The World and Everything in It - January 5, 2022
On Washington Wednesday, the races to watch as this year’s midterm elections approach; on World Tour, international news; and a Mississippi abortionist who became a pro-life advocate. Plus: commentary from Joel Belz, and the Wednesday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
It’s 2022 and that means midterm elections come November. We’ll size up the races to watch.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.
Also World Tour.
Plus you’ll meet a woman who’s advocated for the unborn from the time she left the abortion industry.
And WORLD founder Joel Belz on the recipe for integrity.
REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, January 5th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: U.S. COVID–19 infections soar but severe illness steady » The United States once again shattered its record high for COVID-19 infections, recording more than a million new cases on Monday alone.
But those positive test results aren’t as scary as they once were.
The omicron variant accounts for most new cases. It spreads like wildfire, but it’s less severe. Many cases are mild or asymptomatic.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed said Tuesday…
BREED: The number of people in the hospital, while increasing, still remains below where we were last winter. And our hospital system has the capacity to handle what we expect to come in the next few weeks.
Hospitals are strained in some other areas. But the gap between the number of total infections and the number of those seriously ill continues to widen.
Almost 100,000 Americans are in hospitals with COVID-19, but that’s well below the peak last winter of 137,000. And some patients, though they tested positive, were admitted for reasons unrelated to COVID.
Daily COVID-related deaths stand at about 1,200. That’s on par with totals from about two months ago.
President Biden Tuesday urged Americans to keep it in proper perspective.
BIDEN: Be concerned about omicron, but don’t be alarmed.
But health officials do caution that the delta strain is still circulating.
A record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November » A record 4.5 million American workers quit their jobs in November. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: Many analysts see the huge number of quits as a sign workers are confident in their ability to land better jobs as the job market continues to bounce back.
The Labor Department also reported Tuesday that employers posted 10.6 million job openings in November. That was down from 11.1 million in October, but still high by historical standards.
Nick Bunker is research director at the Indeed Hiring Lab. He said “Lots of quits means stronger worker bargaining power which will likely feed into strong wage gains.”
The Labor Department collected the numbers before the COVID-19 omicron variant spread widely in the United States. But most economists remain confident in the job market.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
Winter weather kills 3, knocks out power and triggers overnight traffic jam » A major winter storm along the East Coast has killed at least three people. Among them, two women who died in Maryland after their vehicle ran into a snow plow.
The storm also knocked out power to more than a half-million customers.
Craig Carper with Dominion Energy said large portions of Virginia lost power.
CARPER: The hardest hit areas were in Northern Virginia, the Charlottesville-Albemarle region, and Richmond.
Snow fell as far south as the Florida Panhandle. It got a light dusting. But the heaviest snow fell in Northern Virginia, with 14 inches in some places. And the winter weather triggered a traffic nightmare.
Hundreds of motorists waited desperately for help Tuesday along I-95 south of Washington D.C. after being stranded all night in freezing temperatures.
Traffic froze, both literally and figuratively, along a 50-mile stretch of the interstate. That after tractor-trailers jackknifed, causing a chain reaction. Many other cars lost control and blocked traffic in both directions.
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine was among those stranded on the snow-covered highway.
KAINE: It was nerve wracking overnight, and I’ll tell you, I had two things: I had a heavy coat and I also had a full tank of gas. And the problem is, a lot of people, when you’re stuck that long, you know, between 5 miles from an interchange and the traffic isn’t moving, folks are running out of gas.
Around daybreak, road crews began helping drivers get off the interstate, but some were still stranded along the highway as of last night.
Tesla opens showroom in Chinese province known for genocide » Tesla is taking heat for its decision to open a new showroom in China’s Xinjiang region despite global outcries about China’s human rights abuses there. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has that story.
LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: The electric car company opened the showroom in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. That’s the province where world powers allege the Chinese Communist Party has detained a million members of the Uyghur ethnic minority in forced labor camps.
U.S. lawmakers and human rights groups are calling on Tesla CEO Elon Musk to close the showroom.
But China is one of Tesla’s biggest markets. And the company already has numerous showrooms in the country.
Chinese Communist officials have cracked down on businesses that question their human rights record in Xinjiang.
