Tag: #FaithUnderFire

A Special Family Life Interview – Riley Gaines & Protection of Women’s Sports – 10/31/23

A Special Family Life Interview – Riley Gaines & Protection of Women’s Sports – 10/31/23

Riley Gaines has been one of the prominent speakers on issues of trans-gender inclusion in women’s sports. The University of Kentucky graduate put her grad school and future dental career on hold, and now travels the country to advocate for women’s sports. She tells Family Life’s Greg Gillispie that her message is not about personal attacks on people who transition to the opposite gender. Rather, she is standing up for safety, dignity and fairness among women and girls — be that in single-sex locker rooms, athletic competition, and dangers when stronger trans athletes share the arena with women. Her advocacy extended beyond sports. She is concerned about men who swap genders going into women’s prisons, safety and decorum in public restrooms, and the lack of truth expressed as this debate roars along.

In this Family Life interview, she also previews her upcoming presentation at Hershey, Pennsylvania, on November 6 (well over 1,000 people are expected to attend). She talks about how her Christian faith has strengthened her calling. She tells how her identity from the Lord helped her face the opposition, cancellations and even a few confrontations she has experienced from those who hold other views.


Riley Gaines Barker won five SEC swimming titles and has been named an All-American 12 times. At a 2022 NCAA Championship, she tied (down to the exact 1/100th of a second) with swimmer Lia Thomas who was born male, and who shared a locker room with born-female athletes.  Thomas was awarded that trophy, despite the tie, because a meet official saw the occasion as an opportunity to support trans athletes succeeding in women’s competitions.

She has testified at the U.S. House and Senate, speaks to college audiences and state legislatures, and is a frequent guest on national and local media outlets. She also started a podcast on women’s rights, sports, and faith. Riley Gaines commends to her supporters this report on Single-Sex Competition in American Sports in our time.

For information (and tickets availability) for her keynote speech at the Pennsylvania Family Institute’s Annual Banquet on Monday, November 6, go to PAFamily.org

Faith Under Fire – Clergy Appreciation – Pastors are “under fire” these days – 10/26/23

Faith Under Fire – Clergy Appreciation – Pastors are “under fire” these days – 10/26/23

Perspectives, especially during Clergy Appreciation Month: Relighting the fire in pastors’ souls

During this Clergy Appreciation Month, this Family Life interview gets an assessment on the stresses and challenges which local pastors and preachers have faced for multiple years.

The Rev. Sandy Hasenauer, a denominational official for 50+ American Baptist Churches in the Rochester/Genesee region of New York, talks about the trends of burn-out and flame-out demonstrated in national surveys. (A Barna survey says 48 to 52% of today’s pastors have “seriously considered leaving the ministry” in the past 12 months.) She offers some practical ways that congregations can boost their pastors in simple and practical ways.

Some techniques which are appreciated by clergy — and their families:

  • simple handwritten notes and cards with a word of encouragement and thanks (handwritten messages, she says, stands out in an e-mail/texting atmosphere
  • offering fair pay and benefits, and reevaluating this compensation annually
  • attending worship in person (pastors have expressed a loss of energy when significant percentages of the church stay home to worship virtually)

Hasenauer tells us that while October is Clergy Appreciation month, there are many ways that church members and congregations’ leadership councils can pray for and demonstrate care for their pastors year-round.

A Pastoral Perspective on the Middle East war – Dave Bretch – 10/19/23

A Pastoral Perspective on the Middle East war – Dave Bretch – 10/19/23

A Spiritual Perspective to the Israel/Hamas War :  How Far Back Does This Conflict Go and What Does the Bible have to say about it?

Issues involved in the latest war between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East are complicated and complex.

A southern New York pastor who has traveled to the Holy Lands offers his perspectives and Biblical insights on the tragic war which fired up less than two weeks ago in southern Israel.

Dave Bretch is pastor of Beartown Road Alliance Church near Corning.  Bob Price, anchor of the Family Life Noon Report, aired an extended interview with Rev. Bretch. Topics include:

  • Everyday realities and dangers faced by Christians living in Israel and the areas surrounding it.
  • History — and the philosophy — which formed the 20th-Century nation of Israel
  • Biblical background on the fighting over that small but vital geography
  • Bretch’s personal memories of his trip to the West Bank, and what people there face


Christian Athletes in Public Schools – A Family Life Interview – 10/10/23

Christian Athletes in Public Schools – A Family Life Interview – 10/10/23

Starting with an event in Rochester on Wednesday, October 11, many local “huddles” of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in New York and Pennsylvania — and across the nation — will hold a public rally called “Fields of Faith”. These annual spiritual outreaches happen under the lights of a high school football field or at a college soccer stadium.

