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The World and Everything in It - June 21, 2022


WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It - June 21, 2022

A report on the Southern Baptist Convention gathering last week; the outgoing chairman of the SBC Executive Committee shares his perspective; and an Australian band that’s putting the Psalms to new music. Plus: commentary from Whitney Williams and the Tuesday morning news.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Delegates from the Southern Baptist Convention gathered in California last week. Sexual abuse was at the top of the agenda. We’ll talk to our reporter who was there.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Also we’ll hear from the outgoing chair of the SBC executive committee Rolland Slade and get his perspective.

Plus a musical group bringing new music to timeless Scripture.

And reflections of a friendship that’s weathered the storms of life.

REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, June 21st. 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: Russia reportedly aiming to completely conquer Luhansk by Sunday » AUDIO: [Rocket]

Missiles lit up the sky over the city of Bakhmu in eastern Ukraine on Monday as Russian troops continued pounding the Donbas region.

President Vladimir Putin has reportedly set a new deadline for his military to completely take control of Luhansk in the country’s east and that deadline is this Sunday, according to Ukraine’s government.

Moscow’s forces already control 95 percent of Luhansk.

Roughly 200 Ukrainian soldiers are killed each day and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says NATO supplies are falling short of Ukraine’s needs.

ZELENSKYY [with translator]: We need your support. We need more than weaponry: weaponry that will have better capability than the Russian weapons.

And Lithuania’s foreign minister agrees. Gabrielius Landsbergis said this war does not have to drag on for years.

LANDSBERGIS: We have the instruments to finish the war much faster. We always have. And if we would fulfill not 10 percent of what the Ukrainians are asking, but 90 percent, the war would not take years and years.

Of the $1 trillion in military aid promised by the United States, only about a third will make its way into the hands of Ukrainian soldiers anytime soon.

Extreme heat to bake much of the U.S. this week » One-hundred-degree temperatures are baking much of the United States.

One out of every five Americans will experience sweltering triple-digit temps this week amid another stifling heat wave.

Zack Taylor with the National Weather Service said Monday…

TAYLOR: Those hot temperatures will be most felt across the Ohio Valley down to the Tennessee Valley, including portions of the Southeast. That’s where we’re looking at a potential of widespread areas of temperatures reaching 100 to 105 in places.

Particularly tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday, he said.

Most of the country will see temperatures at least in the 90s.

Major metro areas could hit triple digits from Minneapolis to Dallas to Atlanta. And forecasters say the heat could shatter records in some places.

Gas prices dip for first time in weeks » Gas prices have dropped for the first time in weeks. The national average is back under $5 per gallon—$4.98, to be exact.

Gasbuddy’s Patrick De Haan says as interest rates rise, oil prices have dipped and that might mean more good news at the pump.

De HAAN: We could see gas prices continuing to decline heading into the July 4 holiday. In fact, it’s possible the national average could fall another 10 to 20 cents per gallon between now and July 4, should things go right.

President Biden says he’s also “considering a national gas tax holiday that would temporarily drop prices by almost 20 cents per gallon.

The president has released oil from the U.S. strategic reserve and announced moves to combat price gouging, but none of that put a noticeable dent in prices.

World swimming announces transgender competitor policy » The governing body that oversees global swimming competitions—known as FINA—just announced new rules regarding transgender competitors. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The new policy will bar swimmers who are biologically male from competing against women unless they—quote—“transitioned” before the age of 12.

FINA spokesman James Pearce said, according to scientists—his words—“if you transition after the start of puberty, you have an advantage, which is unfair.”

The members voted 72 percent in favor of the new policy after hearing presentations from three specialist groups.

FINA’s new 24-page policy also proposed a new “open competition” category in which anyone would be free to compete. But how that category will function remains unclear.

There are currently no transgender athletes competing at elite levels of swimming. But in March, Lia Thomas became the first male swimmer to win an NCAA Women’s swimming championship in the 500-yard freestyle.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

India and Bangladesh flooding » Millions of people are wading through waist deep flood waters in India and Bangladesh today.

As monsoon rains swamp the region, flooded roads have trapped millions of people in villages now partially submerged underwater. Some villagers were seen casting fishing nets in the middle of neighborhood streets.

Bangladesh’s government is sending military helicopters to drop food and fuel in the hardest-hit areas.

The water is receding in some parts of countries, but there’s more potential rain in the forecast, which could push the floodwaters even higher.

