Former pastor Steve Austin, whose full name is Glenn Stephen Austin, was found dead in Hoover, Alabama on Monday, June 7. Investigators believe it to be suicide.
Austin was a writer, podcaster, and life coach from Alabaster, Alabama. Known largely for his writing about faith and mental health, his books include, “Catching Your Breath: The Sacred Journey From Chaos to Calm,” and “Hiding in the Pews: Shining Light on Mental Illness in the Church.”
He grew up in a conservative Christian home, and his family attended the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit in Alabaster, Alabama. In 2016 he released “This Is My Story,” where he shared the difficulty of growing up in his family.
“My family had a lot of secrets. We had a lot of shame, [and] we had a lot of stuff going on behind closed doors. We knew how to put that mask on when we would go into church,” he confessed.
Austin recently came out as queer, a secret he said he’d hid his whole life.
“Do you have any idea how exhausting it is to perform your whole life for people who will only fully accept you if you deny anything about yourself that doesn’t meet their approval?” he wrote. “For the past three decades, I’ve lived a lie, hoping to appease a group of people who only support you if you follow their rules and live up to their unfair and unrealistic expectations.”
He even opened up about being abused as a child. “I was abused as a preschooler and the shame of that abuse rippled through my life for 25 years.” Children’s book author, Matthew Paul Turner, also came out as gay recently and the two became close friends over the last year.
Austin served as co-host to “CXMH” podcast for a season and a half. His co-host, Oxhandler described Austin as a “wounded healer,” using his struggle as a way to have empathy for others.
“He could sense when others needed joy or hope, and he could sense when others needed compassion. And he was so good at reminding people of the image of God within them,” she said.
He also had a wife, Lindsey, and two children. Funeral arrangements are pending. A GoFundMe page has been set up to benefit the family.