Friday, October 03, 2008

God. Life. Progressive Culture.

  So my buddy Jeremy sent me an email that got me thinking about politics and faith. The question I have is why do Christians always vote Republican or conservative? Why can't we be in the middle or politically left for that matter? (if you have read my previous post you would know that I am proudly in the middle.) There are many issues out there that many people hold strong to...abortion, poverty, family values, environment and so on. They are all important and encompass both sides of the political aisle. 
   Well for my readers who don't know this, there is a newer younger generation of people who profess a faith in Christ that are moving more towards the center of the political spectrum.  They are choosing not to affiliate themselves with either political party. They have decided (myself included) that both Democrats and Republicans are not getting the job done. 
There is a place where the voice of the moderate believer in Christ is being heard and shared. In my opinion that is "Relevant" magazine.   "Relevant" is one of the voices of this new generation of young believers. If you are in any way interested in topics I am talking about or have written about, I strongly suggest you pick-up a copy of "Relevant" at your local book store or check out their website in my links section.
 God. Life. Progressive Culture. These four words are on the cover of every magazine and on the top of their web page. These words encompass what they are about. Which is everything. Life, faith in God, social issues, moral issues, music, movies and other media are covered by "Relevant". As you can tell, yes I do enjoy "Relevant" mag and their website and agree with the majority of what they write. 
     In the latest issue of Relevant and on their website, the founder and publisher Cameron Strang wrote some amazing words that I can't begin to do justice. So here they are.

First Word: Leading the Charge

Cameron Strang |

Reprinted from the Sept./Oct. issue of RELEVANT

"Let’s get this out of the way up front: I’m not a politically motivated person. Which is why I felt a tad out of place meeting with Barack Obama this summer. And talking to John McCain. And doing countless interviews about the faith and shifting political views of our generation.

Yet I have unwittingly found myself thrust into the political arena, a place where people are vehemently passionate about their ideologies and platforms. It’s an entire industry built around being right and proving your opponent wrong, and winning at any cost. It’s a continual power struggle and—from my humble vantage point—seems a bit flawed.

I’m someone who tries to think independently and objectively, rather than simply follow what the pundits tell me to think. Because of that, I’ve realized I cannot fully embrace either political party. Both sides of the aisle have some great ideas and goals. But both also have areas where they simply get it wrong.

I know the power of politics and the importance of the process in our world. But I also know that, historically, real, lasting change has started first at the grassroots level long before it was ever legislated. Cultural mindshifts influence Washington, not the other way around.
Many Christians traditionally have voted Republican because of their justifiable conviction to protect the lives of the unborn. Now, many younger Christians are voting Democrat because of their justifiable desire to see our nation, the most prosperous in the world, address issues of poverty, global aid and the environment.

The problem is, many Christians vote these convictions, but that’s largely where their personal involvement in the issues stops. Are the government leaders we vote for meant to do our job for us?

If God has given you a heart for the poor, or to see a reduction in the number of abortions, or to promote peace, or to help the sick, or to stand for strong moral values, or to be a better steward of the environment, then your personal focus needs to be on that—whether or not the President shares your same values.

The Bible reminds us to pray for our leaders, but it also talks about praying for those who persecute us. Though I can’t foresee any situation where this would be the case, what if one day every value Christians stand for, even religious freedom itself, was legislatively removed? Christians in China and many other parts of the world face this reality every day. Would it change us?

Dare I say, it might actually spur the Body of Christ here into greater action. Could it be that the loss of religious freedoms would ultimately be the best thing for American Christians because it would cause us to stand on our own feet rather than relying on the government to legislate our faith and values for us?

I’ve heard that only 5 percent of people who attend church regularly actually serve in any way. I’ve read that if every Christian in America actually tithed 10 percent of their income, we would have enough financial resources to wipe out global poverty.

There’s more power lying dormant in pews around the nation than any government could hope to provide, and that’s where our focus should be.

Many Christians want to overturn Roe v. Wade, but I don’t hear nearly as many leading the charge on a national adoption movement. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, where are all of those babies going to end up? Christians should be focused on personal action regardless of legislation, not just waiting for the right number of Supreme Court justices to come along.

