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A Fascinating Perspective on Racial Issues (Part 1 of 2)

A Fascinating Perspective on Racial Issues (Part 1 of 2)

Dr. Shelby Steele addresses racial division in America, examining the civil rights movement of the 1960s and comparing it to the campaign for social justice today. He reminds us of the importance of strong marriages and families as the solution to many societal ills. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: February 17, 2021

Excerpt:

Dr. Shelby Steele: I think that the breakdown of the black America family is the single worst and most overwhelming problem we face today, bar none. Our problem is- is the decline of our family life.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s Dr. Shelby Steele, and he’s our guest today on Focus on the Family, sharing some unique perspectives on racial issues in our culture. And I think you’re gonna find this really interesting, and I do hope you’ll stay with us for this important conversation. This is Focus on the Family, with your host, Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, racial injustice is a real hot button topic in the culture today, with the unrest and all the things that have occurred over the years. Including the death of George Floyd in 2020, Michael Brown in 2014, and others. Those and other incidents have led to violence, unfortunately. And then, we try to find out how we got here, and search for solutions. And that cycle seems to repeat itself over and over again. Uh, the Bible tells us as Christians that we’re called to love our neighbors as ourselves, and treat others with dignity, because we’re all created in God’s image. And we take that very seriously here at Focus. Uh, that’s a command right from the Lord. And I thought it would be good to look at what’s happening in our culture and hear what some of the thought leaders are thinking about. And I know that some of this discussion will be controversial, and not everyone will agree with what Dr. Steele has to share. But I think it’s important for us to hear his insights on racial tensions in this country, and it will expand your thinking, I believe. He’s experienced racism growing up on the south side of Chicago, but he’s chosen to move beyond it. And hopefully he’ll offer advice to help our country, uh, move in a more positive direction as well.

John: And Dr. Steele is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, specializing in the study of race relations, and multi-culturalism and affirmative action. He’s an accomplished author and he created a new video documentary called, What Killed Michael Brown? And of course, referring to the 2014 shooting death that you mentioned Jim. And the documentary forms some of the basis for our conversation today.

Jim: Dr. Steele, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Dr. Steele: Well, thank you so much for having me.

Jim: Very excited to talk with you. I do see you as a thought leader. Uh, sometimes, uh, people may think of you as controversial, I think you’re just one of the many voices. But a very reasoned voice, a logical voice in this issue of racial tension. Before we get into that, uh, debate and that discussion, let’s go back and talk about your upbringing. And let’s talk about where you come from, your mom and dad, et cetera. Tell us a bit about who you are.

Dr. Steele: Well, uh, my mother and father, um, met and married in the very early Civil Rights movement in Chicago, the early ’40s. Uh, they were founding members of CORE, Congress of Racial Equality, which, uh, grew into probably the- the- the most, uh, the central Civil Rights movement. The movement that- part of the movement that focused on the Gandhian philosophy of passive resistance and so forth. So, I grew up in that- uh, in that, as a kind of CORE baby, and, um, the brand of Christianity that we were devoted to, was focused social. And our argument was always- was against racial pro- uh, segregation, which was prevalent there. So, it was this sort of engagement of Christianity with this huge complex problem of race in America that was the sort of cauldron I suppose, that- that I grew up in. And, uh, thinking, I remember conversations around the dinner table when Martin Luther King started out. And my family wondered whether he really had the stuff, you know. (laughs) And, uh, so- so we- it was always a part of, uh, my-

Jim: Yeah. Let me ask you, uh, Dr. Shelby with your dad… Your dad seemed like an incredible person. I mean, give a bit of his background growing up in the South and then his move to Chicago. He was an orphan child, right?

Dr. Steele: … Yes he was, yes he was. Uh, his, uh- he was born in the South, 1900, and, uh, his father died when he was about eight, his mother died when he was 12. He was on his own at that point, lived in the back of a barn. Uh, the- the farmer’s son would bring him food at night, that’s how he-

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Steele: … survived two years. Um, and at the age of 14 he took off to the North. And, uh, then began a- began a new life.

