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569: Shiny Happy Certainty & How Women Led in the Early Church with Nijay Gupta

Two events have our attention. First, a new documentary about reality TV’s Dugger family is exposing the ugly side of the Christian fundamentalism, patriarchy, and legalism taught by Bill Gothard’s ministry. And, Christian broadcaster and pillar of the Religious Right, Pat Robertson, died this week at 93. Was there a link between the popularity of Gothard and Robertson for a whole generation of American Christians? Then, New Testament scholar Nijay Gupta talks about his new book “Tell Her Story: How Women Led, Taught, and Ministered in the Early Church.” And he participates in an unexpected therapy session with Skye about their shared background. Also this week—Kaitlyn is learning German, book bans backfire on the Bible in Utah, and Phil rescues pets from fallen ministry leaders.

Patreon Bonus:

Christian Asks - What does it mean to not use the Lord's name in vain?

Bonus Interview with Nijay Gupta -

0:00 - Intro

1:38 - Show Starts

2:27 - Theme Song

2:49 - Sponsor - Sundays Dog Food

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4:01 - Kaitlyn learning German

7:16 - Bible banned in schools

15:00 - Shiny Happy People and Pat Robertson


49:15 - Sponsor - Hiya Health

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50:20 - Sponsor - Faithful Counseling

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51:30 - Interview Intro

52:58 - Nijay Gupta

Nijay Gupta twitter -

1:05:20 Women in the Old Testament

1:11: 21 Women in Rome

1:19:59 Paul and pragmatism

1:27:22 - End Credits

Links mentioned in news segment:

Utah parent upset by book bans gets Bible pulled from school shelves to expose ‘bad faith process’ -

Reading for the Love of God: How to Read as a Spiritual Practice by Jessica Hooten Wilson -

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt -

WITH by Skye Jethani -

Other resources:

Tell Her Story: How Women Led, Taught, and Ministered in the Early Church by Nijay Gupta

The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth by Beth Allison Barr -

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Michael H
Michael H
Jun 20, 2023

Here is a story for Phil's enjoyment:

My family was in Gothard's ATI for five years. I went once to an ALERT (one of Gothard's programs) boys' camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. One morning we were on a bus getting ready to go somewhere (a hike maybe?) when some of the boys decided to sing the Veggie Tales theme song. The whole bus started joining in (we knew the song, not because we watched Veggie Tales at home, but because many of us had relatives and friends who were not very serious Christians, and who therefore let their kids watch Veggie Tales). In VERY short order (we'd barely reached "broccoli, celery, gotta be ..."), one of the ALERT…

Phil Vischer
Phil Vischer
Jun 20, 2023
Replying to

Oh wow. Not sure if I should be disappointed or thrilled!


Jay Ehle
Jay Ehle
Jun 17, 2023

The bonus interview with Dr. Gupta was a fantastic discussion of the 1 Timothy passage - you should consider making it public so we can share it with friends.


Jun 14, 2023

To be honest, if we're looking at books that young kids should have access to at school in the early grades, I would prefer if the Old Testament was not included. Content-wise, a lot of it is not appropriate for young children, and I think that when and how to present this material to children is an important and personal parenting decision.


I hope this isn't misconstrued, but after watching the Shiny Happy People episodes I had an additional thought in mind: Wow does the Multinational Corporation worth billions get off pretty easy in this documentary.

I'm saying this as someone 100% in agreement with the 3 hosts too! Du Mez and Alex Harris do wonderful in this show as well.

But not once in this documentary about Reality TV stars does anyone turn the camera on a producer and ask if they thought filming a young woman crying in her bathtub while giving birth was a good idea. Not once did they ask a camera operator if they thought abuse was occurring as they shoved a camera in 3 y/o's faces.…


Watching Shiny Happy People it was “blanket time” that had me weeping and later enraged. We adopted our child at 11 mos from Romania to learn last week that Gothard’s popular program taught neglecting and abusing infants ON PURPOSE had me seeing red. I know first hand what that trauma can do to a developing brain. Even with good therapies the effects are often lifelong. The NIH has more than 30 peer reviewed articles on Romanian adoptees and the changes in brain functioning. I hope and pray to see accountability on ”blanket time”. This includes Evangelical leaders and adherents throughout the subculture who promoted, used, enabled, or turned a blind eye to this practice. I want the same accountability for…

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