Father and Son Alumni Publish Book on Family

There are a lot of ways to describe James and Paul Burns. Father and son. Physics professor and investment consultant. Presbyterian pastors. Austin Seminary alumni. And now, co-authors.

The Reverend Dr. James M. Burns Jr. (MDiv’77), and his son, the Reverend Paul M. Burns (MDiv’07) have co-authored a new book on faith and family, Blessing Encounters: Creating Family One Blessing at a Time. In the book, Paul and James work from their belief that we are all called to create family, not only in our homes and churches, but wherever we are. Families, they show, are born when people choose to bless one another by bringing good into each other’s lives.

James is recently retired from thirty years in ordained ministry, during which he served as pastor of two churches. Trained as a scientist, he received a PhD in Physics from Texas A&M University and taught college physics before enrolling at Austin Seminary.

Forty years after his father received his MDiv, Paul followed suit. He received a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Oklahoma and worked as an investment consultant in New York City prior to attending Austin Seminary. He currently serves Priest Lake Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and has been called to First Presbyterian Church, Garland, Texas. 

"Shortly after I published my first book, Prayer Encounters (WestBowPress, 2012), I had an idea for a book on a Jesus version of family," said Burns. "It occurred to me that a book like that couldn't be written alone and from one perspective. I approached my dad, a retired Presbyterian minister, to write it with me. This subject in many ways has been the theme of my dad's ministry. He has always been about blessing others and making family with anybody and everybody. I will always treasure writing a book with him. I'm glad he said, yes." 

Jim and Paul wrote Blessing Encounters with use in a group setting particularly in mind. Each of the chapters—which explore such themes as family, church, and Jesus—ends with questions and a challenge to encourage and guide you in joining with others in creating family, one blessing at a time.

Blessing Encounters is available from Amazon.