Young adults were encouraged to play an active part in the nation's culture war by a trio of high-profile leaders during Elevate 2004 in Dallas Jan. 23. The call for action -- and advice on how to make a difference -- came from Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, political strategist Ralph Reed and conservative radio talk show host Janet Parshall.

 

Elevate 2004, sponsored by the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board, is a conference designed to encourage young adult professionals to take their faith in Jesus Christ into the world. A second Elevate gathering is planned for Feb. 19-21 at the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center.

 

Huckabee, a former president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, used a piece of advice he received during a celebrity bobsled event at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City to encourage the crowd of 20-somethings to forget the past and concentrate on the future.

 

An instructor/trainer told him that "the ice behind you can't hurt you. Forget where you've been. Steer for the curve ahead."

 

Many people constantly "look at what was," the governor said. "That's really dangerous, because there's not a thing in the world you can do about it." He told the crowd the reason for being at the conference was to prepare to "steer for the curve ahead."

 

In describing the need for Christian leaders, Huckabee said Christians should be "thermostats instead of thermometers."

 

"A lot of people -- particularly in politics -- are nothing more than thermometers," he said. These "thermometers" take an opinion poll to get the "pulse of the public" and, based on the poll, state the position they're going to take.

 

Noting that God calls people to be like thermostats, moving the

temperature to what it should to be, Huckabee offered two suggestions to help change the climate of the culture.

 

First, he said, a Christian should stand by their convictions no matter the consequences.

 

"Convictions are not your preferences or your likes versus your

dislikes," Huckabee said. "These are things that you so genuinely

believe in. ... You're willing to be left alone and have your friends walk away because these are things you're simply not going to compromise."

 

For Christians, these convictions should be based on the Word of God, Huckabee said, listing some of his unchangeable convictions on