MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!
Might COVID-19 make us re-evaluate our cultural priorities?
NICK EICHER, HOST: We’ll talk about that on Culture Friday.
Also movie theaters are closed, so studios are beginning to make their latest releases available for streaming. We’ll tell you about the new Jane Austen adaptation you can see at home.
And, we’ll introduce you to a worship leader who builds on her father’s legacy.
And Katie Gaultney finds a silver lining in social distancing.
BASHAM: It’s Friday, March 20th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
BASHAM: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: U.S. crosses 10,000 confirmed coronavirus cases » The United States now has more than 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. And the U.S. death toll now stands at about 170.
Across the country, states and cities are stepping up efforts to slow the spread of the disease.
California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom last night announced a “shelter in place” order for the entire state. Though, he stressed that does not mean Californians will be locked inside their homes.
NEWSOM: You can still walk your dog. You can still pick up that food at one of our distribution centers, at a restaurant, at a drive-thru.
Meantime, in Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott declared a public health disaster and announced new restrictions.
ABBOTT: Simply put, there will be no dining in at bars and restaurants and gyms will be closed.
Public gatherings of more than 10 people are also prohibited in the Lone Star State. That means schools will remain closed.
And in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, also announced new measures.
WOLF: We began to enforce mandatory closures of restaurants, bars, and soon we will extend that enforcement action to non-life-critical businesses.
Businesses considered “life-critical” include grocery stories, gas stations, and farms.
Meantime, the Trump administration has issued a new alert—upgrading its travel warning to “level four.” That’s unprecedented for any global warning. The State Department urged Americans not to travel outside of the country for any reason and to return home if they are already abroad unless they plan to remain there.
Italy surpasses China death toll » That warning comes as the coronavirus continues to spread globally. That’s especially true in Europe. In Italy, the death toll from the coronavirus overtook China’s reported total on Thursday. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Italy, with a population of 60 million, recorded at least 34-hundred deaths. That’s roughly 150 more than the reported death toll in China—a country with a population more than 20 times larger.
Italy reached the bleak milestone the same day that Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged three months ago, recorded no new infections. That appears to be a sign that China’s draconian lockdowns were effective in containing the scourge.
On Thursday, a visiting Chinese Red Cross team criticized Italians’ failure to properly quarantine themselves and take the national lockdown seriously.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
McConnell unveils GOP coronavirus relief plan » Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled a sweeping economic rescue plan Thursday. It would send $1,200 checks directly to taxpayers.
MCCONNELL: Senate Republicans want to put cash in the hands of the American people. Chairman Grassley and a number of our colleagues are finalizing a structure that will get assistance to individuals and families as rapidly as possible.
The government would send the one-time $1,200 stipends to individuals—$2,400 for couples—phased out at income thresholds of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 per couple. Additionally, there would be $500 payments for each child.
Individuals and families could also make penalty-free withdrawals of up to $100,000 from their tax-deferred 401(k) retirement funds. The plan would also loosen tax rules on charitable giving.
Additionally, it would deliver $300 billion in aid to small businesses. That’s intended to cover critical business expenses and keep paychecks coming to idle workers. It also provides roughly $200 billion in loans to airlines and other industries.
Senate GOP leaders and the White House will soon meet with Senate Democrats to finalize what the Senate’s calling its “phase 3” relief measure.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday…
SCHUMER: We believe that whatever proposal emerges, and it will be bipartisan, it must be a workers-first proposal.
Amid the pandemic, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits soared last week by 70,000, to the highest level in more than two years.
Work continues on possible treatments for COVID-19 » At the White House Thursday, President Trump said work continues on possible treatments for COVID-19. He said health officials are highly encouraged by the potential of several options. And he said his administration is moving to cut red tape at the Food and Drug Administration that could unnecessarily slow down the approval process of certain drugs that can help.
TRUMP: If treatments known to be safe in Europe, Japan or other nations are effective against the virus, we’ll use that information to protect the health and safety of the American people. Nothing will stand in our way as we pursue any avenue to find what best works against this horrible virus.