I'm Kent Covington. Coming up: Delegates from the Southern Baptist Convention tackle sexual abuse.

And later, a musical group bringing new music to timeless Scripture.

This is The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Tuesday the 21st of June, 2022.

You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we’re so glad you’ve joined us today! Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. First up on The World and Everything in It: the recent SBC Convention.

AUDIO: Who brings our chaos/back into order
Who makes the orphan a son and daughter
The King of Glory

Live praise music played inside and outside the Anaheim Convention Center last Tuesday as thousands of Southern Baptists came for the denomination’s annual meeting.

EICHER: The convention took place just three weeks after a third-party investigation detailed how SBC leaders mishandled sexual abuse cases and mistreated survivors. Church delegates approved the investigation at last year’s annual meeting.

REICHARD: An SBC sexual abuse task force put together recommendations for this year’s delegates to consider. They aimed to better protect SBC churches and related entities from abusers. One example: A database that tracks those credibly accused of being abusers.

EICHER: Inside the convention hall, a call to action. Here is task force chairman and North Carolina pastor Bruce Frank.

FRANK: The two formal recommendations to be voted on are based on biblical principles like transparency, accountability, protection of the vulnerable, God’s wrath, God’s anger at abuse, repentance.

When it came time to vote, hands filled the air holding yellow ballot cards, a clear majority of delegates approving the reforms.

AUDIO: The affirmative has it. [APPLAUSE]

REICHARD: WORLD Reporter Mary Jackson was there last week to cover the meetings and she joins us. Good morning Mary!


REICHARD: There was a lot of talk before the convention about what changes the denomination should make in light of the findings in the investigative report. The task force recommended changes for the delegates to talk over and then vote on in Anaheim.

Mary, I’m curious though about the atmosphere there. What was it like?

JACKSON: This was my first ever SBC annual meeting. And outside the convention hall, I spoke with many church representatives who were upbeat and said they had grown up coming to the annual meetings, and at times, it even felt like a giant family reunion.

But inside the convention hall as church representatives debated abuse reforms, the meeting had a more serious tone. Survivors of sexual abuse have picketed for years outside the annual meetings, and they described this year as a whole different experience. They had a booth with books and pamphlets and handed out teal ribbons. They had a separate, private room where they would go with staff counselors, and they told me they felt encouraged by some of the changes and convention speakers acknowledged and praised them for their years of advocacy.

REICHARD: Let’s talk about those recommendations then. How significant are they as far as targeting abuse?

JACKSON: It’s been 16 years since one sexual abuse survivor named Christa Brown first proposed a database to track credibly accused abuse within the denomination to keep abusers from moving from church to church and abusing more victims. So it is significant that the SBC is finally starting to put in place more protections for its churches and entities. But almost everyone I talked to said it's just a start. One of the recommendations sets up a taskforce that will put forward more reforms and actions for representatives to vote on at next year's meeting to better protect churches and address the way survivors have been wronged in the past, so we're really at the very beginning. Some of what has been proposed for the task force to look at is having a survivor care fund and memorial, setting up an outside firm that can help the SBC field abuse reports and make inquiries in an effective and more long term way, putting in place better hiring practices, things like that.

REICHARD: Well I know some opposed these recommendations. What were their concerns?

JACKSON: Yeah, so some of the concerns were that the SBC isn’t equipped to investigate abuse claims, that it should be left to local authorities. A few executive committee members I spoke to said that abuse reforms could jeopardize Baptist polity on local church autonomy. They were worried that the SBC could be held financially liable for abuse that happens in local churches. Others I spoke to were concerned about that phrase—"credibly accused." The sexual abuse task force said it will have a qualified outside firm helping churches distinguish whether a claim is credible. I think the language said something like, "by a preponderance of evidence following an inquiry." So it would not be an assumption that is arrived at without considerable inquiry. But opponents felt like putting someone on the database who did not have a court judgment could violate their rights and risk defaming people who are falsely accused.

REICHARD: I’m wondering what else did this meeting accomplish?

JACKSON: So, church representatives elected Bart Barber to be their next president. He's a rural Texas pastor who has a track record of being outspoken on abuse and on the need for reforms. The Executive Committee elected Texas Pastor Jared Wellman as its next chairman and David Sons as the vice chair. Both men supported a fully transparent investigation last year. The representatives also approved a resolution apologizing for the way they failed to address the problem of abuse and failed to protect congregants from known abusers. The resolution also expressed repentance for failing to care well for survivors or heed their warnings. Another resolution called on state lawmakers to make sure that pastoral sexual misconduct is criminalized.

