The World and Everything in It — June 9, 2020

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

The rally in Washington on Sunday included Christians working for justice and reconciliation. We’ll talk to a pastor who was there.

NICK EICHER, HOST: One tool for managing public health is contract tracing, and one cost-effective way to trace is to use technology. But that’s raising privacy concerns.

Also today, life on a chicken ranch.

And WORLD commentator Les Sillars on Christianity and “greatness.”

REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, June 9th. 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 here’s Kent Covington with the news.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Democrats unveil police oversight bill » Democrats proposed a sweeping overhaul of police oversight and procedures Monday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “We cannot settle for anything less than transformative structural change.”

PELOSI: This moment of national anguish is being transformed into a movement of national action. 

The Justice in Policing Act proposes numerous changes. Among them limiting legal protections for police, creating a national database of excessive-force incidents, and banning police use of choke holds. But the bill stops well short of calls by some to try and defund police departments across the country. 

Before unveiling the package, House and Senate Democrats knelt in silence for nearly 9 minutes in the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall. They also read the names of people killed during police interactions, including George Floyd.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said leaders must reflect on the last three words of the Pledge of Allegiance. 

SCHUMER: Today, as we stand in silence rather than in spoken pledge, let us reflect on those words, justice for all, and what we need to do to make those words actually true. 

Also on Monday, the man charged with murder in Floyd’s death made his first court appearance by video link from a maximum security prison. A judge conditionally set Derek Chauvin’s bail at $1 million. 

Cristobal pushes northward, remains severe weather threat » AUDIO: [Cristobal rain]

Tropical Storm Cristobal weakened into a depression on Monday, but it’s still drenching a wide swath of the United States as it moves further inland.  

John Cangialosi is with the National Hurricane Center.

CANGIALOSI: Something like 2 to 4 inches of rain, maybe some spots up to 6 inches, all the way up to Canada. So you could almost draw a straight north line from Louisiana and Mississippi all the way through Minnesota and Wisconsin and then into Central Canada we’ll see those rain values. 

And forecasters now say it could soon renew its strength by merging with another system. Greg Carbin with the National Weather Service said a very strong storm system sweeping out from the Rocky Mountains is expected to collide with Cristobal in a matter of hours. Chicago could see wind gusts approaching 50 miles per hour tonight. 

Cristobal made landfall on Sunday. It sent waves crashing over Mississippi beaches, flooded pockets of the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Alabama and spawned a tornado in Florida.

New York City partially reopens » New York City is open for business—at least partially. 

CUOMO: New York is back! New York is back! Let’s get to work!

Governor Andrew Cuomo heard there speaking to New York subway riders.

After months of coronavirus shutdowns, stores deemed nonessential were cleared to reopen on Monday, but only for delivery and curbside pickup. Customers cannot yet browse inside. 

Construction, manufacturing and wholesalers also got the green light. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday…

DEBLASIO: This is the first day of the reopening, and it was achieved by New Yorkers’ hard work. This is clearly the hardest place in America to get to this moment. 

But he also warned the city against letting its guard down and jeopardizing its hard-won progress. He told New Yorkers, “Let’s hold onto it. Let’s build on it.”

New Zealand declares it has “eliminated transmission” of coronavirus » And in New Zealand, the government is lifting almost all remaining coronavirus restrictions. Retail, restaurants, and public events can resume without restriction. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “today there are no active cases in New Zealand.” She said over the past 17 days, health officials tested 40,000 people with zero positive tests. 

ADERN: We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now. But elimination is not a point in time. It is a sustained effort. We almost certainly will see cases here again. 

For now, the border remains shut to all but citizens and residents, with limited exceptions. And everyone who does enter has to go into quarantine.

Meantime, in India, the government is easing restrictions in the capital of Jakarta, but not because the virus has been contained there. Rather, the government says the country will have to learn to live with the virus for now, rather than devastating the economy. 

