The World and Everything in It: September 2, 2022
On Culture Friday, the importance of parents engaging in the culture war as a way of discipling their children; and Collin Garbarino reviews a new Amazon Prime series based on a prequel to The Lord of the Rings. Plus: Ask the Editor, and the Friday morning news.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!
Today on Culture Friday, we will give the Culture War a chance.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Yeah, that’s all we’re saying. John Stonestreet will join us in just a few minutes and we’ll also talk about the Michigan abortion amendment that just got bounced off the ballot.
Plus elves, and goblins, and hobbits are back. WORLD arts and media editor Collin Garbarino reviews Amazon’s The Rings of Power series.
And this month’s Ask the Editor, Myrna and I will do the asking.
BROWN: It’s Friday, September 2nd. 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: Biden primetime address » AUDIO: Please welcome the president of the United States.
President Biden addressed the nation last night standing in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.
In a campaign-style speech, Biden said equality and democracy are under attack ….
BIDEN: Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.
Biden is aiming to reframe the November elections as part of an unceasing battle for the—quote—“soul of the nation.”
But speaking in Biden’s home town of Scranton, Pennsylvania Thursday, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said the president is out of touch with the soul of the nation. He said Americans have never been more worried …
MCCARTHY: … More alarmed by the direction of our country, yet they tell you everything is fine.
The explicit effort by Biden to marginalize Trump and his supporters marks a sharp turn for the president, who declared a desire to bring about national unity in his Inaugural address.
Trump special master hearing » A federal judge heard arguments Thursday on whether to appoint an independent legal expert to look over the government records that the FBI seized from Donald Trump.
Trump lawyer Alina Habba said a special master is needed …
HABBA: So that we can have some impartial mediators to look at everything and get the documents that are supposed to be with the president back.
She said that could include “highly personal information” such as diaries or journals.
But the Justice Department says a special master isn’t necessary and could slow down the investigation.
The judge has not yet issued a ruling.
Zaporizhzhia latest » On the ground in Ukraine Thursday, the UN’s nuclear chief, Rafael Grossi, again sounded alarms about the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
Standing in front of the Russian-occupied plant, Grossi told reporters …
GROSSI: It is obvious that the plant and the physical integrity of the plant has been violated several times.
Fourteen UN inspectors are combing through the facility, assessing the damage from months of war and neglect.
They’re trying to determine the state of the plant’s safety systems and the conditions control room staff are working in.
Experts are concerned that the staff is overworked and stressed out by armed Russian troops roaming the halls. That raises the risk of a dangerous error.
GROSSI: I worry, and I will continue to be worried about the plant until we have a situation which is more stable.
Fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces this week prompted the shutdown of one reactor and underscored the urgency of the UN agency's task.
Grossi said his team plans to establish a continued presence at the plant.
UN report reaction » Human rights groups are applauding a new United Nations report for spotlighting potential crimes against humanity in China.
The UN’s outgoing human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, released the report this week. It pointed to the confinement and even torture of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang region.
Rahima Mahmut is with the human rights group, World Uyghur Congress.
MAHMUT: I am relieved that this report is finally out. We know the pressure from the Chinese government, how they tried to whitewash by inviting Madam Bachelet to China and showing her completely different things.
But she said the report was still not as forceful as it could or should have been.
Migrants bused to Chicago » Two buses arrived at Chicago’s Union Station this week, carrying up to 100 migrants from the Texas border.
That as Texas continues a busing program transporting migrants to self-proclaimed sanctuary cities.
One of the passengers on that bus said he had just crossed the border the day before.
AUDIO: We are not asking for charity, but we just want to find at least a shelter and a place to stay.
City buses later picked up the migrants and took them to a city shelter.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot accused Texas Gov. Greg Abbott of—quote—“racist practices.”
But Abbott said—his words—“Mayor Lightfoot loves to tout the responsibility of her city to welcome all regardless of legal status, and I look forward to seeing this responsibility in action.”
Palin defeated in House race » Democrat Mary Peltola is the winner of a special election for Alaska’s only U.S. House seat.
She’ll take over the seat of the late Republican Don Young, who died in March after 49 years in Congress.
PELTOLA: It’s just a tremendous honor to come in and finish out the remainder of his term.
Peltola edged out former governor and GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin by a few percentage points.
Transportation.gov flight dashboard » Just in time for Labor Day weekend, the Dept. of Transportation has launched a new online tool for air travelers.
WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The dashboard at Transportation.gov will show what compensation airlines provide when a flight is delayed or canceled. It's designed to help travelers shop for air carriers that offer the best guarantees.
It’s part of a pressure campaign by the Transportation Department to get carriers to improve customer service after a summer plagued by frequent delays and cancelations.
Airlines have largely blamed staffing shortages for the issues.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the culture war and discipling children.
Plus, a review of Amazon Prime’s latest series.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It's the 2nd day of September, 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. It’s Culture Friday!
Let’s bring in John Stonestreet. He’s the president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast.
JOHN STONESTREET, GUEST: Good morning!
BROWN: With the November elections just two months away, I thought this might be relevant: It’s an article that got quite a few shares on social media, and maybe you saw it.
The title was “Don’t Run For School Board.” The writer asks, What if the culture war is the wrong approach to the problems we find in public education? What if those problems fall outside the scope of the culture war?
She then concludes, the real and more realistic remedy is discipleship of our kids.
I know you wouldn’t argue with the importance of discipleship, but do you think it’s necessarily at odds with engaging in the public square and trying to right wrongs?
STONESTREET: Well, I did see the article and I did see the source and I was just mystified that this would be published. Maybe the silliest article and most unhelpful piece that I've seen written dealing with these topics, and it really falls into the category of folks putting anything controversial, any sort of Christian activism that is any at any level, controversial or disliked by the larger world into a category called culture war, and therefore, you know, dismissing it a couple weeks ago, I was on the stage with a mom whose daughter was led into a gender transition social transition against her will, she was then put into a group home under the power of child and protective services, and basically only allow and her mom was only allowed an hour a week supervised visit wasn't allowed to talk about anything having to do with their child's you know, gender dysphoria, or her Christian faith, because it wasn't in support of what the school had decided the parent should should teach. She was told that she was the problem, she was told that if she did not fully support her daughter, her daughter would kill herself. She was basically, basically the state drove a wedge between the child and the daughter. And after all of that care, after being ostracized from her family, the daughter did kill herself. I wonder if standing up for that daughter, and standing against stayed in position, if that would be an act of culture war, and therefore we shouldn't do it? What do you do when the state doesn't let you disciple your own kids? Should the rest of the church maybe come around that? You know, what was so mystifying was at stake and this particular story wasn't even whether someone from that church or that community or some Christian maybe shouldn't have tried to get on the school board and stand up for this poor mom, who by the way, was an immigrant, and had a hard time really navigating the system because of that, but that when this poor woman asked her own youth pastor and pastor to go visit her daughter, in fact, the daughter asked, they never did. They never showed up. So this poor mom walked through this alone isn't a culture war to go visit a girl that's in that thing, you have to see that I'm a little upset about this. This is the most silly argument. You know, I wonder if someone actually thought, for example, that day in and day out in a particular school, there would be physical violence inflicted on children? Would it be culture war, then to show up and run for the school board to maybe try to put a stop to it? Well, mental violence is being done, emotional violence is being done, children are being taught to hate their bodies, especially young girls. Is it a cultural war to actually want to do something about this? Why on earth would loving our neighbors by protecting them or at least trying to protect them from bad ideas? Why would that be in conflict with discipling my own kids? By the way, I hope my kids grow up and care enough about their neighbors to stand up whenever they have the capacity and the ability to stand up. And I hope they won't be at a church that will accuse them of culture warring if they do.
EICHER: John, this seems like a big deal—although I guess we have to see what happens on appeal. But the big ballot initiative in Michigan to approve a pro-abortion amendment to the state constitution apparently won’t be on the ballot this fall. The board that decides what’s on and what’s not decided, really on technical grounds, to keep the proposal off the ballot.
Again, there’s legal wrangling still to come here and the board may be overruled, and this seems like a significant development.
But isn’t it better as a cultural matter just to go ahead and have it out? What do you think?