REICHARD: Sounds like a season of change is underway in the country’s largest Protestant denomination. Mary, thanks so much.

JACKSON: Thank you, Mary.

REICHARD: To read more of Mary Jackson’s coverage of this year’s convention, visit wng.org. Mary Jackson covers WORLD’s Relations beat and writes a weekly newsletter on marriage, family and sexuality news.

In a moment we’ll hear from the Baptist leader who led the SBC’s governing committee through the last two difficult years.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: inside the SBC.

As we just heard, change was in the air as Southern Baptists gathered for their annual meeting in Anaheim. Church delegates meet once a year to set direction for the denomination. In between those meetings, an elected board called the Executive Committee oversees SBC ministries. Rolland Slade is that committee’s outgoing chairman.

NICK EICHER, HOST: WORLD spoke with him during the recent convention to talk about what it’s been like leading the denomination during such a difficult time.

SLADE: It’s taught me I think how to be a shepherd. Sometimes to calm the waters and, you know, to come rushing waters, the shepherd's kind of step into the water.

The decision last week by the SBC representatives to embrace the proposed reforms is a crucial step, but Slade says there’s still lots to do.

SLADE: Let me describe it this way. If we were on a football field, um, we haven't reached midfield. We're headed towards a touchdown…we're we're somewhere probably around 35-40 yard line. If the goal line is to is making our churches as safe as possible, and caring for survivors, and understanding what it means to be a mandatory reporter and all that, if that's, and that's the goal line. We’re moving in the right direction, but we haven't gotten, I don't think even to we haven't gotten to midfield yet. We got a ways to go but we're making good progress.”

Slade addressed concerns over the new denomination-wide database. He says it’s important that it includes only those credibly accused of being abusers.

SLADE: I think that independent third party that works works on that with folks in the in leadership. You know, they're not..Well, I think of it this way, they're not trying to destroy someone's career, they're trying to protect someone who has been hurt. And they're trying to protect others from being hurt. So it would be, if their name is being submitted, it would be credible. And they and, and they're gonna go through that investigative part. Those experts, it's not for the church to do it, but for the experts to do it. So if the name ends up going on the database, it's, there's, there's a legitimate reason for that.

Getting to this point has had its challenges. Slade describes the most critical moment in his tenure leading the Executive Committee.

SLADE: I think the biggest moment was, was that moment when we, you know, waved, we voted to waive attorney client privilege. It was a breakthrough moment. It also was a sad moment. Because I knew I knew when once we did that, that we were going to lose, that people were going to resign. And we'd be different from that day forward. But I also saw it, one of those times, like I said, you know, when as a shepherd, you got to step into the water, and, you know, calm things and let people know, we're going to be okay, going forward. But it's something we've got to walk through.

The Executive Committee’s president, vice president, 17 committee members and trustees, and the SBC’s longtime legal counsel resigned after that decision. They cited their “fiduciary responsibility” to protect the SBC from potential lawsuits.

SLADE: We had to rebuild some relationships as the Executive Committee, and understand the concept of what it means what the Executive Committee, what our role is in Southern Baptists’ life.

It’s going to take time to rebuild trust. But survivors of sexual abuse within the SBC are starting to feel as though their voices are being heard. Abuse survivor Tiffany Thigpen passed out ribbons to show solidarity at the annual meeting.

THIGPEN: There’s more for us than against us, for the first time.

Rolland Slade is stepping aside for a new slate of Baptist leaders. Here’s his advice for them:

SLADE: We can't look and say, Oh, this is what we're doing for the watching world. This is what we're doing for the glory of God, to represent him well. For He gave His life for us, to be to have the right to be called sons and daughters of God. So the world standard is a good place to start. But it's not where we finish. We need to we need to up our game to God's standard. How do we reflect Him? Are we doing all that we're doing, again, to make the churches safe to talk to survivors? We've got to go further.

Our thanks to WORLD’s Mary Jackson for recording this interview in Anaheim.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Maybe your New Year’s resolution to get more fit could use a little inspiration right about now?

REICHARD: Coulda used some of that back in mid-January, actually.

EICHER: Well, never too late, so here you go: a guy in Australia just set a world record for pushups successfully done in one hour’s time. Ready? He performed 3,182 pushups.