Intel, the world’s largest maker of computer chips, apologized for asking suppliers to avoid goods from Xinjiang after the state press attacked the company and called for a boycott.
The United States has banned imports from the region unless companies can prove the goods were not created using forced labor.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.
David Bowie music catalogue sells for $250 million » MUSIC: [Let’s Dance]
Another music catalogue sells for big bucks.
The music publishing arm of Warner Music Group has reportedly paid a quarter of a billion dollars for David Bowie’s entire music collection. That includes hits like Under Presser, Space Oddity, and the 1983 smash hit Let’s Dance.
MUSIC: [Let’s Dance]
Bowie released 26 studio albums during his lifetime, along with one posthumous release.
A growing list of artists have cashed in on their song collections, including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Stevie Nicks.
Last month, Sony Music bought Bruce Springsteen’s catalogue for a half-billion dollars.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the races to watch in this year’s midterms.
Plus, holding politicians accountable.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Wednesday, the 5th of January, 2022.
Thank you for joining us today for The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Up first: political battles ahead in the new year.
2022 is, of course, an election year, and with Democrats holding bare legislative majorities, it’s likely Republicans could take control after November.
So what are the big races to keep an eye on this year that will determine control of Congress?
REICHARD: Joining us now to answer that question is Kyle Kondik. He is an elections analyst and director of communications at the University of Virginia. Kyle, good morning—and first of all, I’m really glad you’re not stuck on a highway somewhere in Virginia!
KYLE KONDIK, GUEST: Likewise!
REICHARD: Well, let’s start with the Senate. You’ve analyzed the upcoming races. You say when the election is over, Democrats are likely to have at least 47 seats and Republicans are likely to have at least 49. Doing the math, that’s 96—and we need to talk about the four remaining, those you say are tossups.
So to control the Senate, Democrats need to win 3 of those 4 toss-up races. Republicans just 2.
Let’s take a moment and briefly break these down, and let’s start with Pennsylvania. Talk about that race.
KONDIK: Yeah, it's an open seat. It's the most vulnerable Senate seat that the Republicans are defending. Of course, Pennsylvania is arguably the kind of the premier swing state in American politics right now. Pat Toomey, the 2-term Republican senator is retiring. And there's kind of an open question on both sides of the aisle as to you know, who the candidates will be. You know, kind of a familiar theme, as we talk about these races, I feel like that if President Biden's numbers are as weak in November, as they are now, you know, usually in that kind of environment the party that doesn't hold the White House, you know, benefits in the midterm. And so you might expect Republicans to, you know, win this race, ultimately, and be able to hold this seat, even if their candidate doesn't end up being great. And, you know, we'll have to see who emerges. I guess the most recent kind of big news in that race was the emergence of a TV doctor, Dr. Oz, who, you know, is certainly unproven as a candidate, but, you know, maybe maybe he's able to win the nomination. And, you know, be in the U.S. Senate. It won't be the first time you'd have somebody with no political experience immediately winning a high profile race. So, you know, again, there's a lot still to be determined, but election results in Pennsylvania are always interesting to watch because the state is just so important at the presidential level.
REICHARD: Alright. Well that’s Pennsylvania. Let’s go to Georgia now, the state that delivered control of the Senate to Democrats in 2020. Who are the major players in that race?
KONDIK: So Raphael Warnock, the Democrat who won a ‘20, actually was 2021, early 2021, Senate runoff. He has to run again to try to get a full term here in 2022. Probably the likeliest Republican candidate is Herschel Walker, former NFL running back who is heartily supported by former President Trump. There are other candidates running in that race, though. And Walker is another kind of unproven outsider, Republican candidate. Georgia has historically, in recent years, has been a Republican state, but it's sort of zooming toward the Democrats so much so that, you know, Democrats, of course, hold both Senate seats from Georgia now. John Osoff won a full term in the last cycle along with Warnock winning this partial term. And you've seen a lot of Democratic growth, particularly in the metro Atlanta area. We know that there are a lot of states kind of switching roles in American politics. You know, Georgia is one that certainly has become more Democratic in recent years. You're also gonna have a blockbuster gubernatorial race in that state. Brian Kemp, sitting Republican governor, faces a primary from David Perdue, former US senator. And then also Stacey Abrams, who nearly beat Kemp in 2018 is the likely Democratic candidate. So in terms of star power, and nationally watched races, you know, Georgia is pretty high on the list.
