37 episodes

Ever read a book and wished you could ask the author a question? Josh Olds did, so he started this podcast. Beyond the Page covers the very best in Christian non-fiction as Josh talks with your favorite pastors, teachers, and theologians to learn more about their recent work.

Beyond the Page Josh Olds

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 28 Ratings

Ever read a book and wished you could ask the author a question? Josh Olds did, so he started this podcast. Beyond the Page covers the very best in Christian non-fiction as Josh talks with your favorite pastors, teachers, and theologians to learn more about their recent work.

    Behind the Lights: A Conversation with Helen Smallbone

    Behind the Lights: A Conversation with Helen Smallbone

    What’s it like to lose everything, leave your home country, and step out in faith with no safety net? What about raising (and homeschooling!) seven creative children? How about being the middle of the contemporary Christian music movement and having three of your children be well-known artists? In her debut memoir, Helen Smallbone gives you the answers. But I had more questions and wanted to hear it directly in her voice. Listen in as Helen and I talk about the story of her life.

    The Conversation | Helen Smallbone

    This interview transcript has been lightly edited for clarity and conciseness.

    Josh Olds: Now, this is sort of your memoir, it’s your story from all the way back starting in with your younger years on Australia. Then moved to the States, and Behind the Lights takes us all the way up through your current ministry and work. But just to begin, if you can just sort of compress that into just a couple of minutes and let the listeners know what they can expect when they read this book.

    Helen Smallbone: This book is really a little bit of a life story. We’ve been given a fairly dramatic life story. My husband and I left Australia in 1991 with six kids, 16 suitcases, and me pregnant with number seven. After a business reversal back in Australia, we actually lost a quarter million dollars on a tour that David was promoting. And we knew that life was never going to be quite the same. We came here he was 42 and knew that this was a new start, basically.

    We had no nest egg to fall back on because we’d lost everything back in Australia, coming here to start afresh. And then he lost his job. So really, we had nowhere to turn, but to sort of bunker down with each other. And then to pray. And it was really through prayer that we saw God take us step by step and lead us into some new ways. David did pick up a job a couple of months after, and then we lived pretty hand-to-mouth for the ensuing couple of years. We learned to work together in those early days we learned to do all the jobs that people don’t really love to do—rake leaves, mow lawns, babysit, clean houses. And it was really the kids working , particularly Rebecca and Daniel working, that helped put food on the table.

    We saw God provide as well. We got given a car. We got help with paying some of the bills for our daughter to be born. We were given groceries by friends, people who knew us in the neighborhood. And so we just saw God really care for us. And then later from that, we ended up working together, or the kids end up working as Rebecca’s crew during her time as Rebecca St. James. And then from that the boys sort of emerged as her background vocalists. And then eventually, God gave them their own career. So it’s really following the gamut. Back in Australia, our normal life, then losing everything, dramatic life change. And then God’s slowly being faithful in giving us everything back.

    Josh Olds: You co-founded a ministry for mothers called MUMlife. That’s what you’re doing now. What is your purpose in that ministry? And what led you to that?

    Helen Smallbone: I’ve been a full-time mom, I call it active mothering, for 32 years. Between the time Rebecca was born to the time my youngest daughter graduated from high school. And so I did nothing else other than mother for those years. So I feel like my career is being a mum. And I know what being a mum sort of looks like. And so I just saw the opportunity—God actually opened the opportunities—for me to start mentoring younger mums. I was asked by some mums in a local church group if I would come in and mentor and I don’t do women’s groups. I’m not a real girly girl. I wouldn’t have done a ministry to women per se. But mums are my heart. Mums are what I know. Families. Kids. And so I thought, “You know what, this is probably a great place for me to serve in ...

