The World and Everything in It — August 26, 2020


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

The Republican National Convention is underway this week.  We’ll talk about what’s happening there.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.

Also, World Tour. 

Plus, a profile of a professional fiddler.

And WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney on the nuclear family.

REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, August 26th. 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 today’s news.


KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: First lady’s Rose Garden speech caps day two of GOP convention » First lady Melania Trump addressed a small crowd in the White House Rose Garden last night on day two of the Republican National Convention. Her message…

MELANIA: I’m here because we need my husband as commander in chief for four more years. 

The first lady painted a hopeful portrait of a second Trump term and described her husband as a dedicated, honest, and passionate leader. 

MELANIA: From the day that I met him, he has only wanted to make this country the best it can be. 

She touched on themes including racial unity and told those impacted by the ongoing pandemic, “you’re not alone.”  She vowed that President Trump “will not stop fighting until there is an effective treatment or vaccine available to everyone.”

Also on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the convention by video from Jerusalem—touting the president’s trade and foreign policy. 

He credited Trump’s policies for, among other things, defeating the ISIS caliphate and upending China’s unfair trade practices. 

POMPEO: The president too moved the US Embassy to this very city of God, Jerusalem, the rightful capital of the Jewish homeland. And just two weeks ago, the president brokered a historic peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. 

Among the other featured speakers last night were two of President Trump’s adult children, Tiffany Trump and Eric Trump. 

Tonight’s speakers include Senators Joni Ernst and Marsha Blackburn as well as Vice President Mike Pence.

Hurricane Laura bears down on Gulf Coast » Officials have ordered more than half a million people to evacuate along the coasts of Texas and Louisiana as Hurricane Laura takes aim at the Gulf Coast. 

Hurricane Marco weakened to a tropical storm before hitting the region on Monday. But Laura shows no signs of slowing down. Right now, forecasters expect Laura to strike the coast as a Category 3 storm late tonight or very early tomorrow. 

And Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned residents…

ABBOTT: We need to be prepared for the possibility that it could increase to a Category 4 hurricane.

A Category 3 packs winds in excess of 110 miles per hour. A Category 4—130 miles per hour. 

Governor Abbott said southeast Texas, including Houston, is in the danger zone. Southwestern Louisiana is also within Laura’s cone of uncertainty. 

Storm surge is another major threat. The storm is expected to push ocean water onto land along nearly 500 miles of coast from Texas to Mississippi.

Firefighters getting upper hand against Calif. Wildfires » Firefighters in California are cautiously optimistic about their progress in beating back a spate of wildfires. Cal Fire operations chief Mark Brunton…

BRUNTON: The weather is really cooperating with us. We’re steadily getting a trickle of resources in. As soon as we’re getting those resources, we’re putting them to work, putting them into our plan to achieve our strategy and tactics for this incident. 

A warning about dry lightning and strong winds was lifted for the San Francisco Bay Area on Monday morning. That was a huge relief to firefighters in the area and in California’s wine country.

Officials say they’re also making progress against a fire in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties with the help of calmer weather. 

Liberty confirms Falwell’s exit » Liberty University has confirmed that Jerry Falwell Jr. has in fact stepped down. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has that story.  

LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: The school’s Board of Trustees said Tuesday it had accepted the resignation of Jerry Falwell Jr. as the school’s president, chancellor, and board member. 

In reports this week, Falwell and longtime acquaintance, Giancarlo Granda, each told their sides of a story involving an extra-marital affair Granda had with Falwell’s wife, Becki.

Falwell accused Granda of blackmail, while Granda said Falwell knew about and participated in the affair. Each man denied the other’s accusations. 

The university said Falwell sent the resignation letter through his attorney Monday night. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones. 

Family says Blake left paralyzed from police shooting » The family of a black man seriously injured in a police shooting held a press conference on Tuesday. 

Jacob Blake Sr. said the shooting left his son, Jacob Blake Jr., paralyzed from the waist down.

BLAKE: They shot my son seven times. Seven times.

Police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, have said little about what happened, other than that they were responding to a domestic dispute on Sunday. 

