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The World and Everything in It - November 26, 2021


WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It - November 26, 2021

On Culture Friday, what to be thankful for in American culture; resources to help make Advent meaningful for the whole family; and your Listener Feedback. Plus: the first in our series of Advent music selections, and the Friday morning news.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!

The scriptures encourage us to be thankful in all things—both good and bad. We’ll talk about it with John Stonestreet.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Culture Friday

Also resources to help the whole family prepare to celebrate Christmas.

Plus your Listener Feedback.

And the first in our series on the music of Advent.

BROWN: It’s Friday, November 26th. 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 has today’s news.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: UN nuclear chief: Inspection curbs limiting Iran monitoring » The head of the United Nations agency that oversees nuclear inspections in Iran is sounding alarms this week about Tehran’s refusal to cooperate.

Rafael Grossi is Director General of the IAEA, that is the International Atomic Energy Agency.

GROSSI: Such a long period of time without us getting access, knowing whether there are operational activities ongoing, is something that would at some point prevent me from being able to say that I have some idea of what is going on.

Inspectors remain unable to access surveillance footage as Iran is rapidly stockpiling highly enriched uranium, bringing them closer to a nuclear weapon.

Grossi traveled to Tehran this week in hopes of talking Iranian leaders into allowing greater access to nuclear facilities, but he went home empty handed.

Some world leaders are preparing for a fresh round of talks with Iran in hopes of renewing the 2015 nuclear deal.

Biden names two nominees for top jobs at OMB » President Biden this week announced his picks to lead the Office of Management and Budget. For the top job, Biden named Acting OMB Director Shalanda Young.

BIDEN: In her eight months as acting director of OMB, she has continued to impress me and congressional leaders as well. Shalanda will not only be a tremendously qualified director, she’ll also be a historic director, the first black woman to hold the post.

He has also nominated Nani Coloretti as deputy director. Both nominees must win Senate confirmation.

Biden turned to Shalanda Young after lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pushed back against his first pick, Neera Tanden. She ultimately withdrew from consideration.

The Senate confirmed Young as deputy director back in March with backing from more than a dozen Republicans.

NBA player Kanter criticizes league for moral double-standard » Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is calling out the NBA for moral double-standards as it pertains to China.

For several years, the NBA has selectively spoken out on social causes.

In 2016, the league pulled the All-Star game out of North Carolina over the state’s so-called bathroom law, which LGBT activists strongly opposed. And last year, the league printed “Black Lives Matter” on the court when it resumed play during the pandemic.

But Kanter this week said that on China’s human rights abuses, the NBA remains silent.

KANTER: When it comes to America, they love to criticize. But when the things that they criticize affect their money or their business or their endorsement deal, they remain silent. This is being very phony.

In 2019, NBA apologized to the Chinese communist government for remarks by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey. That after Morey voiced support for freedom and democracy in Hong Kong, angering officials in Beijing.

China has become a highly lucrative market for the league. In 2019, the Sports Business Journal valued the NBA’s business in China at more than $5 billion.

Expect to pay more for your Christmas tree this year » It seems almost everything costs more right now, and Christmas trees are no exception. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.

JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: Experts say you’ll likely pay anywhere from 10 to 30 percent more for your tree this year, whether live or artificial. And you’ll likely have fewer trees to choose from.

With regard to live trees, labor shortages are a factor. Demand has also been up over the past few years. And, believe it or not, Christmas tree buyers are still feeling the effects of the 2009 recession! Many farmers planted fewer trees for years after the Great Recession, and it takes roughly a decade for trees to reach maturity.

When it comes to artificial trees, no surprise here: shipments are being slowed by the same nationwide supply chain problems affecting almost everything else.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: God’s call to be thankful in all things.

Plus, the music of Advent.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Friday, November 26th, 2021.

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. It’s Culture Friday. We want to welcome John Stonestreet. He’s the president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast.

Morning, John.


EICHER: Well, on this day after Thanksgiving, John, now that we’re all in a sort of reflective mood, I’m reminded that the Scriptures call us not so much to be “thankful for” as much as “thankful in,” in other words, “in everything give thanks,” as we read in first Thessalonians.

So by everything, that encompasses what we regard as good and what we regard as not so good, or even tragic or terrible—that “in” those things good and bad we are to give thanks.

What I’ll do is ask you to cover both sides of that, John, and begin easily, giving thanks in the good things. What would they be for you this year?

