New Theologian in Residence
The Rev. Dr. Victor Austin has been called to serve the diocese as Theologian-in-Residence starting Sept. 1. He will also serve in this role at Church of the Incarnation.
Austin is a priest-scholar with background in both the parish ministry and the academic world. As a priest in the diocese of New York, Austin has served since 2005 as Theologian-in-residence at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue. Prior to that, from 1989 to 2003 he was rector of the Church of the Resurrection, Hopewell Junction; and before that, he was curate of Zion Church in Wappingers Falls--all in New York. He is a graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the General Theological Seminary, New York City, and he earned his Ph.D. in theology from Fordham University in 2002.
In the academic world, Austin was assistant professor of religious studies, philosophy, and theology at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, Pennsylvania. He has also taught on the adjunct faculty of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York; Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh, New York; and Fordham University and the General Theological Seminary.
His theological interests are wide-ranging, but his particular focus is in Christian ethics. His book Up with Authority: Why We Need Authority to Flourish as Human Beings was published by T&T Clark and was shortlisted for the 2013 Michael Ramsey prize. He also wrote Christian Ethics: A Guide for the Perplexed, published again by T&T Clark.
But his most recent writing is at the intersection of theology and everyday life. His memoir Losing Susan: Brain Disease, the Priest's Wife, and the God Who Gives and Takes Away (Brazos Press), has received a starred review in Publishers Weekly: Nonfiction Book Review: Losing Susan: Brain Disease, the Priest’s Wife, and the God Who Gives and Takes Away by Victor Lee Austin. Brazos, $19.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-58743-385-6. It tells of his 34-year marriage to Susan, who had brain cancer in the midst of their marriage that was successfully treated, but who then suffered mental decline for almost twenty years. Less dramatic, but also exploring the intersections of theology and life as we live it, are two books of short meditations: Priest in New York: Church, Street, and Theology, published by Saint Thomas Church, and A Priest's Journal, published by Church Publishing.
Despite having lived some three decades in the Northeast, Father Austin remains at heart a man of the Southwest. His grandchildren live in Arizona, and his parents still live in the house in Oklahoma that they purchased when he was eight years old. He will serve as Canon Theologian and Theologian-in-residence for the Diocese of Dallas and at Church of the Incarnation. He looks forward to meeting people throughout the diocese, and hopes to find many opportunities to think well and deeply about who God is and who, as a result, we are.