The World and Everything in It: August 12, 2022
On Culture Friday, John Stonestreet discusses how to fight for our kids, and Collin Garbarino takes us back to 1982 to rediscover the magic of E.T. (now playing in theaters). Plus: CCM artist John Martin Keith opens up about the dangers of comparison, and the Friday morning news.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!
Christians and the culture war--why it’s no longer about if we engage, but how.
PAUL BUTLER, HOST: That’s ahead on Culture Friday.
Plus 40 years ago, a fictional alien from far away taught us something much closer to home.
And a CCM artist opens up about the dangers of comparison.
BROWN: It’s Friday, August 12th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
BUTLER: And I’m Paul Butler. Good morning!
BROWN: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Garland presser » Attorney General Merrick Garland says the Justice Department will reveal more information about the FBI raid of Donald Trump’s home in due time.
Garland said Thursday that he could not provide details about what agents were looking for or what they found. But he told reporters,
GARLAND: Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly without fear or favor.
He said he personally approved the decision to seek the search warrant and that he didn’t make that decision lightly. It was the first time the FBI has raided the private residence of a former U.S. president.
But Republican lawmakers remain highly skeptical that the raid was truly justified.
Sen. Lindsey Graham said there’s a track record here.
GRAHAM: Is it plausible the FBI would investigate President Trump without merit? Yes.
The Justice Department has asked a court to unseal the warrant the FBI received before searching Trump’s Florida home. It’s unclear if or when a court might grant that request … or when the documents could be released. Trump will also have a chance to object.
Armed man tries to breach FBI office » Meantime, in Cincinnati on Thursday, an armed man in body armor tried to breach a security screening area at an FBI field office.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Nathan Dennis said the suspect then fled the scene.
DENNIS: He was traveling in a white Ford Crown Victoria. The suspect vehicle fired shots during that pursuit.
The suspect then abandoned his car on a rural road and took off on foot. He was later killed in an exchange of gunfire.
Investigators are looking into the motive. But the incident occurred as officials warned of an increase in threats against federal agents following the raid of Donald Trump’s home.
Russia struggles to replenish troops » Russia is now trying to get prisoners to trade their jumpsuits for uniforms as it struggles to man the frontlines in Ukraine. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: Moscow is hesitant to announce a full-blown mobilization for fear that it could turn public opinion against President Vladimir Putin.
So Russian officials are looking for volunteers anywhere they can find them, offering amnesty to some inmates if they agree to fight for the Russian army.
Moscow has also launched a marketing campaign, advertising the military as “The Job” on billboards, trying to woo recruits with promises of great pay and bonuses.
That comes amid reports that hundreds of Russian soldiers are refusing to fight and are trying to quit the military.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
House likely to vote on Dem “inflation” bill Friday » Lawmakers in the House could vote on a major spending bill just hours from now.
The House today will take up a $740 billion dollar package that passed straight down party lines in the Senate earlier this week.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the bill will accomplish several important things:
SCHUMER: Including reducing prescription drug costs, fighting climate change, close tax loopholes exploited by big corporations and the wealthy.
Democrats call it the “Inflation Reduction Act.”
Republicans insist it will make inflation worse. And Sen. Chuck Grassley said $80 billion dollars to hire new IRS agents may not be good news for the average American.
GRASSLEY: I think they’re going after middle class and small business people because basically, they think anybody who has pass-through income is a crook and they aren’t paying their fair share.
The bill is expected to pass in the House on another party line vote.
Wholesale inflation » Businesses caught a break last month when wholesale inflation dropped for the first time in two years.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the producer price index, which measures the price of goods before they reach consumers, fell by .5 percent.
It’s still almost ten percent higher than it was last July, but the number is lower than expected.
Most of the decrease was from a nearly 17 percent drop in gas prices.
Gas prices dip below $4 / Airfares down » And for the first time in five months, pump prices have dipped below $4 a gallon. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has more.
LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: AAA (triple-A) said the national average for regular unleaded was $3.99 on Thursday.
Prices have dropped 15 cents a gallon in the past week and 68 cents from the same time last month. Texas has the cheapest average per-gallon price: $3.49.
Conversely, drivers in California and Hawaii are still paying almost $5.40 a gallon.
That relief at the pump follows recent declines in oil prices which are also affecting the cost of airline tickets. From June to July, airfare fell by nearly 8 percent.
And data from the travel booking platform Hopper suggests domestic airfares might drop by nearly 40 percent in the coming months from recent peak summer prices.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.
Somalia drought » A new UN report reveals that as many as 1 million people have now been displaced in Somalia amid cripling drought. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: Somalia just experienced its fourth failed rainy season in a row, with many parts of the country getting less than half of the rain expected. The UN says a severe two-year drought is the worst in 40 years.
And the country is now staring at an expected fifth failed rainy season.
That could displace even more families and drag the nation closer to famine.
The UN high commissioner for refugees says the number of people facing crisis hunger levels in Somalia is expected to rise from 5 million people to 7 million in the coming months.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
And I'm Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: Christians and the culture war--why it’s no longer about if we engage, but how.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It's the 12th day of August, 2022.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.
PAUL BUTLER, HOST: And I’m Paul Butler. It’s Culture Friday!
Let’s bring in John Stonestreet. He’s the President of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast.
Good Morning John, it’s been a few weeks. Glad to have you back!
JOHN STONESTREET, HOST: It's good to be back. Thanks Good morning to both of you.
BROWN: John, the Biden Administration made a surprising about-face this week, dropping a transgender mandate that would have required leaders at a Tampa school to implement policies that were in direct conflict with their faith.
The government was asking them to guarantee a student’s choice of gender, pronouns, restroom, clothing--you get it or else get booted from the National School Lunch Program.
That would have meant no lunch for about 50 low income kids at Grant Park Christian Academy. School leaders did not acquiesce. They sued and the Biden Administration backed down.
I’ve heard you say many times Christian need to develop a theology of getting fired, of losing friends or at least being willing to. As we stand up for the truth and to protect the vulnerable. This seems like a great example.
STONESTREET: You know, one of the guys that hangs around the Colson Center is a guy named Glen Sunshine. Isn't that a great name? He's actually a historian, and has taught in our Colson Fellows program for years. And we do a lot of work on different historical figures—Christians who made a difference in the world—and not just the Wilberforces and the Bonhoeffers whose names we know. But people from every time and place, whose names we don't know.
But one of the commonalities that continues to emerge is that Christians living out their faith within a cultural setting almost always involves protecting children. Protecting children from forced prostitution, protecting children from work camps, protecting children from, you know, the loss of parents. Looking after orphans, looking after those who would be victimized by a particular powerful party in that cultural region.
And this is ours. We need to protect kid’s minds from harmful ideas. We need to protect their bodies from abuse, or mistreatment. And we need to protect their most important relationships, because that's what guarantees their future. This needs to be front and center that ideas have consequences and bad ideas have victims. And the ideas in our cultural moment, almost always tend to victimize kids.
I would say this though, this is another example of what I often call the inevitability thesis—that we're on the wrong side of history, and it's inevitably going to get worse and worse. It's just not something we should buy into. We shouldn't give up the 50 yard line on the first play of the game as if we're inevitably going to lose.
Because the Supreme Court has been incredibly clear on if a government or a state program is offered widely, then it cannot be restricted from people of faith simply because they want to be people of faith, and live that out in whatever setting that they're doing. Including state arrangements with Christian schools. This was reinforced again this year with this program in Maine. We've got the Trinity Lutheran case. I mean, this is about as clear as the Supreme Court can be that religious institutions don't get penalized simply for being religious.
And we can fight. And it's okay to fight. And we fight the right way. And we do it. So good for Grant Park Christian Academy. Good for the state of Florida. And I think it's a good lesson for all of us.
