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Episode 470: The Happiest Countries & Childlike Faith with Mandy Smith

Updated: Sep 9, 2021


The United Nations World Happiness Report is out, and it says the United States is still behind the world’s happiest countries. Can we learn anything from them, or does America’s diversity mean perpetual conflict? Then, pastor and author Mandy Smith says Western culture has warped our understanding of what it means to be a Christian by focusing too much on knowledge and power. The antidote? Embracing Jesus’ call to childlike faith.


Also this week—covid skeptics have some explaining to do because last year life expectancy in the US dropped the most since WWII—and it wasn’t because of murder hornets. Plus, a woman sues McDonald’s for tempting her to break her Lenten fast.


News Segment:


Woman sues McDonald’s after burger ad compelled her to break Lent fast [2:55]


COVID-19 caused U.S. life expectancy to drop 1.5 years [09:38]


White evangelical COVID-19 vaccine acceptance has jumped 11 points since March [09:38]


UN report on global happiness [21:47]


Interview with Mandy Smith:


Unfettered: Imagining a Childlike Faith beyond the Baggage of Western Culture - https://amzn.to/3nhS6o7


Interview Start [48:06]

How is Western civilization in a tailspin? [49:56]

An antidote for two false ways of engaging faith [52:35]

Qualities of a childlike faith [56:01]

Wholistic faith and childlikeness [57:29]

Humility & honesty within disorder [01:00:37]

Error in overreacting to rationality of Western culture [01:05:21]

Story about dancing, healing, and releasing control [01:10:31]

Reconciling the call to maturity with a childlike faith [01:19:59]


Other resources mentioned:



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88 Comments


I’m a Pastor in mid-west Ohio. I got the vax as did my family. It was controversial for this small town for sure, but I had many individual conversations instead of any big pulpit push. I told the senior adults early on, “do you remember the polio vaccine?” talked about the scars and experience. Almost all of them got the vaccine.

With the younger adults, I just lead by example and gave plenty of grace for those who refuse the vax even today.

I think about 60-70% of congregation is vaccinated now.

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M Zed
M Zed
Sep 15, 2021

I just wanted to let you guys know something about how God used this interview. I have been struggling with my faith, and trying to figure it all out. The night before this episode aired, I had sat in a Bible Study with several women, and we were talking about knowledge, and how it can get in the way of faith. I said "I just need to figure out how to get back to that childlike faith." Keeping in mind that part of my struggle has been how much is God and how much is "just coincidence" in life, and what I read in to things, this episode coming up the next day REALLY felt like God saying "I …


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Richard Spicer
Richard Spicer
Aug 28, 2021

I really enjoy the interview with the guest, Pastor Mandy Smith. As I listened to your description of the book and this concept of connecting with your mind and body it really reminded of my experience as a Pentecostal. I know you both said this is not a Pentecostal idea, essentially because a Pentecostal way of being goes to far in the feelings rather than reasoning department. But what it really seemed like you were describing is extremes or abuses in Pentecostal spaces rather than the norm.

Maybe, I am biased because I am naturally a more logical person person rather than experiential. But I’d be interested if other Pentecostal feel the same way.


I hope to read the…

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brentsheridan
brentsheridan
Aug 25, 2021

Good morning, I am a Pastor at a church in Blue Grass, IA. Phil probably knows where that's at :). You had asked for people to respond to the question "what did you say, or not say in your congregations about getting vaccinated?" I guess I have a lot of feelings about this topic. I think the way you framed the question felt a little "if you didn't then you are wrong, but if you did praise be to you." It seems the underlying assumption in the question is that I base my decision to say something, or not say something only on whether or not I'm concerned with getting fired and losing my income. The problem with this is…


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Joel Pettigrew
Joel Pettigrew
Aug 25, 2021
Replying to

Phil, Skye, Kaitlin, this response perfectly encapsulates in a far more humble way what I was saying below. Please do not, with your platform, make sweeping assumptions about why people do and do not make certain decisions - particularly when you disagree. It leads to increased alienation from those you disagree with, instead of thoughtful discussion.

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Joel Pettigrew
Joel Pettigrew
Aug 25, 2021

I know I'm late to the party here, and this comment may never be read by Skye, Phil, and Kaitlin, but this episode left me deeply disappointed. So many suppositions, assumptions, and caricatures were made of and against people with whom you disagreed. I've found this podcast so helpful as a place to consider how to reconcile my love for Jesus with the fact that I can no longer embrace the political identity of the Republican party or the far-right, but I am and remain both "White" and "Evangelical", and this episode made me wary of recommending the podcast to others who may be in need of thoughtful discussion on difficult topics - something you usually do well. Instead, it…

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