There was reportedly a skirmish between 29-year-old Jacob Blake Jr and police. Blake then walked around his car, ignoring police commands, opened the driver’s side door, and appeared to reach inside. That’s when an officer fired seven times, striking Blake in the back. 

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating.

Meantime, Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, said violent protests and looting only divide the country further. 

JACKSON: It doesn’t reflect my son or my family. 

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers called for calm, while also saying he would double the National Guard presence in Kenosha from 125 to 250. That after crowds destroyed dozens of buildings and set more than 30 fires on Monday night.

Kremlin brushes off calls for Navalny poisoning investigation » World leaders are calling for an investigation into the suspected poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. But the Kremlins says it sees no need. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Navalny is currently in a coma in a Berlin hospital. And doctors there say evidence suggests he was likely poisoned. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for a full Russian investigation. And officials from the United States, France, and Norway echoed that sentiment on Tuesday. 

But the Russian government says there are no grounds for a criminal investigation. Russian doctors and pro-Kremlin media reported there was no indication Navalny was poisoned. 

Navalny is an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin. His lawyer and doctor said the 44-year-old was also poisoned in July of 2019 by an “unknown chemical agent.”

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: Republicans rally their base.

Plus, Janie B. Cheaney on the nuclear family’s trial by pandemic.

This is The World and Everything in It.


MARY REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, the 26th of August, 2020. You’re listening to The World and Everything in It, and we’re so glad you are! Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up: the Republican National Convention.

Last week, Democrats kicked off their convention with the first ever virtual event. This week it’s Republicans’ turn.

There are some similarities between the two conventions: Most of the participants are making speeches to empty ballrooms. And they’re facing the same technical and logistical challenges the rest of America has dealt with for the last six months. Let’s face it: sometimes video calls work well. Other times, not so much.

REICHARD: Both parties are focused on the same goal: Building enough voter enthusiasm to propel their candidates into the White House. But they are going about it in very different ways.

Well, it’s Washington Wednesday, and joining us now to dive into the differences is Jamie Dean. She is WORLD’s national editor and chief political reporter.

Good morning, Jamie!

JAMIE DEAN, GUEST: Good morning.

REICHARD: What are some of your take-aways from what you’ve seen so far from Republicans?

DEAN: Well, I think we may be seeing the core of President Trump’s re-election strategy, and that’s to rally the base.

We hear a lot about independent and swing voters, and I do think those voters will be important in the election.

But a CBS poll last week reported 96 percent of voters said they had already made up their minds about who they’re going to vote for in November. 96 percent. Now, those voters could certainly change their minds, but that survey does suggest an overwhelming majority of Americans already have a strong idea of who they’re going to choose.

So, I think one of the most important tasks over the next couple of months—for both candidates—is to motivate those voters to actually cast their ballots. That’s not a sure thing. But numerically, that may prove even more important than peeling off more persuadable voters.

REICHARD: In what ways have Republicans been appealing to the base?

DEAN: One of the most notable ways, I think, is by having President Trump appear every day of the convention.

That’s unusual. Typically, there’s a build up over the four days, and then the party’s nominee appears on the last night as a sort of culmination of the event.

But this year, Trump is slated to appear in the programming each night, sometimes in pre-recorded segments.

Some say this could be a liability since the president does have low favorability ratings, and Democrats are trying to make the election a referendum on Trump. So why have the president show up every day? Why not perhaps bring more attention to the party itself?

It is probably a gamble, but I think a couple of things are going on here: One is that the president enjoys the spotlight. But I think he’s also keenly aware of how much the pandemic has diminished the kind of televised campaign exposure he enjoyed in 2016. So in the absence of the big campaign rallies this year, Trump may think putting himself in front of the base each night of the convention is one way to make up for that.

REICHARD: Any other particularly notable differences this year?

DEAN: Well, another difference involves the Republican Party’s platform. We touched on this a little bit last week, but the GOP has decided not to adopt a new party platform for 2020.

That’s unusual too.

Typically, each party meets to hash out new priorities and form a fresh platform for the next four years. Republicans have said that because of the complications of the pandemic, they decided not to do that this year.

I’ve noticed some reports saying that Republicans are running without a platform this year. I don’t think that’s accurate. They are running without a new platform, but an RNC spokesperson confirmed to me that in the absence of a new platform, the 2016 platform remains in effect.

