Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Last weekend, I had a fabulous time speaking at the all-church retreat of First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame. I focused on Paul’s letter to the Philippians and the yeses we say to God—in faith, in friendship, in our work, and in daily life. Given my interest in the power of no, I touched on where and why we need to state nos to make these yeses mean something. But here I want to underscore—as I did last weekend—that in order to be touched by God, the final word is not a no. Our final word is a Yes to God’s Yes to us in Christ. As Paul writes in another of his letters: “For in [Christ] every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes’” (2 Corinthians 1:20). And that is good news indeed.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Like just about everyone else, I was surprised by Friday's news of John McCain's choice for a running mate: the 44 year-old governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Then a day later, I read the stunning disclosure of her 17 year old daughter's pregnancy. As the news has emerged over the past few days, we find a woman whose rise is best described as meteoric--after serving as mayor of a town of 6700, she becomes her state's governor. Then just two years later, she is in line to hold the second highest office of our country. For the reason of her now very public status, it's an excellent the time to take stock and ask a question or two about her and about ourselves.
As I've written before, our lives are defined by the yeses and nos. We declare who we are through our decision, and in order to really say yes, we have to state many more nos. In striving to gain some rhythm between work and life, we all have to state clearly what we can't do in order to hedge what we can.Does Sarah Palin need to learn to say yes to no? Just three days after giving birth, she went back to office. She now is nurturing a Down syndrome child--will there be enough time in these critical early years if she begins as vice president? Did she need to say no to McCain's call to be vice president in order to protect her daughter from the harsh scrutiny of public life? These questions simply evoke the central issue of how she--and we--respond to the calling of both work and personal life.
However we answer that question for her, it does bring to us the same issue: Do we need to learn the right nos that so our most important yeses will flourish? Are we so ready to respond to the call of our vocation to work that we aren't truly saying yes to personal and family life? It's definitely something worth pondering.