World bank: COVID-19 biggest shock to global economy since WWII » India’s economic concerns are, of course, well founded. The World Bank said Monday that the COVID-19 crisis will result in the largest shock to the global economy in more than 70 years. It expects the pandemic will push millions into extreme poverty.

In an updated report, the World Bank projected that global economic activity will shrink by 5.2 percent this year. That would be the deepest recession since the end of World War II.

Nevertheless, back in New York, stocks closed higher Monday… 

AUDIO: [Sound of NYSE bell]

Traders are feeling more optimistic about the reopening U.S. economy. 

New employment numbers on Friday showed a surprising jump in May hiring—suggesting the worst of the downturn may be behind us.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the Supreme Court limits meritless lawsuits.

Plus, Les Sillars on Christlike ambition.

This is The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: It’s Tuesday the 9th of June, 2020. You’re listening to The World and Everything in It and we’re so glad you’re along with us today. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. The U.S. Supreme Court handed down one opinion yesterday. It deals with a law called the Prison Litigation Reform Act. That law aims to staunch the flood of lawsuits prisoners file that turn out not to have legal merit.

The justices decided that when a prisoner files three meritless lawsuits, then he is barred from suing again without first paying the filing fee. Examples are lawsuits that are frivolous, malicious, or legally improper.

EICHER: Arthur Lomax is an inmate who argued that a judge dismissed one of his lawsuits “without prejudice.” That’s a legal term meaning you’re free to bring the matter back to court at a later date. 

He construed that to mean that a dismissal without prejudice ought not count as one of the three strikes against him.

But all nine justices disagreed and pointed out that the law makes no distinction between lawsuits dismissed with prejudice or without. So, Lomax loses.

NICK EICHER: Next up on The World and Everything in It: protesting from a Christian perspective.

AUDIO: And grace my fears relieved …

Protestors gathered Sunday in Washington, D.C., to rally for racial reconciliation. It was called the Faith+Works DC March. The main organizer was Anacostia River Church, with support and participation of many area churches, including Grace Presbyterian and Redemption Hill. Organizations such as the Institute for Cross Cultural Mission also participated in the rally.

Thabiti Anyabwile is one of the D.C. pastors who helped organize the event. He’s a member of The Gospel Coalition’s leadership council.

AUDIO: We want to witness to something different. That our lives do matter. That when blood is shed, it cries out to God. God hears it and there’s a reckoning. We want it to be the reckoning of the cross, and not the reckoning of the sword. We want it to be the reckoning of reconciliation and the reckoning of peace, and not the reckoning of conflict and violence.

MARY REICHARD: Joining us now to talk about Sunday’s rally is the Rev. Irwyn Ince. He was the moderator of the Presbyterian Church in America’s General Assembly in 2018 and 2019. He’s also a member of The Gospel Coalition’s leadership council.

Pastor Ince, good morning!

IRWYN INCE, GUEST: Good morning to you, as well. 

REICHARD: Pastor, I’d like to start with the sights and sounds of Sunday. It looks like you had a good turnout. Senator Mitt Romney joined you. Several area churches participated. From your perspective, reverend, how did the march go? 

INCE: The march was phenomenal. We were really encouraged by the turnout. There was a call for Christians who are concerned about matters of justice and race and racism to come out and it really was an outstanding turnout. I don’t know what the final numbers were, but it was an extremely successful march. 

REICHARD: Wonderful to hear that. I want to play another clip from Pastor Thabiti. This is what he said to marchers when you all arrived at the National Mall. 

THABITI: Our protest needs to be different. It doesn’t need to be less energetic. It doesn’t need to be less focused or pointed in its message. But it does need to be more spiritual. It does need to be filled with the Spirit of Christ and the truth of the gospel. We are folks who care, yes, about justice. But we’re also folks who care a lot about mercy. What we want is redemption, ultimately.

Can you talk about that contrast he’s trying to draw with this explicitly Christian march? 