    • 28 min
    Joni: A Conversation with Joni Eareckson Tada

    Joni: A Conversation with Joni Eareckson Tada

    For forty-five years, Joni Eareckson Tada’s memoir of the years after the diving accident that left her paraplegic has remained in print and read by millions. Reading the latest anniversary edition, I wondered if Joni’s thoughts on her injury had changed since they were first put into print. A half-century of perspective will certainly change someone. I also wanted to talk with her about disability advocacy and what churches can do to be inclusive, empowering, and welcoming. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have done just that, and to be able to share it all with you. Watch the video version for an exclusive peek at an original piece of art painted by Joni!

    The Conversation | Joni Eareckson Tada

    This interview transcript has been lightly edited for conciseness and clarity. A full transcript of the interview is available here.

     Josh Olds: You speak very openly about the struggle that it was that, you’ve kind of gotten to a point where you talk about suffering and God’s glory, but those early days, those early days were really hard for you. And how important was it for you that people understood the realities of your struggle?

    Joni Eareckson Tada: Well, let me correct something that you just said. It’s still hard. It is still very hard. In fact, the older I get, it gets harder. I deal with chronic pain. And so, I look back on that book, Josh, and I’m just so grateful that the insights I shared from the Word of God still apply. I still wake up in the morning, even after so many decades of paralysis. I still wake up in the morning, saying, “Jesus, I need you desperately. I cannot do quadriplegia today. I am so tired of the pain and the challenges, but I can do all things through you, Jesus, if you would but strengthen me.” Now that’s a principle that everybody can grasp.

    And that’s why I felt it would be important too, you know, when I wrote the book Joni, with my co-author Joe Messer, I thought it would be very important to be as honest and visceral and gutsy and open and transparent as I possibly could be. Because not everybody’s a quadriplegic, and I knew that the average reader probably wouldn’t even have a disability, but handicaps come at us in all shapes and sizes. And so I just wanted to focus on the Word of God in that book, so that the reader dealing with whatever his challenge might be, would grasp those biblical anchors and just run with them. And that’s why I’m, I think it might still be, you know, it still might be a book that people want to read. Because those biblical insights, indeed, are timeless. Those anchors are applicable, even to me, the author, so many decades later, I’m still waking up in the morning needing Christ desperately. And shouldn’t we all be in that position? Right? Just needing Jesus?

    Josh Olds: Obviously, you you’ve lived with this for decades. What…have you ever imagined or thought about how your life would be different if your injury had not happened?

    Joni Eareckson Tada: I might be on my second divorce. I don’t know what I’d be doing. I certainly wouldn’t be sitting here, Josh, talking to you about biblical anchors and the promises of God and the hope in His Word. I really don’t think I would be. I mean, I broke my neck in 1967. That was the year, it was the summer I was heading off to college. I am shamed to admit this, but I was sleeping with my boyfriend in high school. I was living a life of sexual impurity and immorality, and I knew it was going to get worse, and in college wasn’t going to get better. And I remember praying a prayer and I think it was like April or May of 1967, I’d come home from a sordid date with my boyfriend, and I felt so guilty.

    • 30 min
    Attached to God: A Conversation with Krispin Mayfield

    Attached to God: A Conversation with Krispin Mayfield

    Attachment science is both revolutionary and simple. Basically, it states that humans were created for relationships, or, as attachment science founder John Bowlby called it “lasting psychological connectedness between humans.” Of course, this is what we find reflected in Scripture. Creation is good…until God looks at man and determines that his aloneness is “not good.” So, God creates woman. But does attachment go beyond that? What relationship exists between God and us? Using attachment science, Krispin Mayfield explores our attachment to God—specifically, he lists three insecure forms of attachment and one secure form of attachment. It was such a revolutionary book, I had to have him on the program to talk more about it.

    The Conversation | Krispin Mayfield

    This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity and content.

    Josh Olds: I want to start—for those people who are like, “I don’t know what this title means and I don’t know that I want to spend the next 45 minutes of my life figuring it out”—can you give us your nutshell summary? What is this book about? Who is it for?

