The World and Everything in It — April 7, 2020


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Churches are getting creative to bring their socially distant congregations together this Easter.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Also COVID-19 is changing the way families eat and shop for food. If these new patterns become habits, grocery stores will have to adapt.

Plus our Classic Book of the Month.

And Les Sillars on the limits of teaching online.

REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, April 7th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Now the news. Here’s Kent Covington.


KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: British PM moved to intensive care after coronavirus symptoms worsen » British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to the intensive care unit of a London hospital. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said doctors made the call on Monday after his coronavirus symptoms dramatically worsened. 

RAAB: In light of those circumstances, the prime minister asked me as first secretary to deputize for him where necessary. 

Johnson was admitted to St. Thomas’ Hospital late Sunday, 10 days after he was diagnosed with COVID-19. At the time, his office said he was checking in as a precautionary measure for what it called routine tests. 

Downing Street said Monday that Johnson was conscious and did not require ventilation, but he was moved into intensive care in case he needs it later.

Johnson’s spokesman, James Slack, insisted Monday night that the prime minister was still “in charge of the government.”

Trump administration officials spar over anti-malaria drug to treat coronavirus » The use of an anti-malaria drug to fight COVID-19 has become a point of friction at the White House. President Trump and members of his administration have repeatedly promoted hydroxychloroquine to treat patients. 

TRUMP: If it does help, great. If it doesn’t help, we gave it a shot. We gave it a shot. 

The president said he had seen anecdotal evidence to suggest some coronavirus patients improved after taking the drug. 

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, isn’t sold. He told CBS’s Face the Nation… 

FAUCI: The data are really just at best suggestive. There have been cases that show there may be an effect and there are others to show there is no effect. So I think in terms of science, I don’t think we can definitively say it works. 

The drug has rare, but potentially serious side effects, especially for the heart. And Fauci has said more testing is needed before it’s widely prescribed to coronavirus patients.

That led to a heated debate this week in the White House situation room between Fauci and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro. Navarro presented several studies that he’s convinced build a strong enough case for hydroxychloroquine. As for Fauci’s take on the data, Navarro told CNN…

NAVARRO: I’d let him speak for himself, John, but I would have two words for you: second opinion. 

He noted that many coronavirus patients in New York are already receiving it.  

Navarro also said the White House coronavirus task force voted “unanimously” to distribute nearly 30-million hydroxychloroquine tablets to coronavirus hot zones. But that’s with the stipulation that the drug is dispensed—quote—“not by the federal government but by the patient-doctor relationship.”

Wisconsin Supreme Court: Governor cannot delay Tuesday election » Voters in Wisconsin are likely to face a choice today: Participate in the state’s presidential primary election or heed warnings from public health officials..

Democratic Governor Tony Evers on Monday issued an executive order to delay the vote until June. 

EVERS: Despite the heroic efforts and good work of our local election officials, poll workers, and National Guard troops, there’s not a sufficiently safe way to administer in-person voting tomorrow.

But hours later, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Evers did not have the authority to reschedule the election on his own. 

Separately, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a lower court’s order that would have extended absentee voting to April 13th.

Evers had previously opposed delaying the election and said publicly he did not have the legal authority to postpone it. But he issued the order anyway after he was unable to strike a deal with the GOP-controlled legislature to reschedule the vote.

Wisconsin has a stay-at-home order in place and some poll sites have already closed because nervous volunteers are unwilling to staff them.

Tiger tests positive for coronavirus at Bronx Zoo » Keepers at the Bronx Zoo were stunned to learn that one of their tigers has tested positive for the same coronavirus now infecting humans. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The 4-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia tested positive this week. She began showing symptoms nearly two weeks ago and six other tigers and lions have also fallen ill. Officials believe they were infected by a zoo employee who was not showing symptoms. 

All of the big cats are doing well and are expected to recover. The zoo has been closed since March 16 amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The finding raises new questions about transmission of the virus in animals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed Nadia’s test result at its veterinary lab. There are no known cases of the virus in U.S. pets or livestock.

Dr. Jane Rooney, a veterinarian and a USDA official, said “There doesn’t appear to be, at this time, any evidence that suggests that the animals can spread the virus to people.” 