In this special Family Life feature, you will hear from two Pennsylvania high school seniors preview their “Fields of Faith” events, but also give a broader view of how FCA spreads the gospel on their campuses. There is also discussion of how today’s generation of teens are finding that the Good News of Jesus provides answers and perspectives to the unique needs and internal hungers of young people in the 2020s.

Our guests are Jack Anderson, an FCA leader at Plum High School, and Abbie Johns, who is on the leadership team of FCA at Kiski Area High School.

Greg Gillispie also talks with Tim Florian, a FCA regional staff person in western Pennsylvania. In that part of this conversation, Florian says that (despite what some listeners might presume) many public schools are very welcoming and supportive of a Christian student group which is active — and life-changing — among their students.

Go to fieldsoffaith.com to find a map and schedule of the Fields of Faith rallies in our two states and elsewhere. (Most happen in October, but there are also several November events.) Go to FCA.org for more about the ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Faith Under Fire – “Incurable Faith” when you face an “incurable” disease – 10/05/23

Faith Under Fire – “Incurable Faith” when you face an “incurable” disease – 10/05/23

A very personalized take on this week’s “Faith Under Fire“. Rather than national and cultural issues we often cover here, today we offer insights and inspiration on how Christians can maintain their faith — while fighting life-threatening diseases, chronic conditions, and/or long-term stays in hospital or rehab center.

Our guest has a personal story full of such challenges. Christian writer Andrea Herzer tells us about her 20 years of serious diseases, chronic pain, dozens of treatments, and more. Even through these hardships — including eight years unable to walk — she saw how the Lord offered her such confidence and blessings. To use her experiences and discoveries as encouragement for others, she has written a Biblical devotional book with the appropriate title: “Incurable Faith“. Her message to people who are suffering is simply this — even when you have a season when your vitality feels like it is fading, your faith can still be flourishing.

In her devotional writings, she recognizes that some patients (and some of their caregivers) are not up for much reading or in-depth spiritual reflection. Based on her first-hand journey through this series of so-called “incurable” diseases, she offers a three-part menu of readings — short and simple spiritual thoughts, more extended devotions, and longer detailed writings to guide someone through their current challenge (be that medical or something else).

In this interview with Greg Gillispie, Herzer speaks her wisdom to three audiences:

  • the people personally going through a long battle
  • the caregivers, who also can feel exhausted as that process continues for themselves and the loved one
  • friends, neighbors, co-workers, and fellow church members — who may rush in with prayer and casseroles and support immediately after a crisis or diagnosis, but may not know what to say or do as the situation stretches across months (or even years).

Through all this, Herzer has found that long medical circumstances are an opportunity to draw closer to God, and to even more fully realize the presence and the power of the Lord.


For further information:


Faith Under Fire – Politics & Faithfulness – 09/28/23

Faith Under Fire – Politics & Faithfulness – 09/28/23

Family Life’s “Faith Under Fire

A national Christian watchdog is concerned that too many big-name  Christian leaders seem to emphasize political positions rather than theological ones — or at least can be perceived that way in the culture. How then should churches — and local church leaders — seek to be faithful to their Biblical callings, while still being socially and culturally active with the public issues of the day?

Christian journalist Warren Smith is our guest on this week’s “Faith Under Fire” interview. He commends the congregations which are visiting the sick, feeding the poor, and caring for neighbors. He also says there are important times for Christians to step into the social ills (and political battlegrounds) which surround the church buildings. Smith contends that some Christians are too easily drawn into supporting or opposing populist demagogues who thrive in chaos. That said, there are some issues in which he sees clear Biblical mandates which lead to a spiritual position which may align with only one of the partisan stances. 

He cautions, though, that Christians’ tone and techniques matter. Rather than arguing stridently with people who disagree with you, the most faithful — and successful — action often is to simply ask a few good questions. Have the other person tell you what they have determined and why they hold that stance. (Smith notes that Jesus himself took part in debates by simply asking questions, so that the person or group would come up with their own answers — often the correct ones.)

Ministry Watch is a North Carolina-based ministry which provides donors and philanthropists information about the finances and openness of large Christian organizations, and they highlight faithful ministries and mission agencies carrying out Gospel work in the U.S. and around the world.  Warren Cole Smith writes more about this feature’s topic of political stances and positions of Scripture-based truths here in his weekly column online. In it, he urges preachers and congregations to reduce people’s fear, not add to the fear that already is dominating parts of today’s culture.

