The World and Everything in It — November 13, 2019


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning! 

Universal basic income is making headlines.  How should Christians think about guaranteed money from the government? 

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: We’ll talk about that ahead on Washington Wednesday.

Also World Tour with Onize Ohikere.

Plus it was 30 years ago that the Berlin Wall came down.

JENNINGS: Just a short while ago astonishing news from East Germany where the East German authorities have said in essence that the Berlin Wall doesn’t mean anything anymore.

And Janie B. Cheaney on how to really feast this season.

REICHARD: It’s Thursday, November 13th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Good morning!

REICHARD: Now news. Here’s Kent Covington.


KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Public impeachment hearings begin today » Public impeachment hearings begin this morning on Capitol Hill.  

The first witnesses to testify in front of the TV cameras will be Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. Both have already testified behind closed doors. 

The hearing is slated for 10 a.m. Eastern Time. 

Democrats say starting today the American people will hear for themselves the evidence that President Trump wrongly leveraged military aid to Ukraine. Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee…

KILDEE: The fact that he was willing to condition that very necessary aide on a political favor is a point that we can’t ignore.

Republicans complain that the process remains one-sided. GOP members have submitted a list of witnesses they would like to question. But Democrats have the final say, and it’s unclear if they’ll accept any of the names on that list. 

Supreme Court hears DACA arguments » The Supreme Court could be poised to let the Trump administration pull the plug on the DACA program. That stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program shields from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants whose parents illegally brought them into the country as children.

President Obama used executive authority to create the program after legislation failed in Congress. And the high court heard arguments on Tuesday on whether it should stop the Trump administration from winding down the program. 

Outside the Supreme Court, DACA recipients and supporters pleaded their case.

AUDIO: I hope that the justices can see our humanity, our worth, and the contributions we make to this country as the good Americans we are. 

But conservative justices indicated that the question is not the merit of the program or its beneficiaries, but whether the Trump administration is within its authority.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh indicated the White House provided good reasons to do away with DACA. And Justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito questioned whether the court had the right to review such executive branch decisions. 

Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor disagreed with the administration’s rationale for ending DACA—namely that it is illegal. The court is expected to rule on the case by June of next year.

Trump hosts Turkish president at White House » President Trump will host Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today at the White House. 

Erdogan’s government reached agreements with the United States and Russia last month that ostensibly halted a Turkish assault on Kurds in northern Syria.

But some humanitarian groups say Turkey never actually ceased fire, as it claimed. 

Suicide bombers strike in Syria near Turkish border » Meantime, violence continues in the increasingly unstable region. 

WORLD’s Mindy Belz was on the ground near the Turkish border when suicide bombers struck, killing several people. She sent in this report.

MINDY BELZ, REPORTER: A car bomb rattled buildings and shattered glass in a busy commercial area in central Qamishli on Monday. Eyewitnesses reported five dead, but authorities have not released an official death toll.

Moments later a motorcycle bomber struck the Chaldean Catholic Church only blocks away. It’s one of 11 churches in this historically Christian area. Soon after the bombings came reports that militants had killed Qamishli’s Armenian Catholic priest, along with the man’s father. ISIS claimed responsibility for gunning down the men in their car. ISIS has claimed 30 attacks in the first 10 days of November, a huge increase in the wake of the U.S. pullout from northeastern Syria.

The new violence falls hard on residents here, who include Christians, Kurds, and Arab Muslims. Already they have survived other ISIS onslaughts.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Mindy Belz reporting from Qamishli, Syria.

COVINGTON: Israeli airstrike kills Palestinian militant leader » An Israeli airstrike in eastern Gaza Tuesday killed a senior leader of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad. 

AUDIO: [Sound of rocket blast]

Israeli forces targeted the home of Bahaa Abu el-Atta—killing him and his wife. 

Islamic Jihad is an Iranian-backed terror group. And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Abu al-Atta was preparing immediate attacks on Israel. Netanyahu is heard here through an interpreter. 

NETANYAHU: I want to clarify, Israel is not interested in an escalation, but we will do everything necessary to defend ourselves. 

Syrian officials said a separate Israeli strike in Damascus targeted another of the group’s top commanders, but he emerged unharmed.

