About Me

I’m the associate pastor of Burke United Methodist Church and lead pastor for our Lifesign contemporary service. My wife Cheryl is a certified candidate for ministry in the United Methodist Church as well. She’s served as a hospital chaplain in the past, but is currently taking some time off to stay home with our two boys Matthew (7) and Isaiah (4).

I’m a broken person whose brokenness is what qualifies me to love and serve other broken people. I’m learning to be less ideological and subordinate everything else that I believe to trusting in God’s love. I’m very passionate which can turn into arrogance when I don’t have enough loving friends around to call me out. Above all, I seek to be saved from the prison of self-justification that Christ died to help me overcome. The more that Christ liberates me from the need to be right all the time, the more that I grow capable of love.

43 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I’m not sure if this is the best venue, but I wanted you to know how your work is a powerful influence. I received your “Our Father” via the Wild Goose Music Sampler, and felt called to use in our worship. I created the following video, hoping that it reflects the sentiment and heart of your music. Thanks you for the inspiritation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecdUk9E4qoI

  2. That is the one weekend where I actually have a big commitment/event/job to do at school. When the time gets closer I’ll know more details!

  3. To my new favorite blogger: I’ve spent the past few hours here, enjoying your thoughts on atonement, “breathing kingdom,” heaven, and everything else. I stumbled upon your blog from RLC, and I’m so happy. I’m an undergrad right now (studying English), but you are helping to feed my cravings of theology.
    If I ever make it up to Burke from Va Beach, then I will come an soak in your wisdom. It would be my first Methodist service, but after reading your blogs, that doesn’t sound weird to me!
    Cheers!

    • Praise God! Thanks for the encouragement. Come visit anytime. We have our state conference down in Hampton this June. I don’t know how close they are. But if I’m down that way, we could get coffee sometime.

        • It’s June 22-23. I might need you to come over to Hampton to have coffee because the time windows might be small.

  4. I found your blog via your Twitter account by way of Jonathan Martin at Renovatus. I did a stint in the UMC in my teens and attended an SBC college and seminary. Having grown up semi-Baptist/semi-Charismatic and still having too many unanswered questions from seminary, I’m feeling a little more at home in the words you write. Thanks for your service, brother.

  5. dear Morgan, in your reply to born Eunuch ,you should look up Klinefelter Syndrome –XXY DNA ,those that arnt mosaic are all born Eunuches

  6. Hello,
    I just read through your blog and found it VERY fascinating. Your analysis on Jon Acuff was somethign akeen to what I was thinking about as well, nonetheless, it also makes me carefully consider my role as a servant of God and Christ! Your honesty is appreciated

  7. I guess I should introduce myself. Or should I say, ourselves. I am Phyllis of Rick and Phyllis LaBanche. We are missionaries with WORLD ORPHANS and currently live in Ethiopia! There’s SO MUCH to that story….but that’ll have to come another time. You can find more about me/us and our journey on our blog (rplabranche.wordpress.com) It’s not nearly as fancy or well put together as yours but it serves the purpose of telling our journey…somewhat.
    I have been in a process of rethinking or, perhaps more like recalibrating my faith. I’ve walked with God since I met Jesus and was baptized by the Spirit in 1983. Been fairly fundamental, systematically theological, pro-life Republican voter, and above all, a separatists from all the ‘worldly’ communities around us. Even family members were considered not God’s children and against God, because they were not saved. How sad…the worst part is that I really think I missed something back there.
    But now as I walk onward trusting God to complete the work He began in me, I am renewed. For I’ve been broken, shattered actually, by the very ideology that I thought I was supposed to embrace. It’s been a wonderfully dreadful time.
    And you, and your blog is being used by our very God to provide me with the exact refreshment I so need. Theologically sound and yet not oppressive nor exclusive. Thank you, Morgan.

    • Praise God. Thank you for your testimony. May He overwhelm us all with His mercy. I’ll definitely check out your blog too. God bless!

  8. Since you’ve been harassing me on my blog for a while, I thought I’d check out your site. Can I suggest that you make your font a bit bigger? It’s difficult to read. I’ll also suggest that you not go onto atheist blogs and tell them that “they were created for a purpose” or that they didn’t learn “correct” theology or other religious things because it’s just kind of insulting. Thanks

  9. Found your blog tonight via Living in the Tension. I read several of your posts and enjoyed them. I started a weekly link-up this past Monday called Mercy Mondays. I’d love to e-mail you more information and invite you to participate if you’re interested. My email is hobwas at yahoo dot com – no pressure, just info & you can decide.

  10. I enjoy your thoughts! I’m a lifelong Methodist, grandson of a UMC pastor and dad to a senior M.Div at a UMC seminary! As a physician, I was delighted to learn that you are a descendant of the great Dr. Guyton – and, I’m guessing, son or nephew of another Dr. Guyton! How I remember reading from the “physiology bible” that your grandfather wrote!

    Keep inspiring and leading others to inspire…our world, particularly the secular healthcare world I inhabit, is in desperate need of Truth!

    Grace and Peace to you!!

    • Thanks very much for your encouragement. I am the son of John Guyton, the third son of Arthur. He is an endocrinologist at Duke. Check out his blog. It links from mine on the right.

      • Looked over your dad’s blog, and I’m sure that I will continue to learn at the foot of the Guyton family! Interestingly, your dad left UT Southwestern about 3 years before I started my cardiology fellowship there; he was still revered by many when I was there. I have a somewhat simple minded approach to things, to wit…it’s all about love and light!