STONESTREET: Well, I mean, I guess the obligatory question, or I guess the obligatory answer is my family. But I really am. I mean, I'm watching three girls grow to become young women, I'm watching God work in all of their hearts in very unique, distinct and obvious ways, not least of which is through the introduction four years ago, they're a little brother who simultaneously makes their lives both joyful and miserable, as good little brothers are supposed to do. And he's learning how to do that I'm watching him learn, I'm watching light bulbs, come on, his vocabulary expand much in how God grows my wife and me, as we learn what it means to parent and new stages of life, new challenges. Driving in Colorado, for example, where there's too many people on the roads and too much pot in the air. You know, this is, but it's just fun to watch these new stages. And I am really, really grateful for that. And so it's not just an obligatory thing, there really, in very specific and unique ways this year. You know, you see God's faithfulness, not only to me, but to the people that I love. And so there's a lot of fun.

EICHER: So John, draw that out to the wider culture—beyond the good functioning of the Stonestreet culture—what positives in the larger culture can you be thankful in.

STONESTREET: You're not gonna allow me to be narcissistic. You know, I can't just focus in on my, my own family. Well, let me make a connection. Then I did a commentary this past week on a just a curious and tragically sad story that points to something good. And I say that in quotes and uncertainty, but it has to do with Emily Ratajkowski, who was a famous model, whose career started when she started in a terrible music video, that was basically a justification of sexual assault and sexual harassment. And you think about where the culture was in 2013, and the victimization of young women and as a dad of three little girls, so I'm going to make this a little bit personal and a little bit cultural. But that was completely normal back then. And, you know, it's hard when culture learns its lesson by plummeting off the ground. It's hard when culture learns its lesson, kind of by means of gravity. In other words, it jumps off the roof and then hits the ground really hard. But that is the feature of the Me To movement. And there are ways in which we justified the abuse and objectification of women. Just yesterday, culturally speaking, that we don't allow any more today, at least, somebody like her can step up and say, you know, what, what, what happened to me wasn't okay. And she admitted partial responsibility, but also admitted that what happened to her wasn't okay. And we have a culture now that listens. And there was this moment in time, right a few decades. And there was this moment in time, right? A few years ago when that happened, you know, Hugh Hefner died and we celebrated him as a hero of women's liberation. And three months later, we were arresting Harvey Weinstein. So now we're here we are five years after that, and six years after that, not however long it is, I don't remember. And we see some of these things that have really changed and, and you know, it's hard when culture learns a lesson that way. It's brutal, but it's a better culture that's learned that lesson than one that hasn't.

EICHER: And two, this is probably the easier of the two-pronged question—the negative, because there’s so much of it, describe how you’re thankful in the things you regard as not so good?

STONESTREET: You know, I read back to stories of people who have given their lives for Christ and very real and tangible ways, either physically, biologically, socially, political freedom or whatever. I think, as I said before, the greatest contribution of Rod Dreher's latest book Live Not By Lies are the stories of faith, Christian faithfulness, and culturally difficult times of persecution under the communist era. And you think about these names, and you say these people gave thanks for the privilege of sharing in Christ's sufferings. Now, we don't have any idea what that's like today. We have a better idea this year what it's like than last year, our friends, Barronelle Stutzman and Jack Phillips have a better idea about what that's like than what we do. And we're instructed to give thanks for that privilege. I would never wish that on anyone, even my enemies much less my friends like Barronell and Jack. But boy, they've done us a great service. I'm thankful for their example. And if this is where we're headed, and I don't know what that means, but if we're headed more into that way of being Christian than what we've been used to, then we're to give thanks and we join the ranks of Christians who have gone before us.

BROWN: John, I believe I heard a collective heavy sigh earlier this week when it was announced that 77-year-old grandmother' and florist Barronelle Stutzman was ending her religious liberty case. This, of course was the nearly decade old case of Stutzman vs. the state of Washington and the American Civil Liberties Union. For those unfamiliar with the story, Stutzman, was sued by that state's Attorney General in 2014 for refusing to create a floral arrangement for her friend's wedding to another man because of her Christian beliefs about marriage. John we've come to rely on the courage and the groundwork laid by people like Stutzman and cake designer, Jack Phillips and most recently web designer Lori Smith. But at some point, it could be our names, or our adult children's names in the headlines. The hymn Onward Christian Soldiers comes to mind, but I wonder, are we as Christian ready to pick up the baton?