A GOP statement about not adopting a new platform did say that Republicans affirm President Trump’s second-term agenda. The president had struggled to articulate a clear agenda in some recent interviews, but his campaign released on Monday what they called “core principles” for his second term goals.

They listed 10 categories that included jobs, fighting COVID-19, healthcare, education, foreign policy, and other areas.

Now, some noted those categories didn’t mention goals related to pro-life concerns or religious liberty. That’s true. The 2016 platform does discuss both of those areas, so Republicans have made statements on these issues, but some voters may want to hear more about any specific plans President Trump has in those categories in the next four years.

REICHARD: As both parties move past the conventions, what do you see as the next big event to watch?

DEAN: We touched on this briefly last week too, but I do think the presidential debates are going to be the next big thing for the candidates. Without traditional campaigning this year, I suspect those debates will draw a large audience interested in seeing both candidates in a more candid setting—and actually interacting with each other.

I’ve noticed an undercurrent of suggestions that say Joe Biden should refuse to debate President Trump. Thomas Friedman of The New York Times said Biden shouldn’t debate Trump unless the president agrees to release his tax returns and to allow a team of real-time fact checkers to report any false statements during the debate. I’m not sure either candidate would agree to those conditions.

The Times ran another op-ed a couple of weeks later entitled “Let’s Scrap the Presidential Debates.” And Joe Lockhart, the former press secretary for Bill Clinton, has argued Biden should refuse to debate Trump because he says the president doesn’t tell the truth.

So far, Biden has not taken that bait. He says he’s eager to debate the president. And I think it would be an enormous gamble for Biden to back down from that engagement. He’s faced some questions about his mental acuity, for example, and refusing to face off with his opponent in person would probably only feed those concerns. It would certainly give Trump substantial ammunition against his opponent in the last few weeks of the election.

So barring an unexpected change-of-heart on either side, I think we look next toward the first presidential debate on September 29th.

REICHARD: You mentioned concerns about mental acuity, and you wrote about that for a recent edition of WORLD Magazine. Can you speak a little to that subject?

DEAN: Sure, some of the jumping off points for that article was a pretty remarkable poll conducted by Monmouth University this summer. The pollsters asked respondents whether they thought the presidential candidates had the mental and physical stamina required to carry out of the job of being president. For Biden, 52 percent said yes. For Trump, 45 percent said yes.

Those seem like low numbers when it comes to confidence in either candidate’s mental and physical fitness. Some of that may be based on political division. Democrats were more likely to say Trump wasn’t fit, and Republicans were more likely to say Biden wasn’t fit.

But a Zogby poll about a month earlier reported that some 55 percent of surveyed voters thought it was more likely than not that Biden was in the early stages of dementia.

Now, only a physician can clinically diagnose a condition like dementia. But these surveys suggest the possibility is on the mind of at least some voters. And some of that concern as it relates to Biden is likely to connected to a series of verbal stumbles he’s made as he campaigned over the last year. There have been moments when he’s appeared confused. Some have noted that he’s struggled with a stuttering problem, and he’s said that’s true. But it’s not clear that all of his stumbles are connected to stuttering.

Trump has picked up on this, and he’s said Biden should undergo a cognitive fitness test and make the results public. Trump said he’s had one himself, and that he did well. Biden recently told an interviewer he had not taken a cognitive test, and he didn’t see a reason to take one.

REICHARD: Do you think this will be an issue going into the fall?

DEAN: It looks like the Trump campaign may continue to bring this up. Over the last few months, the Trump campaign has run some online ads questioning Biden’s mental state. Sadly, some of those ads have treated the issue with levity instead of gravity. In one of them, an image had been edited to look like Biden was being spoon fed in a nursing home.

I think the question of mental acuity is a legitimate question for voters to raise and to examine, especially as it relates to someone running for perhaps the most stressful and demanding job in the world. But I hope that as that happens, we’ll remember to do that with the sense of sobriety that the subject demands.

Whether or not either candidate struggles with mental fitness, I think those of us who have known and loved someone who has struggled in this way can attest to the sadness of those kinds of problems, and the sensitivity that they do call for.