Trump and FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn cited the malaria drug chloroquine, along with remdesivir, an experimental antiviral from Gilead Sciences, and possibly using plasma from survivors of COVID-19.
But Hahn stressed that the FDA will not recklessly approve any treatment.
HAHN: FDA’s responsibility to the American people is to ensure that products are safe and effective.
The first clinical trial of a vaccine began earlier this week, though a final product is likely at least a year away.
Gabbard drops out, endorses Biden » The battle for the Democratic presidential nomination is now officially a two-person race.
GABBARD: So today, I’m suspending my presidential campaign and offering my full support to Vice President Joe Biden in his quest to bring our country together.
Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard heard there on Thursday, suspending her presidential campaign.
Gabbard said “it’s clear that Democratic primary voters have chosen” Biden to take on President Trump in November. The four-term congresswoman added, “Although I may not agree with the vice president on every issue, I know that he has a good heart, and he’s motivated by his love for our country and the American people.”
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the coronavirus strips away cultural pretense.
Plus, Rachel Green Taylor reflects on her family’s legacy.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MEGAN BASHAM: It’s Friday the 20th of March, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Megan Basham.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up: Culture Friday.
Well, had the world not changed so drastically in the last week or so, we’d have been sitting together in Greenville, South Carolina, in front of a live audience, maybe even talking about something other than COVID-19.
Yet, instead, we can be thankful to God for technology, and specifically, working technology, that allows us to say hello to the socially distanced John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.
We are connected by way of a studio setup in John’s home in Colorado Springs—way out there in the west.
JOHN STONESTREET, GUEST: Good morning!
EICHER: John, I want to read you a message we received from a listener who’d planned to be with us today. It’s so nice.
Dawn Shelton is her name, and we know that she and her daughter are listening now. So let’s say a socially distanced “Hi” to the Sheltons!
She posted a picture of herself with her daughter. She’s got a nice water bottle there, powder blue, complete with a swag sticker with The World and Everything in It logo, and they’re smiling.
And here’s what she wrote:
We might be a little sad that our trip to the Greenville Live event this sweet daughter planned for my birthday had to be cancelled. However we’re grateful we can listen to the podcast together the next 2 days while she’s in town!
So, happy birthday to Dawn, and we sure wish we could be with you right now.
But I think if God will grant that we return to normal and we start putting events back on the calendar, I know I’ll have an even stronger sense of gratitude simply for the joy of meeting together.
Maybe we take things for granted until we lose the ability to enjoy the simple pleasure of a face-to-face conversation.
But John, before we dive into the wider culture, you know, we’ve been doing lots of reporting here at WORLD about how people are handling social distancing. So tell me about the Stonestreet culture. You have young ones, and a really young one at home.
Just very briefly, how are you and Sarah creatively spending the time?
STONESTREET: Well, I think the biggest difference is that I’m going to be here and not traveling at all—not a single week between now, what looks like, and Easter. We homeschool so we’re not one of the millions of brand new homeschool families in America as of a couple weeks ago. And so there’s still a whole lot of school going on, but we’re also, you know, using the time to catch up on some shows that we had planned to binge watch. We’re using the time to read a lot of books that we weren’t thinking that we would have time to get to. And also getting a lot of projects done around the house. I will say, though, that with Hunter there is no such thing as social distancing.
BASHAM: So John, talking about the lead-up to our live event and, sadly, having to to postpone it. Just one week’s history seems so distant, but I’d like to go way, way back!
All the way to January. Which to be honest, seems like a lifetime ago now.
So this is a first, I think, on Culture Friday. But I’d like to a play a soundbite of January John Stonestreet for March John Stonestreet to comment on.
This was something you said about the latest Star Wars movie, The Rise of Skywalker, before the coronavirus was more than blip on our news radar. And it’s something I found myself thinking about this week.
STONESTREET: Whenever you have a survival sort of universe like we’ve seen through history, you don’t have an LGBT movement. An LGBT movement is the luxury of a wealthy society. You don’t find it anywhere on the planet that is one that’s working—or in history—that’s working for survival, which is of course what we’re talking about in this fictional Star Wars universe.
