Logo
Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

The World and Everything in It: December 6, 2022

0:00

WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It: December 6, 2022

Males seem to be falling behind in education, and some professionals have ideas on how to help; religious rights are once again being discussed at the Supreme Court; and this month’s Classic Book of the Month equips Christian parents to use children’s books to create a wise and godly family culture. Plus: commentary from Whitney Williams, and the Tuesday morning news.


MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!

A study shows more girls than boys are completing high school on time. And male students appear to be falling behind in other ways as well. We’ll consider some possible solutions.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Also today: A Colorado web-designer wants the right to do—or not to do—wedding business consistent with her religious convictions. Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court took up her case and today WORLD’s Steve West will tell us about it.

Plus our classic book of the month: Honey for a Child’s Heart.

And Whitney Williams on holidays that don’t quite follow the recipe.

BROWN: It’s Tuesday, December 6th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

BROWN: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.


KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: SCOTUS religious rights » Supreme Court justices heard arguments Monday in what could be a landmark case for religious liberties.

Justice Neil Gorsuch described the predicament of a Christian web designer in Colorado.

GORSUCH: We have an individual who says she will sell and does sell to everyone, all manner of websites. But she won’t sell a website that requires her to express a view about marriage that she finds offensive to her religious beliefs.

The designer is Lorie Smith and her beliefs are that God designed marriage between one man and one woman. 

Liberal Justice Sonya Sotomayor compared biblical views of marriage to racism.

SOTOMAYOR: But how about people who don’t believe in interracial marriage or about people who don’t believe that disabled people should get married. Where’s the line?

Smith’s lawyer, Kristen Waggoner, said the line is wherever the state compels people to express a message that violates their religious convictions.

GA runoff »It’s Election Day in Georgia again. Voters will decide a runoff between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and his GOP challenger Herschel Walker, who made his final pitch to voters this week.

WALKER: If you want a change, go out and vote and voice your opinion because this race very, very important.

The incumbent senator did the same.

WARNOCK: We’ve had incredible turnout during the early vote period, but do not rest on the strength of that. Don’t spike the football before you get into the endzone.

Early voting for the runoff has already shattered records in Georgia.

An average of recent polls gives Warnock a 3-point lead over Walker.

China COVID restrictions » China is easing some of the world’s most stringent COVID-19 lockdown measures. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: On Monday, commuters in Beijing and at least 16 other cities could board buses and subways without a recent virus test for the first time in months.

Industrial centers including Guangzhou near Hong Kong have reopened markets and businesses and lifted most curbs on movement.

Chinese authorities say new variants of the coronavirus are weaker. But they’re keeping restrictions on neighborhoods with infections.

And they’ve yet to say when they might end their “zero-COVID” strategy that confined millions of people to their homes and set off protests nationwide.

For WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Ukraine new Russian barrage / Russia base explosions » Russia on Monday unleashed its latest “massive missile attack” across Ukraine, striking homes, killing civilians, and knocking out power yet again.

The port city of Odesa was especially hard hit.

ZELENSKYY: [Ukrainian]

President Volodymyr Zeleknskyy said Ukrainian troops were able to shoot down most of the incoming missiles, but not all of them. At least four people were killed.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Vladimir Putin is trying “to bring the Ukrainian people to their knees.”

KIRBY: And just the utter brutality of continuing to strike clearly civilian targets with that goal in mind, really just to cause human suffering. He certainly is not going after military targets.

Hours earlier, explosions rocked two air bases deep inside Russia. Officials in Moscow said the base shot down two Ukrainian drones attacking the sites.

Ukraine did not immediately comment on the explosions.

Attacks at NC power station » Kirby also said the White House is keeping a close eye on an investigation into attacks on power substations in North Carolina.

KIRBY: We’re supporting local law enforcement and local officials as appropriate, and we’ll stay plugged in on this as the investigation goes [SIC].

The FBI now is joining that investigation.

Local officials say it appears that one more gunmen opened fire on power substations in Moore County, knocking out power to tens of thousands of people.

Traffic lights went out throughout the county. Businesses handed out free food or coffee and many of them placed signs in their windows that read “cash only.”

Indonesia volcano » Rescuers on Monday searched for possible victims after a volcano erupted on Indonesia’s most densely populated island. WORLD’s Mary Muncy reports.

MARY MUNCY, REPORTER: Mount Semeru in the East Java province fired thick columns of ash nearly 5,000 feet into the sky on Sunday.

Hundreds of rescuers fanned out Monday across the worst-hit villages where tons of volcanic debris buried houses and mosques.