REICHARD: Jamie Dean, WORLD’s national editor and political correspondent. Thank you!

DEAN: You’re welcome.


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

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Jihadists take hundreds of hostages in Nigeria—We start today here in Africa

AUDIO: [NIGERIAN CROWD]

Boko Haram militants overran a town in Nigeria’s Lake Chad region last week. They opened fire on soldiers guarding the town and took hundreds of villagers hostage.

Local residents fled the area two years ago after a bloody attack and only returned a few weeks ago.

Nigeria’s jihadist conflict has forced almost 2 million people out of their homes. Many have spent years in displacement camps.

Local authorities have been encouraging villagers to return home under military protection. The residents of five major towns have returned since 2018, but local terror groups continue to launch attacks in the Lake Chad region. It is a strategic area that borders four different countries.

Two bombings rock the Philippines—Next, we go to Asia.

AUDIO: [PHILLIPPINES SIRENS]

Islamic fighters set off two bombs on a small island in the Philippines on Monday, killing at least 15 people. Seventy-five others were wounded.

The explosions went off within an hour of each other. One was a suicide bomb. The other was rigged in a motorcycle parked close to two army trucks. The explosions killed both civilians and soldiers.

The troops were part of a special division created to fight a local insurgent group. The insurgents are responsible for piracy, kidnapping, and countless attacks.

Peru disco stampede kills 13—Next, we go to South America.

AUDIO: [PERUVIAN PARENT]

Thirteen people died in a stampede in Peru on Sunday. About 120 people had gathered at a nightclub, despite a pandemic-related ban on large gatherings. Police raided the building and told the partygoers to disperse. Attendees panicked and stampeded for the exit, trampling each other in the rush to get out.

Peru’s president said he was sorry for the relatives of those killed, but he also said the gathering should never have happened.

About 23 people were arrested, and 15 of those tested positive for COVID-19. They’ll spend the next few weeks in quarantine.

Belarus protests continue—Next, we go to Europe.

AUDIO: [BELARUS PROTESTORS]

Police in Belarus arrested multiple protesters on Monday, including a prominent leader in the movement. They also detained the country’s most famous writer, an author who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015 and has supported the protest movement.

Monday marked the 16th straight day of protests against President Alexander Lukashenko. Tens of thousands of people gathered in the capital to challenge the recent election. They claim Lukashenko rigged the outcome to stay in power. He has controlled the government for 26 years, ever since Belarus gained independence from the Soviet Union.

Lukashenko has refused to step down. In a show of force on Sunday, he released a video of himself carrying an AK-47 and wearing a bulletproof vest as he inspected a military checkpoint.

Norway’s chess grand champion—Finally, we end today in Norway

AUDIO: He just played knight A4, bringing it to C5. 

Magnus Carlsen just won the most-watched chess championship in the world. Nearly 70 million people tuned in online to watch the competition. It began in April and included several large matches that culminated in the grand finale last week.

In that tie-breaking match, Carlsen beat out his longtime rival, Hikaru Nakamura, to win almost $350,000. The two have had a fierce rivalry that spans more than a decade.

That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.


NICK EICHER: America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, has said it’s working with the U.S. mint to resolve the coin shortage. Maybe you’ve heard about this: of all the strange economic effects of COVID, we don’t have enough coins circulating.

Well, I’ve got an idea: Loop in the TSA.

Just read that the Transportation Security Administration in its most recent report to Congress said it collects around a million dollars a year in loose change at airports around the country.

Biggest losses: New York’s JFK, San Francisco, Miami, and—to no one’s surprise—Las Vegas, where people lose money all the time.

But this lost change in the most recent fiscal year adds up to precisely $926,030.44. Granted, $20,000 of it was foreign.

But the point is, maybe the TSA can make a dent in the problem here. Harried travelers emptying their pockets, in a rush to make a flight, totally distracted: quite often they forget cash and coin.

The law says if it can’t return the money to those who lost it, TSA gets to spend it.

I say it’s time to do the patriotic thing and help solve the coin shortage.

It’s The World and Everything in It.


MARY REICHARD: Today is Wednesday, August 26th. We’re glad you’ve joined us today for The World and Everything in It. Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next, fiddling out of gratitude.