Jim: It’s amazing, I mean, that kind of, uh, tenacity, resiliency, all those attributes. How did you pick those things up? I mean, was it simply seeing your dad work the way he worked and how hard he worked? Or, you know, so often today, we look at the fatherless homes. And of course, in the African American community, fatherlessness is a huge problem. Um, some studies show 75, 78% of, uh, black families don’t have a father in the home, where there’s a child under 18 in the home. Speak to that issue of driving initiative, and how- how that transferred to you, your father’s son.

Dr. Steele: Well, my father was a- you- you’d- you’d have to know him, he was- um, he was always thinking. And he was, um, he had only a third-grade education-

Jim: Hmm.

Dr. Steele: … but he taught himself to read and write. And he read, uh, uh, a great deal. I’d come home from school, he’d be sitting there reading Time magazine or the New Republic, or whatever. He- he kept up on things and he was always- he was always mulling things over. And he- he was a gentle man, uh, he would talk us, when we- when we did something wrong, he would- he would explain the whole world to us. Give us a sense of why it was that what we had just done wouldn’t work, and why it was s- it was wrong, and why we shouldn’t do it. And so, you’d get this all sort of the context of your, (laughs) uh, whatever crime you had committed. And you would- uh, I- I can remember wishing that he’d just give us a spanking and get it over with. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) Get on with this, right. (laughs) No, I appreciate it.

Dr. Steele: But he- so, he was an education, uh, in himself. I’ve, all my life, I’ve- I’ve relied- relied on him, and, uh, uh, referred back to him. Uh, and so I think he would have been a writer himself, uh, uh, had, uh, had he had more opportunity.

Jim: Yeah. And that’s- you know, again, that’s the importance of a father. There’s so much social science now coming in, regarding the importance of a father in the nuclear family. And the unique attributes a father brings to helping to raise children. They’re not gonna be moms, they’re gonna be dads.

John: Hm.

Jim: And that’s one of the great breakdowns in nuclear family i- in all races, black, white. Uh, the black community particular have suffered tragically in this area. What are your reflections in that regard when it comes to, uh, the black family, and the fatherlessness, and what it contributes to the you know, obstacle of doing better in the culture?

Dr. Steele: I think that the breakdown of the black American family is the single worst and most overwhelming problem we face today, bar none. Black women get married at half the rate of white women; they get divorced at twice the rate of white women. The family is- uh, uh, even as you move up in social class, is just simply fragmented. And it creates so many problems that, um, it- it is the single force that as a- that collectively as a group, keeps us down. It’s just hard to- for that many… Look at the inner cities today, and it’s har- how do you overcome those kinds of problems that then manifests themselves and the education system and so forth? It’s our greatest problem by far. We will claim I think, that’s, um, qu- quite wrongly, that racism is our big problem. That we s- that that’s what keeps us down, not remotely, I argue against that vociferously. Our problem is the decline of our family life. When I was growing up in the 50s and the 60s, uh, the black family was still strong. Every kid in my neighborhood had a father. I remember one family the father had s- uh, died, and that was the only family. And then those children were- were watched out ev- uh, for by the- the rest of the community.

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Steele: Uh, and so they- they grew up too, with a sense of- a sense of family. That w- w- was a sacred idea. Boy, that’s gone. And when that goes, then, um, then you face real… The- as a group we really faced despair, we need the focus on the family… (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Steele: … uh, more than anything else by far.

Jim: Yeah. Well, and- and we agree with that wholeheartedly. Because you know, we think that is the core issue for all of America, that the breakdown of the family is contributing in a- in a great way to the social ills that we see. And in fact, even when I see the unrest, and I watch it on the News, my first inclination is family breakdown. And the fact that, uh, children, no matter what their race is, aren’t learning the things they need to learn, to conduct themselves wisely with respect in the culture. And that brings a whole set of circumstances to it. Uh, let me get to some of the points that you’ve made, in that terrific, uh, documentary that you’ve made. And I watched it just last night in full. And, uh, you know, I, uh, there was so many amazing points that you made. But one thing you said I wanted to talk to you about is, describing racism as a religion. Wh- wh- what do you mean by that?