Daniel Scali is his name and here’s inspirational part one: he broke his arm as a kid and suffers chronic pain to this day. Inspirational part two: his perseverance. He thought he was going to break the record three months ago but fell short and just had to keep at it. Here’s a reporter from 7 News Adelaide back in March:

AUDIO: Today he came agonizingly close to beating the Guiness World Record for the most pushups in an hour. He fell just 243 shy of the 3,054 record.

REICHARD: Only 243 shy, huh?

EICHER: Only. Right.

SCALI: I didn’t get the result that I wanted but I promise you I’ll be back.

And last week, he did come back and he nailed it! Think about it. He did a 12 seconds on, 6 seconds off routine: so almost 16 pushups, followed by a six-second break, and back at it 199 more times. Incredible.

REICHARD: Nice math!

EICHER: I did it ahead of time.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, June 21st. We thank you for listening to WORLD Radio.

Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: the Psalms. 

Life is full of hardship all over the world. For these times in life, the Psalms can help us lament and find comfort.

REICHARD: An Australian band’s been putting the words of the Psalms to music over the last 20 years. WORLD correspondent Amy Lewis had a chance to talk to a member of the band. She brings us this story.

(insert photo SOK876, photo credit: DJ PAINE Photography | [email protected])

“The Lord is my light, the stronghold of my life. Whom shall I fear? Whom shall I fear?”

REPORTER AMY LEWIS: Matt Jacoby is the founder and lead singer of the Sons of Korah. The biblical Sons of Korah hearken back to the time of King David. The Australian band—Sons of Korah—has a more recent beginning.

(insert photo SOK037, photo credit: DJ PAINE Photography | [email protected])

JACOBY: I put Sons of Korah together with a couple of friends of mine back in the 90s at theological college at the time. I’d often heard the psalms read, but as a musician, it just seemed the perfect challenge for me. It combined my growing interest in biblical studies plus my passion to serve God with music.

Jacoby’s fascination went deeper than just adding new tunes to old lyrics.

JACOBY: What I was interested in was the way the psalms move moods, if I can call it that. A lament can move from, you know, a place of dejection and grief and finish with quite jubilant praise.

The band’s name is borrowed directly from headings in the psalter. Under the psalm’s number, it might read, “A psalm of David,” or “For the director of music.” Eleven psalms are attributed to the Sons of Korah.

JACOBY: There’s actually a really beautiful story about God’s mercy and God’s restoration of that family line, a family that was famously swallowed up by the earth.

But a remnant survived.

JACOBY: And they went on to take on this wonderful responsibility as musicians in the period in Solomon’s temple. I thought, that’s a bit like me, this story of mercy and going on to become musicians.


The band has recorded more than half of the 150 psalms over the past 25 years. They keep the lyrics as close as possible to the English text. But the emotional range in the psalms presents these musicians with a welcome challenge.

“Your anger swept right over me. Your terrors I can’t flee. They surround me like a flood…”

JACOBY: There’s a lot of expressions that we take up and work with within the Sons of Korah project that you don’t really find in normal contemporary Christian music. I mean, expressions of anger throughout the Psalms. Well, what they did is that they took it to God. And they said, “You’re the judge, we’re going to give this over to you…”

All those emotions and ideas need room to be expressed.

JACOBY: We wanted to work with all those emotions, the praise, and jubilant psalms, but right through to the laments and the angry psalms. And so we actually found it important to work with a breadth of musical styles, to give us a broad enough palette to create that variation in mood in the psalms.

“Shout to the Lord all the earth, worship the Lord and come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God.”

The psalms don’t fit neatly into the 3-minute pop song mold. Variety of musical style and length of songs are two reasons why the Sons of Korah are still an independent band. But they’re not stuck in a rut. New band members bring fresh ideas. And the music industry today is different than when they started.

JACOBY: Oh, a lot has changed. We did our first release on cassette, (laughs)…

They switched to CD sales to support their recording habit. Now, they have a Sons of Korah app.

Jacoby’s immersion in the psalms has shaped him inwardly. They’ve affected his prayers and how he sees the world.

JACOBY: In the early 2000s my wife and I were facing the prospect that we wouldn’t be able to have a family and that was a very very difficult thing to face. We didn’t feel entitled. It’s a broken world, and we’re broken people living in a broken world, but we were praying earnestly for that and I just could not understand, you know, my wife would get pregnant, and then she would have a miscarriage. It just seemed cruel. And I was so grieved by that, and I remember my wife, in probably the darkest moments, sitting up in bed and she read to me Psalm 73.

The psalmist seems to have almost completely lost his faith. He sees the wicked prosper while he has been plagued and punished despite his purity.