Rooney said a small number of animals in the U.S. have been tested through the USDA’s laboratories. Only Nadia’s came back positive.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Australian court dismisses convictions against Cardinal Pell » Australia’s High Court has dismissed the convictions of Cardinal George Pell—the most senior Catholic found guilty of child sex abuse.

The decision means he will be released from a prison outside Melbourne after serving 13 months of a six-year sentence.

Pope Francis’ former finance minister was convicted by a Victoria state jury in 2018 of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in the 1990s. 

The High Court found that the Victorian Court of Appeal was incorrect in its 2-1 majority decision in August to uphold the jury verdicts.

The court said the prosecution did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Pell has maintained that he was innocent of the crimes.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: a win for federal workers at the Supreme Court.

Plus, Les Sillars mulls the limits of teaching online.

This is The World and Everything in It.


NICK EICHER: It’s Tuesday, the 7th of April, 2020.

You’re listening to The World and Everything in It and we are so glad you are!  Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. The Supreme Court handed down two opinions yesterday. 

The first ruling made it easier to win age discrimination claims for employees in the public sector. 

Noris Babb sued the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for age discrimination. She pointed to a law that says employment decisions must be made “free from any discrimination based on age.” This applies to people over 40. 

By an 8 to 1 vote, the court said that means that personnel decisions must not be tainted by consideration of age, whether during the hiring process or after. 

This isn’t an unqualified victory for federal workers. Once age discrimination is proved in a case, then it’s appropriate when considering a remedy whether age was the primary reason the employee suffered harm. 

EICHER: The second opinion is also 8 to 1. It gives police officers more latitude to make traffic stops. Specifically, when police run license plates and find out the owner has a revoked driver’s license, an officer may pull over the driver.

The legal question was whether it’s reasonable to suspect the driver is also the owner. The answer is yes. 

Except, when the officer knows the driver isn’t the owner and pulls him over anyway absent additional evidence.


NICK EICHER: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: celebrating Easter without your church family.

Under normal circumstances, more people go to church on Easter than any other day of the year. But in this age of coronavirus, that’s not happening this year. So how are churches adapting? WORLD reporter Anna Johansen has our story.

ANNA JOHANSEN: At Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois, Easter is a really big deal.

WOODLEY: Epic. Truly epic.

Matt Woodley is the missions pastor at Rez.

WOODLEY: You know, every church has strengths and weaknesses. So I would say our biggest strength is Holy Week.

Typically, Rez has multiple services: Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, then an all-night vigil on Saturday. It all culminates in a 6 a.m. service Easter morning. Well over a thousand people attend. It’s standing room only.

OSTOICH: The service leader comes out and proclaims Hallelujah, Christ is risen. And the congregation responds, the Lord is risen indeed, Hallelujah.

Christiana Ostoich is the production director at Rez.

OSTOICH: Folks rush out with flowers to decorate the altar. And I’m tearing up thinking about it. We celebrate loudly with bells and shouts…

But this year, things are going to look very different.

WOODLEY: It’s just grief, it’s grief. I just, I feel really sad and a lot of us do. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be.

Rez has had to adjust a lot of plans for this week. And it’s not the only church having to innovate.

DAVID JONES: We had originally had a Good Friday service scheduled that was going to be uh, a concert, uh, with another church.

David Jones is the senior pastor at the Village Church of Barrington in Illinois. The concert got scrapped because, obviously, the choir can’t gather to practice or perform.

JONES: And so we were just thinking initially that Good Friday got canceled. But yesterday we uh, were looking at it again and what we’re planning to do now is I’ve been going through the Gospel of Mark and so we are going to break up Mark 15 and we’re going to spread it out over each of the days of passion week.

Every night this week, the church will livestream a short time of worship, then a mini-sermon on a few verses from Mark 15.

JONES: And so we’ll end on Friday night with, you know, the death of Jesus and then we’ll take a break on Saturday because Jesus is in the tomb and then an Easter Sunday we’ll preach Mark 16 of the resurrection passage.

It’s simple—but it’s not something the church has ever done before. That seems to be a common theme: Thinking outside the box.

AUDIO: [SINGING, HONKING]

Many churches have live streamed their services over the past few weeks. But others have turned to old school methods—like drive-in services.

