Do you know what you believe?

Seems silly to ask…

But an important question for each of us to answer.

Do you/we know what we actually believe about the essentials ? You know, the important stuff like… “what or who is God”, “what role does Faith play in our lives”… “what is Christianity”… “where do I land on the moral and social justice issues of our time”, “does absolute truth exist”?

Nicene Creed

Nicene Creed

We often carry what we ‘know’ without much consideration. With no urgency to explore the reasons why we ‘believe’ stuff… we sort of move through life untroubled by doubt until someone else crosses our path and disagrees stridently with us. Suddenly we’re confronted with all sorts of irritated thoughts and questions, strong emotional reactions pouring out of us in a rush to defend our beliefs, it’s often in those moments we start to realize we truly can’t explain why.

Personal convictions of truth must go deeper than a vague concept of what’s right or wrong or a long ago memorized creed. Today, we need to go beyond what we were ‘taught’ or learned ourselves from pop culture, childhood Sunday school lessons, or the simple acceptance of what our parents said was true. What do WE believe?

Complex and life altering influences are all around us. From the latest polls to the block-buster movies we’re catching at the local cinema, we may be absorbing more of our cultures beliefs than we realize, reduced to a faith based-carbon copy of our secular counterparts. Emotion driving us to form our values and personal beliefs, from recycling to a woman’s freedom of choice.

With a moment or two of consideration, we may find we’re far less formed in faith beliefs and convictions than we first ‘thought we were’. 

What do we believe… ?Chesterton-Quote

My challenge dear reader.., take the time to find out! Invest a little time in some personal research. Educate yourself by reading up and praying through your life. Ask God to show and confirm to you the “truth”.

Learn about some of the defining issues of our time and consider for yourself what is ‘right’ and ‘true’. Our kids will take their ‘que’ from us. IF they see us asking the important questions… they will too.

In this millennial generation, maybe more so than any in a long time…beliefs are going to be tested. Simply ‘assuming’ our kids agree with us because they compliantly follow along right now, isn’t going to cut it. WE / THEY need to ask the hard questions, wrestle through the options and find the truth for themselves.

Honestly, there just isn’t any other way. And, I believe it’s all as intended by the great designer Himself.

Every blessing to you as parent your families forward to life…. and check out some great resources from Reasonable Theology; start your ‘belief’ journey here !

Peace and Grace,

Pastor B.

PS – the sacred “Creeds’ of the Christian Faith are a fantastic way to review the essentials. Teaching those to your kids is a great way to start the process of learning. But simply memorizing the words isn’t the same as understanding and believing.


I’ve waited to weigh in… considered dozens of pro/con/mixed blogs commentary on Miley and her VMA exhibition, all with very opinionated, even inflammatory content.

As a parent, I’m weary of the parade of pre-teen superstars – turned young adults with an edge. The media outlets seem insatiable in their need to provide the public with tragic – self-destructive tales of kids gone wrong.

Most "Tweeted" moment at the VMA's - 2013

Most “Tweeted” moment at the VMA’s – 2013

I’m so saddened by the ongoing cultural seduction of our kids…  Miley is simply a current illustration of the bigger point. Somewhere between grade school and college, we’re losing the truth battle within our kids hearts.

Kids are desperate for affirmation, for love and for acceptance. The need is most evident in their pre-teen and teen years as they seek to identify what /who / how they are going to be, believe and act. The process can take several years and multiple wardrobe changes. Boys and girls seeking to find a “place” they can fit in and be accepted. George Barna (Barna Research Group) notes that kids will decide by age 13 what they are going to “believe” for life. That means as parents we have a limited window to reach our kids hearts and help them sort through all of the “stuff” our world is throwing at them…

The attention and success that fame brings must be a world-class thrill, like emotional crack-cocaine. It seems once tasted, a desperate need to have another hit and another…existence becomes focused only on more attention, more fans, more money… more success. Nothing is out-of-bounds – no self-seeking, shameful act will be too far… IF it brings the rush of fame and fortune.

Our kids really need us to live our beliefs in front of them, to exhibit the contentment we claim comes from living a life according to God’s word. Families of faith are going to need to be pro-active about discussing events like the VMA awards and Miley with their pre-teens. Not to judge – hate- bash her, but to review the “why” of it all. To get our children to think a bit further than just the fame and actually stop to consider the desperate drive that causes people to go so far, the reasons behind it.

Miley’s ridiculous attempt to gain more fame and more success on the VMA stage presents a great opportunity for parents of pre-teens and teens to have a heart to heart discussion over dinner tonight. talking-to-kids-300x250

It’s time to ask them some bigger questions like; What is “Most” important to them ? What are they willing to do to achieve it?  Why?