I’m not saying don’t vote. Do. Vote your convictions and let your voice be heard—that’s one of the perks of living in a democracy. But don’t let politics breed division, or make you see people in a different light.

If you have a passion for an issue, rather than judging someone who doesn’t share that passion or viewpoint, just go do something about it. Give your life to it. Be the change you want to see.

We need to pray for our leaders and our country, but always remember that our leaders and country do not define us. We are the generation that will shape the direction culture, government and social action will take in the next 50 years. It’s not up to Washington, it’s up to us—and I say it’s time we step up and lead the charge.

But that means with our lives, our finances and our actions every day. Not just Nov. 4."



     I know this post rambles and bounces from one thought to the next, but that is how my brain works. I agree with Cameron Strang whole heartedly. I want people to know is that politics and the government are not going to fix all of the world's and society's problems. That job is up to us. WE need to be the ones to make a difference. WE need to make the changes. Obama's or McCain's "change" is not the answer or cure all to life's issues. WE need to step up to the bar and love on our neighbors. Don't just talk about the issues. Act on the issues. Act for the issues. Pray, volunteer, stand up, serve, love, and take action for these issues. That is what this generation needs to do. We have shown that we have the heart, but now let your heart be worn on your sleeve for what you believe in.  
     For me, I wear my heart on my sleeve for Jesus Christ. I love Jesus and I want others to love him as I do. How do I do that? I simply love others and serve others. I hope they see a Jesus that is loving and accepting and not Jesus that is judging and distant. I hope they see the transformation he has had on my life. I hope that causes them to think about faith in Jesus. It is their choice and I completely understand that. I have been there. 
      I want to be transparent here.  I say it is simple to love and serve others but it reality it can be challenging. It is easy to write these words on a blog but it is even harder to get out of my chair and act upon these words and make a difference in love. It is sometimes hard to leave your comfort zone. It is hard to love some one with whom you dislike or do not agree with but you must rise above and love with out conditions. Love unconditionally. Loving God with all your heart, soul and mind is the most important sentence spoken by Christ. Second only to that is loving you neighbor as you would love yourself. We must love and serve others no matter who they are or what they believe. UNCONDITIONAL love is what we all must strive for.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Death and Life: My Mom and Jesus!

     So today is kinda a sad day for me. I lost my mom one year ago today. She lost her battle with breast cancer on Sept. 24th, 2007. She went to be with her Maker one year ago. That is what gives me a smile today. Knowing that she is with Jesus in heaven worshipping God!! For those of you who have had a chance to get to know my mom, you will remember that she was a very spiritual woman and a woman who walked with Christ daily since she was a young woman. She was very open about her faith and encouraged others to evaluate their spiritual lives no matter where they were in life or what they believed. She was not a judging person or close minded bible thumping Christian. She was the opposite of that. What she was, was a woman who loved others unconditionally. I guarantee  that anyone who knew my mom would say the same thing. That is why she loved being a school counselor and why she was such an effective counselor. She met people where they were at in life and showed them true unconditional love. 
   There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that she is in a far better place. Don't get me wrong, I love life and this earth that we live on; but heaven is going to be a place so incredibly awesome that there are not words to describe the greatness of heaven. And that is where my mom is right now! I miss her. I love her. But I know I will see here some day again. That is what keeps me going on this day. 
   From a young age my mom taught me about Jesus and the unconditional love that he lived his life by. About 12 years ago I put me faith in Jesus Christ. What that means is that I started to live my life for Christ and not for other things, not for myself. I accepted Jesus into my life because I felt I was missing something and that turned out to be God. Through my 
relationship with Christ I can know God. It says so in the bible. John 14:6-7 talks about if you know Jesus than you will know God as well. I challenge you, the readers of this blog, to think about that. I am not trying to "convert" you or "thump you over the head" with my faith or my beliefs. I am just trying to show you how important faith is to me and was to my mother. 
 I know some of you probably think Christianity and Christians suck. (And unfortunately there are a good number of Christians who do suck and act very judging and unloving.) But I want to let you know that, myself included, there are many loving and open minded people who profess a faith in Christ.  Of course I would love for y'all know Jesus as I do but that is not my choice. Of course it is your choice. It is a decision you can make and a decision that you can make on your own time and whether or not you make any decision at all is up to you.  I just ask that you think about it. Think about where you stand in your faith in what ever it is that you believe. What does that means to you? If you are missing something and if you want more and want to know Christ, He is there for you. Just ask Him to come into your life and ask him to forgive you for your sins. We are all sinful. I think everybody will admit that. Nobody is perfect. The answer to that is Jesus. He was perfect and he forgave us for our sins when he died on the cross and rose 3 days later. Through Jesus we can know God. 
  Sorry to ramble and sorry to preach but faith in Jesus is important to me and was important to my mom. I hope I shared this with you in a non-threatening and non-judging manner. And I felt it important to share on the anniversary of my mom's death. I love her and miss her today but I take joy know that she has been with God in heaven for the past year. I hope a great day for everyone reading this and if you feel inspired to leave me a comment (positive or negative) please do so. 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Alive and well