So maybe it’s a little premature to say the U.S. is in survival mode now. But then again, things are changing quickly, so maybe it’s not.
Certainly it seemed a little surreal to see stories about Walmart offering its employees preferred pronoun buttons only a few days before schools and restaurants started closing up and California started issuing shelter in place orders. It really felt, as you described it in that Star Wars conversation, decadent and out of step with the moment the world is facing.
We can already guess how this pandemic might shake-up the way a lot of industries do business.
But any sense yet of how this might affect us on a cultural level?
STONESTREET: I mean, I do think it’s a little premature that we’re in survival mode. The means and production, the supply chains, short of the nationwide rush on toilet paper is still pretty much in place. But I do think that comment has aged pretty well because, look, on a given weekly basis as I scan the headlines, there is just a dramatically disproportional number of headlines, social media posts, national news stories having to do with something LGBTQ. And that has dramatically been reduced even this week—not a single LGBTQ headline. And even in our paper in Colorado Springs it would be 20-30 percent. I think the only story that I’ve seen in the last week or so has been a story about Lance Bass and his husband losing their ninth attempt at in-vitro fertilization in order to have a child. And so I think—I saw that, I don’t know how many other people saw that, but it just seems, again, so—oh, good heavens—just decadent, out of step.
I think, too, though, that in times of emergency, we find ourselves reinforcing biological realities like male and female. So, it’ll be window dressing in the future, but any sort of substantial change kind of gets revealed to be what it is, which is kind of bizarre. And I think the word decadent that you used is the right one.
BASHAM: So John, we’re not the first generation of believers to face something like this. And many faced much worse and redeemed that time through faithful ministry. I’m thinking of Zwingli and Martin Luther during the plague in the 16th century. Or Charles Spurgeon during the cholera outbreaks in the 1800s. Those men changed their cultures in times of sickness.
This is historic stuff that we’re facing right now. There’s a lot of panic and fear out there. What are the marks God’s people might leave on the world in the age of coronavirus?
STONESTREET: Yeah, it’s a fascinating history and we’ve been saying it in terms of things like addiction or in terms of sexual brokenness that the church belongs there, too. And it’s such an important thing to think about. And here we are with a legitimate, actual sort of plague. And so we find ourselves in the history of the church.
We were talking about this earlier in light of Christians in China during the early days of this pandemic and what they were doing in terms of caring for the elderly and so on, thinking it’s OK that I get infected and so on because I want to share Christ’s love with others. Now, I think there’s a way of loving neighbor that involves going online with church services.
But there is something just remarkable about the history of the church and something that I hope we don’t drop the ball on. I’ve kind of thought about it in terms of a couple ways. First of all, one of the greatest contributions that I think God’s people can make right now is through hope, being people of hope. Because we forget that not only is this culture going through this, it’s going through this with a whole kind of environment of bad secular thinking that’s framing the way they’re looking at it. And secular thinking, first of all, involves a Darwinian sort of thought that the world has survived thus far on razor thin margins of error. And so this is why that sort of catastrophic sort of thinking dominates us and we’re always looking for the next thing that’s going to end because we shouldn’t be here in the first place, in a Darwinian sort of sense. And so to realize that, first of all, the world’s not out of God’s control.
Second, the opposite side of that—secularism—because the universe is not a place of God’s control, the only people left to control it is us. And so there has been this kind of illusion that we can make the world whatever we want it and we forget that kind of in a sense we’re here at the invitation of the created order and the fall and that invitation is subject to be rescinded at any time without notice with natural disasters or with evil acts or things like that. It’s just not a world that we can control, and yet we are the first generation in history—really, the first, the last 50 years or so—that really think they have a handle on reality, that we can kind of stop things and we can kind of economically determine it here or politically process it over there. And there are moments like this when we realize, look, we really aren’t in control. And so that right thinking, that this is a world in God’s hands, not out of control and not in our control, is probably one of the best things that the church can be crystal clear on. Which means we can’t panic. We can’t overly politicize this thing like has been done in ridiculous ways. That we have to ground our understanding of the value of human life and of the tragedy of the universe and a Christian worldview and there’s no way around that. We’re going to have to figure out how to keep that straight.