REICHARD: Mm-hm. Well, let’s move from Georgia now to Nevada. What about the Senate race there?
KONDIK: Catherine Cortez Masto is the first term Democratic incumbent who's going to be seeking another term. She's probably going to face Adam Laxalt, who is the former state attorney general who lost a pretty competitive race for governor in 2018. You know, Laxalt is a pretty conservative candidate, but he's certainly capable of winning in the right kind of environment. And, you know, Nevada seems like the kind of state where if the Democrats numbers don't get better, you really could see the party struggle, because the Democrats have been sort of losing support, particularly with kind of working class voters of all stripes. And there's been some weakness with Latino voters. And you know, Nevada has a pretty diverse working class electorate. So I almost think that Nevada might be the most vulnerable of the Democratic held Senate seats, although, you know, Georgia is certainly another one. On the other hand, typically, Democrats in Nevada have kind of an organizational advantage over Republicans, and that has allowed them to kind of eke out close victories in 2016, 2018, and 2020. But this may very well be a harder political environment for Democrats than than any of those past elections were. So this is one to watch, and may very well be, you know, the top Republican pickup opportunity in the country, although again, you can sort of split hairs as to which state that might end up being.
REICHARD: Interesting. And then in Arizona, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly is running for reelection. How’s that race look?
KONDIK: Yes, another race was sort of an uncertain Republican field. You know, one of the themes I think so far is that, I don't think Republicans necessarily have gotten their, you know, top tier star candidates in a lot of these races. One of the other vulnerable Democratic senators is Maggie Hasson of New Hampshire. But the popular sitting Republican Governor Chris Sununu decided not to run for Senate, which I think was a blow to Republicans because they really thought that had Sununu run that maybe that would have been their best pickup opportunity. But again, you look at you know, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada. I don't know if there's a, you know, clear kind of star candidates in any of those races. But given the environment, it may be that Republicans could win all those races. But again, it's the field still sorting itself out. In Arizona, you know, Kelly was leading the whole time, he also won a special election in 2020. So he's running for a full term here in 2022. You know, he was leading the whole time, but ultimately, you know, his race ended up being relatively close, roughly two point race. So it wouldn't take much in terms of the political environment to, you know, to, you know, for Arizona to go back to electing a Republican. I mean, purple states often break against the president's party in a midterm environment.
REICHARD: Okay, Kyle, that’s the Senate. Let’s talk about the House now. There are, of course, well over 400 seats in the House. Democrats currently have a slim 9-seat majority. How are you sizing up the battle for the House?
KONDIK: One of the developments over the holidays is that we actually had a lot of states finalize their redistricting process. Based on our own kind of ‘back of the envelope’ look at redistricting, we've got Republicans up a little bit and Democrats down a little bit. And that, but that's not taking into account necessarily the political environment, you know, the President's party almost always loses House seats in midterms, we got to see how the rest of the map will shake out. But, you know, the Republicans are very well positioned to win the House. In some ways they did a lot of their work in 2020 in that, you know, they ended up netting seats instead of losing them. And so they got pretty close to the House majority in 2020. And, you know, they only need to win five more seats than they won last time. So it's, I think they're, they're well positioned, as you know, as the battlefield takes shape. You know, again, we're still waiting on some of these districts to be drawn.
REICHARD: I know oftentimes, when the odds are stacked against one party heading into an election, we see a lot of retirements in the House. Are you seeing that trend?
KONDIK: Yeah, look, there's a lot, been a lot of Democratic retirements. It's a mix of older veteran members from safe districts who don't really face any threat in, in 2022, but maybe don't want to serve in the minority, or maybe they just feel like now's a good time. Because again, a lot of a lot of, you know, definitely kind of older members in the Democratic House caucus. But then you also have some members from swing districts who retired, you know, a while back. I mean, Cheri Bustos from Illinois. Ron Kein from Wisconsin. More recently, Stephanie Murphy from Florida. And whereas you look at the Republican retirements, there are fewer of them, and they aren't in as many vulnerable seats. So, you know, retirements, particularly if there's a disparity for one party or the other, can sometimes tell us something about the environment. I think that the retirements broadly tell us what the bigger picture is, was that, you know, the Democratic chances in the House are not not great.