Dr. Steele: What- what I meant is, we in black America have created for ourselves a- what I call a victim-focused identity. And we- our victimization is who we are and what we’ve bargained with the larger society of of that, and so forth. And that i- is then therefore, our power in American life, is- is our victimization. So, what we- we then… But if you’re gonna be a victim, you have to have- you have to have some great monolithic enemy that you’re against, that is victimizing you. And so, we make that- that- we make racism into that sort of monolithic, almost a kind of of- of, uh, a devil figure against which, we define ourselves constantly. And- and, uh, so we make- we make a religion out of it. We make a faith out of it. And if you don’t agree that you’re victimized, you’re not black, we say, “You’re an Uncle Tom.” Uh, you’re not- you’re not true to your race. You- if you’re black, you must assert your victimization. Uh, it’s a terrible irony that history’s put us in, where we actually don’t realize it but we’re celebrating the very thing that- that has been our enemy all along.

Jim: Right. W- I wanted to ask you what your thoughts are when you have sustained decades of victimization, what does that do to the- the thinking of that community when they’re constantly in that- in that modality of victimization? What- what does that do to any human being? I mean, the issue of slavery… And this is an interesting point, uh, you know, it’s a 3,000-year-old, uh, horrible practice that people have put on each other. And it’s not just white and black, it- it certainly occurred in Africa, I’m Irish, the British held the Irish as slaves, I mean, it rides all the way down through history. The Jews of course, were kept as slaves in Egypt, et cetera. So, it’s a global phenomena that lasted about 3,000 years. But in that context, what is- what is the harm when people continually think of themselves as victims, and for good reason, uh, you know?

Dr. Steele: To be a victim is to be impotent, uh, is to have no faith in your own capacity to direct your life. I, as a black victim, I have to join collectively with my r- with my, everybody else in my race, and we have to find some way to manipulate our way ahead through white America. We have to keep white America on edge, and we have to keep them feeling guilty towards us and about us. We- our great power is that we hold their redemption in our hands. They have to deal with it, they have to give us things. Lyndon Johnson gave us The War On Poverty, Great Society, Affirmative Action, School busing, um, public housing, on and on and on. They have to… And so, we then begin to believe that they can- that whites can socially engineer us out of our suffering.

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Steele: Uh, and so, all of the- the power to activate, we place- the victim places in his oppressor, in whites. We put that in their lap, give them that power and therefore, we don’t have it. The- my big argument is, “Hey, we need to keep that power for ourselves, we are the- we have to be the agents of our own development. Our own overcoming of all those deficits that came from the past.”

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Steele: When you come from four centuries of oppression, you didn’t have- you didn’t have freedoms, you don’t know anything about it. You don’t know how to function in it. You don’t know why things are [inaudible 00:14:23], who… You were always in that position where you had to manipulate the white man to get anywhere. Now all of a sudden in freedom, yeah, we’re still manipulating that white man, we’re still working him over with guilt. We’re still keeping him on the line, because we still continue to think that’s our future. It’s not our future, we should not be manipulating anybody. We should be living as free men and women, in an open society. That’s scary because we’ve- we- s- freedom is a- is a scary thing for everybody-

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Steele: … for human beings of all backgrounds, because it demands so much responsibility, so much taking on the burdens of life on one’s own shoulders.

Jim: And you’ve- you- you’ve mentioned this with white guilt. I do wanna define that, I- I think understand that, but, um, for the listeners, the viewers, uh, let me hear from you what you mean by white guilt. And how is it corrosive to the process, et cetera? You know, I was born in the 60s in California, I’ve never felt I had to own what happened in the 1700s, and the 1800s. Some people are probably offended by that, but I don’t know what I could’ve done not being here at that time, to change. I know the abolitionists, the Christian church in part, did what they could do to end slavery. Of course, uh, Mr. Wilberforce in England, uh, you know, he mounted a global campaign to try to, uh, bring an end to slavery. Certainly, in England, but worldwide. Um, yo- yo- we weren’t there, how do we own that? But help me better understand it. How do I own what white people did in the 1700s?