INCE: Sure. There is the reality that as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we understand from the word of God that God’s throne is founded on justice, on righteousness and justice as the Psalmist says in places like Psalm number 89. That these are the foundations of God’s throne. So we are people who are passionate about justice and about righteousness. And we also understand that the ends of this is reconciliation and renewal and redemption. So mercy has to be a part of our message. So we’re not simply looking to condemn, we certainly do want to condemn injustice, but we want to see the renewal of minds and hearts and the reunion of peoples for this cause. And so that’s a distinct difference than just simply talking about righting wrongs, which we are all about. We are also concerned about renewal. 

REICHARD: Pretend like you’re just talking to an individual listener now. Someone who wants to know what should I do now? What should I do now, going forward toward racial reconciliation? 

INCE: So, for an individual Christian who wants to make steps forward toward reconciliation, I would say the first thing is this—and let me answer it this way, in particular let me start it this way: My brothers and sisters who are white, who are part of the majority culture, I would say the first step is to really lament over injustice and the ways in which your fellow image bearers of color have borne the weight of injustice in this country and still do in many respects. To learn the language of lament and experience that. And then do some learning about the history within this country, about your own history and the ways in which you’ve been shaped to think about differences in race. And then look to engage and form relationships across lines of difference that become deep. Lord willing this will take place within the context of your local church and your church will have a desire to begin bridging divides and differences along the lines of race and ethnicity and class. And I would say something like that, along the lines to those of my brothers and sisters who, like me, are African American or are ethnic minorities who know the experience of living in a racialized society understand our freedom in the gospel that the Lord Jesus Christ made us in these ethnically identified bodies, that God did it on purpose, and he’s given it to the body as a gift for the pursuit of unity in diversity. And to live into that, take steps in that direction. 

REICHARD: Pastor Irwyn Ince is director of the Grace DC Institute for Cross-Cultural Mission and a guest lecturer at Reformed Theological Seminary. He also has a book officially out August 4th but is available now from Intervarsity Press now called  The Beautiful Community: Unity, Diversity, and the Church at its Best. 

Pastor Irwyn, thank you for your time today. 

INCE: Mary, thank you as well. Have a great day. 

MARY REICHARD: Next up, contact tracing.

Health officials say closely tracking new cases of COVID-19 is the best way to prevent another spike in infections. That means once someone tests positive, officials must find out with whom they’ve been in contact. Those people are then notified and asked to self quarantine.

NICK EICHER: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says extensive contract tracing is key to having life return to normal. But tracking cases manually is labor intensive, time consuming, and expensive. States just don’t have the resources. So, they’re turning to tech companies to create smartphone apps that do the heavy lifting for them.

As you might imagine, that comes with its own set of drawbacks. WORLD reporter Anna Johansen has our story.

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: Tracking infections to slow the spread of a disease isn’t a new idea.

KITCHEN: Contact tracing has been a part of every successful pandemic response for at least three decades.

That’s Klon Kitchen. He studies technology policy for the Heritage Foundation. He says this old concept is just getting a shiny new update for the fight against the novel coronavirus. 

Tech companies are rushing to create apps that notify users automatically if they’ve been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. In the United States, almost every app will use the same basic platform.

KITCHEN: Apple and Google have recently updated their operating systems and built what’s called an API to allow app developers to build a digital contact tracing app that will operate on their phones. This API is essentially a batch of code and includes rules and tools for how those apps can work.

If you opt in to the system and download a contact tracing app, your phone will start sending Bluetooth signals to the phones around you. When you’re close to another person for more than, say, five minutes, both of your phones make a note. If the other person later tests positive for COVID-19 and they enter that information in their app, you receive an anonymous notification. And you’re told you ought to self-quarantine for two weeks. It’s based on proximity, not physical location.

That’s one way to do it. Another method uses actual GPS tracking. Vern Dosch is working on contact tracing apps in North Dakota. His state is using the GPS method.