The airstrikes set off the heaviest fighting in months between Israel and Islamic Jihad. Gaza militants fired scores of rockets into Israel throughout the day, some reaching as far as Tel Aviv. Israeli warplanes responded with a series of airstrikes on Islamic Jihad targets—killing at least five other militants.

Jimmy Carter recovering after surgery » Former President Jimmy Carter was recovering Tuesday from surgery to relieve pressure from bleeding on his brain. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has that story. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Carter underwent surgery at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital to resolve bleeding due to his recent falls. His spokeswoman said the surgery went well, and there were no complications. 

Carter has fallen at least three times this year. He was last hospitalized on October 21st after fracturing his pelvis.

At 95, Carter is the nation’s oldest-ever ex-president. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

COVINGTON: I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: an economic proposal gaining traction on the presidential campaign trail. Plus, remembering the fall of the Berlin Wall. This is The World and Everything in It.


MEGAN BASHAM: It’s Wednesday the 13th of November, 2019. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Megan Basham.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. It’s Washington Wednesday.

Universal basic income, UBI. That’s an economic model that guarantees a certain level of income. 

Proposals here in the United States vary, but in its full form, UBI involves the federal government giving each citizen a sum of money. 

And the word “universal” means the money goes to people regardless of how much they work or contribute to society.

BASHAM: This idea has taken root on the Democratic campaign trail. 

One candidate, Andrew Yang, has made UBI a cornerstone of his campaign. It’s made him flush with cash, while more accomplished candidates are struggling to raise enough money to keep going.

CBS: On Wednesday Andrew Yang’s campaign announced a third-quarter fundraising haul of $10 million. That’s more than three times the amount he brought in for quarter 2.

Yang at least doubled the third-quarter fundraising of 16 other candidates. 

What he calls the “freedom dividend” proposal is a big reason why. It’s really UBI by another name. Yang wants the U.S. government to give every American adult $1,000 per month. That’s $12,000 per year—as long as you’re not incarcerated.

YANG: If you look at what’s happening in America today, a mindset of scarcity has swept most of the country… Now if you put $1,000 a month into the hands of American families, what you see very clearly in the data is you see an improvement in child nutrition and health, you see an improvement in graduation rates, you see an improvement in mental health, you see lower levels of domestic violence, you see lower hospital visits…

REICHARD: Yang’s “freedom dividend” would cost some $3 trillion and require massive tax increases. And it may sound far-fetched. But other candidates are proposing similar policies, albeit more modest.

For example, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker wants to give every newborn $1,000. He calls it a “baby bond.” 

Meantime, the city of Stockton, California is experimenting with UBI. Stockton is a city of more than 300,000 people. So it’ll be worth watching what happens there. 

Here now to talk about it is Hugh Welchel. He’s president of the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics. 

Hugh, it’s great to have you on the program again.

WELCHEL: Thank you. It’s good to be back.

REICHARD: Well, Andrew Yang is out there making the case for why universal basic income makes sense. He points especially to the era of automation that we’re in right now. And clearly his proposal is grabbing some attention. What are your thoughts? 

WELCHEL: Yeah, it is very interesting. And he’s not the first one. This has been an idea that’s been around for some time. In fact, Thomas Moore mentions it in his 1516 book Utopia. So it’s been around for 500 years. I think probably one of the most interesting examples: Richard Nixon. Believe it or not, his administration studied the idea and tried to get it through Congress and failed. 

REICHARD: Did not know that. What does history tell us about experiments with universal basic income? 

WELCHEL: Most of the time it’s been tried it’s not been successful, for a number of different reasons. And I think people today say it was just the wrong timing—good idea, wrong time. And they’re arguing today that the time is right to try it. 

And I’ll be honest with you, when I first heard it, I thought, well, that’s a very interesting potential program that might do some good. It’s fascinating because both sides of the political spectrum are very interested in it. On the more liberal side, they see it as a social justice issue—a way to combat poverty and inequity, and redistribute wealth. So they like it. 

On the conservative side, they seem to like it because they see it as a way to reduce or eliminate bloated government, social welfare programs. So there’s a little bit for everyone to like. So it’s a very interesting proposal. 

REICHARD: Well, it is interesting. And as Christians, we certainly don’t want people to live in poverty, but how does this concept fit with what we see in the Bible? I’m thinking of 2 Thessalonians 3 where it says, “If a man does not work, he should not eat.”