BUTLER: I want to build on that more John. In a recent WORLD Opinions article Kevin DeYoung asks this question: Should Christians be engaged in the cultural war? He writes, not only is the answer yes—we should be engaged—but he also speaks to the “how.” He identifies a few suggestions: we should not forget to reason with our opponents. We should fight in the right way. And we should remember that the culture is not ultimate.
John, what would you add to that list?
STONESTREET: Well, I think those are a good place to start. I think part of it is, you know, there is an element to the so-called culture wars. I don't like that framing any more than anybody else does. But in many ways people of faith are getting shot at.
I think the other piece of this to remember is that we are fighting for the good of the other. In other words, it's not just the right of Christians to be Christian. But Christianity has brought incredible good into the world. And even while so many other Christians are kind of having the shivers about this and trying to run away, we have a number of historical works coming out right now talking about how, without Christianity, we don't have the cultural air that we breathe of categories: like human dignity and children's rights and women's rights and the rights of minorities and freedom and conscience rights and all the other things.
In other words, we do this not just so that we can worship the way that we want, or live the way that we want. It's because Christianity brings distinct unique goods to the world. And it's the only source for those things. And so if we love our neighbor, and we need to do something about the culture that's victimizing our neighbor.
And so I think that's something to frame this whole culture war out. It's not just what's good for us. It's what's good for the world, because Christianity is in fact, true. And I think a lot of Christians don't realize that. I think a lot of Christians still think about truth in a secular way. That this is true for us, but not for them. And that's fundamentally not the right definition of truth in it's not the right way to see what's at stake.
So we have to be really clear on Christian conception of these ideas upfront, so we need to do the hard work in catechism with our children and with ourselves and public theology.
BROWN: One last question John. The Pew Research Center just released a new report revealing what I suspect we already knew… American teenagers are now more than ever engaged in social media. Here’s a quick snapshot of the findings:
TikTok is the top media platform for teens. Nearly 7 out of 10 say they use it and 16% of those admit they are on it constantly.
YouTube is the top online landscape - 95% say they use it.
In terms of demographics, teen boys are more likely than girls to use YouTube, Twitch and Reddit, whereas teen girls prefer TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat.
I know you have teenagers in your house John. As a parent, how does this report hit you? And I’d like your thoughts on this--the survey does not distinguish Christian teens from non-Christian, so they are likely mixed in those numbers. Thinking back to Paul’s question, how do we fight this aspect of the cultural war?
STONESTREET: One of the ways to fight it is not to give up our future soldiers to the enemy upfront. I mean, sorry. This is really no laughing matter. I mean, I'm looking at this list and going, “What on earth are we thinking?” There is a definition of folly that Proverbs assumes and continually presents, where it's just like, “this just doesn't make sense.” It's against all wisdom.
Reddit is the place where mass shooters are being radicalized, where conspiracy theories flourish. YouTube is a place where you can access all kinds of bad ideas about oneself about the world—about everything. TikTok and Instagram? I mean, there was just a campaign against Instagram saying, you know, the harm you're causing, especially teenage girls, right? Wasn't there a congressional hearing about that last year? I mean, this is insane, you know, to give children unregulated, unaccountable access to the internet, particularly to social media channels, is foolish in the worst way that Proverbs describes it.
I used to say before parents that this is like putting your kid in a lion's den all night, you know, to give them unaccountable access to the internet. And this mom came up to me afterwards, she said, “that's a stupid analogy, you should stop using it.” I said, “Well, what's a better analogy?” She said, “it's like putting your teenage boy in a room with a naked woman all night.” I was like, “yeah, that's a better analogy…” because that's exactly what you're doing on apps like this—but it's even worse than that, because you're not just tempting them sexually, although you are, you're basically putting them in front of a firing squad that's aiming directly at their conception of self, their understanding of right and wrong, their framing of reality itself.