STONESTREET: I don't know. I mean, this is what we will know. And in the days ahead, in one sense, it was a sigh of relief because Barronelle Stutzman faithfully lived out her convictions for as long as she was called to do it. And for some reason, the ACLU'S deal was $5,000. I don't know if they realized that they were being bullies. I don't know if the optics were bad for their causes, you know, to try to collect from this poor woman that they had bullied now for eight or nine years. I don't know what was behind that. I know that Barronelle was faithful and and we owe her a debt of gratitude. We owe ADF, we owe God gratitude for giving us this example of what the rest of us might be called to. I hope everyone by the way goes to the world opinion page and, and reads the piece that was done by Barronelle's longtime attorney, Kristen Wagoner from the Alliance Defending Freedom about this decision. Because, you know, we did a Breakpoint commentary and then I read Kristen's piece and I was like, Man, she she did so much better than me. And sorry, and said, and I said, Wow, she did so much better than I did. But read that piece because there's a real sense there of a calling for the rest of us. This isn't over. Barronelle is a hero, and we're grateful. I am pleased.

By the way I don't know if this is an appropriate time to announce this, but about a month ago, our board at the Colson Center determined that Barronelle Stutzman and Jack Phillips would be co-recipients in 2022 of the William Wilberforce award, an award founded by Chuck Colson to celebrate and honor public faith that is a reflection both of a personal commitment to Christ and the sort of public input and living out the sort of public implications that faith requires. And times past that looked a lot more like Wilberforce, you know, standing in front of Parliament or standing in front of injustice and leading the way. I think increasingly, it's going to look in our time in place more like courage in the face of incredible struggle. And so I hope we're ready. That's why we're honoring Jack and Barronell because they've shown us the sort of lives that we have in front of us. No matter what happens, faithfulness is what this is about not success. Baronelle is such a wonderful example of that for the rest of us and I'm grateful for her.

BROWN: John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast. Thanks, John.

STONESTREET: Thank you both. And Happy Thanksgiving.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, November 26th.

Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.

Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher, encouraging you if you’ve never given before to support WORLD, would you make a first-time gift this month? Every little bit helps and because of some long-time donors, everything you do, they’ll do, too, with a dollar-for-dollar match. The goal is $40,000 and we’ve not hit that just yet, so some other friends stepped in with another incentive. If by the end of the month we hit that goal, these friends will kick in an extra $10,000 on top, just to give one more reason for you to get involved for the first time.

BROWN: Please visit wng.org/donate and make a first-time gift today. We have today, then the weekend, and just Monday and Tuesday to make the goal, so do it today, would you? wng.org/donate. I’d be grateful!

Coming next on The World and Everything in It: resources for Advent.

EICHER: It’s easy to lose sight of Christ at Christmas with all the shopping, gatherings, and special events going on. So reviewer Emily Whitten has rounded up some resources to help you and your family stay focused on Him—and make the most of this Christmas season

EMILY WHITTEN, REPORTER: Christians already know that Christ is the best gift of all at Christmas. So, why don’t we focus more on Him this year?

One easy way to do that—download a free devotional app. Moody Bible Institute’s Today in the Word offers a daily series beginning Dec 1st. It’s called Unwrapped: the Gift of Christmas. Author Ryan Cook is an associate professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute. He says his family often unwraps their under-the-tree gifts slowly to savor them, one by one.

CLIP: That’s kind of what I hope this study does for people, it helps us to slow down and reflect on the different gifts in the coming of Christ, and really appreciate the coming of Christ.

If you’re on the go, maybe on your way to work or school, check out the app’s option to have the two-minute devotion read aloud.

CLIP: Today in the Word we read in Micah 6, verse 9, “The LORD is calling to the city…"

The Today in the Word app provides devotions year round, so if you like this one, you’ll already be one step closer to a healthy habit in the new year. And if you don’t want to download another app, you can get the same devotional in several other formats at todayintheword.org.

If you’ve got little ones underfoot, you might check out TruthintheTinsel.com. Author Amanda White offers an ebook of simple ornaments and Bible links to help families engage the Christmas story. These aren’t upscale Jesse Tree keepsakes that will last forever. The focus here is on the experience, the memories, and the fun—not the cheap craft materials.

Here’s what one mom had to say about Truth in the Tinsel:

CLIP: It’s great. It’s an easy way that is already set up for me to sit down with my kids and talk about the Christmas story every single day in advent until it’s just drilled into their minds.

If you’ve got older kids or grandkids around the house, say ages 8-12, Jotham’s Journey might be a good resource. It’s the fictional story of a Hebrew boy named Jotham who lived during the time of Christ’s birth.

Jotham gets separated from his family, and the rest of the book follows his action-packed, heart-warming journey to find them. Here’s a clip from the audiobook read by Kirby Heyborne.