BRANSON ROGERS: We have been blessed with a huge field here in front of our church and we’re going to attempt to put about 50 to 60 cars out in our front field.

Branson Rogers is lead pastor at The Point Church in Clearwater, Florida. The Point plans to have its first-ever drive-in service on Easter morning.

ROGERS: They’re going to be shuffled into our parking lot by our parking crew and be put into place, each car will have a designated parking place. 

Six feet apart, of course. Gloved parking attendants will hand out freshly baked cookies. Rogers will preach from a stage set up in front of the church.

ROGERS: Then we’ve also got some radio transmitters we’re going to have out there in our field. Everyone is going to be encouraged to tune into a specific FM radio frequency. And they’re going to be able to get our service right there in the comfort of their own car.

Back in Illinois, Church of the Resurrection will use a different strategy: Equipping people to worship at home.

Rez places a strong emphasis on physical interaction and engaging multiple senses. At a typical Maundy Thursday service, Christiana Ostoich says there’s a time set aside for washing feet.

OSTOICH: That one’s really easy to send home with folks and say, okay, we’re going to play music for the next 15 minutes. Take some time to wash the feet of your family members or friends.

Other traditions are harder to do when you can’t gather together. On Easter morning, Rez sets aside a time for everyone to shout, and ring bells, and make noise to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. That’s going to sound different this year. Matt Woodley hopes people will still do it in their own homes or backyards.

WOODLEY: No, it won’t be the same as doing it with a thousand people for 10 minutes.

But Woodley says people shouldn’t feel self-conscious.

WOODLEY: Some of their neighbors might join them.

The church has also put together a prayer guide for the congregation.

WOODLEY: We encourage people to take a 20 minute prayer walk in their neighborhood every day. And then with that we give them some Scripture and something to think about and pray about as they’re prayer walking.

That’s something Rez has never done before. It’s a positive thing that wouldn’t have happened if all was Easter as usual.

WOODLEY: There is also an opportunity and a gift in this desert we feel like we’re in. You usually plan your fasts, but sometimes your fasts are planned for you. So, we have a fast from worshiping together and we really look at this as a time—there is an opportunity here to let that hunger build within us for when we can do that again.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen.


NICK EICHER: Most of us have seen empty grocery store shelves firsthand, and not just in the aisle where you’d ordinarily find the toilet paper. Grocers are having to ration quantities of household staples like eggs and milk, as well as TP and tissues.

MARY REICHARD: So, is it a matter of supply or demand? Could grocers have better anticipated the demand with more supply? Maybe not. But some were better prepared than others. And the lessons learned may permanently change things in the grocery business. 

WORLD reporter Katie Gaultney has the story.

AUDIO: [Attention, deli department]

KATIE GAULTNEY, REPORTER: The sounds of rolling grocery carts, overhead music, and the occasional loudspeaker announcement are all you really hear in this North Dallas grocery store. More than half the shoppers have masks covering their noses and mouths, so there’s little talking, even among employees. 

Red squares on the floor mark out the proper “social distance” customers should observe. And yellow fliers remind customers to limit their quantities of certain items: eight yogurts, two dozen eggs, and one package of toilet paper—if there were any toilet paper buy. 

It feels like most grocers are still playing catch-up. But a few are getting gold stars for how they’ve handled the enormous influx of shoppers.

Texas grocery favorite HEB is one of them. The company’s president told  Houston CBS affiliate KHOU that foresight was the key. 

NEWS: As COVID came on, we began to call retailers from around the world whom we have a relationship with to say, “What are you seeing happen?” And through that research we were able to put an action plan in place early on… 

Lane Cohee teaches supply chain management at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He told me HEB was quicker to identify future challenges than many of its industry counterparts. 

COHEE: So things like rationing things, like having procedures in place with regard to social distancing and keeping, taking care of their employees because they know that, you know, if we lose our employees then we’re not going to be able to deliver product. I think they were just earlier than perhaps some of the other grocers were in anticipating that…

But could anyone have foreseen the toilet paper rush? Doug Baker is with FMI, a food industry association that counts major grocery chains—including HEB— among its members. He said toilet paper shortages are a demand problem, not a supply problem. 