Dr. Steele: (laughs) Um, the problem is that white guilt is not actual guilt. You don’t get- get up in the morning and say, “Oh my God, I feel guilty about, uh, the history of racism in America.” Um, you know, I don’t get up and say that about the history of- of Eskimos, or the history of whatever. We don’t… It’s not that kind of- of actual real feeling of guilt over something that you did, that you’re now ashamed of or whatever. It is simply the stigmatization of belonging to a group that conducted racism for centuries, that brutally oppressed people in this case, of- of color. So stigmatized with the term racism, and- and racist, so that whites in a sense, in America today, even though they don’t feel actual guilt, feel a terror at the prospect of being seen as a racist. That’s it, the- the worst thing in the world can happen to a white person, is that we… Imagine somebody running to the President and we have on tape, uh, some racist remark that they’ve made. They’d be finished. And so, whites live under that pressure, that terror. Oh my God, we’re- I’m gonna s- cross a line here and be ruined. I’m gonna… So, it- it- white guilt- white guilt is black power. The terror that whites have, the fact that we have that over them, is our power. And we- we created a whole grievance industry in America to exploit that power. And look at corporate America today, just giving into Black Lives Matter, and- and groups they don’t really- you know they don’t really believe in them. But they’re gonna give in because they- they- they’re running from that terror of being seen as racist. Just seeing them as the slightest bit as racist, it ruins their brand. And so, we have the power to in that sense, ruin the brand-

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Steele: … of white America. Uh, and white America is sort of digging out against that, uh, vulnerability, and that’s the… (laughs) Race relations today are the symbiosis where- between black and white America. Uh, where- where whites are living in terror and that’s what we have over them, and we keep using, uh, that as our power. Uh, and whites keep giving us things that- that no matter what we- we ask for, whether- whether we deserve it or not, uh, in a way, to buy back their innocence. And so, there we are.

Jim: And I’m making- I’m making that assumption, that in- in what you’re saying. And again, I know this is controversial, but that’s one of the reasons I wanted to have you on, to talk about this, to be a voice. And I- you know, I- I- my heads not in the sand. I know there is racism, I know it exists. Uh, the question is, to what degree? And- and we can get into more specifics in a moment regarding that. But we do feel a need to move towards a culture, a society that treats everybody equally. That- that it’s not based on race. I think many people that I know, if not everyone I know, believes what Martin Luther King Junior said, was exactly right. That, “It’s character that counts, not the color of your skin.” And I certainly believe that as a Christian, uh, you know, that God sees our hearts, he sees our works, he sees our attitude, those things that are, uh, developed within us, not immutable traits, like the color of our skin, which we cannot change. And I do wanna recognize for the critics that will say hearing this, “Your heads in the sand, you don’t see the, uh, racism that does exist.” So, if you could, address that. That there are in fact, people that are racist, that, you know, on all sides, that see the world that way. And yet I would want to believe that most people are moving forward in, uh, character over skin color. But correct me if I’m wrong.

Dr. Steele: (laughs) Its- it’s- it’s, uh, it’s a close call. (laughs) Its, uh, uh, there are in- in- in sharp contrast to each other, but- but it’s- it’s a close call. Um, racism is- is on the list of problems that black America faces. Racism is probably 32nd, 35th, something way down the line.

Jim: Do you know how shocking that sounds to white America?

Dr. Steele: And- and-

Jim: I mean, that- that really is amazing.

Dr. Steele: … Ye- uh, you’re talking to somebody who grew up in segregation. I know what I’m talking about, I know what racism is like, I could talk for hours about what I went through growing up in a- in a deeply… A society that was so, uh, racist that it was utterly confident. It thought racism was good manners.

Jim: Hum, ugh-

Dr. Steele: They thought God really had made the races different and that was that and so forth. Uh, and you got no sympathy at all for it, you- you got contempt. And people would just sort of say, “Well, we- you can’t go in there, you can’t do this, you can’t…” So, on and on and on. So, uh, the point is, I know racism, we don’t have- racism is not our problem today, not remotely. White Americans have made the greatest, is- I think the greatest incident of moral evolution probably in human history. From the 60s to this day-

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Steele: … of- of facing into racism, of understanding it to be an evil, uh, uh, anti-Democratic and so forth. And aching to move forward and move beyond it. Yet, they still have that terror of being, uh, seen as racist. Uh, and they use it against each other, and we use it in our politics, and uh, it- it stays alive in our society because of this terror. How do we get out of this bind? Whites have to stop being afraid. S- they have to start believing in themselves morally, that they’re not racist. That they’re innocent of that-

Jim: Hum.