  11. Just read your piece on Penal Substitution on Patheos, and was just really invigorated.

    I’m still at the front end of my seminary journey (online at Asbury), and I was wondering if you could recommend some resources on the atonement/cross that might be counter to the prevailing (penal) culture…

    thanks!

    • Hmm… I would say the writer who ruined me the most was Rene Girard. Either read Things Hidden Since the Foundation of This World or I See Satan Fall Like Lightning. Both basically cover the same territory, but the latter is more concise, I think. Girard studied religious violence in ancient cultures in general. He’s not a theologian and some of what he says is crap. But his theory about the nature and need for sacrifice as a mechanism for purging human community helped me to understand that we are the ones who need to see Jesus bleed, not God. Once your view on sacrifice is transformed in this way, you can’t go back to seeing God as a bloodthirsty tyrant. There are also a ton of books out there that offer a different perspective. It’s a very popular topic in recent theology. Recovering the Scandal of the Cross is one. Also liberation theology is helpful because it describes the cross in the sense of God’s solidarity with the crucified. Look up stuff on the Christus Victor atonement theory. Oh something very accessible that was recently written is Beauty Will Save the World by Brian Zahnd. It presents an aesthetic account of salvation that really is beautiful.

      • If you’re recommending books/works on Atonement theology (PSA critiques, views & criticisms, etc): then John Stott “Cross of Christ”, Leon Morris “Apostolic Preaching of the cross” (his chapter on the word hilasterion as ‘propitiation’ as the best English translation is definitive on the subject. He originally wrote it to refute CH Dodd’s understanding but Morris’ careful and detailed analysis continues today to be the hill that exegetes who disagree with the term ‘propitiation’ can not seem
        to overcome or provide a more satisfying alternative (given Morris’ evidence). Also: “Pierced for our transgressions” (an edited volume, published by intervarsity press). It goes through the arguments and criticims of PSA theory from a variety of angles. Now, these three books: Cross of Christ, Apostolic Preaching of the cross, and Pierced For our Transgressions all hold to a penal substitutionary view of the atonement, so have that theory to defend. However, any seminary student, Bible study leader, youth group leader, pastor or thinking Christian who wants to wrestle/explore/challenge/grasp/critique PSA and the atonement, really must read these three books. They are simply clear, accessible, rich and provide an accurate presentation of what PSA holders believe. Please recommend these books to others who want to know more about PSA theory, or read them yourself if yo haven’t. Most people thinking about atonement theory (whether they hold to PSA or not) have read Cross of Christ by Stott. But seriously, Morris’ book and Pierced for our transgressions cover ground not covered by Stott and so balance out where Stott has given “big picture” generalisations rather than specific nitty-gritty type responses. Anyway, thought I’d throw that in: seriously, they are such good books on PSA – they will encourage you, if you believe PSA or will challenge you if you don’t hold to PSA. Cheers.

  12. Late evening greetings, Morgan. I just discovered your blog today, while checking coverage of General Conference. As a middle-aged, expat Boston Alabamian, Southern Baptist by birth and United Methodist by choice, I have to tell you that your commentary is the most thought-provoking I’ve seen on GC. I’ll be following you. Blessings!

  13. Funny how the Holy Spirit moves. I am getting weary of my sister DB Bass’s ever popular view that people follow Jesus but exit the church. Thanks for getting into words some things that I have been struggling with for some time. I am sharing this with many of my colleagues and friends.

  14. I’m only just finding your site…I’m thrilled to bits!!! So far everything I’ve read has hit home with me. I’ve been sharing with my FB friends. Most likely do a good deal more sharing and ‘following’.

  15. Pingback: Be In The 1% Who Get God’s Grace - Gentle Wisdom

  16. Hi Morgan. I came across your blog this evening (unfortunately I don’t remember how I got here — I think it was from reading a comment you made about a review of David Fitch’s book on Evangelicalism). I very much like the way you think, and want you to know I’m putting you on my blogroll. Keep up the great work.

    • Thank you brother. I often stumble across a lot of cool stuff from randomly jumping through links. I’ll definitely check out your blog too.

  17. can you say more about your brokenness? are you aware of Henri Nouwen’s *The Wounded Healer* and also the Association of United Methodist Ministers with Disabilities? Let me know if you wish to be in touch. glakedylan@yahoo.com

    • I am absolutely familiar with Henri Nouwen. His “Life of the Beloved” was one of the most important books I ever read when I was in the darkest time in my life. When I speak of the gift of my brokenness, I am referring to the way that my battle with depression was part of how God called me to be a pastor. If I had never been wounded by that, I would be deficient in my ability to empathize with others.

  18. Thanks for your recent affirming comment on my blog post (theexcludedmiddleoption). I’m new to the blog world. I am a retired philosophy college and seminary professor and have been encouraged by colleagues and former students to write a blog. I taught Philosophy, Christian Ethics, Systematic Theology, the Church and the Social Order, etc. at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS for a number of years but have spend the majority of my teaching life as a college Philosophy prof. While most of my Christian life has been in the Presbyterian Church, I am now a Lay Catechist in the Evangelical wing of the American Anglican communion. Once again thanks for your encouraging remarks. Reg McLelland
    Phiprofmac@gmail.com

    • Absolutely brother. Blessings to you. Did you ever encounter Arthur Guyton in Jackson? He was my grandpa. He was a somewhat famous medical researcher who worked for years at the Mississippi Medical Center in downtown. He passed away in 2003. My dad and his 9 brothers and sisters grew up in Jackson. So if you know a Guyton, toss their name out. They might be a relative of mine.

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