DOSCH: The reason that we decided to go that direction was just really because of the demographics and the geography of North Dakota. Being a more rural state, we thought it was more valuable to the health department to know where a positive case might have been, rather than who they’ve been in contact with. 

But actively using GPS takes massive amounts of battery power. And having it just run in the background instead means the results aren’t as accurate.

DOSCH: The biggest complaint we had on the GPS app was it wasn’t accurate enough, or it wasn’t picking up places that it should have picked up, or places that it shouldn’t have.

The Bluetooth method has its drawbacks, too. The signal can get disrupted by walls and people and furniture. So you might be within 6 feet of someone, but Bluetooth doesn’t log it because your phone is in your pocket and the signal is weak.

The tech isn’t perfect. But the bigger obstacle is that not enough people are using it.

KREPS: Estimates are that about 60 percent of people would have to download this for it to be effective.

Sarah Kreps is a professor of government at Cornell University. She says people in the United States are especially leery of the tech because they don’t want the government to have their personal information.

KREPS: The early experience in Asia, where I think it was centralized data storage, data that was then made accessible, let’s say to the state of Singapore, I think kind of created a lot of baggage in terms of how Americans think about these tools.

According to Kreps, those fears are not unreasonable. Big tech doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to protecting information.

KREPS: So I think all of this kind of comes together to create a lot of skepticism that these tools will actually keep what is very sensitive data, like your health data, private.

Klon Kitchen says he encourages that kind of skepticism. But he also says it’s a bit of a moot point.

KITCHEN: I think the point I would make is that, all of the information that you were concerned these companies would be collecting, they’re already collecting.

Kitchen says that’s a separate policy issue to address. But he also says the Apple/Google Bluetooth system has some decent protections in place. For example, they’ve set up rules to govern who can and cannot see the information.

KITCHEN: This information cannot be passed on to third parties like law enforcement or the intelligence community. It can only be used by public health organizations, specifically in response to the COVID-19.

That’s actually more data protection than manual contact tracing has. But Kitchen says there’s another side to contact tracing that could soon cause even more privacy concerns.

KITCHEN: So one of the things that we’re going to see, post COVID-19, is a significant rise in commercial pandemic surveillance.

As more and more companies reopen, they could start requiring their employees to download a contact tracing app.

KITCHEN: An employer is typically well within their rights to require employees to adhere to certain, you know, safety rules or other conditions of employment.

Even organizations like schools or churches could do the same thing.

But Kitchen says it’s still your choice what apps you download and what information you share. He encourages people to be thoughtful and cautious.

KITCHEN: It is healthy for consumers to engage that question and to think more carefully about what information they want to give and not give.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen.

NICK EICHER: Every month, Irene Triplett received a check from the Department of Veterans Affairs in the amount of $73.13. 

Until her death this week at the age of 90, she was the only American still receiving a pension as a result of service during the Civil War. 

For more than 150 years, the federal government made the payments to her immediate family. 

So how was it that someone received Civil War pension checks in 2020? 

Well, here’s how.

Irene Triplett’s father, Mose Triplett, was a confederate who defected to the North. His service in the Union Army earned him a pension. When he died, his second wife received payments, this is Irene’s mother.

Now, that doesn’t explain the 150-year-chain. Here’s what does: Irene’s mother was nearly 50 years younger than her warrior husband. But when she died, that money went to Irene and she’s the one who received the final Civil War pension check.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: Today is Tuesday, June 9th. 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.

When pandemic panic-shopping included chickens, suppliers across the nation couldn’t keep up with demand. And we’re not talking about chickens in the grocer’s meat department. People wanted living, clucking, egg-laying hens.

EICHER: Melinda Conner raises and sells hens in southeast Texas. She’s grateful and overwhelmed by the upticked interest in backyard birds. She believes her new customers will soon realize what her regulars already know—chickens aren’t just for breakfast and dinner anymore.

WORLD correspondent Bonnie Pritchett visited Conner at her chicken yard in San Leon, Texas.