WELCHEL: No, that’s exactly right. And really if you look at that passage, the emphasis is really on that man who doesn’t want to work. It’s someone who doesn’t want to work. It’s really not talking about people that have lost their job or looking for a job, people unemployed, that are actively seeking work. It’s really—in the Greek text, that it’s people that are unwilling to work. 

Now the reason he says this is very interesting, and I think it goes back to the Old Testament and really to the book of Genesis. Because if we go back and look at the creation story, we see that man was made to work. We see in Genesis 2 it says God put Adam in the garden to work it and to take care of it.

So we’re here to do work that brings flourishing to God’s creation. And I would argue all work is really designed to do that.

The problem is we have kind of corrupted this Biblical view of work—if you go back to the first century, there were two views of work, two cultural views of work. One was the Greek view, which basically said work’s bad. Leisure’s good,

The flip side of that was the Hebrew view of work and it kind of grows out of the Old Testament understanding of work. And that basically said that all work is good work. 

In fact, this picture you see of God in the very beginning, creating the heavens and the earth, he’s working. It’s a picture of God with his hands in the dirt, making something, actually making something out of nothing. We can’t do that, but he expects us to make something out of something he’s given us. 

So, that’s what work is about. And so you take that away what are you left with? 

REICHARD: Right, that’s the kingdom view of work and the purpose of man. Well, Hugh, I want to get back to what we began with here, which is universal basic income. We needed the kingdom basis for how to think about this. 

So I want to ask you now: we’ve seen the official unemployment rate drop to historical lows; we’ve also seen an uptick in the labor participation rate. Now that’s a government number measuring how many eligible adults are in the workforce. And it’s above 63 percent right now. So that’s good news. 

But could universal basic income take away incentive for young people especially to join the work force? 

WELCHEL: Yeah, it’s really hard to say, and it really depends on how you set it up. For example, a guy named Charles Murray, he suggested a plan where everyone would be given $13,000 a year. And out of that $13,000 you’d have to take $3,000 of it and use that to buy your medical insurance. 

Now, I don’t know many people that’d be satisfied living on $10,000 a year. So, obviously, there would still be a lot of incentive for people to work and continue to work. But there are other people talking, you know, $30-35,000 a year to certain people in certain circumstances. That would be enough for a lot of people just to go to the beach every day. And I think that not only has some tremendous negative implications to people personally, but to society as a whole. 

REICHARD: There was a recent poll by Hill/HarrisX found 49 percent of registered voters support some kind of “government-issued living stipend.” That’s up by 6 points since the last time these pollsters asked the question, in February. So again, this idea seems to be gaining traction. How can Christians talk about this issue in a helpful way within their circles of influence?  

WELCHEL: Yeah, I think what we have to do is take the long view and really begin to talk to people about the importance of work and really kind of this Biblical view of work. 

It’s interesting if you read in the book of Ecclesiastes, in the third chapter, it says this, “What does the worker gain for his toil? I know that there are, there’s nothing better for man to be happy and to do good where he lives, that everyone might eat and drink, find satisfaction in his work. It is a gift of God.”

And I think Paul echoes that in Thessalonians when he says, make it your ambition to live a quiet life. You should mind your own business and work with your hands just as we told you so that your daily life might win the respect of others, and so that you would not be dependent upon anyone. 

That Biblical view is very different than what we’re talking about is the government’s gonna take care of everybody. At the end of the day this is just really one more way to redistribute wealth. And I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about wealth redistribution and why we should do it and why or maybe why we shouldn’t do it. 

We’ve written a lot about that here at the institute and if you look at the top 20 percent of wage earners against the bottom 20 percent—if you just look at what they made—there’s a 17 to 1 difference, between the top 20 percent, bottom 20 percent. Look at the bottom 10 percent, goes up to 60 to 1. 

And so a lot of people use those statistics to say we’ve got to even the playing field. But the problem is, they’re not telling you the whole story, because that does not take into account taxes, nor does it take into account the incredible amount of wealth distribution we do through welfare. 

Now, when you take the taxes away—and the taxes are mainly on that top half—and then you add the welfare back in, which is at the bottom of half, it drops that 60 to 1 down to 3.8 to 1. 