Heavy monsoon rains eroded and finally collapsed the lava dome atop the 12,000-foot volcano.

That triggered an avalanche of blistering gas and lava down the sides of the mountain.

For WORLD, I’m Mary Muncy.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: boys are being left behind in education, so what can be done about it?

Plus, the Classic Book of the Month for December.

This is The World and Everything in It.


MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Tuesday the 6th of December, 2022.

Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up on The World and Everything in It: boys in education.

More people are earning college degrees today than fifty years ago, and statistics show a majority of them are women.

BROWN: Over the last few decades, many educators and analysts focused on girls’ academic success. But in light of the new numbers, they’re saying it’s time to check on the boys.

WORLD reporter Lauren Dunn has our story.

LAUREN DUNN, REPORTER: Emily Pulsifer is the dean of academics at Christ School, an all-boys school in Arden, North Carolina. She also teaches English.

PULSIFER: The community is built around the way boys move, act, learn. It is a very active community.

The school serves almost 300 male students in eighth to 12th grades. Most of the boys live at the school. When Pulsifer first heard about Christ School, she wasn’t sure she wanted to work with only male students. But then she visited the campus.

Pulsifer met boys leading student clubs and theater projects. At her previous co-ed school, girls more often led in those areas.

PULSIFER: Coming here, it's wonderful to see and be part of a community where the boys are doing all those things, by virtue of otherwise they won't happen. But also, they're freed up of some of the inhibitions that they might have about taking those leadership roles. And that's really exciting.

With only boys in each class, teachers can adapt their curriculum and teaching strategies to fit how boys often learn best.

PULSIFER: We are always looking for ways to get the boys up and moving around in the classroom. So there tends to be a little more commotion in the classroom. For our boys, it's a really good way to keep them engaged.

Only about 30 states submit sex-specific data about students who graduate from high school on time. But of the states that do report this, all of them show more girls than boys graduate on schedule.

Luciano Cid is the interim director of the elementary education major at Biola University. He says there could be many factors. But one possibility? Developmental differences between boys and girls.

CID: Boys tend to have less of an ability, on average, to be self-regulated. So have we created a structure in the system that lends itself to the success of one over the other? That's something we should definitely investigate, I think that's something that we have to dive into.

That lagging self-regulation could contribute to difficulty sitting still in class. Cid is quick to point out that boys still need to learn developmental skills like self-regulation. But maybe, he says, teachers should also use strategies that meet boys where they are now. Boys—and girls—can act out reading passages or have dress-up days in history class.

CID: You can do walk-arounds or walkathons, or, you know, they have different names for it, but it’s when you learn history by competing in a game. That is a pedagogy that tends to gravitate towards the needs of boys. The girls love it, too, though, and they learn from it, too.

Some educators say all-boys schools may be the best fit for some students. Cid attended an all-boys Catholic school as a student, but he cautions that both boys and girls can miss out when they are isolated from each other.

Another reason boys often trail behind? Not enough male teachers.

Nearly 90 percent of elementary teachers are female. In high school, women make up about two-thirds of the teaching staff. To better meet male students’ needs, it makes sense for school administrators to prioritize hiring male teachers. But that’s easier said than done.

Kevin M. Jones is the dean of the school of education at Cedarville University. He began his education career as a first-grade teacher.

JONES: I understood, being trained in education, that I was going to set a trajectory for those students. Either they were going to love school and love engaging their peers, or they were not going to like school at all.

Jones worries that boys have few solid role models, especially in education. He wants to see more schools recruit male teachers, encourage fathers to set examples for their sons, and help single mothers raise their sons. Now that he works in higher education, Jones still makes time to volunteer as a reader in a local second-grade class.

JONES: Now I'm reading 15 or 20 minutes to these kids in school, just engaging them in a book in some base-level literacy instruction. And then I leave. But the idea of me consistently coming back, engaging them and encouraging them, saying “You can do it, you can do this. You're smart, you're brilliant.” You know, it's the first time some of those young men – some of those boys in second grade – have heard that.

So why aren’t there more men in education? Studies show that men are more likely to take risks, seeking out careers that are highly competitive.

Cid once considered writing a paper titled “Is it time to pay male teachers more?”

CID: We give bonuses to hard-to-staff teachers, like science, or math, or special education. But nobody's ever talked about, hey, let's give bonuses to males for signing a contract, for being willing to enter into a system that is hard to staff.

Back in North Carolina, Emily Pulsifer says she is grateful for female students’ advancement in the last few decades. But at the same time, she worries about the messages boys hear about manhood and leadership.

