Tag Archives: hope

Author Talk || Morgan Guyton

Friends –

I’m pleased to invite you to our next Author Talks with Rev. Morgan Guyton, author of the just released – How Jesus Saves the World from Us: 12 Antidotes to Toxic Christianity . Morgan will talk about the book and why he wrote it. Then there will be opportunity for conversation about the themes of the book.

#1  Online – AuthorTalk via Vital Ministry Webinars

Tuesday, 5/3 @ 5pm CDT.
Follow the instructions here to join the conversation or just listen in.

NOTE: If you join online and you’ve never used Zoom.us, you’ll want to download the Zoom app a few minutes early and navigate to the meeting room.

Then you can return there to listen to the recording in about a week.


#2  In Person – Author Talk, Lunch & ConversationMGuytonHowJesusSavesTheWorldFromUs

Guest: Morgan Guyton
When: Wednesday, May 4, Noon
Where: The Mix Coworking –
9125 Diceman Drive, Dallas, TX 75218


Morgan blogs on Patheos here at Mercy Not Sacrifice.
You can find him on Facebook @RevMorganGuyton.
And on Twitter @MAGuyton.

Hope you can join us.

See the book on Amazon here.


Christianity has always been about being saved. But today what Christians need saving from most is the toxic understanding of salvation we’ve received through bad theology. The loudest voices in Christianity today sound exactly like the religious authorities who crucified Jesus.

This is a book for Christians who are troubled by what we’ve become and who want Jesus to save us from the toxic behaviors and attitudes we’ve embraced. Each of the 12 chapters proposes an antidote for the toxicity that has infiltrated Christian culture, such as “Worship not Performance, “Temple not Program,” and “Solidarity not Sanctimony.” Each chapter includes thought-provoking discussion questions, perfect for individual or group study.

There are many reasons to lose hope about the state of our world and our church, but Guyton offers one piece of good news: Jesus is saving the world from us, one Christian at a time.



Morgan Guyton is the co-director of the NOLA Wesley United Methodist Campus Center with his wife Cheryl. His first book How Jesus Saves the World From Us: 12 Antidotes for Toxic Christianity is being published by Westminster John Knox Press. He blogs at www.patheos.com/blogs/mercynotsacrifice and has contributed dozens of articles to Red Letter Christians, Huffington Post Religion, Think Christian, Ministry Matters, United Methodist Reporter, and Rethink Church.



“The way of the cross.” or “Why you shouldn’t run toward a firing squad.”

When we remember Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection, it is tempting to get caught up in an over-exuberant faithfulness toward self-denial, embracing the Way of the Cross, that verges on a full-fledged Messiah Complex.

  • Yes, we are called to a life of self-denial. *
  • Yes, we are called to “take up your cross and follow me.” *
  • Yes, we are promised that we will only find life in our journey of releasing. *
    * Luke 9:23-24

And Yes, Jesus entered Jerusalem that final week and seemingly did everything he could to get himself crucified. He stirred up trouble with every group of religious leaders, and then refused to defend himself when given the opportunity. (Mark 11-15) It could be tempting to follow his example.

(Thanks to crosstippedchurches.blogspot.com)

Thanks to crosstippedchurches.blogspot.com


Remember that numerous times Jesus avoided conflict and trouble, slipping away from the crowd rather than letting them take him to martyrdom. At the wedding in Cana he initially declined to intervene (John 2). In Nazareth the crowd was inflamed and sought to throw him off a cliff, but he slipped away (Luke 4). His brothers invited him to join them in Jerusalem and he said no, and then went alone, secretly (John 7:10). He repeatedly tells people not to reveal who he is. He says this to the disciples (Matthew 17), those he heals (Mark 7), and even to the demons (Mark 1).

Jesus had likely visited Jerusalem numerous times and seen the terrible things taking place in the Temple but said nothing. He likely witnessed many forms of oppression and violence without intervening. This does not mean that he condoned these things, or that we should. It seems to suggest that he had a very clear sense of his own calling and purpose, and that he would not let anything derail that –

16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  (Luke 4)

Jesus’ public ministry lasted for three years, and he was an adult leader in his community for 15 years prior to that. He had innumerable opportunities to embrace his destiny on the cross, and he let them pass by, because “his time had not come.” (John 7) When his time finally did come, he knew, and walked with faithfulness and hope, into Jerusalem and ultimately to Golgotha. But even then, this was an end he neither desired nor sought. He had no death wish, no need to be a martyr, no longing for the glory among humans or the honor from heaven that comes with laying down one’s life. Not until he recognized the time had come for God’s plan to unfold did he, willingly if regretfully, yield to those who sought to destroy the kingdom, “taking it by force.” (Matthew 11:12)

So, whatever else Holy Week means to you, don’t get confused into thinking that God wants you to martyr yourself for the cause. In the vast majority of cases you are far more likely to be of use and service to God’s kingdom by staying alive, by living humbly and quietly and graciously with a passion for justice and a love for all people that expresses the love and peace you have found in God.

Taking up your cross and following him is not about literally getting yourself killed, at least not for most of us. It is about the many little self-denials and rejections that we experience and embrace because Christ calls us to something that the world does not understand nor know that it needs.

Virtual Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday and Lent
the Spiritual Reset Button for your life.

reset-buttonSecular and religious people have many important things in common. One of those, that is being remembered and honored by Christians today, is the need to experience repentance and forgiveness. Who among us has not fallen short of the moral, ethical or relational standards we set for ourselves, to say nothing of the standards others try to set for us? When I fail to honor the sacredness of friendship and love. When I make a promise that I am unable to keep. When I speak words in anger or fear that assault and wound. When I neglect my duty to nurture and care. When I tear down rather than build up, degrade rather than construct, poison rather than nourish. When my silence supports systems of oppression, particularly when I then gain in the process.

When I do these things, what then? How can I move from this position to a status of restored relationship? What can I offer, what do I need to receive? Who can help?

In my own life, I have found the story of Jesus to be a compelling witness to my own brokenness and frailty and lack, because he shared in it, even to the point of death and fear of the same. For me the greatest pain in my own failures is not that I have committed them, but that I may be unable to experience restoration. What if things can’t be repaired (some can’t)? What if time runs out and I never get to say, “I’m sorry,” and hear, “You are forgiven”? What if… I live not in certainty, but in hope.

I hope that you know where to turn, to whom you can go, to find the help that you need when you face these issues in your own life. I also hope that you are able to extend compassion and mercy to others, not because they deserve it, but because you need it too.

I want my life back

He sat in his car, which was parked in front of his office. The voice mail he just received reminded him of the program at his daughter’s elementary school that day, and his son’s basketball game that evening. His day was meetings from 9am till 9pm, with quick breaks for lunch and dinner. Again, he found himself choosing between his commitments to his work, which he recognized as important and valuable, and his family, which he valued beyond measure. “After all,” he thought, “I’m doing all of this for them, aren’t I?”

True, we all have choices to make, and often are faced with far more opportunities than we can possibly entertain. Yet this fellow has built a professional life that he feels is robbing him of time with his wife and children – time he can’t get back. He does not want to continue this way, but also does not know what to change, or how. All he knows is this, “I want my life back.”

Where can you turn when faced with this dilemma? Who has been there before, and can walk with you toward the life you desire, the life you dream of? Contact iVM and let us connect you with someone who can help.