And so, you know, they say the numbers don’t lie, but you have to be careful with the way people use numbers. So one of the things we talk a lot about is that this huge need to redistribute wealth in the United States is not as big as a lot of people would like you to believe.

REICHARD: Hugh Welchel is the president of the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics. Hugh, thank you for your time today.

WELCHEL: I’m glad to be here.


MARY REICHARD: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Violent protests in Chile—We start today in South America.

AUDIO: [Protesters and police in Santiago Chile]

Anti-government rallies in Chile turned violent over the weekend. Protesters threw rocks at police who responded by firing tear gas canisters into the crowds.

The violence started late Friday when an otherwise peaceful rally ended with protesters looting and setting fire to a church and nearby university.

AUDIO: [Protesters and police in Santiago Chile]

The protests started three weeks ago over increasing subway fares. But they quickly grew to include anger over inequality. Young protesters are demanding an end to low wages and the high cost of education and healthcare. Twenty protesters have died so far in clashes with police.

Coalition government follows Spanish election—Next we go to Europe.

AUDIO: [Spanish parties before reporters]

Leaders of the Socialist and far-left Podemos parties appeared before reporters Tuesday to announce they have agreed to form a government. Disagreement among the parties after an election in April forced Spain to go back to the polls last weekend.

AUDIO: [Pedro Sanchez comments]

Incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the new coalition will be based on cohesion, loyalty, and governmental solidarity.

The Socialist Party won the most seats on Sunday but fell short of the majority needed to form a government. The nationalist Vox party doubled its presence in parliament and became the third-largest party in the chamber.

Vox’s popularity is in part due to anger over the ongoing unrest in Catalonia.

AUDIO: [Sound of Catalan separatist activists]

Separatists there want to break away from Spain to form their own country. On Monday they blocked a major highway connecting France and Spain. The protesters are angry over prison sentences recently handed out to former leaders who backed secession.

China to buy British Steel—Next to the U.K.

China plans to make a major investment in the country’s steel industry. Conglomerate Jingye announced Monday that it has agreed to buy British Steel. The sale saves the company from bankruptcy and ends some of the uncertainty facing about 4,000 workers.

AUDIO: I feel like our jobs are safe at the moment. Well it depends what the Chinese want to do.

The company produces about one-third of the country’s steel at its plant in Lincolnshire. Nic Dakin represents the area in parliament.

LEE: I’ve been really impressed by Chairman Lee when I met him of his desire to invest in this business. I think today they’ve announced that they want to make 1.2 billion pounds’ worth of investments. I mean that will really transform this business.

But not everyone shares his excitement. Critics blame China for the company’s collapse in the first place. It pushed low-cost steel into the EU market, pricing out the more expensive British product.

More time to form a government in S. Sudan—And finally, we end today here in Africa.

The leaders of South Sudan have agreed to a 100-day extension of their peace deal in hopes of forming a coalition government. President Salva Kiir addressed the nation on Friday.

KIIR: I know the extension does not give you assurance about security in South Sudan, and it does not help to reduce your suffering. Something that has been bothering me for a very long time.

Unrest in the country started in 2013 with a disagreement between Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar about how to run the country. The resulting violence between rival militias has killed hundreds of thousands of people. The current peace deal calls for a unified army and joint military training. But Kiir’s government has not been able to raise the money to pay for it.

That’s this week’s World Tour. For WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere reporting from Abuja, Nigeria.


MEGAN BASHAM: Last week’s NFL game in New Jersey between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys was a hoot! 

REICHARD: Or maybe a meow. 

BASHAM: A black cat zig-zagged across the field during the second quarter. Referees had to delay the game while New Jersey State Troopers tried to wrangle the cat. 

The chase was on and fans cheered as the cat went on a breakaway down the field. One Giants fan called the action from the stands.

AUDIO: He’s at the 30, the 25, the 20, he’s at the 15 … he’s going all the way!

But then—a moment of suspense as the cat suddenly stopped just a few yards from the end zone before resuming his drive.

AUDIO: Go, go, go, go, no don’t stop now! Keep on going! Go, go … Touchdown!

But nobody could catch the cat! It’s still on the loose—but no matter, the Cowboys won the game.  And tweeted that the kitty would be in their starting lineup for the next game.