Good questions to ask and help our pre-teens answer… before someone else does it for them! Miley didn’t jump from 12 – 20 overnight, she made a series of very intentional choices that led her to the very public moment we all cringe to see… those choices came from her core values, from her beliefs… all of which seem to simply reflect the lies of our culture. Her battle for the truth is still ongoing and will no doubt be very costly, painful and full of regrets… I want more for my kids… don’t you?

Lord, help us as parents to know the healthy balance for our kids and when / where and how to help them become young adults.”

Peace out – pastor B.

Recommended Parent of Pre-teens is a pre-teen Christian media site, full of family friendly and engaging content perfect for the pre-teen in your home. Check it out! For the parents and pastors of pre-teens… check out

The Gospel according to A&F

I’m re posting excerpts from a tired story, but it’s important. Abercrombie and Fitch (A&F) has a history of sexuality as a status symbol for fashion and their provocative ads leave nothing to the imagination. It’s no big deal unless you  have kids… then it’s a BIG deal.

 World • Sean Levinson • May 3, 12:14pm

World • Sean Levinson • May 3, 12:14pm

In the recent online article from Elite Daily, A&F CEO Mike Jeffries makes things extra clear for consumers,…

In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,” he told Salon.

He is transparent about his desire to sell the A&F brand as social status and a pay to play – popularity – for sale! His words make it clear, that he tries to intentionally and blatantly exclude anyone who doesn’t live up to his ideal physical size and appearance standards…, all to protect his brand image.

That’s pretty seriously messed up morality and explains a lot about the rise in eating disorders, teen plastic surgery and anxiety our kids are experiencing in their tween and teen years. Brands like A&F are preaching to this generation to accept the fact that if they are not able to wear A&F, then they are “deficient” and less valuable.

A&F CEO Mike Jeffries

A&F CEO Mike Jeffries

I saw this story debated on a Christian FB thread last night and it really bothered me… here is what one of the comments on the threads said. (my paraphrase) …“I think it’s really effective, excellently designed to reach a specific demographic, regardless of what it’s message is, I think A&F is being wise in their marketing strategy… it’s not realistic for Christians to expect secular companies to have a moral compass“.

I’m convinced that who-ever that FB commentator is… He definitely doesn’t have any children of his own.  Moral compass or not, I’m voting with my wallet, and won’t be buying any A&F products for any of my three teens.

Here’s the reality check for Parents;

Our society is actively and intentionally speaking to our kids about what they should look like, act like and be like. Retailers like A&F are not just trying to be hip…they are actively seeking to preach their own gospel of life to our kids, and it goes something like this…. “IF YOU DON’T LOOK LIKE US, YOUR LIFE IS DEFICIENT

That’s marginally okay to recover from, IF you’re an adult with decent self-esteem and some perspective on life and the effects of age and gravity on one’s waistline.  However for a kid who has little self-esteem,  this “gospel of A&F” can become a very dark road of personal despair that can’t be ignored for long without tragic results.  trash

As parents, we must be consistent and persistent in refuting the “lies” our culture tells our kids. We must regularly remind our kids about their created and unique personal beauty, of how much they are valued and priceless in worth.

Our teens and tweens must look beyond A&F to find their self-esteem and value and identities. If we don’t actively make an effort to deny the  deceptions that attack our kids hearts and minds… we are by default letting someone like a Mike Jeffries; teach our kids what’s really valuable and what’s really trash.

I’m committed to taking out my trash…I do it every Tuesday night. How about you ?

Peace out, Pastor B.

Has Media Become our national God?

It’s a real possibility. Current statistics of media consumption for families  reveals that over 80 hours a week on average is spent online, watching TV or listening to Mp3 players or a combo of all three.  (State of the Church & Family (c)2011) / Orange and Barna Group)

How Much Media is Enough ?

What does that say about us?

I believe it says that we’re addicted to entertainment, to stimulation. I know I am and I’m nowhere near 80 hours a week. It’s a natural migration for my mind and senses to want to be engaged. To avoid silence and stillness, not conciously…but subconsciously.

Why is that?

I’m guessing it’s a mixture of our human nature, technology and opportunity all coming together in a perfect storm. Our nature pulls us towards pleasure above all else…. our technology is so cool it’s overwhelming to the eyes and ears and senses and comes in waves of even cooler and smaller gadgets. The opportunity is almost endless with access points in our homes, schools and local McDonalds for anyone with a wi-fi capable phone, pad or pod.

