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Author Guy Sayles

Guy Sayles is a consultant with the Center for Healthy Churches (CHC), an assistant professor of religion at Mars Hill University, an adjunct professor at Gardner-Webb Divinity School and a board member of the Baptist Center for Ethics.

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

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

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

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

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

Name-calling and “cussin'” were bad things my grandparents, parents and teachers told me not to do. My grandmother, Ada, once took a chunk of Ivory Soap (“99 44/100 pure”!) in her hand, held it less than a half-inch from my lips and threatened to wash my mouth out with it if I said one more […] Read More

Some of the hardest times in which to find a healthy balance between a prophetic engagement with the culture and a pastoral sensitivity to congregational unity are presidential election years. Since I’m no longer serving a local congregation, I admit to experiencing relief – but also confess to feeling some guilt – that I don’t […] Read More

Before much of the new school year goes by, a child will come home with red, puffy eyes, sagging shoulders and a wounded heart because of some ugly thing someone has said. I hope no one says to that child, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” Sticks and […] Read More

An enduring symbol of medical practice is the physicians’ caduceus – it’s a winged staff, with two serpents twined around it. Robertson Davies reminded me that the Greek myth of Hermes is this symbol’s origin. Davies explained in his book, “The Merry Heart,” that Hermes came upon two warring snakes “who writhed and fought upon […] Read More

One of the most significant “leadership” books I’ve read in the last couple of years is “A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations into Advantages and Why It’s Everyone’s Business.” Adam Morgan and Mark Braden have given us a gift: a beautifully crafted book that is creative, wise and practical. Morgan and Braden claim […] Read More