Janie B. Cheaney

Janie is a senior writer who contributes commentary to WORLD and oversees WORLD's annual Children's Book of the Year awards. She also writes novels for young adults and authored the Wordsmith creative writing curriculum. Janie resides in rural Missouri.


Pleasant borders

faith | America may or may not have a fine future, but believers definitely do
by Janie B. Cheaney
Posted 4/16/19, 04:33 pm

Years ago, on an episode of Focus on the Family, I heard the story of an experimental school for young children. The school’s founders wanted to challenge the students to tap into their natural curiosity and boldness, so they knocked down the playground fences to allow the kids to explore beyond their prescribed boundaries. Instead of free-ranging all over the neighborhood, however, the children hardly ventured beyond the schoolhouse door. Moral: Kids need boundaries so they can feel secure while tapping into their natural curiosity and boldness.  

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Alpha Historica/Alamy

It is well ...

Religion | A great hymn came from the pen of a troubled—and troublesome—man
by Janie B. Cheaney
Posted 4/11/19, 01:11 pm

The luxury liner was steaming through a calm, star-studded night when it happened. Fast asleep after days of rough weather and turbid fog, passengers were thrown from their beds by a violent shuddering and noise like an explosion. The prow of an iron-hulled sailing vessel had rammed them amidships and split the hull. Passengers who were not killed in the crash crowded the deck and swarmed the lifeboats. Many were crushed under the collapsing mainmast.

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North Wind Picture Archives via AP

Robespierre’s road

Culture | Calls for social justice are sometimes just ruinous calls for payback
by Janie B. Cheaney
Posted 3/19/19, 04:19 pm

What could be more genteel than a meeting of academic classicists? Imagine scholars in tweed jackets subtly correcting each other’s Greek as they compare translations of Thucydides and debate the political implications of Sappho. The expectations of Mary Frances Williams, an independent (i.e., not attached to a university) classics scholar, were not so clichéd. Still, she had no idea when she registered for the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS) what a wild ride it would be. 

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