STONESTREET: Well, you know, I think that Christians should just care about discipling their own kids and not getting involved in such culture where it matters, of course. I mean, this is an example. I mean, what's too much? Is it too much to vote on a ballot initiative? And by the way, the folks that are really concerned about this particular ballot initiative, there's some real concern about just what all this ushers in and seems to usurp any sort of parental rights, seems also in the name of so called reproductive freedom to take away any sort of real consequences for things like statutory rape. In other words, the free for all of children to determine their own sexual behavior and their sexual identity, and therefore have universal access to abortion and everything kind of thrown in this is a real challenge. I don't think voters understand just how big of a gap that this phrasing of reproductive freedom would create. How much of a moving target ever expanding category it would create. So no, I don't think when you, you don't have clear language, and you don't have a clear understanding, and you don't have a press dedicated to helping that then I think, yeah, trying to stop this on a technicality is, stop it any way you can is my take, because there's not really a way for this to be clear on what abortion law is. I mean, it's so weird. When you do any sort of polling on abortion, you get what you're looking for. And basically, you have committed advocates and committed opponents, and then most people in the middle, don't think about it, or at least don't think about it clearly. Until it, you know, confronts them in their own personal lives. And at that point, it's too late to you know, really get a strong, strongly communicated, you know, argument about what abortion really is.
EICHER: I want to get your take on the student loan cancellation debate, John. We had David Bahnsen on Monday talking about the economic particulars. We had a college president on Wednesday giving his view. But I want to ask you to evaluate some of the pro-debt cancellation arguments that borrow biblical themes.
Author John Pavlovitz for example. He said on social media: “If you’re a Christian and you’re big mad about the possibility of student loan debt being cancelled. Let me remind you that the entirety of your faith is built upon a debt you couldn’t pay that someone stepped in and paid for you.”
He also draws a parallel to ancient Israel’s Year of Jubilee, in which God required his people to absolve all debts, free prisoners, and release slaves.
What’s your sense of it?
STONESTREET: Well, you know, it's funny, I just saw on Twitter that our mutual friend Andrew Walker, who often appears in this segment, and I had a similar thought about this, and he, I just saw that he had beat me to it on Twitter, and then I had a commentary come out on it. And I liked the way he phrased it. So I'll quote him, you know, where he said, Twitter, where the Bible is ambiguous about such matters as sexual ethics and the sanctity of life, but exceptionally clear on student loan forgiveness. But by the way, the key difference is Jesus freely laid down his life and paid our debt. No one's freely paying this debt. This is the government basically making someone else pay for it. And that's just stealing and to assume that the state should do something that God Himself does, man is a really warped and problematic definition of the state. So this isn't even anywhere close and you start seeing these increasingly bizarre takes biblically to justify things like this or, you know, for example, Georgia politician Stacey Abrams, her line about what the Bible says and doesn't say. I guess at the end of the day, if this actually convinces anyone, it says a lot less about John Pavlovich and a lot more about the American church that needs to know its Bible better.
BROWN: Well, John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast. Thank you, John.
STONESTREET: Thank you both.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Chances are, you’ve had the experience of package delivery confusion, having someone else’s delivery wind up at your door instead.
You might have even opened it up before you realized, “this isn’t mine.”
Few days ago, a New Yorker was particularly startled when he opened a package that wasn’t his because inside were several live lizards.
Port Chester Police received a call about the reptiles just after noon on Saturday. Why the police?
Officers posted a picture on the department’s Facebook page of three dark-colored lizards held in a large white container.
They held them until a local animal sanctuary could pick them up for safekeeping.
I just wish we had audio of the 911 call on that.
We don’t. What would it have sounded like if you’d made the call, Myrna?!
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, September 2nd, 2022. 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. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: The Lord of the Rings.
Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings have eagerly awaited Amazon Studios’ new show set in Middle Earth—and have done so with a mixture of anticipation and dread. Here’s arts and media editor Collin Garbarino with his initial thoughts on the series.
COLLIN GARBARINO: Amazon Studios’ The Rings of Power has finally arrived. The first episodes debuted on Prime Video last night, and new episodes will follow each week in this eight-part series. Amazon allowed me to watch the first two episodes early, so keep in mind this review isn’t based on the entire season. But those first two episodes give a pretty good idea where things are going.
GALADRIEL: Nothing is evil in the beginning. And there was a time when the world was so young there had not yet been a sunrise, but even then, there was light.
The biggest fear fans had was that Amazon would turn Tolkien’s story into a Game of Thrones style series full of adult-oriented material. It looks like those fears were unfounded. Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is rated TV-14, mostly for some scary scenes. So far, the show’s maturity level seems similar to the Peter Jackson movies.
The series is a prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and it’s based on Tolkien’s Simirillian and other tales. The show quickly lays out some of the history of Middle Earth in those long years before war of the ring brought about the end of the Third Age.
GALADRIEL: We had no word for death because we thought our joy would be unending.