REICHARD: Final question here, Kyle. Are there any seats in the House that you look at and say, boy, if this goes the Republicans’ way or the Democrats’ way on Nov. 8th, it’s going to be a really long night for one party or the other?
KONDIK: Um, yeah, look in some of these states that just finished up redistricting over the holidays. Arizona, Michigan, and California are all commission drawn states. And Republicans got a pretty decent map in Arizona, and so they could probably pick up two or maybe even three seats in that state. You know, California continues to tilt toward the Democrats, but there are some, you know, Democratic targets in that state that that, you know, that we could potentially fall to Republicans, although that California usually takes so long to count their votes that they won't be, that state and particularly on the West Coast won't be a leading indicator really. But in Michigan, I think the commission did a good job there of drawing a lot of really competitive seats. And so if you see those seats in Michigan break one way or the other that'll probably tell us something about what's going on in the House.
Kyle Kondik is an elections analyst with the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. Kyle, thanks so much. Appreciate your insight.
KONDIK: Thank you.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with our reporter in Africa, Onize Ohikere.
ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Sudan’s PM resigns—We start today here in Africa.
AUDIO: [Man speaking Arabic]
Sudan’s prime minister resigned on Sunday. In a late-night address on state television, Abdalla Hamdok said he tried his best to keep the country from sliding toward disaster. But, he said, the country is now at a “dangerous turning point that threatens its whole survival.”
Hamdock’s announcement followed anti-government protests in Khartoum.
AUDIO: [Chanting, clapping]
Thousands of protesters braved tear gas, a mass deployment of armed soldiers, and a telecommunications blackout to hold the rally.
They chanted “power to the people” and demanded the military return to its barracks.
Military leaders staged a coup in 2019 and removed autocrat Omar al-Bashir from office. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan promised a return to civilian government but protesters say the transition isn’t happening fast enough.
Hamdok has had a rocky relationship with the military since taking over from al-Bashir. The military deposed Hamdok in October and reinstated him in November.
Iran vows vengeance for Soleimani’s assassination—Next we go to the Middle East.
AUDIO: [Crowd chanting “Death to America”]
Crowds at a memorial service for General Qassem Soleimani chanted “Death to America” as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi vowed revenge.
AUDIO: [Man speaking Farsi]
Raisi demanded former U.S. President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo face a trial for ordering Soleimani’s assassination a year ago. If they aren’t put on trial, Raisi said Muslims around the world would seek vengeance.
Soleimani led Iran’s Quds Force, an elite division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. He also orchestrated Tehran’s proxy wars in the Middle East, supporting Iraqi militant groups that fought against U.S. troops.
Trump ordered the drone strike that killed him on Jan. 3, 2020.
Myanmar junta celebrates independence day—And finally, we end today in Southeast Asia.
AUDIO: [Marching band]
Myanmar’s military junta celebrated the country’s independence day on Tuesday. Several hundred government officials attended the ceremony amid tight security.
Opposition to the military government remains strong. But a violent crackdown on dissent has put an end to nearly all public protests. International human rights groups say the military has reverted to massacres and scorched-earth tactics to root out opposition.
John Quinley is a researcher with Fortify Rights.
QUINLEY: I think the Myanmar junta's strategy is to try to create an environment of terror and try to silence civilians and also try to drive out the PDF forces that are trying to defend themselves against the junta.
Villagers in the northwest say the military has burned entire communities suspected of supporting opposition fighters. Human rights groups warn troop movements suggest the military could be planning a major offensive in the area.
That’s it for this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.
NICK EICHER, HOST: A mother in California gave birth to two babies recently: one last year and one this year.
How is that even possible?
REICHARD: Yeah, how?
EICHER: Well, by carrying twins, I’m glad you asked.