Just writing a post to let you know that I am still here. Just been very busy lately. The kids, out of town friends visiting and some church  stuff has keep me pretty busy lately. So I am here, I do have thoughts to share and ideas to explain, just not now. Peace be with ya'll!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Urgent prayer request

   For those of you who are believers is prayer, I would ask of you that you pray for my wife's family and the many people in the path of Hurricane Ike.  Abby's parents (Dave and Dori Renneker) and grandparents (Bob and Judi Kruse) live in the Houston metro area and are almost in the direct path of Hurricane Ike, according to the latest weather update. They live far enough inland from the coast that they feel they do not need to evacuate. But there is still plenty of danger headed their way. They are in the NW suburbs of Houston and expect strong cat.1 to weak cat.2 winds (100+ mph) where they live by late Friday night into early Saturday morning. Not catastophic but enough to do damage! Please pray for their safety as well as the many others who are affected by this hurricane. Living here on the Gulf coast of FL, I know exactly how much storms like Ike  drastically affect the lives of thousands of people. If you could take just a minute to pray for thier safety, Abby and I would be very grateful.  
 Also here is a link to a great tropical weather website if you are interested in staying updated on the storm. There is a lot of info on the webpage so just scroll down to get to the latest predicted track.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

NFL Opening day is here!

I know some of my recent posts have been a little political and serious lately.  So on a lighter note....All I have to say is God bless the beginning of the NFL season! I have missed you so much for the last 7 months. Here is to many Sunday afternoons together (and Sunday and Monday nights) and continued success for my beloved Green Bay Packers. And I can not complete this post with out giving Mr. Brett Favre his due respect for his first win as a NY Jet. May you have one more glorious year left in the tank ole Grey Beard!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Politics and Palin

   I know most of you have probably seen this speech on TV last night but if not, here it is for your viewing pleasure. I had to post it because I thought it was absolutely phenomenal. While I don't really care for McCain, I do really like Sarah Palin. I have always said that I am a moderate with centrist views but when I vote I tend to lean right. There are policies and issues in both the Democratic and Republican parties that I support. At the same time both parties have issues and policies that disgust me. Where does that leave me? I guess you could say I am stuck in the middle as I previously mentioned. In fact, I am seriously considering registering as a Independent here in FL. The problem with that is I will, in effect, not be able to vote in primary elections because independent politicians are few and far between here in Northwest FL. And in FL you can only vote for your party in the primary elections. To me that is a price I am willing to pay in order to be a registered Independent voter. I can't in good faith be registered with the Republican or Democratic parties. 

    With all that said about where my political affiliations are, I have to say that I like Sarah Palin as a VP Candidate. I like her reformer credentials. That is a big deal to me because I am absolutely disgusted and literally can't stand the 'good ole boy club'  here in Bay County FL. The fact that she took on the good ole boy club in Alaska and won is a definite plus in my book. I also enjoy the down home middle class mom persona that Palin exudes. You feel as if you can relate to her and I know I am not the only one who is saying that.

    I know I have readers of this blog (the few of you that there are!) who are going to disagree with my comments and i am glad you do. Everyone needs to have an intelligent opinion as it is your right to have. So I want to hear from you whether you are a Liberal or Conservative or somewhere in the middle like me. Let me know what you think. Leave me a comment!