Dr. Steele: … they do not have original I’ll will. They have- only when they finally- when they finally, and it’s a wa- a ways away from that, when they finally, confidently say, “Oh, why am I continuing to be generation after generation, anguished over being a ra- seen as a racist, when I know I’m not?” Uh, and when the white community in America begins to have that sort of discussion with itself, owns up to the fact that they’re not racist… Not own up to the fact that they are, but that they’re not, [crosstalk 00:22:56]-

Jim: Boy, those are bold statements. (laughs) I mean…

Dr. Steele: … it- they’re some bold statements but this is where I- my sense of, uh, my experience, life, has- has brought me to. I know, uh, again, that racism is simply not a- is, uh, you do what you want. They call it the- the fancy term today is, systemic racism, you get structural racism, institutional racism. We aren’t- we as blacks keep inventing, expanding racism even as it declines, because it is our source of power in America. We can call you racist and stop the show. We can wield that power in America. So, we’re gonna say, “Oh, racism is not just an isolated incident, a boy gets shot by a policemen. Racism is systemic, it’s in- it’s embedded intimately, in our, uh, insidiously, in our, uh, in our daily lives. And blacks are injured and hurt by this. Uh, no. It’s a manipulation, it’s of a f- a formerly oppressed group manipulating the former oppressor, squeezing them, uh, with guilt, uh, to get certain things. What- when did we get this weak, how did we survive four centuries of oppression, if we were this weak and- and sensitive? Yes, you may in fact, run into some racism, I certainly won’t say you won’t. But be- take the opposite course, uh, what if somebody is racist, it’s- it’s their problem, they’re an idiot, and, uh, they’re gonna suffer for it. Focus on what’s in front of you in your life, your family, your job, your career, move ahead. This id- this- creating this idea, and then raising your children this way, uh, is- is that, teaching them to be afraid, teaching men and women to stand up for themselves.

John: Dr. Shelby Steele, on today’s episode of Focus on the Family with a passionate message. As we’ve heard part one of a two-part conversation about racial issues in this country.

Jim: Uh, John, I so appreciate Shelby’s insights and look forward to more of the discussion next time. Uh, it’s a unique perspective from a man who’s, uh, chosen not to dwell on past wrongs that he’s observed or experienced, but rather to focus on the present. That’s a good reminder for all of us. Uh, taking responsibility for his own words and actions, and building toward a better future. Uh, his can-do attitude is inspiring, and I hope this has been helpful today, and that you’ll come back next time to hear more. And in the meantime, look for more information on our website about Shelby’s Documentary, What Killed Michael Brown? And as we look for solutions to the issues we’ve talked about, yo- you may be wondering what can I do to improve my relationships? What does God’s word say about reconciliation and unity? Our friend Dr. Tony Evans, uh, offers some helpful and practical, Biblical advice in his excellent book, Oneness Embraced, that will challenge us to find solutions. The book addresses some of the racial division in our country, uh, what we need to do to have Godly unity. And what it looks like when we get there, uh, both as individuals and corporately as the church. And I think it’s a must-read for all of us as believers.

John: And we want to send that book to you as our thank you for your support, when you make a donation of any amount to Focus on the Family. Again, that book by Dr. Evans, Oneness Embraced: Reconciliation, The Kingdom, and How We are Stronger Together. Call 1-800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459. Or you can donate at focusonthefamily.com\broadcast. And, uh, while you’re at the website, be sure to look for more information about Shelby’s Documentary, What Killed Michael Brown? On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

God designed marriage to reflect His love to the world; and because of this, the enemy wants to destroy God’s beautiful design. Based on his book, Defending Your Marriage, Dr. Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff share about the reality of spiritual warfare against marriages, and how to combat the enemy’s lies with the truth of God. Couples will be encouraged that they’re not alone in the fight for a godly marriage and better equipped to be a shining example for the world around them.