PULSIFER: The boys in our midst are growing up in, you know, a world that is not the same world that the people who are teaching them grew up in. I think that the messages that they get are very confusing. And we can't assume that they will sort it out for themselves.

Cid says that despite differences between the sexes and staffing challenges, schools can help boys and girls succeed. But we may need to consider new ways to reach some students.

CID: What worries me is that people are not talking [about]…Wait, why is it that boys have been left behind, and are we okay with that? Because if we are okay with that, then there's a secret agenda somewhere. And that's what, as an educator, that's what I'm not okay with. What I'm okay with as an educator is to bring everybody up. We bring the tide up and everybody comes up. And if anyone's left behind, then we ask questions as to, well, why is it that we're not successfully bringing this person along as well."

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Lauren Dunn.


MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Up next, a historic day at the U.S. Supreme Court. Yesterday, the justices heard oral arguments in the case titled 303 Creative versus Elenis. It’s a case that looks at the boundary between LGBT demands and First Amendment guarantees of religious liberty and free speech.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Plaintiff Lorie Smith of Colorado is the owner of 303 Creative and she calls herself a Bible-believing Christian who wants to design websites for weddings that are consistent with how the Bible spells out marriage—that is, one man, one woman, for life. But Colorado’s anti-discrimination act says she must put aside her religious beliefs and offer her services for so-called same-sex weddings.

BROWN: The case is a watershed moment in the history of religious rights, but it’s not the first time a Christian has asked the nation’s highest court to protect First Amendment rights of creative professionals.

Joining us now to talk about some of the milestones leading up to this case is WORLD religious liberty reporter Steve West.

Welcome, Steve.

STEVE WEST, REPORTER: Thanks, it’s great to be here, Myrna to talk about what truly is a very important case.

BROWN: Steve, you have covered quite a few cases of Christian wedding professionals who clashed with same-sex couples. What’s special about Lorie Smith’s case?

WEST: Smith’s case is very similar to a rash of other cases, with one exception: the state in this case made a number of stipulations–that is, agreed to a number of facts which put this case in a unique posture. Colorado agreed that Smith is creating custom, one-of-a-kind websites, and she serves clients of all different backgrounds. So that made it a clear-cut candidate for a ruling by the court. It comes down to whether the state can compel a web designer like Smith–and by implication, other creative professionals–to create something which contains messages she disagrees with.

BROWN: Is this a case about religion?

WEST: No, and yes. Smith is a Christian whose Biblical belief is that marriage is only between one man and one woman. Yet the court did not accept the case based on a religious liberty argument but on free speech grounds. What Smith is arguing is that no one, religious or nonreligious, can be compelled by the government to speak a message they disagree with. Invoking its broad public accommodations law, Colorado is saying this is not primarily about message but status: Once she decides to create websites for weddings she must create them for all clients, even gay clients who want to celebrate a same-sex wedding.

BROWN: I’m remembering another Supreme Court case — Masterpiece Cakeshop versus Colorado —that had to do with the same law. Why does this keep coming up?

WEST: One reason is the increasing breadth of laws on public accommodations that used to be limited to what most people considered businesses open to the public: restaurants, hotels, and other types of storefront retail businesses that aren’t in the business of creating and fashioning messages. But another reason is that gay marriage wasn’t an issue until the Supreme Court struck down state laws against the practice. And finally, I think that some in gay community conflate disagreement with discrimination–or even hate. And it keeps coming up because in the 2018 case involving Jack Phillips and his bake shop, Masterpiece Cakeshop, the court issued a very narrow ruling based solely on Colorado officials’ overt hostility toward Phillips’ religious beliefs.And so here we are again.

BROWN: Has the court come close to resolving the question since then?

WEST: There have been several cases where the justices had the opportunity to weigh in on the issue and didn’t. Much to many religious liberty advocates’ disappointment, it declined to review a case against Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzman, who was fined by the state for declining to do flowers for a same-sex wedding. Stutzman ended up settling that case, selling her business, and retiring after a long-fought battle. Another recent case had to do with a child-placing agency in Philadelphia that was defending its right to work with foster families who share its Biblical views about marriage. The agency won the case, but, again, the court didn’t get to the heart of the First Amendment issue.

BROWN: Is the court ready to settle the issue with Lorie Smith’s case? Or do you think they will kick the can down the road again?

WEST: Most agree that the court appears likely to rule in Smith’s favor, with conservatives in a majority at this point and given the clues from the questioning today. But with the stakes high, it depends on where the lines are drawn. And about that we’ll just have to see. Given this court’s different makeup since 2018’s Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling, I expect a bit bolder ruling thai time around.