Alfredo Trujillo was born at 11:45 p.m. on New Year’s Eve 2021. About 15 minutes later, his twin sister made her appearance, New Year’s Day 2022.
That made Aylin Trujillo the first baby born this year in that hospital.
Turns out there’s only a 1 in 2 million chance of twins being born in different years. Amazing!
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, January 5th.
You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we’re so glad you are! Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: The mother of the pro-life movement in Mississippi.
Now, before we introduce you to her, a word of warning. The person you’ll meet is a former abortionist and you’ll be hearing about a difficult reckoning in her life that turned her away from abortion and toward the right to life. The description may be a little too much for younger listeners, so you may want to pause and return later.
But at the same time, we think you’ll want to consider carefully what she has to say in this story.
REICHARD: On December 1st, the Supreme Court heard an abortion case that many think may overturn Roe v. Wade.
That case originated in Mississippi. It’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. A state health officer versus an abortion business.
Today WORLD Senior Correspondent Kim Henderson takes us to that state to meet a woman who once performed abortions and now hopes the court will give freedom to the state to ban them.
Here’s her story.
AUDIO: [NEWS REPORT]
KIM HENDERSON, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: The Dobbs case got lots of attention last year, but it started out in 2018 as a routine bill presented to the Mississippi legislature—a law that would limit abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. Here’s what didn’t really make the news: A slate of bipartisan legislators voted the bill into law. And their pro-life constituents expected them to.
So, what accounts for a state’s pro-life lean?
In Mississippi, many say the pro-life climate can be traced to an OB that gave birth to the movement. Four decades ago.
Sitting across from Beverly McMillan, it’s hard to imagine her involved in an evil, deadly business. She’s 79. Soft-spoken. Tucks her white hair behind ears wearing pearl studs. But the truth is, McMillan helped operate Mississippi’s first abortion facility.
MCMILLAN: I would go in one or two nights a week after my practice was over and do procedures.
That was the mid-70s. The obstetrician would deliver babies by day, then head across town to moonlight, ending babies’ lives with a suction machine.
But the agnostic abortionist eventually sought, and found, God.
MCMILLAN: I drove into the doctor's parking lot of Baptist Hospital, and I said, “Okay, I give up” and God in His mercy, He just needed a crack, I guess, to get in. That was the beginning of my coming out of the abortion business.
Her turnaround wasn’t immediate though. McMillan was a new Christian, trying to figure things out. One night she performed an abortion and was standing over a sink, taking a required count of body parts. Sitting off by itself was an arm with an exposed bicep muscle. She thought about her youngest son.
MCMILLAN: He would go around showing me his muscle. “Look at my muscle. Look at that.” And I just—just this wave of sadness came over me. I thought, “You know, what am I doing? You know, five minutes ago, this little boy was just altogether beautiful.”
Eventually McMillan took up a new mantle. She became widely known as a pro-life physician, and her practice thrived.
She went on to serve as president of Mississippi Pro-Life. She spoke to churches and lawmakers.
Here she is on a radio program in 1988 with Host Bob Sheppard.
HOST: Now, Dr. McMillan, we just want you to kind of lay a groundwork for what you want us to know this morning from your vast knowledge of the abortion issue.
MCMILLAN: Well, my vast knowledge of the abortion issue is a real personal one, as you know, Bob. I brought abortion to Mississippi in 1975...
Even Oprah Winfrey wanted the abortionist-turned-life activist on her show. Twice.
AUDIO: [OPRAH SHOW]
That was the 1980s. Pro-life work was gaining steam, and McMillan encouraged Mississippians to get involved. They did. The states’s first abortion law, a parental consent requirement, passed in 1986. A steady stream of lobbying efforts led to “closed” signs on six abortion facilities and a 70 percent drop in abortions in the state.
And 35 years later, the work also led to the Dobbs case.
MCMILLAN: Let's get it back to the states, back to the legislators who are answerable to the voters so that the will of the people can be done. And I'm hopeful that the will of the people is for life.
McMillan has some battle scars. She and her husband faced a difficult lawsuit from Planned Parenthood. She also knows what it’s like to spend a night in jail.