Does that make Media a bad thing?

Not in my humble opinion. Media is what it is, neutral and unaffected by morality or values…it’s what we do with it that moves it from a non-factor to a huge positive or negative in our lives. It’s no worse than food, money, leisure, relationships or work in that regard. A necessary activity or resource that God has allowed for us to enjoy and use to our benefit.

What is the REAL danger behind it?

I believe the danger from media is its ability to subtly affect our beliefs and undermine our mental stamina. Ok…in english. Sexuality – nudity – violence – trashy talk and greed  can become common place in media, subtly removing our resistance to such conduct and replacing our conscience’s with apathy and indifference. Mental capacity starts to fade as we engage only the consumptive parts of our psyche and allow the deductive and problem solving – creative processes to atrophy and slowly fade. We’re content to allow others or things to do our thinking for us… trusting their reasoning and data over our own. (I.E.  Wikipedia vs. Personal experience)

Media and Teen Values ?

What do we do when popular Media suggests our beliefs are in error ?

Hard question. Reacting in fear is a problem… not reacting is a problem. The challenge is to confront the issues without rejecting the medium (media) or the individual teen or tween asking the question. Not responding or ignoring these obvious challenges to our values and beliefs will result in substantial changes in our kids values and principles and patterns of learning, problem solving and living…. a risk that I’m NOT willing to take.

Getting practical.

If media is out of balance in our lives, it becomes an idol. A mini-god. Just like sex, food, money or careers… this can usurp the role that God alone can play in one’s life or family. Time to take an honest look at the amount of media and entertainment that we’re consuming and then assess how we as parents need to filter it.

Slow things down – unplug from time to time. Say NO to your kids, and watch stuff with them… find out what they are absorbing from their peers, from their hero’s and from media…maybe its time to take the weekend off. Go outside, go fishing, hiking, antique picking, rake the yard, carve a pumpkin, visit a friend, clean the garage, volunteer for a charity, wash your car… Do SOMETHING that is physical and interactive and do it WITH your kids. Be spontaneous… make it fun and balanced. SLOW down your schedule… reduce the dependency on stimulation, and replace it with relationships, talking… walking, reading and writing. Engage your brain and your body.

Oh and don’t forget to model this for your kids BEFORE you ask them to change. Otherwise…we’re in danger of being ignored 🙂


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)

The Charlie Sheen Horrorshow…

I watched in Horror last night as I caught a portion of Charlie Sheen’s interview on ABC’s 20/20   as millions watched in fascination and repulsion with his erratic and indisputable display of insanity. If Charlie were a young, naive, Hollywood A-Lister… I think I could find a bit of patience with his tantric outbursts and delusional narcissism, but not when the guy is pushing fifty years old. Seriously un-healthy is the most politically correct language I can use for that.

                               Pretty Sad… Pretty Scary!

As a Christian parent, I’m not going to waste time blasting Charlie for his morality or his lack of foundational values. I’m not blogging here to judge his sinful lifestyle or his self-absorbed personality. I am here to remind myself and all of us of the real dangers posed by glorifying this guy in any way.

His life choices reveal an overtly foolish and painfully obscene man who has traded his soul for the brevity of fame. What really concerns me is the amount of media attention and fascination our society has for gorging on the sordid life details of the Charlie Sheen’s, Lindsey Lohan’s  and Paris Hilton’s of  our world.  These horror-shows of distorted reality have become american icons and are worshiped by our tween and teenagers every day.

I believe we as parents must step back from the influence of an un-filtered prime time media diet in our homes. Instead we must proactively review what our families are consuming and use these insane moments to illustrate to our kids why we believe what we believe.  is a great place to visit for moms and dads who are starting to wonder how much is enough ?

Its time to ask our kids… which is better ? To live for only self, or to live for others ? On one side of that equation is the pop-culture frenzy of television and media and on the other… parents like us.

I believe the path forward for today’s family is not to ignore or avoid media, but to use it appropriately to discuss real life issues together. Nothing is as helpful for an impressionable young mind than to compare and contrast the lives of real life hero’s (like a Ronald Reagan, Madame Curie or Mother Theresa) men and women who sacrificed their lives for others… with the foolish and insignificant contributions of someone like Charlie Sheen.

Last night I saw what was truly the Charlie Sheen Horror Show, and on reflection…its not fit viewing for any age.

Forget about just staying in the lines and on the road of life for this one, its time to get our families on another road altogether… its time to put ourselves on a family media diet !

Peace out.