The First Age saw the creation of the world as well as the creation of elves, men, and dwarves. The peace of that First Age was shattered by the dark lord Morgoth who made war against the young elves.
GALADRIEL: In the end, Morgoth would be defeated, but not before much sorrow. For his orcs had spread to every corner of Middle Earth, multiplying ever greater under the command of his most devoted servant, the cruel and cunning sorcerer. They called him Sauron.
This series takes place in the Second Age—thousands of years before Frodo cast the One Ring into Mount Doom. We’ll see the forging of the rings of power—when elves and men became proud and foolish, led astray by Sauron.
The central character is Galadriel. In Peter Jackson’s trilogy she was played by Cate Blanchett. Here she’s played with intensity by Morfydd Clark. Galadriel isn’t yet a stately elf queen. She’s a warrior maiden on a quest to eradicate evil from Middle Earth.
ELF: Commander Galadriel, this company has followed you to the very edge of the world, but none who have ever dared search for this lost stronghold has ever found anything. It’s been years since the last orc was sighted. Is it not possible the other commanders are right and our enemy is no more.
We also see a young Elrond, who though clever and political hasn’t yet achieved the wisdom for which he would become known.
ELROND: It is over. The evil is gone.
GALADRIEL: Then why is it not gone from in here.
ELROND: After all you have endured. It is only natural to feel conflicted.
GALADRIEL: Conflicted? I am grateful you have not known evil as I have. But you have not seen what I have seen.
ELROND: I have seen my share.
GALADRIEL: You have not seen what I have seen. Evil does not sleep, Elrond. It waits until the moment of our complacency. It blinds us.
Amazon’s playing a little fast and loose with Tolkien’s chronology. And alongside Tolkien’s heroes, the studio created many original characters and storylines to fill out the series. There’s an elf soldier who confronts prejudice when he falls in love with a human woman. And we meet Nori, an unusually adventurous hobbit girl.
NORI: Have you ever wondered what else is out there? How far the river flows or where the sparrows learn the new songs they sing in spring. I can’t help but feel there’s wonders in this world beyond our wandering.
MARIGOLD: I’ve told you countless times. Elves have forests to protect. Dwarves their mines. Men their fields of grain. Even trees have to worry about the soil beneath their roots. But we harfoots are free from the worries of the wide world. We are but ripples in a long long stream. Our paths set by the passing seasons. Nobody goes off trail and nobody walks alone. We have each other. We’re safe. That is how we survive.
Tolkien purists might not like some of these changes meant to appeal to a contemporary audience whose only attachment to the story is through the movies. In the books, Hobbits don’t make an appearance in the Second Age. And the show has humans mock an elf for his pointy ears, which doesn’t sound like the books either—in fact, Tolkien never said elves have pointy ears.
Tolkien wrote an epic set firmly within the context of northern European myth, but the studio has attempted to update and expand that myth by including non-white actors in the cast. The multicultural series looks a little more like America, but it also makes it look a little less like Tolkien’s Norse-Anglo-Saxon inspiration.
SADOC: First the big people, and now the stars. Eyes open when they should be sleeping. Almost like… Like they’re watching for something.
NORI: Watching for what?
The new series is entertaining, so far, but I suspect it will flinch from Tolkien’s tragic vision. Jackson’s movies abandoned that vision, opting for a more triumphant tone. And in comments at the premier this week Amazon’s Jeff Bezos said he loved Tolkien’s optimism. But in Tolkien’s world, each age might end in a victory of good over evil, but each age is also less good and less beautiful than the one before.
I’m Collin Garbarino.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, September 2nd. 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.
WORLD Radio’s Executive Producer Paul Butler is here now with this month’s Ask the Editor. Good morning Paul.
PAUL BUTLER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Good morning!
EICHER: Paul, instead of having you answer a listener's question today, we have questions! We chose the music intro for a reason, because it’s a theme you had created for one of WORLD’s newest initiatives. Tell us about the Sift radio newscast.
BUTLER: Sure, happy to! Listeners know that every day our program begins with a 5 to 6-minute newscast, typically by Kent Covington, our longtime news director and anchor. So last fall, we were approached by a couple Christian radio networks who were familiar with our newscast and they said they wanted that for their stations.
BROWN: I’m assuming these stations have already been providing news coverage, why did they want what we offer?