Officers once arrested McMillan for crossing a line on a sidewalk outside an abortion center. She remembers she cried a lot as she waited to be fingerprinted. Then she realized it was almost Easter. She realized what day it was.
MCMILLAN: And I just thought, “Oh Lord, what happened to you on Holy Thursday. You got arrested. They're just trying to embarrass me and intimidate me.
But McMillan’s influence has also been subtle, even private sometimes. Through the decades, young women facing crisis pregnancies knew they’d be welcomed at her practice. She told them all the same thing.
MCMILLAN: We're here to help. We can walk along with you. Can't make your social problems go away, but I can take care of some big ones for you. I can give you some good prenatal care…
Some of those girls took up residency in the McMillan home. The retired OB gets emotional as she describes one young mother and son.
MCMILLAN: We took them on vacations and all with us. So they were really part of our family. And when he was eight, nine years old, his mom got cancer and died -- died in our house. And he was adopted by a family in our church. He's in high school now and just doing great. Just doing great. You know, that's very special.
McMillan says the pro-life fight is a fight for dignity, but it goes beyond babies.
MCMILLAN: People who are involved in abortion—providers, whether they're nurses or office workers or abortionists—they have an intrinsic dignity, too. They're not the enemy. They're doing the Enemy's work, whether they're conscious of that or not.
McMillan also acknowledges the deep wounds mothers endure after abortions. Dads, too, as they deal with the fact that they didn’t protect the women in their lives and their babies.
MCMILLAN: And then you know, the moms and friends and brothers and sisters who encouraged someone to have an abortion. There's a lot of wounded people around. So we have to have a big well of compassion for all, all the wounded.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kim Henderson in Jackson, Mississippi.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, January 5th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Here’s WORLD Founder Joel Belz on making sure our words line up with our actions.
JOEL BELZ, FOUNDER: In a year likely to be dominated by campaign promises, it’s important to remember that Christians are people of the word.
It’s not just incidental that when God comes to man, He comes as “the Word.” As he reaches out to us, he does not do so with ambiguity, but with words—the tools of communication best designed to avoid ambiguity and lack of clarity.
Looking at the way God uses words suggests at least these three thoughts.
God often writes down his words. It makes both him—and us—accountable.
Accountability is the special distinctive aspect of writing down our agreements with each other. It would be admittedly risky, but imagine a candidate who says throughout his or her campaign, “Here I am publishing the 10 most important things I stand for. Elect me, and then as my term progresses and comes to an end, hold me accountable for what I have promised.”
God is never tricky with His language. You don’t have to worry about the fine print. It was Jesus who said, “Let what you say be simply ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”
Most Americans think that if something is in the Congressional Record it has to be true. But that’s not necessarily the case. A member of Congress can place anything he or she jolly well pleases into the record. Much worse, the same Congress member can come back later and change the official record to suit his or her fancy. Not only can they erase embarrassing gaffs. But they can add intuitive insertions to make themselves look better than reality would suggest.
God made words to exalt the truth, not to play games with it. People who claim to follow Him should be diligent to do the same.
God is always as good as his word. Students of language will remember its “performative” function. Using it, a person makes something happen just by saying so. Kings and presidents do it when they decree something. So do ministers when they say, “I now declare you man and wife.” Saying so makes it so.
God is the ultimate user of the “performative” function of language. Since that incredible moment when He said, “Let there be light” and there was light, He has always brought to pass His holy will simply by saying so. It’s one thing to be powerful. It’s something a good bit more awesome to have a powerful word. Now of course even those people who aspire to imitate God couldn’t begin to walk in His steps in this regard. And yet there is an important lesson to be learned, and a warning that shapes our behavior. We will be more like our God if we are careful to ensure that our behavior matches our words.
Glib words are everywhere. Words that aren’t accountable. Words that are overly tricky. Words that aren’t matched by performance.
Such words don’t belong among Christians. Our witness in the world will be more potent when we learn to leave them behind us, using words instead in the same way God uses them.
I’m Joel Belz.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: Teachers’ unions in decline. We’ll tell you why they’re losing members.
And, the legal fallout from the Capitol riot of January 6th, one year later.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
Jesus said: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.
Go now in grace and peace.
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