I mean, if you want your daughter, for example, to struggle with body image, the top strategy you would use is to give them unfettered access to Instagram. If you want your kids right now, to be subjected to the worst ideas about gender, and about self, you would basically put them in front of a classroom, where people are saying the things that they are accessing moment by moment on TikTok.
Now, whether to completely unplug from these things or not, I think has to do with how you kind of conceptualize your kids' spiritual maturity and growth. Their mission in the world. The future of these apps and you know, the kind of knowledge that they're going to need to do. Whether there's a redemptive way to live on these things. And I think there is on some of these, but I'm not sure about all of them. I think there's a redemptive way, but you don't put a five year old into a battle for a reason and you don't put an immature, underdeveloped, you know, moral conscience in front of these sorts of platforms on a daily basis.
It's just, it's just foolish. It's just foolish. And you talk about if there is such a thing as a culture war, this is not just giving up the 50 yard line, this is kind of handing all of our future soldiers over as prisoners of war from the very beginning.
BUTLER: John Stonestreet is the President of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast. Thanks John!
STONESTREET: Thank you both!
PAUL BUTLER, HOST: A display of sportsmanship and kindness during a Little League baseball game left some fans in tears.
It started with a scary moment during a regional championship game in Waco, Texas, televised on ESPN.
A pitcher for the Texas East team, Kaiden Shelton, unleashed a fastball that sailed up and in, striking the batter in the helmet, close to his face.
The batter, Oklahoma’s Isaiah Jarvis, immediately hit the ground, clutching his hands to his head.
He was okay, just a little shaken up.
But he wasn’t the only one. The pitcher stood still on the mound, his head hung low, frightened by the experience.
That’s when Shelton, standing on first base, walked over to the mound to comfort the pitcher. Jarvis gave Shelton a hug, drawing a round of applause from the crowd.
Jarvis later told CBS News, “I just wanted to go over there and make sure he was all right. Make sure he knows that I'm all right. And really just encourage him."
That’s what sports should be all about!
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, August 12th.
Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Mynra Brown.
PAUL BUTLER, HOST: And I’m Paul Butler.
A few weeks ago, arts and media editor Collin Garbarino took us back to the summer of 1982 to think about what some science fiction classics might still have to say.
BROWN: Well, today Collin returns to 1982 to discuss E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, the science fiction blockbuster that overshadowed every other film of that year. Here’s Collin Garbarino.
COLLIN GARBARINO: E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial turned 40 years old this year, and to celebrate, the beloved classic is being rereleased in IMAX theaters across the country.
Elliott: Okay, we’re here. We are here. Where are you from?
E.T. was a phenomenon the summer it first came out. It made $11 million in its opening weekend—which was a lot of money back in 1982—and it stayed at the top of the box office week after week. It spawned toys and video games and amusement park rides. E.T. was everywhere.
Elliott: Ouch. Ouch.
Mom: I think I could get well again if children believed in faeries.
E.T. is the story of a young boy named Elliott who befriends an alien that Elliott dubs “E.T.” short for “Extra-Terrestrial.” The alien is stranded on Earth. Elliott, his friends, and his family pull together to help the alien get home. But E.T. isn’t the only one who needs saving. Elliott and his family are suffering from the fallout of his parents’ divorce.
Elliott: Dad’s shirt. Remember when he used to take us out to the ball games and take us to the movies and we’d have popcorn fights?
E.T.’s plight drives the plot of the movie, but it’s Elliott’s story that provides the film’s heart.
SPIELBERG: E.T. was the gift that came from the heavens for me.
During the filming of Raiders of the Lost Ark, he started pondering his earlier movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
SPIELBERG: And it just hit me out of the sky. I thought, “What if the alien had stayed behind on earth?” What if it was a kind of foriegn exchange? Dreyfuss goes away, and the alien stays, and suddenly this whole story hit me like a ton of bricks. And which was really a story about my mom and dad when they got divorced, and how I felt as a kid, wanting a friend like that to fill the void in my life. And all these things came pouring in and I actually put the story together in I think a couple of days.