EICHER: Well, John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.
John, we’ll talk to you again. Lord willing.
STONESTREET: Yes, thanks so much.
NICK EICHER: Bob and Nancy Shellard have been married 67 years. But on their anniversary this week, sadly, they couldn’t be together.
Nancy’s in a nursing home, and, prudently, the policy right now is as it is pretty much everywhere, no visitors.
Bob told NBC News…
SHELLARD: It makes me feel bad because I want her down with me and I know she can’t be.
So Bob did the best he could. He stood outside the nursing home in view of his wife’s second story window. He brought balloons and a sign.
It read, “I’ve loved you 67 years and still do. Happy Anniversary.”
Nancy responded by waving and blowing kisses.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: Today is Friday, March 20th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham.
Movie theaters are basically closed in this country, so, Universal Pictures announced it would make several movies that had only recently been released to theaters now available for streaming.
Two of those films are horror schlock.
But that’s the last thing anxious people need while homebound.
The third, however, will give eyes starved for beauty and hearts starved for society something to savor.
CLIP: She is pretty and she has a good temper, that is all. That is all? These are not trivial recommendations, Mr. Knightley. Till men do fall in love with well-informed minds instead of handsome faces, a girl with such loveliness as Harriet has a certainty of being admired and sought after wherever she goes. I am very much mistaken if your sex in general would not find these qualities the highest claims a woman can possess.
This week, I lost my sweet aunt to ovarian cancer. She’s the one who introduced me to the delights of Jane Austen while I was still a pre-teen. Part of what she helped me appreciate about Austen’s novels are the multitudes they contain.
They’re swooning romances, hilarious satires, and social commentaries all rolled into one. But underneath all that they offer moral instruction.
Yet instruction that arises so naturally from sharply drawn characters, more than two centuries later we still easily recognize ourselves in their defects and virtues. No Austen heroine has more of those all-too relatable defects and less of the virtue than spoiled, selfish Emma.
This latest Emma is, admittedly, less accessible than the Gwyneth Paltrow film or the BBC miniseries. This one focuses far more on the farce and sometimes foolish pageantry of Emma’s world than on the love triangles and intrigue.
Because it’s more subtle and stylistic, it may be harder for younger viewers to grasp fully. And parents may not want them to anyway. The PG rating includes two flashes of bare backsides.
Both instances occur while servants are helping wealthy characters dress. And they seem to be included to challenge our revisionist imaginations that erase indignities when we picture the past. While that’s a worthwhile point to make, it’s a shame the filmmakers couldn’t have made it some other way.
For older viewers, however, and those who know Austen well, actress Anna-Taylor Joy’s haughty demeanor does a better job exposing what really lies beneath the thin layer of altruism Emma shows the world: Vanity.
CLIP: I’m ready to die if you refuse me. You take me for my friend. Any message you have to Miss Smith I shall be happy to deliver. Miss Smith? A message for Miss Smith? I never once thought of Miss Smith in the whole course of my existence, never paid her any attention except as your friend, never cared whether she were dead or alive but as your friend. Who can think of Miss Smith when Miss Woodhouse is near?
Wealthy, beautiful Emma wants to be admired, and so she likes to be seen distributing charity to her poor neighbors and befriending hapless orphan Harriet. While it’s all sugary pastels and Regency manners on the outside, this is the moral core this adaptation gets at better than the others. Emma is not an essentially lovable character who gives in to her lesser nature because of the influence of the duplicitous Frank Churchill. No, her lesser nature was always running the show. Churchill just makes her careless enough to reveal it.
Of course, Austen isn’t Austen without the love story, and this version does a better job with this element as well. Actor Johnny Flynn gives us a passionate, even tempestuous Knightley.