Meanwhile, there are other Christian creators waiting in the wings. Courts across the country have issued varying decisions on the matter–some in favor of creators, some not, from videographers to photographers to bloggers and bakers. This ruling could end it for Lorie Smith, but will it end it for them?

BROWN: Steve West writes about religious liberties for WORLD Digital. You can read his work at WNG.org. You can also subscribe to his free weekly newsletter on First Amendment issues, called Liberties. Steve, always good to have you on. Thank you!

WEST: You’re welcome.


NICK EICHER, HOST: Oxford’s 2022 word of the year is two words: Goblin Mode.

What in the world, right?

Here’s the definition:

It’s “a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.”

Goblin Mode.

Turns out the term gained popularity at the height of the Covid pandemic when many people found themselves just kind of let things go during lockdowns and restrictions.

Now, you’ll recall this was 2020 and Oxford seems about two years late, thereby giving us an actual demonstration of how Goblin Mode, you know, operates.

Webster shook off Goblin Mode and a week before Oxford chose its word of the year, which was “gaslighting.” That’s defined as “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for a personal advantage.”

Who knows—to use one of the runner-up words—maybe Webster was trolling Oxford?

It’s The World and Everything in It.


NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, December 6th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.

Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: our Classic Book of the Month. 

If you’re wondering what to buy your kids or grandkids for Christmas, WORLD’s Emily Whitten may be able to help.

EMILY WHITTEN, REVIEWER: Gladys Hunt first published our Classic Book of the Month, Honey for a Child’s Heart, more than 50 years ago. Here’s a clip from the audiobook.

AUDIOBOOK SAMPLE: Honey for a Child’s Heart was the first of its kind. My hesitant editor became enthusiastic when he saw that I was not only listing a wide variety of books but also writing a philosophy of reading to widen the world of a child, to enhance family life, to introduce both children and parents to the best books.

With over 250,000 copies sold, Hunt’s son Mark updated the book in 2021. It now addresses current technology like audiobooks and ebooks, but the primary benefit remains the same. The book equips Christian parents to use children’s books to create a wise and godly family culture. Gladys, who died in 2010, drew from her own family’s experience:

AUDIOBOOK SAMPLE: I know the ideas in this book work, because I’ve seen the difference they made in our own family, in our grandchildren, in our nieces and nephews, and many other children in our lives. Talking about books has influenced writing skills, their imagination and their ability to analyze what they are reading. And almost nothing does more for family closeness than having a child read aloud a beautiful passage from a book.

I recently spoke with Betsy Farquahar, Managing Editor for Redeemedreader.com. Like Hunt, Farquhar is a Christian book reviewer who equips families to use kids’ books well. Farquhar says her mom was part of the original audience for Hunt’s classic.

FARQUHAR: The back half is all book lists, right? So I recognize all my favorites. And I told my mom, and she said, Well, of course, that's what I used for library lists. And so I'm a product of honey for a Child's Heart, my entire vocation. Thanks to this book.

The book includes two halves. While the second half focuses on book lists, the first half contains essays on the why and how of reading. It’s titled Using Books to Help Children Grow.

FARQUHAR: And she means that “grow” in a very holistic sense, as a Christian. And the idea is that reading is not about developing the skill of reading so much as it's equipping children to read God's word. It's equipping them to understand nuance in the books, they read more than the mechanics of reading, but to understand the worldview, or read between the lines.

I would say other books—like the Mama Bear Apologetics series—do a better job of helping families counteract anti-Biblical messages in kids’ media. But Hunt excels in helping parents understand just how profoundly they can impact their kids with good books. Her book lists can help children enjoy stories written long ago, exposing them to values beyond our woke cultural moment.

FARQUHAR: Even the transgender ideology, and some of the different things swirling around, they're capturing people's imaginations, you know, somebody's going to cast a vision, it might as well be us for our children. And that's part of what we're doing. When we select the best books we can select.

This isn’t a perfect book in my mind. Some comments about Harry Potter and library censorship feel out of date here. Plus, some of the books on the list aren’t my favorites. But for parents and grandparents just beginning to raise godly readers, Hunt’s book is a classic for good reason.

FARQUHAR: The lists are very helpfully broken up by both genre and age group. So you really, if you've got kids in that, say, age four to 10, or four to eight, turn to the classic picture book chapter, you really can't go wrong. Each title has a super short annotation that just kind of, you know, fills you in a little bit. It's not an actual review, but it's a little bit of a hook to help you know what you're looking for. There's easy readers, there's even a YA list.

