Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

As a Leap of Faith, Just Say 'Yes'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

As a Leap of Faith, Just Say 'Yes'

Article excerpt

It's time to simply say yes.

In tribute to the late Nancy Reagan, I propose that we make a commitment to saying yes. I mean this with all respect to the former first lady.

Mrs. Reagan, who was buried Friday, taught a generation of children that "just saying no" might be enough to stem the tide of abuse. It wasn't. But that is not to question her sincerity.

Actually, in later years, the former first lady taught us valuable lessons about simply saying yes.

When Ronald Reagan revealed his Alzheimer's disease diagnosis, he asked the world to support his wife in the disease's inevitable and ghastly progression.

Like any caregiver, Mrs. Reagan responded by simply saying yes. She said yes to new routines, yes to a future different from what she had imagined, and yes to the man with whom she had pledged faithfulness.

Eventually, she even said yes to supporting stem cell research to advance our understanding of Alzheimer's Disease, despite the firm resistance of her own political party. Mrs. Reagan knew that saying yes is a leap of faith.

I discovered the potential of yes at a conference recently. More than 500 Presbyterian leaders, including many younger leaders, gathered to talk about saying yes to the new work God is doing in the world. On a rainy afternoon, I participated in a workshop on employing improvisational theater techniques for ministry. The class, called "The 'Yes And' Church," was led by The Revs. Marthame Sanders of Atlanta and MaryAnn McKidden Dana of Washington.

Both are students of improv, and were helpful in relating the rudiments of improvising for use in the church. At the core is learning to say yes. It's the foundation of great improvisation.

Saying yes creates bonds of safety between partners in a scene. It fosters collaboration, and expands possibilities. It is also spiritually enriching.

Notice, for example, how often Jesus said yes to God, especially in the last week of life. …

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