Beyond the Box

Two guys thinking out loud about life beyond the box of institutional religion

Walking in Unity

UNUnityITY. This seems to be a real buzz word in the Body of Christ, but seldom do we achieve it. What is unity? Does unity mean that we must all agree and affirm the same doctrines? Or, does unity mean that we must all lay aside our distinctive beliefs in an effort to not offend others, thereby having a unity based on just not talking about our differences? It seems like conservatives often choose conformity or uniformity while liberals often just don’t talk about differences. What if there were a third way? What if unity is best experienced when you get to be fully you without me ceasing to be fully me? What if unity means that we get to embrace others without compromising who we are, or forcing others to fit into our mold? Join Steve and Ray as they talk about navigating this “third way” of unity; a unity based neither on conformity nor silence, but on love.


Notes From (Over) the Edge with Jim Palmer

Jim PalmerIn this episode Ray is joined by Jim Palmer for an exhilarating discussion about spirituality, suffering, and being human. Jim has a knack for making otherwise ethereal, spiritual concepts feel both meaningful and practical. He believes that the spiritual life is something to be embraced by everyone instead of a gift reserved for gurus and experts. Join Ray and Jim for this great discussion about life, spirituality, being human, and much more! Make sure to check out Jim’s newest book Notes From (Over) the Edge: Unmasking the Truth to End Your Suffering, and visit his website Thanks for taking the time to share your heart with us, Jim!


The Chicken Manure Incident with Kevin Miller

Chicken Manure IncidentThe Chicken Manure Incident – It was supposed to be a quick and dirty solution. Early in the morning on June 4, 2013, workers from the City of Abbotsford, BC pulled up to a homeless camp on the side of the road and dumped a truckload of chicken manure on the site. Intended as a quick and dirty way to disperse this “problem population,” little did those who concocted the scheme realize who they were messing with. In this episode Kevin Miller joins Ray to talk about his new documentary film, The Chicken Manure Incident, and the subject of homelessness. Who are the homeless? How can we help them? Why do we see the homeless as “them” anyway? Join us for a discussion about Kevin’s new film, homelessness, and following Jesus with “the least of these”. Thanks Kevin for joining us for this great conversation! Check out The Chicken Manure Incident available on Vimeo On Demand, and “like” the Facebook page for the movie!


Justice, Francis, and the Cost of Community with Jamie Arpin-Ricci

Cost-of-CommunityIn this episode Ray is joined by author and fellow “Beyond the Boxer”, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, for a discussion about intentional community, issues of justice, Francis of Assisi, and his book The Cost of Community. Join us as we chat about living in community, radical hospitality, co-housing, “shoulds”, and a lot more! Check out Jamie’s book The Cost of Community, and visit his website for some great information about Christ and community. Thanks for taking the time to hang out with us, Jamie!


Thinking Out Loud About Panentheism

Earch in PalmPrompted by a suggestion from listener Joshua, Steve and Ray fire up a discussion about Panentheism and whether or not it could be a helpful idea in our journey with God. Panentheism is to not to be confused with Pantheism (the belief that creation itself is God), but rather is the idea that the entirety of the universe is a part of God. Rather than the classic view of God’s separateness from creation, Panentheism posits that the creation itself is infused by the Divine, and therefore cannot be separated from God. Join Steve and Ray as they explore this idea, and journey with them down the usual rabbit trails! Have an idea for the podcast that you would like to hear discussed? Let us hear it by submitting it here:


Groupcast – What Is Community?

GroupcastIt’s our first ever Groupcast! Groupcast is a new Beyond the Box feature that’s all about listening to and interacting with you, in order to explore life in Christ within the context of community. Speaking of community, in this first installment of Groupcast, that’s exactly what we talk about. Community – What does it mean? What does it look like? How do we foster it? Join Ray and Beyond the Box community participants Heather Sterling, Jerrine Regan, Ulf Jetter, and Chip Watts as we explore this thing called “community”!


Who Is My Enemy? with Lee C. Camp

Who is my EnemyIn this episode, Ray is excited to be joined by Dr. Lee C. Camp for a discussion about his book Who Is My Enemy?, and the power of nonviolence to act as an apologetic for Jesus as the Messiah. Join us as we talk about double vision, the politics of Jesus, and the idolatrous nature of the nation-state. Lee shares with us some great historical insights into the teachings of the early Church regarding nonviolence, and how the nation-state has lulled us into an idolatrous relationship in which we give our allegiance to Caesar. Make sure to check out both of Lee’s books Mere Discipleship, and Who Is My Enemy?, and visit Also, if you are going to be in the Nashville or middle Tennessee area make sure to check out Lee’s theological variety show, Tokens. Thanks Lee for joining us for this very helpful conversation!


Selling Water by the River with Shane Hipps

Selling Water by the RiverIn this episode Shane Hipps joins Ray for a conversation about his book Selling Water by the River: A Book About the Life Jesus Promised and the Religion That Gets in the Way. Why is it that Christians feel we have the corner on God? Why do we protect the Kingdom like a guard instead of tending to it like a gardener? Join us as Shane shares his thoughts about church, life, the Spirit of Christ, and more. Make sure to check out Shane’s book Selling Water by the River: A Book About the Life Jesus Promised and the Religion That Gets in the Way, and visit his website at Thanks for taking the time to join the dialog Shane!


Five Years and Counting!

July 6, 2013 marked five years since Ray and Steve uploaded their first episode of Beyond the Box! And shortly before the anniversary of their first episode, Ray and Steve spent about 2-1/2 hours recapping some of the journey to this point.  Filled with classic Beyond the Box style and humor, including the revival of the long-missing “Disclaimer Dude”, a conversation which mostly focuses on the journey of BtB with regard to scripture is sure to fascinate both long-time listeners and those who have joined the conversation more recently.

Thank you so much to all of the listeners who have made this first five years so exciting and fun. Here’s to five more years (at least!) of rabbit trails, disclaimers, corny jokes, and thinking out loud as we continue to explore life outside the box of institutional religion!


Evangelicalism Outside the Box — A Roundtable Discussion

Roundtable discussion participantsIn early May, Steve traveled to Pennsylvania and decided to moderate a roundtable discussion with several friends of the podcast, including some former guests of the podcast and some new ones as well.  The discussion, while a typical Beyond the Box exercise in rabbit trails, launches from the starting point of discussing the potential impact of current discussions within evangelicalism.

Sitting around a table with plenty of beverages kept flowing by Michael, and with no specific agenda in mind, the discussion unfolds to cover some great points about the current issues within evangelicalism, including the topic of inspiration/inerrancy of Scripture, and even touching at one point on Steve’s apparent need for therapy to fix his errors in theology and ecclesiology! ;)

Many thanks to Michael and Lorri Hardin for hosting this discussion at their house in Lancaster, PA! It was a delightful time with the Hardins, Pete Enns and John Oliff (who traveled to Lancaster from the Philadelphia area to join the discussion), and Jonathan Souder (friend of the Hardins).

Standing L-R: Peter Enns, John Oliff, Jonathan Souder, Lorri Harden; Seated L-R: Steve Sensenig, Michael Hardin (photo by Dylan Sensenig)

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