JACOBY: And then it says I entered the sanctuary of God, and there’s this amazing change of perspective in that Psalm. It says ‘Whom have I in heaven but you? And the earth has nothing that I desire but you.’ And I was so moved by that psalm, I took, I actually took the bible from her and set down in the music room and just put it to music immediately. And it really ministered to me, that psalm in that space.

“Whom have I in heaven but you? Whom have I in heaven but you? And the earth has nothing that I desire, besides you.”

They knew that God didn’t have to give them children. They were willing to submit to his plan, whatever that was. God has since given them three children.

JACOBY: The psalms have a way of speaking to you wherever you’re at. There’s a psalmist that went through that as well and he wrote a psalm about it. And you can kind of hook onto that psalm and find such consolation. That’s what I love about the psalms.

“One thing, one thing I ask of you. One thing, one thing I seek. That I may dwell in the house of God, all the days of my life.”

JACOBY: The psalms help us to process and prepare us to face the realities of life. They instill in us the faith to journey through this life. And they point us to the kind of joy that we can find in this life, a joy that is despite circumstances…That has impacted me enormously. And it’s given me the ability to find God in the midst of very difficult circumstances. Because the psalms have taught me that, actually, those are the best times to find God.

“To gaze on your beauty, Lord. And seek you in your temple, Lord. To gaze on your beauty, Lord. And seek you in your temple, Lord.”

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Amy Lewis in Geelong, Australia.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, June 21st. 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. WORLD commentator Whitney Williams now with reflections on a life-long friendship.


WHITNEY WILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR: Twenty knees circle underneath a large round table covered with white cloth. The knees to my right are my husband’s. Familiar, yet strangely different. Tonight they’re covered in dress slacks—a rare occurrence. The knees to my left belong to a lifelong girlfriend of mine. Three-by-five photo evidence shows Kacie and me all gussied up on the floor of our church’s nursery. Chubby-cheeked toddlers in fluffy dresses, our lace-trimmed white socks folded down once toward our shiny little dress flats.

It’s been more than 30 years since someone snapped that photo of us, and a year and a half since we’ve seen one another. We live about four hours apart now. And yet, tonight at our mutual friend’s wedding, that time and distance disappears. Kacie knows my backstory, you see, and I know hers. Our early lives share a lot of the same details; some of our most treasured memories like Xerox copies.

We think back on the ancient man who stood at the foot of our church’s orange-carpeted stairs each Sunday morning passing out shakily-signed greeting cards to all of us kids as we made our way to Sunday School. "What was his name again?" I asked her. "Was it Willy?" she suggested, scrunching up her nose as she thought. "Yes, Willy!" I exclaimed. The memory makes us smile. We also remember the shiny, white, 60s-era brocade couch in the church parlor that was hard to pull out of. All of the words to “Go, go, Jonah, go Jonah, go go …” And the stained glass Jesus in the main hallway that watched over us as we grew.

Kacie and I considered one another mere acquaintances for much of those early years, but we hit the ground running in ninth grade. I switched high schools for her. We shared a dorm room and an apartment during our Baylor days. I watched her make smart decisions. She watched me make dumb ones. We got stranded together in Peru, ate fish and chips together in England, traveled together on a church bus from Texas to New York City, and stood beside one another as we each said “I do.” I’ll never forget the scream that came out of my little friend as she birthed her first daughter, unmedicated. Nor will I forget the strength she exhibited as she carried, birthed, and said goodbye to her only son, knowing he would live only minutes, at most. When my firstborn came into the world with a horrific genetic disorder, Kacie immediately set up a social media page for us, facilitating updates to our friends, family, and caring strangers as we trudged through our heartbreak. Kacie and I mourned together when our former youth pastor and friend lost his life in a car accident. He had officiated both our weddings.

As we high heel it to the ladies room, we relish the bonds forged by so much shared history. Our friendship is so easy. What’s not been so easy is finding this level of friendship in adulthood. We each admit to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

“Yeah, I have like one friend I actually hang out with now,” I tell Kacie, pitifully, as we head back to the reception. But then when I think about it, there’s already quite a bit of fullness between that one friend and me, and we’ve just barely made it out of our lace-trimmed socks.

I’m Whitney Williams.

NICK EICHER, HOST: On tomorrow’s program, we’ll hear a more critical voice evaluating the January 6 committee hearing.

And, WORLD Tour.

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.

The Bible says: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)

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.


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