faith Mental Health relationships

Foreword for Tracking Desire by Joshua Casey

Foreword for Tracking Desire

Foreword for Tracking Desire by Joshua Casey

Friend, you are in for a treat.

Josh dropped this book on my desk a couple of years after I first met him, and I was hooked. We’d connected already as fellow outcasts who had been chewed up and discarded by the Christian Machine; we had cried side by side into (superb) lagers and unlocked the healing catharsis that comes from mourning with someone who knows the precise shape of your pain, because they’ve lived it themselves. But this book—sweet baby Jesus, I was not prepared. It broke my heart open all over again, and in the best way.

In these pages, Josh tells the story of tragedy and triumph, of hopes careening and then dashed, of betrayal inflicted and suffered, and of faith not lost but transformed. He traces the pull of divine Longing through the movements of the liturgical year—which, let me tell you, knocked the socks off this son of the tongues-praying, name-it-and-claim-it crowd—and speaks to the sorrows, confusions, and bewitching joys that make up our shared human experience.

I’ve heard my share of faith deconstruction stories—not to mention living my own—but this one resonates in my chest unlike any other: in that place just beneath the ribcage where hope resides. 

And I’m not just talking about the way he turns a fierce spotlight on the nastiness of behind-the-scenes church politics—and the real human lives that make up its collateral damage: the lives that all too often get swept under the sanctuary rug and smothered into silence. I’m not just talking about the way he weaves a tapestry of ancient voices testifying to the universality of doubt and struggle as an integral part of the life of faith. (P. S. Joshie, I love you, but you read way too much old shit. Take a break from all that depressing Russian-what’s-his-name crap. Maybe try some Shel Silverstein? Seriously. We’re worried about you.)

I’m talking about the sheer humanity of this story. I’m saying that Josh bares his heart with a humility and self-awareness that totally floors me. When we tell our own stories, we usually try to only show the camera our good side. (And yes, I’m an Enneagram 3, so I know a thing or two about flattering camera angles.) Josh doesn’t do that; he doesn’t present a curated image in these pages but instead is unflinchingly honest, even at his own expense. He names the pain visited on him by others, but he also names the pain he inflicted. 

None of us make it through life without suffering—and without causing suffering—and without sometimes lying winded on the ground, bewildered in the face of a silent universe, whispering Why? Josh’s story doesn’t shy away from those moments but instead walks us straight into that space where we feel most piercingly alone and says, I have been here, too. We are in this together. 

What I’m saying is—this is some good shit you’re holding in your hands. What I’m saying is that this book is a work of art—and you are not prepared.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride, friend.

Steve Austin

January 2021

Order your copy today! Here’s the link.

From the back cover:

Joshua M. Casey’s first book is a story for those still searching for the Source of their inconsolable longing. By framing his own journey through the spiritual pilgrimage of the Church year, these universal human movements of expectation and arrival, death and life, are given fresh perspective.

These arcs follow Joshua through the death of his father as a child; growing into a deep belief in his pastoral “call”; his growing dis-ease with his evangelical tradition (and, eventually, the entire institution); two college ministries; the priesthood; and ultimately, out of the only work he ever conceived doing. They also pursue Joshua through marital infidelity, reconciliation, and shifting conceptions of human beings’ longings and desires for each other. 

Tracking Desire is no panacea for the spiritually dispossessed, but neither does it leave readers in the throes of confusion. Rather, it offers a faith trajectory beyond the confines of the Church, by identifying the Christ Story across all Story, encouraging readers to find Christ in the people all around and, eventually, in the very earth “under their feet.”

Order your copy today! Here’s the link.

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By Steve Austin

Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.