CLIP: Thank you, for your kindness to Harriet. It was unpardonably rude. And he aimed at wounding more than Harriet. I was completely mistaken in Mr. Elton. There is a little miss to him which you discovered and I did not. You would’ve chosen for him better than he has chosen for himself. Harriet Smith has some first rate qualities which Elton is totally without. She does you credit, Emma, as you do her. With whom will you dance? With you. If you will ask me. You have shown that you can dance and we are not really so much brother and sister as to make it improper. No, indeed.
The wounds of a friend are faithful. And Knightley is Emma’s truest friend when he rebukes her bad behavior. I’m thankful most versions have captured this. But in doing so, they lost some of the romance. Flynn’s performance offers both, showing us a man capable of leading the woman he loves without parenting her.
And lead, Knightley does. In a scene that isn’t in the novel but is a lovely touch, Emma humbles herself in a way that shows true repentance for her earlier snobbery.
As Austen shows us, a love story that isn’t built on integrity can never really have a happy ending.
MEGAN BASHAM: Next up on The World and Everything in It: It’s been almost four decades, but for those who grew up in the 1970’s, the voice is unmistakable. Keith Green’s music, message, and method were unlike anyone else’s.
NICK EICHER: Back in 1982, at the height of his music ministry, Green and two of his children died in a plane crash. He left behind a wife and two daughters.
WORLD reporter Myrna Brown recently spoke with Green’s youngest child—in her first interview—about her father’s legacy.
RACHEL GREEN TAYLOR MUSIC: I look up into the star-filled sky and I wonder if you hear?
MYRNA BROWN, REPORTER: Rachel Green was just six weeks in her mother’s womb when her father, brother and sister died in a plane crash on July 28th, 1982. Green was born the following March. She spent much of her childhood traveling with her mother, Melody Green. They toured all over the country, continuing the ministry of her father—singer, songwriter, and musician, Keith Green.
KEITH GREEN SPEAKING: About midnight I wrote a letter to the Lord. I didn’t know where to mail it, so I put it in my Bible.
RACHEL GREEN TAYLOR: You know some of my earliest memories of hearing about my father were being 2, 3, 4 years old laying on chairs in the back of a church. So I heard her full testimonies and lots of stories all the time through my growing up.
KEITH GREEN SPEAKING THEN SINGING: I stayed up until about 2 in the morning writing this song…. Oh Lord, you’re beautiful….
In addition to gazing at photographs, Green would watch old television clips of her curly-haired father. He was always on stage, at the piano, wearing a full beard, blue jeans and suspenders. But it was the collection of family videos that gave her the sweetest glimpse of Green’s short 28 years.
RACHEL GREEN TAYLOR: We have that on video, my mom telling him that she’s pregnant. And then he was like, oh my gosh. So my dad was this enthusiastic, jumping all over the place, off the walls guy.
And because of Keith Green’s larger than life, tell-it-like-it-is personality, Rachel Green often felt detached from her famous father.
RACHEL GREEN TAYLOR: And I remember having realizations from time to time of, Oh, this person on the screen, that’s my dad.
She says it took nearly two decades to come to terms with her father’s death.
RACHEL GREEN TAYLOR SONG: And why this road I will never know…
RACHEL GREEN TAYLOR: I started writing Why This Way when I was 18. That line, “why your life was gone when mine began”, was one of the first lines I wrote. I remember just crying in my car one night and really for the first time having almost the ability and the capacity to just let everything sink in.
BOBBY TAYLOR ON STAGE: How you guys doing? I’m Bobby. This is my wife Rachel.
Two years after her songwriting debut, Green found a partner in ministry. Bobby and Rachel Green Taylor have been married for 16 years and live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 2013 the two worship leaders produced Heritage, a five-song tribute to her parents.
TAYLOR VERSION RUSHING WIND: Rushing wind blows through this temple
Taylor says she has two objectives for the album: to introduce her father’s music to a new generation of listeners and to address her unspoken reservations.