    Krispin Mayfield: Yeah, basically, attachment science is the study of relationships. So it’s looking at what are the ways that we are trying to get relationship with God or trying to connect with God or do relationship with God? And what ways are there insecurity in that relationship? What are the, typical ways we can expect that we will deal with that insecurity through these different attachment styles? So basically, if you’re not feeling totally secure with God, you might feel really anxious about it. Or you might shut down your emotions, or you might beat yourself up and basically be like, you know, there’s something wrong with me. And if I can just continue to criticize and beat myself up, then maybe I’ll get a better connection with God. So that’s my best shot at summarizing it.

    Josh Olds: Your experience with attachment science is as a therapist. You use this not necessarily to talk about clients’ relationship with God, but talking about marriage relationships, all sorts of human relationships. At what point were you like, “Oh, hey, this thing that I’m doing here also applies very much to the relationship between God and people.”

    Krispin Mayfield: Right? Attachment science really start started out as a very scientific way of looking at what are proximity seeking behaviors, which is basically like, what are the ways that that primates try to get connection with their loved ones? And so, you know, they actually looked at monkeys first, but then also looking at infants and looked at what are the ways that babies who need their mothers try to get close to their mothers to get protection and get nurturance? You know, that sort of thing. And then we basically looked in as a field and realized, oh, this plays out in marriagesvwith adults? And so then recognizing there are these just patterns of behavior of like, “How do I get how do I get close to you?” And for some people, it’s, like, really clingy. For some people, it’s like, you know, I’m gonna kind of be standoffish, but that’s kind of how I know how to do relationship. And I started sitting in church services and looking around and kind of being like, “Oh, I can see these same sort of behavior patterns playing out with people. And, you know, if you were sort of like a scientist, just sitting in the back of a church or looking at a faith community and taking notes on what are the ways that people try to get close to God, what observations would you make?

    The Book | Attached to God

    Read our full review of Attached to God here.

    Why does God feel so far away? The reason–and the solution–is in your attachment style.

    We all experience moments when God’s love and presen...

    • 51 min
    Recovering Racists: A Conversation with Idelette McVicker

    Recovering Racists: A Conversation with Idelette McVicker

    From the first pages of Recovering Racists, I was transfixed by Idelette McVicker’s authenticity and vulnerability as she shared about the liberating nature of declaring oneself a recovering racist. Her book is mind-opening and paradigm-shifting for those desiring to truly do the work of reconciliation.

    The Conversation | Idelette McVicker

    This excerpt may be edited for conciseness and clarity. For the whole interview, see the audio player above or visit us wherever you get your podcasts.

    Josh Olds: Tell me about your journey in being a recovering racist.

    Idelette McVicker: In some way, I was born into the story, right? Like, I write about that, but just to be born right into the story of apartheid in South Africa. I was born into the white side, literally the white side, of the hospital and my birth certificate was stamped with a racial declaration that was created by the apartheid government, which was a violence in itself. And so for me, this race consciousness was there. Right? Like, it wasn’t spoken about by white people, but it was there. So I can say it started in my birth. Or I can say it started when I was 16 when I, at that time books were starting to get unbanned in South Africa, and I remember walking into the library, and I’m like, “Banned books? Can they be so bad?”…And I remember I just kind of went for that turnstile…I started reading this book and it was describing a relationship with a white man and a black man in a way that I hadn’t seen.

    And then there was a moment when I lived in Taiwan. I worked as a journalist in Taiwan. South Africa had gone through this political euphoria of its first democratic elections, like a vote in that first democratic elections. I remember it was like this euphoric day, and everything, like political freedom, calm at that time, right? And, and yet, three years later, I stood in Taiwan, and we’re celebrating this Freedom Day. That day is called Freedom Day now in South Africa. And we were celebrating that I was covering the story. And as I was thinking about our standing in that room, in a global context, and I heard my own accent, my Afrikaans accent, it was like, I am not the good person in the story.