CONNER: The other chicks we got, we got some from Missouri yesterday, some from Ohio, some from…

REPORTER BONNIE PRITCHETT: The 3-day-old chicks protest inside the cardboard shipping crates as Conner hauls them from the post office loading dock.

CONNER: I have five different places that raise them for me here in Houston. Then I get from about six different places over the nation…

With the 500 chicks secured in the back seat of her Mazda 3 sedan, Conner drives to SeaBreeze Hens where life at the chicken yard is almost back to normal.

CONNER: How had we been describing it? Like Black Friday. Solid. For a month…March 19th…

AUDIO: [Mad chicken clucking]

That March weekend things got Henny Penny crazy. About 100 people lined the chicken yard fence hoping to buy egg-laying hens. Once those ran out, customers settled for chicks and pullets that were weeks away from producing eggs.

CONNER: Everyone’s like, “Oh, so good for you Melinda. Your business is doing so good. But I told I told my husband the other day that if my business had always been like this, I wouldn’t be doing it to this day…

She didn’t make more money. She just moved four months of inventory in six weeks. As a rule, the longer she keeps the birds the more she can charge for them. And that nest egg helps pay for the next batch of chicks.

CONNER: [chicks are peeping] These are Crele Penedesencas, these are Buff Brahmas, Splash Blue Lace Red Wynadottes, and these are Golden Lace Wynadottes…

Her husband, John, hatched the idea of a chicken business in 2009.

CONNER: The chickens just started out, kind of, as a hobby. Then one day my husband says, “Melinda maybe you should buy a few pullets and raise them and try and sell them. Do you think that this is what he was thinking [LAUGHTER]…


Conner gestured with outstretched arms. “This” is about one acre of dirt yard. Cropping up where grass once grew are tidy chicken coops that John built for Melinda’s 70—that’s 7-zero—breeds of chickens in all different colors, shapes and ages,  including pullets, the juvenile hens. Roosters mingle among the hens, as do turkeys. The big toms help keep ravenous hawks at bay.


Up by 5 a.m., daily chores keep Conner outdoors, which she prefers. Before marrying John and moving to Texas, Conner worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a fire manager in the Blue Mountains of Washington—where she grew up. Her tan  face and strong hands testify to life working and living outdoors. The tint of red in her cheeks tell of an afternoon at the beach with her grandkids.

One day a friend, who thinks Conner is livin’ the dream, asked to hang out with her as she worked.

CONNER: So, she came for a couple of hours yesterday. The last thing we did right before she left was unload a truck of feed – a ton of feed out of the truck. She said, “You just, you always have something going. There’s always something. Isn’t there?” [LAUGHTER…] 

Scheduling blocks of time for chores is sometimes useless. Customers see her in the yard, lean on the gate and call out about getting hens or eggs. They don’t realize they’re covering the “Sorry, we’re closed” sign.

Conner doesn’t mind much and admits she probably encourages the behavior by not turning folks away. Since March, curbside pick-up has left customers on one side of the fence and Conner on the other. She misses catching up with long-time customers who’ve become friends—or giving advice to those buying their first yard birds.

CONNER: They’ll have exactly in mind what they want when they come. They’ll have a list. And, on the weekends…when we get busy and people have to wait an hour or something to get help, they’ll walk around and go, “I had it all figured out. Now I don’t …”

But give Conner a prioritized list of four characteristics—egg production, egg color, the look of the chicken, and its temperament—and she’ll select just the right bird.

The pragmatic customer also wants a “dual purpose” hen. But, Conner said even they eventually see more than drumsticks running around the yard.

CONNER: I gotta tell ya a story…I’ll have these big tough guys bring their wives. “We want chickens. We need chickens that are dual purpose cuz when they’re done layin,’ we’re gonna eat ‘em.”

And I’ll go, “No, sir, you probably aren’t. I bet you aren’t.”

“Oh, yes, we’re gonna eat those chickens when we’re done with ‘em.

