In the (now almost) 6 years of the Beyond the Box Podcast, and in the years of personal conversation between Ray and Steve prior to the launch of BtB, one thing has stayed very consistent: A pursuit of meaningful and healthy expressions of faith in authentic relationships outside the institution or religion. In the evolution from two guys in a restaurant, to a couple of other friends occasionally joining in, to recorded conversations and a website for interaction with others, to a Facebook community with frequent personal interaction, Ray and Steve have tried to continue to explore what community mean, what role it plays in Beyond the Box, and how to guide it in a healthy direction without falling into the hierarchical trappings that seem to have sidetracked the institution.
Sometimes, evolution like that involves exciting growth and positive experiences. And sometimes, it requires stepping back a bit and re-evaluating the success/failure of particular endeavors. So, when recent events in the BtB Facebook community seemed to lead to some serious questions about exactly how that community functions and whether or not it was headed in a healthy direction, it was time for some hard thinking.
While this episode focuses heavily on that particular aspect of the BtB experience, Ray and Steve discuss many factors about community that may be applicable to a wide variety of situations. And within the context of this discussion, they outline some changes in the approach to community that will hopefully allow people to feel more safe, engage in healthier interactions, and live in love and respect for those around them.