BAKER: You go back to natural disasters, we’re sort of programmed to buy certain items when there’s a national disaster, milk, eggs, bread, bleach, paper towels, toilet paper, water, right? So those things that people are typically programmed to they just automatically go and get.

Baker also pointed out that people are at home—using their own toilets more than normal. So, most families do actually need more toilet paper. 

Shortages won’t last. But will this type of COVID-spurred buying behavior impact the industry long-term? Both Baker and Cohee say yes, but not in ways you might think. 

First, consider how the balance of food consumption has shifted. Baker told me that in “blue sky days,” when we’re not in a global pandemic, anywhere from 51 to 54 cents on the dollar is spent on food eaten outside the home, in restaurants.

BAKER: So all of that has shifted back to home. And that’s also put additional demand on those grocery stores. If you were spending that money and you were going out to a restaurant a couple of times a week and now you’re not. I think at one point we identified it was about there’s like 145 meals a year that actually now came back into the home, per person. 

And that has caused the wholesale-retail food dynamic to shift. Traditionally, restaurant suppliers and retail grocery stores are competitors. But now, wholesalers have a glut of food that restaurants aren’t buying. And grocery stores have a need for more inventory. 

BAKER: We’re actually doing matchmaking between retailers and wholesalers in food service distributors to redeploy product, equipment, and labor in order to help ease some of that demand on the supply chain that the grocery retail side is feeling.

The new demand for delivery options is also set to have a lasting impact on the grocery landscape. Now more than ever, people are turning to apps and online services to do their shopping, hopefully with less exposure to illness. That’s a trend supply chain analysts like Cohee have been watching for some time. 

COHEE: For the last several years we’ve been talking about basically who’s going to win at the last mile of delivery of groceries to the home. And I think this has accelerated that consumer behavior. I think they’re going to be people who will never go back.

But powerhouse retailers like Amazon and Walmart are also jockeying for top marks in online delivery. And they are now having to ramp up their already robust operations to meet surging demand. 

COHEE: The companies that are getting, that are positioned directly or indirectly to being able to do home delivery, I think, I think it will be somewhat transformational. I think it’s just going to accelerate a trend that was going to happen anyway…

Big grocers have the infrastructure to manage crisis shopping behaviors—and the technology to drive online ordering, delivery, and curbside pick-up. But small to mid-sized grocers don’t. When the fog of pandemic lifts, shoppers may find toilet paper supplies are back to normal but fewer stores are selling it.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Katie Gaultney in Dallas, Texas.


NICK EICHER: New safety measures to limit coronavirus spread began in nursing homes—the elderly being among the most vulnerable.

That didn’t stop a man from paying a safe and healthy visit to his 80-year-old mother in a nursing home.

Charley Adams didn’t break the law or put nursing home residents at risk. We’ll explain how, but I’ll start first with why

For Adams, it’s typical for him to take her out twice a week, and that’s something she really came to miss. 

So Adams figured out a way to visit his mom using a tool he uses every day as an arborist: a bucket truck. 

The bucket that lifts him up into the trees allowed him to reach the third floor of her nursing home.

Adams, of course, positioned the bucket at least 6 feet away from his mother’s open window, and so they resumed their visits.

It’s The World and Everything in It.


NICK EICHER: Today is Tuesday, April 7th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. It’s time now for our Classic Book of the Month.

For that, book reviewer Emily Whitten joins us now from Nashville. Hey, good morning, Emily!

EMILY WHITTEN, BOOK CRITIC: Good morning, Mary!

REICHARD: Well, so many of us are stuck at home these days. It’s a good time to pull out a classic book…maybe a long one? 

WHITTEN: I can help you with that, Mary! Today we’re talking about The Brothers Karamazov. It’s by a Christian author, Fyodor Dostoevsky, who lived in Russia during the 19th century. The audio version I listened to runs more than 34 hours, so it’s pretty absorbing. At times the plot crackles with electricity. Other times the characters seem to stop mid-frame, pondering big questions like the nature of good and evil. So, it’s an expansive book in more ways than one.

REICHARD: Before we get into some of those big questions, tell us a bit more about the plot.