Aynsley Porchak knew since the time she could first talk what she wanted to be. But an unexpected twist along the way forced her to almost give that up. 

WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg us brings her story.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: The bluegrass band, Carolina Blue, closes out a number to a small gathering. Because of COVID-19, most fans watch from Facebook. 

BAND: Well, listen guys, I can’t say how much we appreciate you guys being here.. 

But the small numbers don’t stop the band from jamming out. 

AUDIO: [SOUND CAROLINA BLUE]

Alongside the banjo, the guitar and the bass-cello, is Aynsley Porchak. She’s the band’s award-winning fiddler. Her fingers fly up and down the neck of her instrument.

AUDIO: [FIDDLE SOLO]

Porchak wears her signature vintage clothes—a blue and white flowered dress, with a 40s-style white hat. Her white heels tap to the beat.

The fiddle has been Aynsley’s happy place for nearly as long as she can remember. 

As a toddler, she struggled to sleep, so her mom took her on drives. 

PORCHAK: And one day we were driving out between cow pastures and my mom was flipping around the radio dial and I said stop mommy right there. And so she stopped and it was a country music station. So we listened, I fell asleep. About a week later, same thing happened. So they found out it was country music that I really like. In time they found out I liked the fiddle.

Aynsley Porchak didn’t just like the fiddle. She loved it. When she started to play at age 9, it became her driving passion. 

PORCHAK: I was practicing for a long time. About 4-5 hours a day. 

Back at her home near Etowah, North Carolina, Porchak sits down on a piano bench. She tucks her fiddle between her chin and shoulder and with her right hand, she twists the little black tuning pegs at the base of the strings. 

PORCHAK: This is how we tune it for small mistakes.

AUDIO: [SOUND OF TUNING]

PORCHAK: We have our E string, A string, D string, and G string. And you can see there’s a lot of white rosin dust on here, the rosin helps your bow grip the strings a little bit better. That just shows that I’m really going at it when I’m playing.

Porchak’s always really gotten after it. In high school, she kept entering more competitions. She wanted to be a professional musician.  

PORCHAK: That was my goal. That was the one thing I wanted to achieve.

But then, something started going wrong with her hands. They ached. Turns out she worked so hard she tore a tendon in her pinky finger. 

PORCHAK: I felt like there was a rubber band that somebody had just taken a pair of scissors to and just snap. It was terrible. 

The pinky is pretty essential for playing the fiddle. So Porchak couldn’t practice or perform for months and she didn’t know if she’d ever play again. 

PORCHAK: The first thing I did was turn to the Lord and I was like Lord, if you want me to play fiddle again you’re going to have to heal me. Because I don’t know how, I don’t know what else to do with my life. I thought this is what I was supposed to do? There was a lot of sadness. And a lot of questioning. 

In the mean-time, she turned to prayer and Bible-reading. She wanted to become okay with whatever God had in store for her—even if that wasn’t the fiddle. 

PORCHAK: I did eventually come to a point of peace where I realized that if that door closed, God was going to open a window.

After six long months, her finger did heal. Of course, she got right back to it.

AUDIO: [SOUND OF AYNSLEY PLAYING A HYMN]

PORCHAK: It felt so good to be back to be playing again. It was so wonderful. I think I cried. I probably cried. (laughs) 

After high school, Porchak left her native Canada and headed to Tennessee to study bluegrass—her favorite style of music. 

PORCHAK:  So when you are a bluegrass fiddler, you use a lot of double stops, that’s when you play more than one note at the same time. We use triplets. It’s very, very fast. 

Porchak kept practicing and getting better. In 2015, she won the U.S. Grandmasters Fiddler Championship… and two years later, the Canadaian championship, making her the first person to ever win both. 

PORCHAK: I still have to pinch myself sometimes to believe it actually happened. 

Now, Porchak says it can be difficult not to plateau. That’s where Carolina Blue comes in. Her skilled bandmates bring out the best in her.  

AUDIO: [SOUND OF BAND]

PORCHAK: Carolina Blue is filled with so many talented instrumentalists that if you aren’t on your game you are going to stick out like a sore thumb.

Speaking of sore thumbs, Porchak doesn’t want to have a sore pinky again. Ten years after her torn tendon, she still wears a brace just in case. 