CLIP: Elizabeth told me that John is a special baby and that you would tell me why. Zechariah laughed, ‘Oh, she did, did she? Well, then, I guess I must tell my story yet again.’ He motioned Jotham to sit on a log, then did the same himself. I am a priest of the division of Abijah. About a year ago my division was on duty in Jerusalem, and I was chosen by lot to burn the incense before the LORD...

The story is divided into daily sections followed by short reflections and Scripture passages, as well as instructions about which Advent candles to light. You could use it as a daily Advent resource, or this would be a great option for a long car trip. The entire audiobook is 5 hours and 45 minutes long, so that will get you quite a ways down the road.

Two quick cautions: It might be useful to point out to young listeners that while many characters and places do come from history, Jotham’s story is imagined. So, some of these encounters don’t really line up with Scripture. My other caution: In chapter 22, the author mentions that God “accepts all people wherever they are in their own spiritual journey.” Parents may want to clarify that while God saves people from every tribe, tongue, and nation, we know that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

And finally, how about some Advent music?

CLIP: Well it came to pass back in those days that Ceasar he decreed a census should be taken of the Roman world, you see. So everyone packed up and headed back to their hometown. Joseph up from Galilee to Bethlehem was bound…

That’s from Andrew Peterson’s album, Behold the Lamb of God. If you’ve got teens or older kids, or if you just like this genre of music, Peterson works in a lot of Biblical and theological content here. I mean, he even sings those begats in Matthew! That’s commitment right there.

CLIP: Abraham had Isaac. Isaac he had Jacob. Jacob he had Judah and his kin. Then Perez and Zerah came from Judah’s woman Tamar. Perez he brought Hezron up and then came...

I know we all have favorite Christmas albums. But this one qualifies as an out-of-the-box advent resource because it so closely follows the arc of the Christmas story. You could try listening to a few of these songs each week as a family, or take some time after supper to look up the Bible references. Or just put it on repeat as you do your Saturday chores. It might be easier than you think to sing along with the greatest story ever told.

CLIP: Behold the lamb of God who takes away our sin. Behold the lamb of God who died and rose again.

I’m Emily Whitten.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, November 26th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Today is what they call Black Friday, the kickoff for the Christmas gift-giving season and the day when retailers step up with their best offers—a great day for bargain hunters. And WORLD will not disappoint: we’ve told you the last few days about a special deal on subscriptions to WORLD Watch—our lowest-ever price, $20 for six months, our Black Friday offer is available right now at worldwatch.news.

EICHER: One other great offer, too: Maybe you’d like to give a gift of WORLD Magazine, you have friends, family, your pastor, so we’re making it really easy to take care of three people on your list. Just like that: three gift subscriptions to WORLD Magazine for just $99. Take advantage today. Wng.org/blackfriday

BROWN: Now that we’ve got our Christmas shopping taken care of, let’s say good morning to executive producer Paul Butler. Morning, boss. 

BUTLER: Good morning, I’ve got a good collection of listener feedback for November.

EICHER: If you don’t mind, I’ll get us going, because the correction is mine, my mistake on the Monday Moneybeat.

I made a reference to the big spending bill the House passed and I was wrong about it by a factor of 2. I said it was a $4 trillion tax-and-spend bill, relying on a faulty memory and failing to double check. Totally my fault, no excuse. Thanks to my friend Erik Hoekstra, the president of Dordt University, for gently letting me know via text message later that morning!

BUTLER: Alright, well, our first call today comes from listener David Bahn.

BAHN: I really enjoyed the piece that Julie Spencer did on the table for the Williamson family in Eldorado, Arkansas. But I especially enjoyed the pictures. Thanks for posting those photos as well. What a great story. And, thanks for all you do at WORLD. I listen to you every day.

You’re welcome, David. We heard from a few other listeners who wanted to talk about their tables—one person wrote that HE can seat 24 guests around HIS! Regardless of how many chairs fit around your table, we hope that you all find some time this weekend to fellowship with family or friends around one.

Next, a call from the far north.

GEBEL: My name is Jered Gebel, I’m a float plane pilot in South East Alaska. I really appreciated the couple of stories you’ve done now from Oshkosh. I have yet to make my pilgrimage there, but someday hopefully.

Your most recent story about technology and missions aviation was great. I follow missions aviation fairly closely, yet was unaware of some of the ways tech is helping them. I learned how to fly at LeTourneau University and Zach Soles who you interviewed was a classmate of mine. Many of my classmates are now missions aviation pilots, and while God didn’t call me to that field, He’s enabled me to help support them financially over the years while working up here in Alaska. Glad y’all have highlighted the work MAF, JAARS, Ethnos and I-TEC are doing to further the gospel. Keep up the good work.