BUTLER: Unfortunately, we’ve all seen it, the news has become a pretty divisive issue, and these radio networks heard something unique in our coverage. They told me that they believe our commitment to Biblical objectivity and our Christian worldview is crucial for providing updated news coverage that supports their mission for discipleship and evangelism.
Sometimes the news is controversial, but we attempt to cover it fairly and without stoking outrage that you see in much of today’s news coverage.
I like the way our colleague Lynde Langdon puts it—she’s our Executive News Editor—and a key person in making this project possible:
LANGDON: So many media outlets today are using fear to draw in an audience. We call that “the-sky-is-falling” journalism. At WORLD, we want to equip our audience for discernment amid all the outrage. That means keeping our listeners informed about what’s happening in God’s world without proclaiming that the sky is falling—because we know the one who holds up the sky.
EICHER: We do. And Lynde’s great to keep the news team focused on that.
BUTLER: She is. Over the last few months Lynde has built an amazing breaking news team to help us accomplish this project. Steve Kloosterman is our breaking news editor—he lives in Michigan. We currently have two full-time breaking news reporters who work out of Asheville, North Carolina. They’re no strangers to WORLD Radio. They were both interns—and we hired them as soon as they got out of college: Josh Shumacher and Mary Muncy. Besides Kent Covington, as I mentioned, a handful of our regular program hosts will anchor the newscasts throughout the day, of course our usual technical staff that puts it all together throughout the day. And Nick, thanks to you for stepping up to help direct the team the afternoon drive-time slot.
EICHER: Well, as they say at Chick-fil-A, my pleasure! Best to say, I “get to” step up and wear multiple hats here at WORLD. I really love how this fits in with our overall mission of spreading Biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires to reach a whole new audience that maybe hasn’t even heard of WORLD. And we’re excited to serve them.
BUTLER: Right, and lots of them. We’ve already had more than 100 stations airing our newscasts regularly since July 4th. We’ve been creating two additional morning newscasts for the Moody Radio network of stations.
But beginning this month, we will have an updated newscast for every daypart—Monday through Friday. That means a fresh newscast from WORLD Radio during morning drive, a mid-morning update, early afternoon, afternoon drive time, and an evening newscast.
BROWN: Paul, talk about this week’s preparation for the launch.
BUTLER: All this week we’ve been producing six newscasts a day—we call it a “stress test” to make sure we’ve got all the systems in place for hitting our broadcast release times. Monday was a little bumpy, but each day since we hit every deadline!
EICHER: So this is radio only, broadcast radio only for our Sift newscasts?
BUTLER: Well, yes and no. September 5th, our newscasts will be available for download for Christian radio stations via server provided by Moody Radio.
The Moody Radio satellite service will begin broadcasting the newscasts September 12th, and Faith Radio Network out of the Twin Cities in Minnesota picks us up starting September 19th. We’ve had a handful of independent radio stations also say they will carry it as well. Most stations air the newscasts at or near the top of the hour. So that’s broadcast radio.
But maybe you don’t have a local radio affiliate carrying us … we’re also working on getting those newscasts available by smart speaker, and in its own podcast feed.
And a word to you if you work in broadcast radio: If you would like your local radio station to carry the Sift radio newscast, we’ve included some additional information in today’s transcript. We offer these newscasts at no cost to stations—we just ask them to make efforts to let their listeners know about our daily digital version of the Sift—available everyday by email.
BROWN: That’s great news, Paul. I’m glad we got the chance to “Ask the Editor.” Thanks!
BUTLER: Yeah, you betcha!
For more information about carrying The Sift Radio Newscast on your local radio station, call or email Moody Radio Network Development: 1-800-621-7031 / George.Economos@moody.edu / David.Woodworth@moody.edu
NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s time to give credit to the team that made this week’s programs come together.
Mary Reichard, David Bahnsen, Collin Garborino, Lauren Dunn, Addie Offereins, Bonnie Pritchett, Whitney Williams, Jill Nelson, Kent Covington, Anna Johansen Brown, Anna Mandin, Mary Muncy, Josh Schumacher, Leah Savas, Janie B. Cheaney, and Cal Thomas.
Thank you all.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And thanks also to the guys who stay up late to get the program to you early, Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz.
Kristen Flavin is our producer. Paul Butler is our executive producer.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
The Psalmist proclaims, Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. (Psalm 20:7 ESV)
Remember to worship alongside your brothers and sisters in Christ this weekend. God willing, we’ll meet you right back here on Monday.
Go now in grace and peace.
WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.