Home Podcast Alex Harris: ‘Shiny Happy People’ Is Flawed but Serves the Church

Alex Harris: ‘Shiny Happy People’ Is Flawed but Serves the Church

“There were many things [in ‘Shiny Happy People’] that you could point to as unfair, inaccurate. I think the filmmakers in the series kind of overstepped in quite a few places.”

“The series, flawed as it may be, serves the church, for those willing to seriously engage with it and consider what is true, what it does reveal, and what the implications are far beyond just, you know, Bill Gothard and his Institute in Basic Life Principles.”

“So many of those families [who were involved in IBLP] were families where they were trying to be faithful. They were trying to follow God. They were trying to do what was best for their kids.”

“[Gothard’s] principles quickly became rules that not just promised reward if you followed them, but also promised punishment, a lack of protection against Satan’s attacks if you didn’t follow them, and just created a very rigid, fear-based and extrabiblical form of following God.”

“[R.J. Rushdoony’s] mindset of an all-or-nothing, black-and-white type of view of society and politics…ended up being very influential in the rise of the Christian right. Rushdoony was also one of the pioneers of Christian homeschooling.”

“There’s a lot of unhealthiness there when our hope is placed in politics or power instead of where it should be.”

“I agree that there can be great benefit in having faithful Christians in these various positions [of power]. So the concern is not that vision in itself. But there is a very important soul-forming aspect to where our efforts are focused.”

“It’s one thing to say, ‘Hey, all things being equal, wouldn’t it be great to have Christians in these roles?’ It’s another thing to, as I did, form your life around trying to maneuver and position yourself to be in that role as if that’s the height of faithfulness to Christ.”

“A misplaced hope, I think, gradually robs us of joy. It causes us to be motivated by fear. It causes us to be motivated by a desire to defeat the enemy, as opposed to loving our neighbor and turning the other cheek.”

“Over time, I just saw a conflation of faithfulness to Christ with faithfulness to political allies and a conflation of biblical principles with maybe the Republican Party platform. And that is dangerous and I think an inevitable result of a misplaced hope in politics and in power.”

“Unlike what I would have said maybe 10, 15 years ago, [homeschooling] is not the only option for faithful Christian parents.”

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