We have been asking for new voices who can be regular contributors to “Blue Chip.” Sean Brewster contacted me (Dan) and here is a guest post by Sean, followed by a brief biography. Please let us know through the comments your thoughts, as always! We want to make ALL pastors better! THANK YOU, SEAN, for the contribution!
Let Other Peoples Yes be Yes and No be No
All through my childhood I constantly would ask my parents for things, or permission to go or do whatever, this is normal. However, a lot of times I wouldn’t really be asking my parents if I could go here or there, have this or that, I was actually telling them what I wanted and when I wanted it. And if my parents didn’t comply with my demand that came under the pretense of a question I would try and manipulate them by throwing a temper tantrum, act sad, etc… And these manipulations that I tried hardly if ever worked at making my parents comply to my demands. Alas it is quite hard to manufacture consent (also a name of a Noam Chomsky book) out of your parents when your nine years old.
This method though of trying to get people to do what you want them to do under the pretense of a question unfortunately doesn’t end in childhood, in fact as adults we get better at manufacturing consent. We still demand things of people yet subtly hide the demand in the form of a question. I remember at a previous job I had where people would ask for time off from the boss, and if the boss said no, the person would just call in sick those days. You see the person who is asking for the time off wasn’t really asking, they were telling the boss “hey I am not coming into work these days.” But you can’t just tell your boss when your coming into work, and how your holidays are going to work and the boss simply complies with your demands. Rather it is whether or not you request complies with the company.
There seems to be an understanding within the Bible that people are given free will (to what degree is subject to theological debate, of which this blog won’t settle the issue). Were told by Jesus to ask, seek, and knock in our relationship with God but I believe also with each other (Matt 7:7). When you ask someone a question allow there yes to be yes and their no to be no. But in order for you to allow for a persons free response, you have to go to them with no pretense. You have to be willing to accept the answer they are willing to give you. Sometimes it is not the answer you want to hear, but you would not want somebody to manipulate you into responding the way they want you to respond. You see it is the lesson that doesn’t end in childhood and that is you have to be ok with not getting your way. If Jesus says “let your yes be yes and your no be no” (Matt 5:37) then we have to allow for people to honestly live that out.
The only way I see this happening in healthy relationships is through honest conversation, where the goal is not to manufacture consent through manipulation. The goal is rather to build trust, honesty, vulnerability, and respect. I for one am a much more agreeable person when someone respects my free will enough to allow my yes to be yes and my no to be no. But I get upset when someone is actually telling me something, but it is under the guise of a question. I would rather people shoot straight with me meaning if you want to tell me something tell me, but allow me to respond without any manipulation. What I have discovered in my life is that when I allow other’s yes’s to be yes’s and their no’s to be no’s, and I let my yes be yes and no be no, I am more free to ask, seek and knock with God and with others. I am a less contentious, and pretentious, when I am doing this right. When I actually practice what I preach here my relationship with God is clear because I have a clearer understanding of him as my heavenly father that loves me enough to say no sometimes.
I am happily married to my best friend Jessica Brewster, and father to our soon to be one year old daughter Adia Brewster. I am an Alumni of Eston College Saskatchewan Canada where I earned an undergraduate degree in Biblical Studies, and currently am student at Briercrest Seminary working on an M.Div. (Administration and Leadership). I am ordained with the Apostolic Church of Pentecost Canada, and am a pastor of a small rural church in Grenfell Saskatchewan. In my spare time I like to watch television (sports, sitcoms, dramas), write, fish, play video games, play with my daughter, read, eat, and cook.
What I love about pastoring is when I see people participating in God’s kingdom together, growing in faith and love, and continuing in hope despite circumstances. I feel honored to be a pastor because I get an opportunity to help disciple people into maturity to do the work of the ministry. I love Jesus and want to be more like him, so I have to be a disciple as well.