 Any way here is her speech with some interesting excerpts I included below if you don't want to watch the whole thing. 

"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities. I might add that in small towns, we don't quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren't listening. We tend to prefer candidates who don't talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco."

"We've all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers.

And there is much to like and admire about our opponent.

But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform - not even in the state senate.

This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word "victory" except when he's talking about his own campaign. But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed ... when the roar of the crowd fades away ... when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot - what exactly is our opponent's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger ... take more of your money ... give you more orders from Washington ... and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world. America needs more energy ... our opponent is against producing it.

Victory in Iraq is finally in sight ... he wants to forfeit.

Terrorist states are seeking new-clear weapons without delay ... he wants to meet them without preconditions.

Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ... he's worried that someone won't read them their rights? Government is too big ... he wants to grow it.

Congress spends too much ... he promises more.

Taxes are too high ... he wants to raise them. His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan, and let me be specific.

The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes ... raise payroll taxes ... raise investment income taxes ... raise the death tax ... raise business taxes ... and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars. My sister Heather and her husband have just built a service station that's now opened for business - like millions of others who run small businesses.

How are they going to be any better off if taxes go up? Or maybe you're trying to keep your job at a plant in Michigan or Ohio ... or create jobs with clean coal from Pennsylvania or West Virginia ... or keep a small farm in the family right here in Minnesota.

How are you going to be better off if our opponent adds a massive tax burden to the American economy? Here's how I look at the choice Americans face in this election."

Friday, August 29, 2008

John Mayer & Martin Sexton :: "Can't Stop Thinking Bout You"

For all you fans of John Mayer and who appreciate all around great music. Here is a little ditty he did w/ Martin Sexton. This is friggin awesome. So forget about the worries of your day and just kick back and give this song a listen. You won't regret it.

Don Miller at the DNC

My friend and fellow blogger Dan over at posted this on his blog. It is so good I have to post it as well. (Sorry for copying your idea Dan, but I have to.) It is a transcript of Don Miller's prayer and the DNC in Denver a couple of days ago. Don Miller is the author of "Blue Like Jazz" which is great book for those who are not familiar with him. Cameron Strang (publisher, founder and editor of Relevant Magazine) was originally invited by the Obama camp to give the opening night prayer but he backed out after accepting the invite. (That will be the subject of a future post.) Anyway he called Don Miller and asked him to do it and here is Miller's prayer.


Father God,

This week, as the world looks on, help the leaders in this room create a civil dialogue about our future.

We need you, God, as individuals and also as a nation.

We need you to protect us from our enemies, but also from ourselves, because we are easily tempted toward apathy.

Give us a passion to advance opportunities for the least of these, for widows and orphans, for single moms and children whose fathers have left.

Give us the eyes to see them, and the ears to hear them, and hands willing to serve them.

Help us serve people, not just causes. And stand up to specific injustices rather than vague notions.

Give those in this room who have power, along with those who will meet next week, the courage to work together to finally provide health care to those who don’t have any, and a living wage so families can thrive rather than struggle.

Hep us figure out how to pay teachers what they deserve and give children an equal opportunity to get a college education.

Help us figure out the balance between economic opportunity and corporate gluttony.

We have tried to solve these problems ourselves but they are still there. We need your help.

Father, will you restore our moral standing in the world.

A lot of people don’t like us but that’s because they don’t know the heart of the average American.

Will you give us favor and forgiveness, along with our allies around the world.

Help us be an example of humility and strength once again.

Lastly, father, unify us.

Even in our diversity help us see how much we have in common.

And unify us not just in our ideas and in our sentiments—but in our actions, as we look around and figure out something we can do to help create an America even greater than the one we have come to cherish.

God we know that you are good.

Thank you for blessing us in so many ways as Americans.

I make these requests in the name of your son, Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice.

Let Him be our example.


You can disagree and say what you want about Don Miller and his views on faith and fundamental christianity. But the guy has some relevant insights and thoughts on how our culture impacts our faith in Christ. And his prayer needed to be said whether you are a Democrat, Republican or something else. If interested in more Don Miller, please check out his book "Blue Like Jazz" which nowadays is available almost anywhere. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Archer wedding, hangin with Miller and just all around great times!

