Fear Of Whales

Tales of a reluctant minister

The Power Of Yes

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If you’ve been reading for any length of time it should not surprise you that I’m something of a rule breaker. I believe that Jesus was Neutral Good not Lawful Neutral and I also care about rules only in so much as they imply consequences. But I don’t value conformity much for it’s own sake.

Christian camps on the other hand, love rules. It’s just an ideal environment for rules to thrive. Wilderness locations love rules, Christians love rules, and people who work with minors love rules, so when you put all three together you have no trouble explaining that you may take a boat out, but only between 3:30 and 4, only when there is a lifeguard on duty and only north and east of the dock. You must wear your lifevest at all times, as well as sunscreen and closed toed shoes. No swimming, splashing, sailing, or having fun.

But I know of another camp that has sortof a different take on things. It’s a camp for foster kids and although there are still a lot of rules (the government mandates most of them) there is a consensus among the staff that our goal is to provide the kids with a positive experience first, and so we avoid saying “no” at all costs.

Sometimes it’s tricky of course. There are a great many things you get asked at these camps that you simply could never say yes to, So when someone says “Can we throw Mikes bed in the pool?” you end up saying something like “Oh we are going to do something way more fun than that! We can go to Rec Time!” rather than “No, That’s against camp rule #343”

Still the concept has transformed much of how I think about camp ministry and ministry in general. Such that now, at a camp with adults, where I have a reasonable amount of power to call shots, I’ve learned to answer in the affirmative as much as possible.

There is just power in the word “yes” and I love to unleash it. So where previously I might have responded to the question “How late are we allowed to stay up?” with something along the lines of “You should go to bed, it’s late” I’ll now say “You’re adults you can stay up as late as you want but you will hate yourself in the morning… You know this right?”

Sometimes they listen and go to bed, but feel respected that I trusted them, sometimes they learn a valuable lesson. It’s a win-win!

I don’t know when it was that so many of us got the impression that there was safety in rules and restrictions, and that by classifying and limiting everything we would all be better off. It seems that not only is that not true at all, but that the opposite is the case, and more than that, it’s way more fun!

  • To read my perspective on YES in a more political context CLICK HERE
  • CLICK HERE to Hear More Back-story about Alignment and why I favor “Neutral Good” freedom
  • If you want to hear thoughts about what freedom leads to, and what freedom is for CLICK HERE



    Written by RyanGaffney

    May 16, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Posted in Uncategorized

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