A couple of weeks go by – “Miss Melinda? This is Joe. Betsy got killed by a hawk and I need another one that looks just like her [CONNER LAUGHING].
“Joe. I thought you were going to eat those birds when they were done?
“No! I would never do that. You were right!”

Not everything pandemic related has been stressful. The situation has brought to Conner’s yard a new breed of customer—cooped up families.

CONNER: They’ve been planning on getting chickens. But now, all of a sudden, they had time and they needed something to do. Which is kinda cool.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Bonnie Pritchett in San Leon, Texas.

MARY REICHARD: Today is Tuesday, June 9th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Well, we’ve had no sports to enjoy, so many sports fans are turning to nostalgia. ESPN recently aired a documentary about the Chicago Bulls winning six NBA championships in the 1990s. Maybe you saw it. 

It’s called The Last Dance. WORLD’s Les Sillars saw it, too, and it prompted him to ponder not only great basketball, but Christianity and “greatness.”

COMMENTATORS: A spectacular move! Good! The game’s over! Chicago stadium is going wild…

LES SILLARS, COMMENTATOR: I enjoyed The Last Dance. It highlights key players Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman along with coach Phil Jackson. But one person dominates the story.

OPRAH: The most famous man on the planet is here! Jordan: My name is Michael Jordan. I played with the Bulls…

Jordan is one of the few truly “legendary” figures. That’s not just because of the NBA titles, scoring records, and MVP awards. He was also famously—or perhaps infamously—driven.

JORDAN: My mentality was to go out and win. At any cost. If you don’t want to live that regimented mentality, then you don’t need to be alongside of me. ‘Cause I’m going to ridicule you until you get on the same level with me.

That’s pretty much how it worked. Here’s Jud Buechler.

JUD BUECHLER: We were his teammates and we were afraid of him. It was just fear… 

He found losing—at anything—deeply painful. And everything was personal. Trash-talking rivals, critical sportswriters, doubting fans—he turned any kind of real or imagined “disrespect” into a reason to crush you.

To be fair, Jordan could be generous to friends and kind to strangers. Teammates, like Bill Wennington, admitted that Jordan’s relentless drive turned the Bulls into a dynasty.

BILL WENNINGTON: He was pushing us all to be better. Because he wanted to win. And guess what. It worked.

Did it? Jordan’s life is in a way exactly what Ecclesiastes warns us about. The Teacher won everything there was to win. In the end he dismissed it all as just a vapor. As for Jordan’s need to dominate, Jesus said, “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” And Paul wrote, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Be like Christ, not like Mike.

But then a friend asked me, is there a Christian version of greatness? And is there such a thing as healthy competition? Or is wanting to win just vice and pride?

Jesus didn’t say, don’t be great. He said, here’s what greatness is. Do too many Christians settle for mediocrity when God is inviting us to try to do something amazing? Do I sometimes excuse my fear and laziness as humility? Maybe competition can be healthy, provided winning and losing doesn’t define you. Sure, fame is so much smoke, but can’t we learn something from Jordan’s single-minded focus?

These are such dangerous waters. It’s so easy to slip into ambition, and we all have mixed motivations. Maybe Olympic champion and missionary Eric Liddell’s famous line from Chariots of Fire offers some perspective.

LIDDELL: I believe that God made me for a purpose. For China. But He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.

AUDIO: [Chariots of Fire theme song]

I’m Les Sillars.

NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: The fallout from George Floyd’s death could bring significant changes to law enforcement agencies across the country. We’ll tell you about legislative efforts underway in Washington.

And, ideas to entertain the family when traditional summer plans get interrupted.

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.

If we’ve earned your trust and you’re in a position to help, we’d be grateful if you’d be a part of our June Giving Drive:

God’s prophet in Jerusalem, Malachi, asked: Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? 

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.

Like this story?

To hear a lot more like it, subscribe to The World and Everything in It via iTunes, Overcast, Stitcher, or Pocket Casts.







Pocket Casts

(Requires a fee)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.