Can learning to say “no” be a spiritual practice? Jana Riess thinks so.

July 18, 2013

Uncluttering our schedules and our lives
Writing for Religion News Service, author Jana Riess has this advice: “Want to simplify your life? Just say no. . . every day.”  She says answering at least one request daily with a “no” may be a new kind of “spiritual practice” for her. But at the same time she hates doing it.  Saying no is seldom easy. In these days of too much to do and too little time for doing it, most of us still try to cram one more thing into a bursting-at-the-seams schedule rather than disappoint someone or forgo something we’d like to do or somewhere we’d like to go in other circumstances.  “I am at a point in my life when most of the offers that come my way are for things that I would have loved to do just a few years ago.” Riess says. “I had gotten into the mode of saying yes to those kinds of requests kind of automatically, but I simply cannot anymore.”  She tells of reading a helpful book by Greg Cootsona, Say Yes to No, “which advocates regular pruning of our obligations so that we can make time for the things that are truly important.” Read how Reiss is trying to do this in her own life.  Related Reading:  See this essay by Greg Cootsona on “the unforced rhythms of grace” from the Huffington Post.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.


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