RACHEL GREEN TAYLOR: So, I did have a little bit of this fear of am I going to live up to what people’s expectations would be of Keith Green’s daughter. But I am who God made me to be because this is my heritage. It is my children’s heritage.
KEITH GREEN SPEAKING: I’m a lawyer for Jesus. I’m a student for Jesus. I’m a biker for Jesus. You put a dove or Christian on your shirt, then you get Christianized I guess.
Today, Keith Green would be a 65-year-old grandfather. His grandchildren are 13, 11, and 8 years old, each musically inclined and wonderfully smitten.
RACHEL GREEN TAYLOR: So my kids, they love to talk about my dad. They ask questions about him often. They listen to his music. They all have their favorites.
KEITH GREEN SONG: Lord you’re beautiful….
RACHEL GREEN TAYLOR: One of the things I’ve been able to cling to during my life and even now when I talk about him with my children, is the hope that we have in heaven. That I’m going to meet my dad one day. I’m going to meet my brother and sister, Josiah and Bethany who passed away with him. And I can’t even imagine what it will be like.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Myrna Brown.
MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Friday, March 20th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. I do want to let you know that the coronavirus coverage you’ve heard this week is but a portion of what we do at WORLD.
Our reporting team is hard at work, pulling together stories from all around the globe, and I’d recommend heading over to our website at wng.org.
You can also sign up for WORLD’s news alerts. In-depth stories, straight to your inbox, all free. We’ll link to that page in today’s transcript at worldandeverything.org.
BASHAM: Katie Gaultney now has some thoughts on how to use this pandemic for good.
KATIE GAULTNEY, COMMENTATOR: A couple of months ago, I tagged along on one of my husband’s business trips. After we called an Uber to take us from our hotel to the convention center, I hopped in the car and started chatting with our friendly driver. We had an instant rapport, and she told me how refreshing it was to talk to someone.
“I have people in my car all day long, but they never want to talk to me,” she told me sadly. Then she asked if we had heard about a new service many rideshares are offering—where you can pay a few dollars more for the driver not to talk to you.
That stuck with me. Is that what we’ve become? A society that values autonomy and efficiency above relationship? Then I thought about restaurant mobile orders, text messages, virtual meetings, even grocery delivery, where you can theoretically get your food for a week or more without ever interacting with another human.
This month, talk of isolation has bubbled over, and along with it, apparent fear over what to DO when you are stuck at home. Of course, self-quarantine—or in some cases, mandatory quarantine—isn’t a topic to make light of. It’s an essential part of “flattening the curve” of virus progression.
But I have to admit I was a little tickled that the same society of people who abhor chit-chatting with a rideshare driver or a barista are now desperate to get out into the world and make a human connection. So many of us are already pros at social distancing.
I’m not belittling the impact of these necessary measures. It’s not easy. I’m praying that people’s physical and mental needs are met during this unusual time.
But maybe this time at home can be a sort of reset button—a reminder that there are worse things than making small talk, or interacting with an actual human.
So, fire up that VPN and connect to work. Place the pizza delivery order. Live stream a church service this Sunday.
And when all this is done, when we can venture out into society again, do so with joy and gratitude that comes with knowing what a gift it is to interact with God’s creations.
I’m Katie Gaultney.
NICK EICHER: Well, it’s the end of the workweek and time to say thanks to the people who worked hard to bring the program to you each day: Janie B. Cheaney, Emily Belz, Mindy Belz, Myrna Brown, Paul Butler, Kent Covington, Kristen Flavin, Katie Gaultney, Anna Johansen, Leigh Jones, Bonnie Pritchett, Mary Reichard, Michael Reneau, Sarah Schweinsberg, Les Sillars, Cal Thomas, and Emily Whitten.
MEGAN BASHAM: Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz stay up late to get the program to you early. J.C. Derrick is managing editor and Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief.
Something to remember: Christ still reigns on His throne. He is not afraid, and trusting him—you need not be either.
I hope you’ll have a great day today, and that you’ll worship in spirit and in truth. Please meet us back here on Monday!