WHITTEN: Sure. The book centers on a Russian family named Karamazov. A moderately wealthy landowner, Fyodor Pavlovitch, serves as the family patriarch. His oldest son, Dmitri, is from his first marriage. He has two more adult sons—Ivan and Alyosha—from a second marriage. A fourth young man, now a servant in the home, may be Fyodor’s child by a homeless woman. The conflict between them is intense. It stems from the father’s neglect and selfishness.

Here’s a short clip of an audiobook version read by Frederick Davidson. In this scene, the Karamazov’s meet with an elder, or religious leader, hoping he can help them resolve their differences. The first speaker here is the dad’s cousin, Musov, who served as the oldest son’s guardian:

MUSOV: Musov was on the point of shouting, but he checked himself and said with contempt, ‘You defile everything you touch.’ The elder suddenly arose from his seat. ‘Excuse me, gentlemen. I have visitors awaiting me who arrived before you. But don’t you tell lies, all the same,’ he added, turning to Fyodor Pavlovitch with a good humored face.

WHITTEN: But several family members already believe their own lies…and there’s no quick fix. Rather, it takes hundreds more pages to resolve their conflicts—conflicts that include which of them gets to marry a particularly bewitching prostitute. 

REICHARD: Well, that sounds rather gritty for a Christian writer.

WHITTEN: Dostoevsky doesn’t pull any punches, for sure. Although, it isn’t as graphic as many writers today in its depiction of sin.

REICHARD: Where do you see his faith at work in the story?

WHITTEN: To start with, Dostoevsky uses several themes and characters to attack atheistic communism. In a Just Thinking podcast with Albert Mohler, Northwestern University Professor Gary Saul Morson explains:

MORSON: Russian history tends to the extremes, and in the 20th century, that produced an entirely new form of society to which we gave the name totalitarian. But their opponents had been the great Russian writers— Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Checkov—who kept warning that their way of thinking would lead to no good and formulated alternatives. 

WHITTEN: His characters often extensively debate or monologue their inner thoughts or questions. This doesn’t always feel very realistic, and it turns some readers off. But it may help to realize he writes this way on purpose. He’s trying to help his readers see deeper spiritual and psychological realities of their lives. By bringing these things to the surface, he’s actually pushing back against a materialist view of the world.

REICHARD: That’s helpful to know. Emily, I recall that last month you invited listeners to write in with questions or comments. Did you get anything you’d like to share?

WHITTEN: Yes, Aaron Hensley found a lot to chew on in the famous Grand Inquisitor chapter. In it, one of the brothers, Ivan, wrestles with how a loving God could allow suffering. 

Missionary and author Elisabeth Elliot put her finger on the same section in a Ligonier Ministry teaching series decades ago. The series is called Suffering is Not for Nothing. I’ll let Elliot read that part of the passage for us:

ELLIOT: “‘Tell me yourself. Imagine you are creating the fabric of human destiny but it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature, and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears. Would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me. Tell me the truth.’”

WHITTEN: Dostoevsky answers Ivan in a number of ways, but most clearly perhaps in the character of Ivan’s brother, Alyosha. He embodies a life of faith, even when he can’t understand God’s ways. 

REICHARD: In our current crisis, I expect many people may be dealing with questions of suffering in a fresh way. Is this a good resource for people who want to think more deeply about that?

WHITTEN: I do think it’s great if you want to frame the question abstractly. If you’re actually walking through suffering, I would recommend a more pastoral treatment like Paul David Tripp’s excellent book, Suffering. I also learned some things from Elisabeth Elliot’s free teaching series. It starts slow, but she wisely points readers to Christ’s cross as the ultimate place we see God’s love and human suffering meet.

REICHARD: Thanks for these recommendations, Emily.

WHITTEN: You’re very welcome, Mary. Happy reading!

REICHARD: For March, Emily recommended Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. You can find other classic book recommendations at worldandeverything.org. Just search for Classic Book of the Month.


MARY REICHARD: Season two of The Olasky Interview is underway, and for the next eight weeks, we’ll be releasing a new episode each Tuesday. So episode five is now live. Just search for The Olasky Interview on your favorite podcast platform.

NICK EICHER: We’re also releasing each episode to subscribers of The World and Everything in It on Saturdays.