   So my buddy Jim Archer got married this last weekend to Rebekah Reuss, his wonderful girlfriend of the last two years. Why am I telling you this ( all three of you who read my blog)? Because Jim was one of my best friends in college and still is. If you know Jim and frequent blogs and facebook pages of his friends then I am sure you are aware that I am not the first to post 
about the Archer wedding. (Infact, I borrowed the picture to the left of Jim, Loren and I; from Loren's blog. Thanks Loren!)
   So, it is my turn to tell you all that I had a friggin blast in MN hangin with old friends and attending Jim and Rebekah's wedding. My buddy Loren Miller picked me up at that airport and from then on we pretty much spent the rest of the weekend together, which was awesome because I haven't seen him in quite a while and I consider him one of my best friends along with Jim. He also let me crash at his place which ended up saving me a lot of money by not having to get a hotel or rental car. I was w/o wife and kids because it costs so dang much ($1,500) to fly us all the way to MN from FL. Loren was sans wife for similar reasons. We had a blast seeing old college roommates and fellow Campus Crusade for Chirst friends from college. Jim's wedding was basically one big reunion and I am so glad I went. 
   I couldn't be happier for Jim. The guy is a real man. And by that I mean,  Jim is a man of his word. A man with principles and integrity. He is a guy who doesn't wavier on his principles. He is a guy that will treat Rebekah like gold. Jim is the most honest, trustworthy person I have ever met. Jim wouldn't hesitate to give you the shirt off his back. 
  As you can tell I admire Jim and consider it an honor to be his friend. Best of luck on your marriage Jim and Rebakah Archer. I will be praying for God to truly bless your marriage.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Another day, another year older

I just thought I would write a little note telling ya'll that I feel a little old today. Yes, today is my birthday. I hit the big 30 today and it made me realize a few things. First of all, sad as it is, I am not a 20 something anymore. I liked being in the 20 something category. It made me feel like I was still 'with it' or should I say 'hip'. I know that by writing that last sentence, I really am not 'hip or 'with it" but who cares. As my wife would probably tell you, I am just a big dork. But you know what, this dork is a man who has a great wife, great kids, and I love them all dearly, I am grateful for every moment I get share with them. Abby, Sam and Hannah are the best presents I could ever want and I thank God for them. 

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Brett 'Jett' Favre

When I told my buddy Dan that I was starting to blog again he said, "let me guess, you wrote about Brett Favre." I told him "actually no, I wrote about parenting." He was surprised and I guess I am too that Mr. Favre had slipped my mind. So here it goes Dan, this is for you. 
     As most of you know Favre was traded to the NY Jets last week and boy am I relieved. Some might be sad and a few might even be happy but I am just glad the whole dang saga is over with. Don't get me wrong, I love Favre and I love what he has done for the Pack for the last 17 year but I am just glad this soap opera is finished. Now I can get back to cheering for my Packers and letting Aaron Rodgers win me over. As I have told several friends, I am a Packer fan first and then a Favre fan. I think the Green Bay Packer management treated Favre disrespectfully through out this whole retirement/unretirement ordeal. I think the man is entitled to a little indecision. After all, he did win a Superbowl, 3 MVPs and provided almost 17 years of above average QB play for the Packers. And the dude can still chuck the pigskin harder than I will ever be able to. So here it is. I LOVE the Packers, I think the Packers GM and management sucks, and I wish Brett Favre the best of luck with the Jets. And hope the Packers and Jets meet in the Superbowl.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Life and Parenting

So it has been a little while since my last post...well actually a great while and i doubt anyone will still be reading my blog but oh well....  And the sad thing is that not much has really changed in the McBride household since my last post. I have learned that a two year old and three year old are a handful. It seems like every other day either Sam or  Hannah come running to me crying because of something the other child has done to them or taken from them. Oh, the joys of parenting. My goal is trying to keep me cool and not get all worked up at things the kids are doing. In order to help me with my goal, their is a book I am reading that one of our pastors at our church mentioned about parenting from a biblical perspective. It talks about understanding your child's heart and how that relates to his or her actions and feelings. Obviously there is way more to it than that but I am only on the third chapter and it is pretty good. It is called "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Ted Tripp.