The Practice of Saying No

The Practice of Saying No

Today’s post is the latest in my ongoing series, “What I’m Reading Right Now,” in which I highlight the articles, books, blogs, etc. that I find to be interesting reads. Click below to read the previous posts:


Every Lent I try to read one short book—the same one. It’s kinda like the movie Groundhog Day for me, reading the same book over and over and over every year. The book is by one of my favorite authors, Barbara Brown Taylor. It is really short, maybe 30 pages. The title is The Practice of Saying No. And I really need practice doing that because university presidents tend to fancy themselves as “can do” people who say yes to more than humans ought to.

Her book talks about God’s rest, Sabbath, letting fields lie fallow, and not making servants work. It deals with the old Blue Laws (which I’d love to resurrect) and personal habits. It makes me want to sit on a porch and accomplish nothing except appreciation for the breath going in and out of me. It slows the pace, calms the chase, and ends the race of our acquiring.

I’ve purchased the eBook so I can get to it anywhere I have a cell phone handy. What I’m most hopeful of?

Getting the book off the page, beyond the cell phone, and into my body.

Black Friday, Blue Laws, and Thanksgiving Blessings

Black Friday, Blue Laws, and Thanksgiving Blessings

The day after Thanksgiving has become the biggest shopping day of the year. And now, some of the big box stores are inching into Thanksgiving Day itself by opening on Thursday afternoon. A national day of giving thanks has become a national day of acquiring more. We call it Black Friday. At least we named it well.

I think football is to blame. When over-fed men won’t converse with their families, but pile into stuffed chairs and watch football into oblivion, women go shopping. It is payback for the scant thanks the women got for all their hard cooking. I know; this sounds very sexist. Men do cook and women do like football. I’m generalizing here.

But I’m still sad that stores are opening on Black Friday and Thankful Thursday. Because we don’t need more practice at buying stuff. We need more practice at conversing, playing, walking, and talking—at being a family who exits the rat race for a respite of gratitude. It’s hard to do that while you’re wrestling a bargain toy from a fellow human or snoozing to another NFL game.

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