Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Friday, May 22, 2015


There is a wise saying: “If something seems too good to be true, it probably IS.”—TEN SECOND PAUSE TO CONSIDER THIS.— Again if something (travel deal, free vacation, sure fire deal or investment opportunity), or some ONE is too good to be true, it probably is indeed too good to be true. How did I miss this?

Several have inquired what happened to my recent column that suddenly vanished from my website and Renew America?  It was a beautiful account of a woman who supposedly had worked through extreme difficulties to make a success of her life.

Being one who likes people, always looking for the best in everybody, positioned me in a vulnerable place to be an excellent target for those who simply want to use me. This happened big-time when I wrote and published a story about a woman who seemed, yes, too good to be true.

It turned out that she had misled me and downright lied in the interview with me. She carried herself with such class and dignity and was so very soft spoken that an email she sent to me right after the piece was published shattered the persona that she exhibits, and, whom I believed her to be.

Her email was totally disrespectful (which shocked me) and displayed a hidden side of her that could never have been anticipated. That “beautiful soft-spoken woman” that I had met and interviewed twice was only one part of her two personalities.

Obviously some of the facts she challenged, which were and are in my notes, suddenly brought to her the fear that her exaggerated truth would come out about some of her stated experiences.

For the first time ever, after many years of writing, that story, at my direction was scrubbed from my website and Renew America.  Fortunately I was able to halt the publication of the piece on our wire, just as they were about to publish it worldwide.

Many times in counseling, a spouse is dumped as the other spouse runs away with somebody else, leaving the tearful tossed leftover bewildered because of his perception of the person he or she married.

This happens too often. How does such a heartbreaking betrayal happen?  Answer: That spouse was like a created portrait hanging on the wall, not the actual person, but how that person was perceived. Now I know that feeling.

A few years ago there was a couple in the church that I served at that time, with an extraordinary love story about how he was dying of kidney failure, needed a new kidney but willing donors were not a match. Then it turns out that his girlfriend was a perfect match, the transplant took place and they were married. However I did not live happily ever after.

The piece was given to a local newspaper and published on the front page. The day it was published that couple ran to the editor of that paper and frantically proclaimed that it was all false information. WHAT?

The reason they attacked my story, making me look bad, was that the date was given when they met and began a most intimate relationship. This horrified the couple when they realized the implication of the story.

The man involved was, at that very time, deeply involved with another woman at the church, before, during and after the date they told me they met and were totally together. So he was two-timing on all counts and wanted that hushed up at my expense.

It seems that no matter how sick or disabled a man is, one part of his body is constantly ready to…no-NO—strike this sentence from the record.

So to cover their own sins, this couple attacked the one who told their story with their encouragement. They had made it clear that they wanted me to write that story. Notice how sins and lies of one or two can spread and infect everybody around them.

Purposely, no names were given in this story. They will get no further publicity from me.There will be very few, if any, portraits of Christians in my future stories. Twice burned is enough. 

I will finally exercise a tip I learned in journalism school which should have sunk in from the start: “Don’t just spotlight someone that seems perfect without looking for and finding something negative.”

An old Pennsylvania Dutch saying is so true: “Too Soon Oldt-Too Late Schmart.”

So be it.




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