The Road to Wheaton

Yesterday, as is my wont once a month or so, I drove out to Wheaton, Illinois, for a court call. The drive is about 36 miles each way, and takes a bit more than an hour. As usual, I listened to public radio on the way out, but I didn’t feel like hearing gavel-to-gavel DNC on the way back, in the middle of the day. So out of curiosity, I tuned in to a nearby station run by the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. The last time I tuned in to them, about 15 years ago on a late-night jaunt from the Land Beyond O’Hare, I got turned off pretty quickly by some talk-show guy writing off any idea that non-evangelicals could get to heaven as “just that ‘all roads lead home’ stuff.”

But this time, I found myself pleased and surprised. Maybe the drive time and late night stuff would have been more of what I expected, but their midday programming was mostly about family life, presumably aimed at stay-at-home mothers, and it included some really good stuff. Let me put in a plug here for a lady named Ginger Plowman, and her book, Don’t Make Me Count to Three, about child-rearing. How do you keep kids from whining? How do you keep them from quarreling with each other? What do you do when one of them seems determined to get another one in trouble? All really good questions, to which I would have expected some variant of “hit ‘em upside the head” for an answer. As opposed to the typical child psychologist answers dealing with self-esteem as the solution to just about everything. This lady avoids both extremes, and instead suggests that the parent figure out what the kid is trying to accomplish with this obnoxious behavior, and address better ways to do it, including empathizing with siblings and other kids.

A little later, there was a Bible study segment about Miriam, the sister of Moses. Once again I was surprised, this time because the host had actually read the traditional Jewish sources, including midrash (although she pronounced it so that the last syllable rhymed with “crash.”) She objected to some of what the midrash says, because it goes beyond the scriptural text, but at least she was familiar with it.

I plan to listen some more, just to see what else the station does. As Tim Leary used to say, the difference between reality and hallucination is that reality can still surprise you.

Jane Grey

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