Most of the recommendations here are for children under age 14. Hunt has another book specifically for teens which I haven’t read yet. I’ll also add that Farquhar and others at Redeemedreader.com have developed a number of resources to help parents get oriented to Hunt’s book. So do check that out if you’re interested.

One list worth highlighting this time of year—the Christmas book list. It includes One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham, one of our family favorites, and Jesse Watson O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi.

AUDIOBOOK: Give books as gifts, but be prepared to pay the price for them. Resist the cheap books found on grocery store racks designed to encourage impulse buying.

The practical wisdom of our Classic Book of the Month, Honey for a Child’s Heart, can help families pass on Biblical values. No, not every child will grow up to love reading. But for those who do, great books read during childhood will be sweet, like honey, and shape their hearts for a lifetime of joy and usefulness in God’s kingdom.

I’m Emily Whitten.


MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Tuesday, December 6th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Commentator Whitney Williams now on finding joy, even when our holiday celebrations don’t measure up.

WHITNEY WILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR: I had one job on Thanksgiving. One job. Bring the dessert. THE dessert. My mother-in-law wanted to take care of everything else. Well, she wanted to take care of the dessert, too, but I talked her out of it.

“Don’t you dare make a pie, Debbie,” I told her. “I’ve got dessert under control.”

AUDIO: [HOUSEHOLD SOUNDS]

At least I thought I did. The recipe was perfect: 1 28 oz can of pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, evaporated milk, Eagle Brand milk, eggs, yellow cake mix, pecans, melted butter, and whipped topping …

Winning!

AUDIO: [Oven buttons]

Until it wasn’t. Ten minutes before the timer went off a quarter of the pecans were burnt and the cake mix that didn’t get drizzled with butter remained a loose powder.

But Cool Whip covers a multitude of baking sins, doesn’t it? Longing for a quick redemption, I spread it on before the dessert cooled properly. Of course, the Cool Whip soaked right through. It was ugly, people.

“Stop by the gas station,” I told my husband on the way to his parents. “I need to get some more Cool Whip.” Not wanting to admit my cooking faux pas to my mother-in-law, I asked the attendant for a spoon, as well, so I could spread the new topping on in the back of our van before heading inside. But it was frozen and unspreadable, of course, so I had to go ahead and confess to my mother-in-law that I’d made a mess of that night’s dessert.

I thought about that mess two weeks later when my husband and I attempted to disciple our kids through three build-your-own-manger woodworking kits. I suspect that the kit was written for parents like us, as the guide included convicting … ahem … helpful reminders that pricked our hearts at just the right moments:

Kid: Are we building a house? Other kid: It’s a manger. Do you know what a manger is? It’s what Jesus was born in.

“Be patient,” “mistakes are OK,” I read to my husband as our kids hammered away, bending countless nails and even driving one straight into our dining room table. OK. So that one was actually my bad. “Lead with joy,” I read-whispered in his ear, preaching to myself, as well. “Your kids are watching you.”

Kid: “So is this where baby Jesus he sit?” Mom: “Yeah, it’s like where he laid in the manger …”

I continued to flip through the manual as the boys built with their dad, reading aloud the story of Jesus’ birth and asking questions to engage them in conversation, as I held nails and wooden slats in place. Once each manger was complete, the five of us ventured into the field behind our house to gather hay.

AUDIO: Let’s go get some hay, hay hay hay … “Mom, I know where the hay is, follow me.”

The kids ate it up–the project, not the hay. And in spite of the mess, mistakes,and moments of parental frustration…

Dad: “Hey, easy trigger!"

…fun was had, Jesus was shared, and screentime was staved off for yet another hour.

AUDIO: [SCREENTIME]

I guess our attempt at discipling our kids that evening was a lot like my Thanksgiving pumpkin delight. Things didn’t go as planned. Mistakes were made… and it certainly was not as pretty as the recipe.

But even still, it was pretty durn good.

AUDIO: And Mary was pregnant with baby Jesus riding that far on a donkey. It wouldn't be comfortable. Why can’t you just get off of it? Well, you could, but you’d have to walk…We also know the terrain was rough and probably dangerous…

I’m Whitney Williams.


NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: what role should the U.S. play in Ukraine? We’ll talk about it on Washington Wednesday.

And, we'll take you to a church breaking down language barriers for refugees.

That and more tomorrow.

I’m Nick Eicher.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7 ESV)

I hope you’ll consider your part in our December Grassroots Giving Drive. If this program is valuable to you, would you give some thought to how you might express that in dollars and cents? And when you arrive at a figure, would you visit WNG.org/donate and make your gift today?

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.

COMMENT BELOW

Please wait while we load the latest comments...

Comments