It’s The World and Everything in It.


MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Wednesday, November 13th. So glad you’ve joined us today for The World and Everything in ItGood morning! I’m Megan Basham.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Thirty years ago, the fall of the Berlin Wall.  

From 1961 to 1989, the wall divided the city of Berlin. 

Communist East Germany erected the wall in an attempt to keep their people in

And for the most part, they succeeded, although more than 5,000 Germans did manage to escape. At least 100 others died trying.

BASHAM: But when it fell, Berlin was once again united. And more than that, it signaled political changes all across Eastern Europe. 

WORLD Radio correspondent Jenny Lind Schmitt was studying abroad in 1989 and had a front row seat to the historic event. 

JENNY LIND SCHMITT, REPORTER: Thirty years ago I was a college student studying abroad. On November 9, 19-89, there was a single, unforgettable headline:

PETER JENNINGS ABC NEWS NOVEMBER 9, 1989: I’m Peter Jennings in New York. Just a short while ago astonishing news from East Germany where the East German authorities have said in essence that the Berlin Wall doesn’t mean anything anymore. 

The German students in my classes at the University of Geneva arrived the next morning dumbfounded. All of them had relatives in East Germany they had never met. Most of them made plans to go directly home for family reunions. 

In Berlin, thousands of East Germans drove across the border to discover the West…

NEWSCAST: Here, as everywhere else, it is one breathtaking moment after another. The new arrivals in their tiny smoke-belching cars were greeted like athletes, patted on the back and cheered forward.

…and thousands of hammers started chipping away at the wall. 

AUDIO: [Sound of hammering]

Over the next weeks, my classes on modern European history paled in comparison to the events unfolding in the headlines every day. Hungary’s Socialist Workers’ Party disbanded. The Czechoslovakian Communist party government resigned, and playwright Vaclav Havel was made president. 

Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Ukraine all showed signs of restlessness. 

In late December, as Romania overthrew its hardline dictator, the world made plans to bring in the New Year in Berlin.  

AUDIO: [Train wheels on track leaving station]

I boarded a train with friends and joined the half-million people streaming to Berlin. We gathered at Brandenburg Gate, where two years before President Reagan had given his speech in front of the Berlin Wall. We climbed on top of it. I wrote in my journal: 

JENNY: We wandered to the wall and Brandenburger Tor and ended up climbing on top of it until East German guards had to gently help us down. It is so bizarre to think that perhaps three or four months ago if we had climbed up on the Berlin Wall these same guards would have shot us. 

AUDIO: [Sound of crowd celebrating]

At midnight on New Year’s Eve, the crowd counted down in unison on both sides of the wall. At the top of Brandenburg Gate someone pulled down the East German flag, tore it into shreds and then hoisted it again to wild cheers. 

East German guards opened a gap in the wall, and the crowd conga-line danced through.  

JENNY: After awhile we walked to East Berlin—just walked… We met “Mike,” an East German guy who was excited to meet Americans and escorted us through East Berlin to the Parliamentary Palace of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, where we walked straight in the front door and onto the dance floor. 

That party at communist headquarters was the gloomiest New Year’s Party I’ve ever attended, before or since. It was a perfect metaphor: The old guard going through the motions, trying to save face, while youth and change danced in and crashed the party. 

DAVID HASSELLHOFF AT BRANDENBURG GATE (SINGING): I’ve been looking for freedom, I’ve been looking so long….

It was a new year, a new decade, a new era. TIME Magazine wrote that it was—quote—“one of those rare times when the tectonic plates of history shift beneath men’s feet, and nothing after is quite the same.”

And things weren’t the same after. Germany reunified less than a year later. A year after that the USSR ceased to exist. The end of the communist states in Eastern Europe gave freedom to millions. 

AUDIO: [Sound of crowd celebrating, fireworks] 

Conflict didn’t disappear though. The breakup of Yugoslavia led to war in Bosnia, where 100,000 people died and tensions there still simmer. 

Russia reemerged as a threat. And in embracing the bounties of the West, many who formerly lived under communist atheism exchanged it for the god of materialism. 

AUDIO: [Sound of Russian protestants singing]

But the fall of communism in Europe also gave unprecedented opportunity to spread the gospel. It was an answer to years of prayer by faithful believers on both sides of the Iron Curtain. And in each of the former Eastern bloc countries the evangelical church has grown.