So what made this story so compelling? Yes, the film features an ugly, yet adorable, alien. But E.T. proved to be both otherworldly and extremely relatable. Spielberg told the story of a boy who needed a friend during a time of turmoil.
SPIELBERG: This is a rescue movie. I always thought E.T. was a rescue movie about a double rescue. E.T. saves Elliott and Elliott saves E.T.
That desire to be rescued from turmoil resonated with parents who had just come through the tumultuous 1970s. And the movie shaped a generation of children. Kelsey Reed of God’s World News tells what the movie taught her.
Kelsey Reed: Watching E.T. as a little kid informed my compassion. I saw the distress of this little creature, and I was anxious to help alleviate it. It also defused my fear of the other, the alien, or the stranger in our midst, cultivating my curiosity, making me intrigued by the person I’d see across from me.
Spielberg wanted his alien to be childlike so it would seem innocent and in a way pure.
I don’t think aliens should be taller than people. You know, I like the idea that they’re like children and that was they were small. They were certainly small in Close Encounters and I in fact used little girls in costumes to play all the different E.T.s in Close Encounters. It’s easy for kids to relate to because it’s one of them.
Many Christians suggest part of the movie’s appeal lies in how closely it resembles the story of Jesus. Spielberg is Jewish, and he doesn’t seem to have been trying to create a Christian allegory, but elements of the greatest story ever told work their way into the narrative.
Spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen this 40-year-old classic.
Elliott lives in brokenness. E.T. comes down from the heavens. E.T. works miracles of healing. E.T. dies. E.T. comes back to life. And then E.T. tells Elliott that he’ll always be with him before ascending back into the heavens. That sounds a lot like Jesus—though there are key differences.
E.T.: E.T. Home Phone.
Gertie: E.T. phone home.
Elliott: E.T. phone home. E.T. phone home!
Gertie: He wants to call somebody.
If you haven’t seen E.T. in a while and are thinking about watching it with your kids, keep in mind PG movies in the ’80s were rougher than they are now. There’s some drinking and smoking and a bit of bad language.
But now that this 40-year-old classic has made its way back to theaters it’s worth pondering how its message is just as fresh today as it was in 1982. It’s a heartwarming story about rescue. And we love stories about rescue, because deep down, we all know that we ourselves need rescuing.
E.T.: I’ll be right here.
I’m Collin Garbarino.
PAUL BUTLER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: Comparisons! We all are tempted to make them from time to time.
Myrna, you discovered that even successful CCM artists can struggle with it.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: They sure can, Paul. And I recently met a singer/songwriter who is honest about both his struggles and his victories in this area.
CHAPMAN CONCERT AMBI: Saddle up your horses…
MYRNA BROWN, REPORTER: And with that familiar chorus from singer/songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman, a few hundred of his fans, at this summer’s Lifest Christian Music Festival, are instantly taken back to an era of baggy jeans and mullets.
MARTY: And I remember Steven, Steve, standing at a typewriter because everything was typed out on a typewriter back then. He was standing up. He was just starting to grow the mullet out [LAUGHTER]
That’s John Martin Keith or Marty, as he likes to be called, standing just a few feet away from Chapman on the Festival’s main stage. Marty, a 6 foot 1, red-head just might be Chapman’s biggest fan.
MARTY: He was my hero musically and spiritually and ministry based. I always wanted to do what he did.
Both born in Paducah, Kentucky, a small town in the western part of the state, Marty even took guitar lessons from Steve Curtis Chapman’s father—the town’s guitar store owner.
MARTY: I’m the youngest student that Herb Chapman at Chapman Music has ever had at four years old. I still hold that record.
During his nearly 15-year-stint as a student, Marty says he and the Chapmans became very close.
MARTY: So he became very much a second father to me. Herb Chapman is, one of the things I love about him and his sons Steven Curtis and Herbie Chapman is that they all are always talking about the Lord and I’ve always loved that and wanted to incorporate that into my life.