PORCHAK: It’s small. Looks like two rings joined together and what it does is it stops me from hyperextending my little finger joint… I never take it off. 

Porchack says her injury actually comes in handy now. It taught her to practice in her head. With a busy life, that’s become a key skill. 

PORCHAK: While I don’t practice 4-5 hours a day anymore. I do most of my practicing through mental visualization, really listening to songs, so I actually do more mental work now as a result of that.

Porchak has learned God’s in the business of doing that—weaving together what look like loose ends—and she’s grateful. 

AUDIO: [SOUND OF PORCHAK PLAYING]

PORCHAK: I definitely do feel that it is a kind of worship because it is to me the best way really of showing the Lord how thankful I am for what he gave me. So, be patient. Be steadfast and God has a plan for you. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg in Etowah, North Carolina.


NICK EICHER: I want you to know that Sarah also prepared a video version of this story for our WORLD Watch—our daily video news for young students.

So if you’re a subscriber, look for it on Friday’s WORLD Watch. 

If you’ve not subscribed yet, we still want you to be able to see Sarah’s report. So we’re going to make the Friday 10-minute WORLD Watch available for free on the WORLD Watch YouTube channel and you can see it there.

It’ll go live Friday morning and we’ll link to it all on worldandeverything.org.


NICK EICHER: Today is Wednesday, August 26th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Here’s World commentator Janie B. Cheaney on the family.

JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: The March issue of The Atlantic carried a long article by David Brooks provocatively titled, “The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake.” The headline was a mistake: Brooks’ point is not that dad, mom, and two-and-a-half kids was a bad idea. It’s just unsustainable in today’s culture. Before the 1950s, “family” meant community—either extended relations or tight-knit neighborhoods. According to Brooks, the nuclear family is a one-off product of American postwar prosperity.

I think he exaggerates that uniqueness. From the beginning, a man was expected to leave his parents and bond with his wife. In the United States the nuclear family was the anchor of the Republic and the spearhead of its growth, pushing West to plant farms and build towns.

But Brooks is correct that families don’t thrive in isolation. TV and air conditioning drove them inside, where they left post-it notes to each other before rushing to the next appointment. The disappearance of the front porch and neighborhood sandlot underscored the breakdown of local ties.

Ironically, March was the month that transformed single-family homes into fortresses against infection. Radical feminist Sophie Lewis predicted disaster: “The coronavirus shows it’s time to abolish the nuclear family.” Dysfunctional families would become more dysfunctional without the outlet of social interaction and public school. We may never know how many kids would suffer hunger or abuse.

There’s a brighter side. Later in the lockdown, New York Post columnist Miranda Devine reported—quote—“[A]necdotal evidence is that children are happier, and a lot of families are getting along better than ever. Enforced isolation has brought a newfound appreciation for family life that is the silver lining to this wretched pandemic.” End quote.

A boom in flour, board games, and jigsaw puzzles indicated there was a lot of baking and game-nighting out there in shutdown land. Certainly preferable to the domestic bloodbath some experts predicted.

That heartening news underscores what we all know: that home is not a place to touch base before piano lessons or soccer practice. Home is where you learn to belong. The functional family is the most effective and natural way to civilize young humans.

David Brooks would probably agree with that. Here’s where we can agree with him: our individualistic culture has put economic, emotional, and spiritual strain on nuclear families. Brooks advocates people coming together in so-called “chosen families” to share support and resources. He doesn’t mention the local church, but isn’t that the prototype of a chosen family?

Chosen by God, that is, who “sets the solitary in a home and leads out the prisoners to prosperity” (Psalm 68:6). We’ll probably learn that the pandemic has exposed both strengths and weaknesses in the nuclear family. Hopefully, those who fared well have learned to enjoy just being together. But can we offer hope to the abused and neglected, whose four walls constitute a prison rather than a refuge?

I’m Janie B. Cheaney.


NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: the post office and elections.

The USPS has been under fire recently over structural changes. We’ll tell you how it got into this mess in the first place.

And, we’ll take you to a Christian school in Tennessee to learn about what it takes to reopen classrooms.

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.

Having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members, one of another. 

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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