On New Year’s Day, 1990, I walked back through East Berlin. Blocky communist architecture mingled with old baroque churches and classical statues. But there were still buildings bombed out from World War II.

JENNY: In West Berlin you only see modern superstructures. And then one wonders, if Germany was reunited and if Berlin was the capital, what would happen to it? Could it be beautiful again? 

AUDIO: [BRANDENBURGER TOR BY KETIL STOKKAN]

This week, Berlin held celebrations marking the 30th anniversary of the end of communism.

AUDIO: [Sound of music and fireworks, 30 year celebration]

Pieces of the infamous wall have made their way around the world, to places as far flung as Las Vegas, Jamaica, and the Vatican. Some sections stayed in Berlin—a memorial to an era and its end. And three small pieces of the Berlin Wall are on a shelf in my living room. 

JENNY: I kept thinking—this is a night I will never forget. I will not forget the completely drunken East German border guard who gave me a New Year’s hug. I will never forget the night I walked to East Berlin with an East Berliner.

AUDIO: [BRANDENBURGER TOR BY KETIL STOKKAN chorus]

LYRIC: Let’s go down to Brandenburger Tor, Everybody like we could before, Dreams come true at Brandenburger Tor, Let’s go to Brandenburger Tor, Yeah, let’s go to Brandenburger Tor.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Jenny Lind Schmitt.


MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Wednesday, November 13th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. It’ll soon be time for feasting, and WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney advises we notice more than just the food.

JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: When my husband and I married, I was no cook. I could bake some, but man does not live by cookies alone. So my man insisted I sign up for a cooking class at the local college. Practically speaking, that was the best class I ever took—much preferable to food poisoning.

My first kitchen was smaller than a walk-in closet, with an apartment-sized gas oven and a plywood countertop. Starting there, I produced at least one meal per day. By the time we were homeschooling our kids, it was three meals a day, seven days a week.

That might have been a rarity then, but even more now. The decline in family mealtimes naturally corresponds with the decline in families, but even intact families sit down to a meal much less often than they did 50 years ago.

An Atlantic article titled “How Americans Lost Dinner” blames hectic schedules and less time. Even Blue Apron, claims the writer, takes too much time: “Right now, a box of food from a meal-kit company is probably moldering in my apartment building’s mail room.” Scratch cooking may soon be a niche field left largely to the “experts.”

“Losing dinner” may seem the least of our worries. Still, we miss it. Spooning mac and cheese out of the saucepan directly into one’s mouth is the height of efficiency, but strikes most of us as slightly barbaric. No other creature invests eating with something like ceremony. Whether “dressing for dinner” or setting the table for soup-and-a-sandwich, humans tend to give meals an importance beyond consuming calories.

In his 1969 book, Chance or the Dance? Thomas Howard contrasts the “old myth,” or religious worldview, with the new: the old “saw the world as image; the new sees it as a chance linkage of physical events.”

In other words, to a believer, everything in the world speaks of something beyond it, even sitting down to dinner. To a secularist, nothing means anything unless you want it to.

The Bible cloaks mealtimes with great significance, from the elaborate ritual of Passover to a picnic on the beach with the risen Christ. Pilgrims to Jerusalem could look forward to fellowship offering, when families were invited to bring any meat they desired to the altar, to “eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household” (Deuteronomy 14:26-27)[JD1] . Passing around the goat kebabs reminded the Lord’s people of his blessings. Passing around the communion bread and wine reminds us of the Lamb of God, but also anticipates his wedding feast.

Research has supposedly proven many benefits of families eating together, from higher self-esteem to lower obesity. Those benefits are not in the meal itself, but in the importance the family gives to the meal—the ritual of preparation and table setting and giving thanks. While gathering around the Thanksgiving table, give thanks for that, too—the image that connects us to forever.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Janie B. Cheaney.


MEGAN BASHAM: Tomorrow: The price of insulin has tripled in the last decade. We’ll explain why and what’s being done about it. 

And, evangelical leaders are urging support for immigration reform they say keeps families together and honors the law. 

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Megan Basham.

MARY REICHARD: 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.

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I hope you’ll have a great rest of the day. We’ll talk to you tomorrow!


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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