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution.  Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biola’s Center for Marriage and Relationships  where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast. 

Defending Your Marriage

Is your marriage under attack? Sometimes it can feel like the world is trying to tear your marriage apart. Internal conflicts or external pressures might make you wonder if something sinister is going on. How can you tell if you’re facing spiritual opposition? And what can you do about it? Tim Muehlhoff provides a straightforward resource for protecting your marriage from the threats of the evil one. He looks at what Scripture says about spiritual warfare and how our everyday struggles have deeper spiritual realities. And he provides practical steps for guarding our marriages with the whole armor of God.

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

To be an effective parent, you must be a leader in your child’s life, guiding with a gentle hand and setting a solid example. Dr. Randy Schroeder provides the insight you need to be a leader-parent. As he explores the foundational Rs—relationship, routines, responsibilities, and rules—you’ll better understand the role you play in your child’s life. You’ll learn great phrases to employ such as “Either/Or/You Decide” and “When You/Then You”. While there is no perfect parent, this nuts-and-bolts material will equip you to lead your child in a loving, confident manner.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder has spent more than four decades writing, counseling, speaking, and teaching. For nearly 25 years, he was Vice President of Student Personnel Services, Dean of Students, and a professor of pastoral counseling at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind. He’s also led a successful counseling practice helping individuals, couples, and families to thrive in their lives and relationships.

Cover image of Dr. Randall Schroeder's book "Simple Habits for Effective Parenting"

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

Effective parenting is now within your grasp! With this inspiring how-to comprehensive book, achieve extraordinary results in raising a child to be self-assured, self-reliant, and responsible! You will be able to successfully lead and lovingly encourage your child toward a Godly life!

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 2

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

As a spouse, you have three roles to play—a friend, a partner, and a lover. On this one-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Pastor Kevin A. Thompson explores those different roles and challenges you to live them out by investing emotionally, physically, and mentally in your relationship. As friends, he suggests we learn to play and laugh together. As partners, he equips us with solid ways to handle conflict and communication. As lovers, he offers some thoughts on how to bring back the sizzle. He shares five keys to saving your marriage: humility, respect, mercy, communication, and resilience. You’ll be encouraged to intentionally invest in your marriage.

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to navigating the most serious betrayals. A marriage and parenting conference speaker, he and his wife, Jenny, have two children and live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He blogs at kevinathompson.com.

Cover image of Kevin Thompson's book "Friends, Partners & Lovers"

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin Thompson shows how to live out three distinct roles in marraige. Using solid biblical principles, he helps you and your spouse grow your friendship, be supportive partners through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

Do you love your spouse, or do you truly cherish them? Gary Thomas encourages couples to make a daily effort to go beyond the ‘duty’ of love, and combat the natural inclination to drift apart, by choosing to see the best in their spouse.

Mr. Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas is an international speaker and best-selling, award-winning author whose books include Married SexSacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting. He has also written numerous articles for several prominent national magazines. Gary and his wife, Lisa, reside in Texas and have three children. You can learn more about Gary by visiting his website, www.garythomas.com.

cherish front cover

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

“Most marriages survive by gritting teeth and holding on. But marriages can and will not only survive but thrive when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another.” Those are the powerful words of bestselling author Gary Thomas in his newest book–Cherish. And in a world desperate for marriage redemption, it is needed now more than ever. Thomas shows that although there are a countless number of marriages consisting of two people just going through the motions, there are real ways this pattern can be reversed: when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another in proven, loving, and everyday actions and words.

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

You can confidently and lovingly share your faith—you just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the “Columbo” tactic of asking questions, the “self-defeating argument” tactic to find holes in your opponent’s arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.

Mr. Greg Koukl

Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of RealityTactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

Tactics front cover

Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.

Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

Mrs. Patti Giebink

Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.

Cover image of the book "Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life"

Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life

Unexpected Choice is told from the perspective of a doctor who actually performed abortions through Planned Parenthood. The book chronicles her journey from being a pro-choice physician to someone speaking on behalf of the pro-life movement.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.