    And I just, I, I was just like, I have to deal with this, I have to figure out who I am in this world. Do I have a place to belong? Do I belong in the story of humanity? Can I create a new story? Or is there something else? And I didn’t know how to move forward. And there were no models for me really, to be honest with you, of how to move out of that shame. And so I just started walking, and I was in a, you know, like, an intimate relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit and just kind of like walking with God and like, helped me what does this mean? Like, how do I get out of the story? And so, my faith has, from that minute become an anti-racist faith. Because racism and race and my story and my faith were so deeply interconnected.

    And so for me, there was no question I had to wrestle with the story of apartheid…but then this whole recovering racist piece, you know, that was Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, and I was sitting at the Festival of Faith and Writing, and she was speaking. And I remember just like, sitting there, I wanted all the tools. I wanted all the information, because I was so hungry, for more understanding and language of how we recover and how we write a different story. And, and she stood there, just so gracious, and she said one of her friends had said that the only thing my people can ever be are recovering racists. And I was like, “Did she just say that?” And it was like, “Did I hear that correctly?” And then I was like, “That’s it. That’s the language I’ve been looking for.” To own this and to acknowledge it, and not to run away from it, but to actually run towards it and say, “I acknowledge it. Now, what do we do?”

    The Book | Recovering Racists

    • 1 hr
    How to Heal Our Racial Divide: A Conversation with Derwin Gray

    How to Heal Our Racial Divide: A Conversation with Derwin Gray

    Racial issues have rightfully been at the forefront of Christian conversation for the past several years. Not that the racial is just now an issue but that, just now, the church in America is finally beginning to reckon with its history of racism and racial division. How do we overcome that division? Derwin Gray takes us back to the book of Acts and the ministry of Jesus for the answer.

    The Conversation | Derwin Gray

    This excerpt may be edited for conciseness and clarity. For the whole interview, see the audio player above or visit us wherever you get your podcasts.

    Josh Olds: One of the things that really struck me about How to Heal Our Racial Divide was how biblically grounded it is. Not that other books that have been written on this topic haven’t been, but you really get to the heart of the matter when you point out that the main challenge of the early church was also navigating racial division.

    Derwin Gray: Absolutely. As a matter of fact, you can’t even understand the New Testament if you miss that reality. And I want to thank you for saying that because I am a pastor and a theologian—so I believe the answer is biblical. I believe the answer is Gospel. And what I’m trying to do is get people to return to the Scripture and actually learn to live it out by faith. But when you look at the early church, for example, let’s start with Jesus. So when Jesus goes to Samaria, that’s a statement to break down racial division and create unity. When Jesus tells a story about the Good Samaritan, it’s the same thing. When Jesus feeds 5000 Jews on one side of the Sea of Galilee and 4000 Gentiles on the other side of the Sea of Galilee—one side was Jews, the other side was Gentiles—that’s a portrait into the future of Abraham’s banquet.

    And then when you look at the apostle Paul, every one of his letters was written to show how the gospel of Jesus Christ breaks down ethnic walls of sin and division to create the new people of God. I think that, deliberately, Satan has blinded the church’s eyes to that reality. And so it’s almost like we’ve created a gospel that says, “Yeah, God can forgive your sins. But you can dislike your brothers and sisters.” No. First John 4:20 says, “How can you say you love God whom you’ve never seen and say you love your brother and sister who you’ve seen.” To love God means to love our neighbors, our brothers and sisters. What I wanted people to see is that the Gospel—the Bible—is the answer. When people read this book, How to Heal Our Racial Divide, they will not see scripture the same and they will be the better for it.

    Josh Olds: One of the things I want you to just take me through a little more in depth is Jesus, I’m thinking specifically of John chapter four and the interaction with the Samaritan woman. This is huge. Because Jesus is a Jewish rabbi, and even to go through some area was itself a major flaunting of the religious rules of the time. So there’s, there’s this division, and Jesus is working to bring that together. We might look at that and we say, well, yeah, that was 2000 years in the past. Context was different; culture was different. How is that relevant to the situations that we find ourselves in today?