Faith Under Fire – Pastors Summit highlights – 09/21/23

Faith Under Fire – Pastors Summit highlights – 09/21/23

A week ago, some 1200 pastors gathered in San Diego, a year after the first Pastors Summit sponsored by Turning Point USA.

Although others of the workshops and presentations were more politically-oriented, today’s “Faith Under Fire” feature gathered highlights from speakers who spoke more directly to the Church and its leadership. A consensus was that too many pastors and preachers cautiously water down their preaching and teaching, in order to avoid controversy. The evangelical pastors who have gathered at these summits were challenged to step into the cultural divisions over truth and righteousness that the millions in their congregations, broadcast audiences and podcast subscribers need to hear.

These speeches might make valuable conversation starters for local congregations and regional clergy groups.

Greg Gillispie narrates these excerpts.

Also available: A recent guest on Family Life, pro-life obstetrician Ingrid Skop, was interviewed at the California conference. In her presentation, she said national surveys have found that fully 2/3s of women involved with abortions did not want to end their pregnancies. Her comments are online here.

Faith Under Fire – PA taxpayer funds pulled from pro-life pregnancy centers – 09/07/23

Faith Under Fire – PA taxpayer funds pulled from pro-life pregnancy centers – 09/07/23

“Faith Under Fire”

Reaction continues to the Pennsylvania governor’s decision to cut off state money from Real Alternatives, a network of pregnancy resource centers across the Commonwealth. Alexis Sneller, a policy analyst with the Pennsylvania Family Institute says previous governors — Democrats and Republicans — have been okay with those funds going to Planned Parenthood and to pro-life organizations.

Sneller says Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania has extensive and expensive lobbying efforts to shut down pro-baby options and to emphasize the only option Planned Parenthood favors for women and couples who come to them: abortion.

In this interview, Sneller gives her take on why Planned Parenthood has been so active in befriending the new governor and lobbying Pennsylvania’s lawmakers. She also talks about what Pregnancy Resource Centers offer to women, babies and families, during pregnancy and afterwards. She also talks about current trends among the general population in the state about support for and opposition to abortion.

Faith Under Fire – The New Academic Year at Christian and Secular Colleges – 08/31/23

Faith Under Fire – The New Academic Year at Christian and Secular Colleges – 08/31/23

“Faith Under Fire”

A new academic year begins, and the president of a Christian university in the Family Life listening area offers insights into a trend he sees: some students are moving away from traditional colleges whose curricula, faculty and motivations differ from what some families see as their own academic and social priorities. Houghton University‘s President Wayne Lewis says the 24-hour news cycle and the reach of social media has given young people and their parents more information about how students are accepted and supported in their college experience. Dr. Lewis says students should not feel ostracized if they hold positions which differ from those of their professors. At his school, he says administrators strive to assure that students feel welcome at a Biblically-centered university, wherever that student may be on the conservative-moderate-liberal spectrum.

Also in this conversation with news producer Greg Gillispie, the president offers a bright and optimistic picture of today’s college students — and the energy and faith of young Christian adults.

You can hear (or download) our previous interview on similar topics with President Lewis last semester on our News Podcasts page.

Dr. Wayne Lewis became president of Houghton University two years ago and is a strong spokesperson for the gospel and for Christian higher education. You can read his blog and hear other conversations with him here and here.

Faith Under Fire – Bipartisan Culture Battles – 08/24/23

Faith Under Fire – Bipartisan Culture Battles – 08/24/23


Family Life’s “Faith Under Fire”

A new conversation with a parent-rights advocate Randy Thomasson, who is among a throng citizens who oppose proposed California legislation which would insert support tor transgender-transition advocacy into the state’s child custody battle. The founder of SaveCalifornia.com expands that theme to the national level battles which are happening around gender and other social contentious social issues.

Thomasson says mainstream positions are gaining momentum in many places. That continues, as people with traditional values — be they Democrats, Republicans, or Independents — step forward, speak out and act. He offers advice specifically for Pennsylvania and New York parents.


Update on California Bill AB-957: Thomasson also spoke with Family Life earlier this summer as this bill was being debated in the California State Assembly. This week (August 21) the state Senate there approved moving the bill forward to a floor vote for final approval. You can listen to, share or download that earlier conversation from our News Podcasts page.


Fill out my online form.