This week WORLD Editor in Chief Marvin Olasky talks with Atlanta attorney and political strategist Justin Giboney. His mission is to increase Christian engagement in culture and politics. That’s where we begin in this excerpt of their conversation.

MARVIN OLASKY: Okay, so let’s talk about the AND Campaign a little bit. What goes on both sides of the ampersand? 

JUSTIN GIBONEY: Yeah. So I would say love and truth. Compassion and conviction. Uh, social justice and moral order. Justice and righteousness. One of the things that we found is when Christians get into politics, they feel like they have to go all the way to the left or all the way to the right. And we say, well, if you go all the way to the left, you understand there’s some convictions that you’re not going to be able to take with you, whether it be sanctity of life or the historic Christian sexual ethic. You can’t take those all the way to the left. And if you go to the right, you know, we would say that you, you’re not going to be able to take your compassion to the right with you. And so what we wanted to say is say, b b but instead of that being an or, right? Because our society separates love and truth, it separates compassion and conviction, for whatever reason. The gospel doesn’t, but our society does. We want Christians to see politics differently and say, no, no, no. When I go into politics, I’m about love and truth, compassion and conviction. I’m not gonna make that false choice. Because that’s really what it is, it’s a false dichotomy. And too often we make that because our ideological tribe or our party forces us into that, uh false choice.


EICHER: That’s Justin Giboney. To hear more of this conversation, catch this week’s episode of The Olasky Interview wherever you get your podcasts.


NICK EICHER: Today is Tuesday, April 7th. Good morning! Thanks for listening to The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. We’ve all seen how coronavirus is changing communications, and that’s especially true for educators. 

WORLD commentator Les Sillars is a Patrick Henry College professor and has some thoughts on what he calls the curse of video conferencing.

LES SILLARS, COMMENTATOR: When college students don’t want you to call on them in class, most try to look inconspicuous. They doodle in their notebooks, frowning. They slouch. They avoid eye contact.

A few try to brazen it out. They sit up straight all wide-eyed and innocent. Or they give you the steely-eyed squint, a la Clint Eastwood. Their body language says, “Go ahead, prof. Ask me. Make my day.”

Of course, nobody wants to be wrong. Some say there are no stupid questions. But you can definitely rank answers. There are right answers, debatable answers, and wrong answers.

And then there are answers that aren’t even wrong. Sometimes students make it worse by using big words whose meanings they don’t know. It’s like asking, “What did the First Amendment mean to the Founder Fathers?” And somebody says, “Well, it’s perfectly logarithmic. The telos in this instance is a hydraulic.”

Normally I could handle that. But the pandemic has blown up my classroom management techniques. We meet by video now. When I scan my class looking for a victi—uh, I mean, student, to call on, all I see are little squares with faces. Most are peering into the screen with blank expressions. Unless they chuckle at the wrong time, I can’t tell if they’re paying attention or scrolling Instagram. It’s the curse of Zoom.

After weeks of video classes, meetings, and services, patterns are emerging. There’s the guy whose camera angle makes him look beheaded. And the fake background people. One week they appear to be on a beach in Tahiti. The next they’re on the set of the horror film The Shining. This amuses them. Sometimes somebody passes behind them, producing a ghostly shimmer on your screen.

I think I’m zoomed out. They say that the vast majority of human communication is nonverbal. Meeting through screens strips out so much. The words are the same but the impact is diluted and the meaning slightly blurred.

We’re made to know other people. Jesus said in John 17, to know God is to have eternal life. But you can’t know someone through a screen. Not really. Imagine if God had called Moses on skype. It’s just not the same.

In a pinch or a pandemic, Zoom is way better than nothing. But I miss kidding with students on the way into class. I miss meeting with fellow believers in person. I miss singing together. I miss the nuances in people’s voices and posture.

It reminds me of something my former pastor told the congregation just before he left for a sabbatical. “You know what I’m going to miss the most?” he said. “The smell of the sheep.”

That was years ago. This isn’t what he had in mind. But somehow it seems more fitting every day.

I’m Les Sillars.


NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: With Iran now the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, some say U.S. sanctions are making it worse. We’ll talk about that tomorrow on Washington Wednesday.

And, we’ll hear from a pastor who spent three weeks in quarantine after a cruise vacation.

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Nick Eicher.

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.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

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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