Jered sent us a photo he took in his plane, while listening to the program. What an incredible view!

Listening in the air
Photo by Jered Gebel

Next, we have listener Rick Porter, who called for the first time after hearing the special episode featuring Emily Whitten’s interview with Mindy Belz.

PORTER: I was struck by Emily’s thoughtful questions that elicited so much from Mindy’s life lessons: from lunch with Afghan women, with respect to her as a mother of four from Afghan men, and sadness that so many in the United States, including in our government, continue to fall for the false apologies of the Taliban. What especially struck me was Emily’s prayer at the end of the interview, that she cued us into at the beginning of the interview. It’s been a real privilege to be on the receiving end of the wisdom of Mindy Belz for decades. And thank you Emily for your thorough interview that brought that wisdom to light.

EICHER: We have time for one more call today. This one from Celina Asberg. She emailed us this audio recording after the most-recent Ask the Editor segment. Celina started by saying she’s also had concerns about the way Christians disagree with one another. She offered our team some encouragement, and then she shared some thoughts for you.

ASBERG: And to my fellow listeners, I encourage us to examine our hearts to see if we only honor opinions we already agree with. Doing so implicitly sets up our own understanding as the standard of truth. We should not be so prideful to assume that anyone who disagrees with us is absolutely wrong. Second, I join my voice with editor Paul Butler to encourage the type of feedback that is constructive, not destructive. We live in contentious times, where Christians who have similar principles of obedience to God, compassion for others, and living as salt and light in our hostile world, may disagree on facts about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, the wisdom of supporting various politicians or policies, and even an appropriate level of engagement with culture, among many other concerns. WORLD is faithful to Biblical inerrancy, steadfast to maintain God-honoring views of sexuality, trustworthy to declare the value of unborn life, and sincere in weekly reminders to gather with other Christians at church. WORLD does not and will not reject these central truths. On the issues that are not central, like vaccines, masks, homeschooling, healthcare, policing, effective compassion, and the like, I encourage us to remember that though we may disagree fiercely about facts and judgement calls, we share a salvation that rests on Christ.

NICK EICHER, HOST: This Sunday marks the first week of Advent. Over the next four weeks Christians around the world will prepare for—and reflect on—the coming of Christ.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: At the close of each Friday’s program, from now till Christmas, correspondent Bonnie Pritchett will guide us through a selection of Advent hymns.

And just a quick note, we’re creating a Spotify Playlist again this year. We’ll keep it updated throughout the month so you can find the music for your own enjoyment. We’ve included the link to that in today’s transcript at wng.org/podcasts.

EICHER: Here now is Bonnie Pritchett.

BONNIE PRITCHETT, CORRESPONDENT: Advent is intended to draw Christian hearts forward in preparation of Christmas Day. But some hymns take our thoughts back in time.

From its opening verse, O Come, O Come Emmanuel, does just that as in this 2016 version by JJ Heller.

SINGING: O Come, o come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lowly exile here, until the Son of God appear…

Written in the 4th or 5th century, O Come, O Come Emmanuel is thought to have been sung during Epiphany in preparation for the baptism of new Christians.

But by the 9th century, it became part of Advent observances. Englishman John Neale translated it from the original Latin into English.

The hymn’s 15th century melody sung in a minor key underscores the lyric’s plaintive cry for God to act on our behalf: To come; order all things; bring comfort; and be our King of Peace. Andrew Peterson’s 2019 instrumental version highlights that tension.


As Christians await the completion of Christ’s redeeming work, the hymn writer reminds us He will come. The song’s chorus, sung in this 2016 version by Salt of Sound, reminds believers that while we wait, we should “Rejoice.”

VOICE: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Bonnie Pritchett.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Time now to thank the dedicated team that made this week’s programs possible:

Kent Covington, Mary Reichard, Katie Gaultney, Kristen Flavin, Caleb Bailey, Steve West, Onize Ohikere, Josh Schumacher, Sarah Schweinsberg, Joel Belz, Cal Thomas, Emily Whitten, and Bonnie Pritchett.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Carl Peetz and Johnny Franklin are the audio engineers who stay up late to get the program to you early! Leigh Jones is managing editor. And Paul Butler is our executive producer, and Marvin Olasky is editor in chief.

And thank you, because your giving makes possible independent Christian journalism. If you’ve never given before, November’s the month for you to become a brand new donor, please this month join the army of more than 10,000 others who give on a regular basis to keep all of our journalism strong and supplied.

The prophet Isaiah wrote, But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities. Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace and with his wounds we are healed.

I hope you’ll worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ this weekend.

Lord willing, we’ll meet you 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.


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