The Flaws of Family…

Every year we gather as families. 

Turkey and Football, Black Friday and Tryptophan Thursday… the family together… In one place… for an extended period of time.

That will create some drama. 

Sometimes it’s good drama (hugs, love, affection, and cheek pinching) and sometimes it’s bad. (arguments, old grudges renewed, hostility and offense) family-thanksgiving-drama-modern-family

The question for each of us, how will we respond?

Of course families have emotional baggage. Of course we struggle to ‘like’ the one’s we love. That’s life. That’s family. Expect it.

Don’t revel in how bad it (family) really is now that you’re back in the thick of the fray. Don’t marvel at how much the past mirrors our present, or how the old habits of your family are like Kryptonite to your Christian testimony of today.

My encouragement, my exhortation… enter the Turkey gates this year with renewed humility and hope.

  1. Humility – accepting your own flaws. Acknowledge and accept that you need as much forgiveness and grace as anyone before arriving…  If you do, you’ll be in a much better position to extend some grace to your annoying whoever… 🙂
  2. Hope – trust that as God is actively at work in changing you… He is also working with those around you. That means… your family can change!

Remember… it’s the mix of good and bad that make it all so interesting. One thing we know for sure as followers of Christ, He expects us to learn to love each other as He loves us. That means to forgive and to be reconciled (*means to make things right) with our families.

Oh… and for those of you who are parents….your kids are watching. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pastor B.




The surprising debate… is there actually such a thing as Evil or Satan?

I’m casually listening to talk radio, enjoying my country commute on my way home …when I hear a surprising conversation unfold between the national talk show host and a young male caller… it went something like this;

Rick Santorum

Caller – “So why do Republican’s like Rick Santorum  (link to 2008 speech article with the Chicago SunTimes) have to talk openly about evil and satan as if they are real and not myth? I mean, if they (Christian politicians) would just stay away from talking about evil and satan, than mainstream voters might actually take them seriously”

Host – shocked… pauses and then says something like this; ” You mean to tell me you don’t believe in evil? You don’t believe in evil people and events like Hitler and Stalin and 911? Who do you think is the source of that evil?”

Caller – ” Look, the old ways of looking at good vs. bad is out of date, people know that there is no such thing as the devil or a red guy in hell with pitchfork and a tail…Evil is not an entity, or a force in the world, it’s the result of unchecked fear and anger and indoctrination”

Host – shocked and irritated… ” Seriously, you’re suggesting that evil is just a by-product of the human condition, that people are really innocent and just victims of circumstance, so there is no real “right or wrong” just mis-understoods?”

The discussion degenerated from there with the caller suggesting the host was actually guilty of being such a mis-guided, angry, fear monger, an on air idea bully, who was every bit as evil in the callers view as the historical criminals the host had used as examples…The host hangs up on the caller in frustration and rants a raves about the overall degeneration of the American culture and the loss of our basic principles of morality etc… warning the listeners that if we’re not careful, the legal system in the US will become a vehicle by which the liberals will destroy and shut down talk radio as being a “evil” influence and trample our constitutional rights as citizens etc..

Satan as depicted in the "Passion of the Christ" movie

I was disturbed by the conversation, as I drove I considered what the words implied or suggested about where we might be heading as a country, as a culture as a society. But my concern was more focused on the fact the young caller had no context for Faith or Truth beyond a secular education and it bothered me that the caller never even seemed to consider that there could in fact be a source of evil in the world. That the teachings of the bible could contain some intellectual merit, or even a fraction of believable truth behind them.

He blew off two thousand years of historical Judeo-Christian influence in a heartbeat in favor of a Godless-devil-less world view that only considered the existence of evil as a by-product of organized religion. The bible was not even a consideration in his decision-making process… not even the most basic facts that it upholds… of Good and Evil.

Whew…. now that IS scary.

As a Christian… as a parent; I am reminded afresh of the need to be extra diligent with the way I interact with the next generation that God has intrusted us/me to protect and teach and guide. Fear based living is a devastating tragedy and not biblical, but ignorance of the existence of Good vs. Evil  is way worse in my humble opinion. I believe there actually is a devil, that one of his names is satan and he is alive and well on planet earth, actively seeking to undermine and influence those of us who blissfully insist he’s not real.

I’m not suggesting as Christians we perpetuate an absurd image of a pitchfork carrying,  red skinned grinning joker of a guy with stubby horns and tail. No, I’m actually referring to someone who is much more engaging than that; someone or something that can appear kind and compassionate, complex, beyond elegant, beyond beautiful, adept and deceptive, logical and brilliant, with impeccable logic,  whose sole mission is to deceive mankind into NOT believing God or His words (bible), but casually suggesting in his charade that man doesn’t need God and can easily afford to shrug off the potential for  any real consequences  from our choices. The one in the garden who seduced Eve and began the entire chapter of our human suffering and sin.

It’s becoming ever clearer, given today’s cultural multi-faceted attacks on anyone who claims to endorse biblical values or faith based lifestyles, millions of kids (like the caller) must now by default be growing up without any reference point for morality, for truth, for faith… unable to discern Good or Evil for themselves.…If, as parents we’re not  intentional, we may risk our kids growing up without the truth, believing what that young caller had subscribed to… a modern philosophy of man existing as the center of the world, (Humanism) and the false assumption that the bible and existence of a fallen supernatural angel are simply empty stories to be dismissed. If that happens broadly in our culture to an entire generation of kids over the next decade…… ?

Sobering thought…Let’s agree together to NOT let that happen. We must engage our kids in discussion, dialogue and truth about Good and Evil, about God and the devil and this years presidential political controversy is a great opportunity to start !

Peace out, RTP.


PS – (RoadTrip Parenting is NOT a political blog, neither are we taking a public position on who to support for the 2012 presidential race etc… the comments and references to Rick Santorum are meant for illustration of the point and for reference to the actual conversation on the radio)