the end of the story, and that we should not judge lest we be judged. Yet there’s more to the story, as Jesus asks the woman about her accusers and where they are. When she notices they are gone, He says that He doesn’t accuse her either.

    Jesus tells her to “go and sin no more.”

    Note that he didn’t tell her to keep sleeping around. He didn’t give her a complete pass with His grace. Sin mattered to Jesus. It wasn’t about being free to go and live promiscuously since, as you put it in your post, “what you do behind closed doors in the privacy of your own bedroom with someone you love deeply and are committed to is none of my business”. No, the truth about sinful acts was not foreign to this woman. Whether she obeyed it or not – it’s not easy leaving a messy sexual relationship – is not the point. The point is, Jesus coupled grace with truth. In other words, He loved this woman but wasn’t willing to let her continue to live in sin.

    It’s here that the liberal and “more graceful than God” Christians forget that upon we receiving grace, we must go and sin no more. There’s only grace, because to even mention sin would make us hypocrites and rope us in with the religious, legalistic bunch. Right? Why ever tell a homosexual of freedom from sin in Christ?

    Steve, in your post about demonizing gay Christians, there’s much I agree with. The part I would like to question is where you note that you “just don’t care anymore” about whether being gay is a sin or not. You also noted love shouldn’t have a prerequisite. I can understand where you are coming from, and so might the woman caught in adultery. I’m sure there was a man waiting for her at home that night, ready to ravish her as usual with wanton desires now that’s now longer being stoned. Can you imagine the precedent that would be set in their community? Sleep with whoever you want, there’s a guy down in the city square who’s shaming the hypocritical leaders! I’m sure #Don’tJudgeMe hashtag stickers would have sold like hotcakes that afternoon.

    I think to say that is to ignore the example of Jesus Christ with the woman caught in adultery. There was grace, yes, with her messy situation. And it was a mess: she was caught in the very act of adultery it is written. Busted. Still, with Jesus’s response, grace came first, as “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Right?

    Yet after the sin was forgiven and the accusers dismissed, Christ’s command was coupled with a reminder that sin matters. He told her to “go and sin no more.” That matters. To receive grace and then to go back to sin – whatever the sinful situation is – is to not appreciate grace for what it is: forgiveness of sins and the power of God’s Spirit to “teach us to say ‘no’ to unrighteousness.” To fail to do so is to deny the holistic nature of what Jesus is and what He’s all about.

    How then can you say that we should dismiss theologians and that sin no longer matters? I can understand being tired of dealing daily with sin and its consequences. Yet are we not at the point where we say, well, Coca Cola and Apple and Target are all pro-gay, and I’m just tired of being a cultural idiot, that I can make God in man’s image and say He’s pro-gay, too?

    You can feel free to disagree with me, Steve. Yet I see enough of your work to know that you understand grace is messy. I’m not asking that you recall your blog post, but ask that you represent Jesus Christ and His examples completely. I don’t think “liberal” trumps a balance of grace coupled with truth. It’s the true “moderate” approach. Sin still matters because until we die, we all will still struggle with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. My struggle may not be homosexuality, so I cast no stones, but grace changes a person to put to death the old man and be transformed by the renewing of our minds into the mind of Jesus Christ.

    You’re correct that love has no prerequisites, but grace does demand a response from Jesus Himself- to turn from sin, and not to embrace it – that’s initiated by God’s Spirit. The entire book of James deals with this: faith without action is dead. Faith that God loves us without action to put to death the sinful nature is not faith at all. To that end, I can love my homosexual friends. But through loving them, I invite them on my own journey to respond to grace by casting off sin through the power of God, in the company of believers who can encourage me to do so. I can’t tell a gay person – or even, say, a heterosexual friend admitting to some porn addition as you write about here on your blog – to somehow embrace their sin and just roll with it. If the opportunity was there, in a spirit of mutual respect and conversation of how to be more like Jesus Christ by His Spirit, I could not *not* tell them the truth, any more than I couldn’t tell a child playing in the street that “everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial” without getting out of the middle of the road. We would pray and hold each other accountable to living by God’s Spirit to overcome our sin.

    Some sins are more obvious than others. Some require we stay out of bars if alcohol is our vice. Others require we move to get out of situations. Others require counseling and addiction treatments. I’m not an expert or even a novice on how to deal with a homosexual who is afraid their lusts may be keeping them from enjoying the Kingdom of God, either on this earth or beyond. Perhaps the story of Rosaria Butterfield, a former Queer Theory professor at Syracuse, might help us both. Here’s the link from John Piper’s page: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/from-radical-lesbian-to-redeemed-christian.

    Yet even still, turning from sin as a response to grace is all done with openness and in real life, in a messy world. Yet we are all called to put sin to death. Paul tells the one who steals to put his hands to good work. I don’t know what Paul would say to a homosexual looking to put his or her lusts to death and what to do with them.

    Yet we are not called to be tolerant and welcoming of a sinful culture that’s becoming increasingly permissive of the mindset and actions for which God had to die. Does it matter if bestiality or incest is next to be accepted and welcomed, if another letter is added to LGBTQ, if another company demonstrates “courage, vision, and openness” with a new logo showing subtle hatred of God with a new acceptance of something sick and false? Yes, the world will do as it does, and we’re not surprised. Do we buy into it? Do we go along with it and give up on calling sin what it is? No, I’m not calling for boycotts or protests. I’m not saying we bring back kicking in doors and dragging adulterers into the streets for a stoning.

    I’m just reminding us to be in the world and not of the world and to preach the Gospel in season and out of season. It’s out of season right now, to be honest with you. Politically and culturally, Jesus is either a legalistic bully or a free-love, pro-gay hippy. The true Jesus is likely in the middle of that spectrum, not being made in any man’s image, casting away some stones yet gathering other stones together as the One True Judge. And the world doesn’t like to hear that. It offends both the legalists and the too-graceful types. Yet Jesus said this would happen: the world would hate Christians as it hated him. For despite a false Gospel of only love and grace, there’s a full Gospel where sin will be a crucial character until it’s cast into Hell with Death and Satan.

    When I sit down and break bread with a gay man, or any man, or even you perhaps, sin still matters, and yes, we should still care. Of course, it begins with me. Yet I’m inviting you, Steve, even as you make your case to be a liberal knowing only grace, to care again about sin. I feel it’s spiritually irresponsible not to. For your consideration!

    Thank you for reading. Feel free to write back as time permits.

    Grace and truth,

    Dave Jarrett

    Liked by 1 person

Join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s