And his music…
ANNOUNCER: He’s a worship pastor, he’s a singer/songwriter. Will you guys please welcome John Martin Keith? [APPLAUSE]
On another stage north of Chapman’s setup, Marty kicks off his own concert, sitting on a stool, strumming through a chord progression.
MARTY SONG: I feel my day with a million things I have to do…
He co-wrote that song, “Can You Hear Me?” with a friend in 2005. But Marty remembers a season in his music ministry, marked by mimicry.
MARTY: And for a long time, when I was a teenager, I was doing a lot of Steve Curtis covers. I was using his background tracks and half my concert was just kind of doing his stuff.
BROWN : Have you ever been tempted to compare your life, your ministry with his? His stage versus your stage?
MARTY: Uh, oh sure. He’s always kind of been the template for me. I’ll put it that way. Wanted to base my ministry off of what he had done because he was very successful at how he did it. Man, I want to do that. I want to be that kind of an artist. At some point I had to find my own identity.
That journey began in the summer of 1992. With the distant beat from the music festival thumping in the background, Marty sits backstage to recall his senior year in high school.
MARTY: My two best friends and I were wanting to start a prayer group at my high school, Heath High School in West Paducah Kentucky. And we wanted to start a prayer group and a Bible club.
The school administration said yes, if Marty and his friends could find a teacher to sponsor them.
MARTY: My band teacher became our sponsor. His name is Roger Hayes. And we called it the Agape Club and agape means unconditional love.
Marty says the Agape Club was simply a way to pray for their classmates.
MARTY: We felt very strongly like we need to do this. We want to have a way to share the Gospel with them.
The daily morning prayer meetings not only grew in size, but they also continued years after Marty graduated. One year indelibly stands out.
MARTY: December 1, of 1997. It was a Monday. Monday right after Thanksgiving. So it was the first day back in school and I woke up that morning and turned on the news.
REPORTER: What happened in the lobby of this West Kentucky high school would change a nation.
SCHOOL OFFICIAL TO POLICE DISPATCHER: I hear gunshots. Where’s the shots fired? Heath High School. Where? In the lobby. In the high school? In the high school. Ma’am is anyone injured I think so.
In the middle of the very same prayer group Marty helped to start five years earlier, a 14-year-old male student opened fire, injuring five other students and killing three. The next day, the school and the entire community came together not only to grieve but also to pray.
MARTY: So it wasn’t just 30 people, but it was a few hundred that packed the lobby.
After the shooting Marty turned those tears into lyrics.
WELCOME HOME SONG: You lived a good life on this earth…
A musical tribute to Nicole Hadley, Jessica James and Kayce Steger, the three girls killed that day.
MARTY: And so that’s been a huge part of my story when I do concerts is telling their story and sharing this song.
Marty says God also gave him another ministry.
MARTY: We’re going to lead into some worship time here…
MARTY: And so I go all over the country and I fill in for worship leaders, for worship pastors and lead worship for their churches. Usually my wife and daughter will go with me whenever possible and we get to minister to the worship pastors and their families.
Putting into practice Ephesians 2:10, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Myrna Brown in Bon Aqua, Tennessee.
PAUL BUTLER, HOST: It’s time to give credit to the team that made this week’s programs come together.
Kent Covington, Mary Reichard, Myrna Brown, Jenny Rough, Emily Whitten, Amy Lewis, Onize Ohikere, Whitney Williams, Josh Schumacher, Mary Muncy, Anna Mandin, Steve West, Cal Thomas, Collin Garborino, David Bahnsen, Leah Johansen, and John Stonestreet.
Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz are the audio engineers who stay up late to get the program to you early! Anna Johansen Brown is our features editor. Paul Butler is our executive producer.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is Biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
The Bible says, "If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God." (Proverbs 2:3-5)
Remember to worship alongside your brothers and sisters in Christ this weekend. God willing, we’ll meet you right back here on Monday.
Go now in grace and peace.
WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.