    Derwin Gray: Yeah, you know, the one thing that human beings have been able to do very well is to divide based on color, based on culture. We have been experts at doing that. And so the same principles that Jesus used to break down the barrier between Jews and Samaritans, he can do so today. And even if we just take a look around the world like…apartheid in South Africa was based on race. When we think about Bosnia and Croatia, that’s an ethnic feud. When we think about Jim Crow, and slavery in America, that’s on ethnicity. So this isn’t a problem that is simply an American problem. This is a human problem.

    • 35 min
    Choosing Us - Marriage and Mutual Flourishing: A Conversation with Brian Bantum

    Choosing Us - Marriage and Mutual Flourishing: A Conversation with Brian Bantum

    Marriage books. Ever since the LaHaye’s The Act of Marriage, Christian marriage books have been come and gone and almost all of them have been from a conservative, complementarian, how-to perspective. In Choosing Us, Brian and Gail Song Bantum reframe the conversation by simply telling their story. A few weeks ago, Brian joined me on the podcast to talk a little more about that story.

    The Conversation | Brian Bantum

    This interview excerpt has been lightly edited for clarity and conciseness. Listen to the full interview in the player above or wherever you get your podcasts.

    Josh Olds: Now, I want to start off, this is a marriage book, but it’s not what you might think of when you think of a marriage book. What sets this apart from other books that might be considered in that genre?

    Dr. Brian Bantum: Yeah, well, the book really began when Gail—she prays and fasts the beginning of every year, and at the end of this praying and fasting she woke up one day and said, “We need to write a book together.” And, I’ve written books before, and Gail has some books that she wants to wants to write. So we’ve kind of been in ministry together tangentially. We haven’t always served in the same church, but we’ve always had a sense of call together. And that’s always been part of our journey. When we started thinking a little bit about the book that we would write together, initially, it was maybe leadership, or maybe race, or kind of intercultural realities. But the more we started really thinking about it, we realized that there were so many couples, young couples especially, in our lives who were both trying to help each other flourish but didn’t know what that looked like. And inevitably, the woman was kind of having to slow down a little bit. And then a lot of couples that we taught, were dealing with realities of race in the midst of all of the kind of the protests and violence in the United States. And that was having an effect on their relationship.

    We realized that there isn’t, there actually isn’t a book out there, that talks about marriage apart from some of those kind of old complementarian kind of viewpoints, where there are very specific roles for the man and very specific roles for the woman, books that actually presume that marriage is between a man and a woman and doesn’t imagine other possibilities of what marriage and covenant life could look like. And we started to realize, you know, this is actually a lot of our story, both our own stories, kind of thinking about what racial life means, as well as trying to think a little bit about what the different ways of imagining how gender shapes our relationship, and how it shapes our imagination going forward. So the idea was let’s offer our story, not necessarily as a kind of, oh, if you do these five things, you’ll have a successful marriage. More just as a sharing of our story. And we hope that people find a different way to imagine what their lives could look like along the way.

    Josh Olds: I’ve met so many people over the course of the past few years that have sort of gone down this path of moving away from their more conservative evangelical upbringing to a more progressive faith. They’re deconstructing, but their spouse hasn’t. So they find themselves…they’re the one who moved…and that creates a conflict in the household because those areas can be very contentious. And it manifests itself politically as much as it does theologically. Do you have any advice for people who are in that situation? On how to sort of navigate those conflicts?

    Brian Bantum: Yeah, I guess there’s probably maybe two two levels of conflict. So one is the ideological and theological. We have very different beliefs about who God is or about what the Bible is or how to read it. I think to some extent, you could say, you know, “I’ll let God speak through the way that you read,

    • 58 min

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