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Author Guy Sayles

No, AG Sessions, You Can’t Use Bible to Excuse Cruelty

No, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, you may not use Paul’s words in Romans 13:1 to justify the heinous separation of children from their parents. That text was abused by church officials who ordered the brutal Crusades against Muslims, by southern preachers who sought to prop up the Confederacy’s shameful claim that slavery was consistent with […] Read More

If You Want to Change, Start With Your Character

Character is the primary arena of change. We can’t change the DNA we inherited, the circumstances into which we were born, the families that shaped and misshaped us, or the wounding events we’ve undergone. Some things about our bodies, temperaments and minds are relatively set and resistant to change. We can, though, make choices about […] Read More

The Single Ingredient You Need to Trigger Change

Do you think anybody ever really changes? When my wife, Anita, and I were in seminary, we served a small and loving congregation in southern Indiana. One of our next-door neighbors, a generous man in his late 50s and a faithful church member, was crustily cynical about the possibility of change. At some point in […] Read More

Authentic Thankfulness Must Include Repentance

Thanksgiving’s origins are civic. They have to do with the condition and conduct of the nation; and I believe that, for the United States, our giving thanks could – should – lead to repentance. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November to be a day for national thanksgiving. Since the celebration of […] Read More

How to Change the Course of Healthcare’s Massive Ship

Maybe you remember the desperate and destitute sharecropper in John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” who was being evicted from farming the land by its owners who had to return it to the bank. The “owner men,” as Steinbeck called them, “were all caught in something larger than themselves. Some of them hated the mathematics […] Read More

Respond to Events Beyond Your Control with Love

Last Monday was the somber 16th anniversary of the 9/11/2001 terror attacks: A plane went down in a Pennsylvania field, another plowed into the side of the Pentagon, and two became passenger-bearing bombs that brought down the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. While we remembered those violent events, we also held our collective […] Read More

4 Suggestions to Minister in the Meantime and Mean Time

Ministry happens in the meantime and in the mean time. The meantime is a season of sometimes bewildering change and troubling transitions. It’s an interval between a past we know well and a future that isn’t yet clear and between a familiar way of doing things and an emerging way of doing them. One indication […] Read More

It Matters: The Ethics of How We Treat Other Bodies

The prologue to the Gospel of John provides this powerful metaphor for meaningful embodiment: “The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, a glory filled with grace and truth” (John 1:14). This metaphor goes by the name “incarnation,” the kind of word that my grandfather would have called “high […] Read More

Keeping the Right Focus Amid Dysfunctional Politics

One of my Lenten practices is to reduce the amount of “breaking news” I watch. During last year’s election season, MSNBC was the steady background noise of my mornings and evenings. Most days, there was less than an hour’s worth of actual news, but it got repackaged and recycled in a repeating loop. It was […] Read More

Prophetic Priests and Priestly Prophets

I often felt an inescapable tension between the “priestly” and “prophetic” dimensions of my calling as a pastor. Priests help us with our relationship with God, while prophets call us to reflect on our relationship with God in our relationships with other people, with culture and with the systems and structures of society. The primary […] Read More