Questions for Reflection
In each episode, we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. Our supporters over at Buy Me a Coffee now have exclusive access to the PDF versions of all our Questions for Reflection. Join us today!
Beth Demme: (00:03)
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (00:06)
Where we share personal experiences so we can learn from each other.
Beth Demme: (00:08)
Our mission is to talk about things you might relate to, but that you don't hear being discussed in other places.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (00:13)
Our hope is that you're encouraged to have honest conversations with people in your own life. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme: (00:17)
And I'm Beth. On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled, “Being Selfish is Good.”
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (00:24)
Then we'll share a slice of life and the show will close with Questions for Reflection. We'll invite you to reflect on the conversation in your own life.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (00:31)
Is that a statement, Beth? Is this a question or a statement? Are we asking or are we telling?
Beth Demme: (00:35)
I think that we're making a statement.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (00:38)
Beth Demme: (00:38)
And we're going to talk about what we mean by selfishness. We do not mean narcissism. We covered that in episode 113. I invite you to listen to that episode.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (00:49)
Please reflect on-
Beth Demme: (00:51)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (00:51)
... narcissism. That is not what we're talking about today.
Beth Demme: (00:53)
Right. I'm not talking about that kind of selfishness. We're really talking about selfishness that some people wouldn't even consider selfishness, right. It's just being yourself and standing up for yourself and having your own boundaries. All of those are good things and somebody else might think that you're being selfish when you're having your boundaries, but so what?
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (01:14)
Yeah. So kind of how you can discern for yourself like is this selfish or is this self protecting? Those kind of things.
Beth Demme: (01:24)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (01:27)
All I know is being a woman because that's all I know, but I feel like women maybe struggle with this more than men. Something that society has kind of taught us is just to be nice and be proper and, "Oh, please. How can I serve you? How can I help you?"
Beth Demme: (01:43)
I think you're right. Because when I told my husband what episode we were recording today, he was like, "That's not an issue for men." So I think you're right.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (01:51)
Okay. Good. Great. Well, I'm glad we have that... That's very interesting. Okay. Because I assumed as much, but I didn't want to speak for a whole group.
Beth Demme: (02:03)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (02:03)
But Stephen can. Your husband can [crosstalk 00:02:06]. Yes. Yeah.
Beth Demme: (02:07)
For the best man because he's a good guy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (02:09)
He's a good guy. And he is a typical guy in the best way.
Beth Demme: (02:13)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (02:14)
Not in the superficial way, but... So I think he's right on the nose with that probably.
Beth Demme: (02:20)
And so, are you apparently?
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (02:21)
Beth Demme: (02:22)
I do think it is part of how we're culturally programmed. Even if you just think about little girls playing with dolls, right. What do you do when you play with a doll? You take care of it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (02:31)
Beth Demme: (02:32)
Right. So you're putting the needs of the baby, of the doll ahead of your own. And I don't think we encourage boys to play with dolls. I will say... I think this is true for you too. I was not a kid who played with dolls. Did you play with dolls?
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (02:44)
Beth Demme: (02:45)
Oh you did. Okay.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (02:45)
Yes. I actually had... I had a whole Barbie set and my grandmother, I believe, made furniture and stuff and my mom made clothes for them.
Beth Demme: (02:58)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (02:59)
And it is strange to think about that now because I don't seem like a girl that would have played with Barbies, but really when I think about it, there was no other options. And really what I wanted is I wanted the Lego sets that my brother had. That's really what I wanted. And the only Lego sets that I was given... And it was only from my grandparents because we didn't have money to buy Lego. It was all the girl Lego sets, which they were cool, but they were all pink and girl things.
Beth Demme: (03:31)
Right. And your grandparents weren't trying to peg you into a gender role. They were like, "Oh, Lego says girls will like these. Stephanie is a girl. We will get her these."
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (03:38)
Beth Demme: (03:39)
That's how it works. It's not like the people who are giving us gifts are trying to reinforce some sort of gender stereotype.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (03:46)
And when I would say I want the other sets or try to express it in some way, it didn't even cross their mind at that. "No. I mean, that's your brother's sets." Like, "Oh." They didn't even understand that I could want those sets. So that is more than likely why I played with Barbies because that was all I had. And I had an American girl doll that my grandparents bought me.
Beth Demme: (04:08)
I didn't like dolls. I didn't like Barbies. I did want a Cabbage Patch Kid and we couldn't afford a real one so I got a fake one. I was given a fake one, but I've never been a very imaginative person and imaginative play is not really my cup of tea. So, even as a kid I was like, "What do I do with this Barbie doll? I don't know what to do. You want me to pretend it's real?" It just was hard for me. So, I would play school and I would play store. And I would play games where I was the boss.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (04:39)
Yeah. Well, I could see that.
Beth Demme: (04:40)
A different thing. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (04:41)
I could see that.
Beth Demme: (04:42)
So, how do you know if you're being selfish?
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (04:46)
Well, I think we have to break down what society tells us about being selfish and commercials and things like that because I think when we overdo it on those things, then there's the stereotype of what being selfish is, but then when you really kind of internalize what that looks like, I think that's a whole different thing. One thing that always sticks out to me, which is a pretty big example that is used a lot, but on an airplane... We hear it every time we go on an airplane. And in case of emergency if the oxygen mask fall from the ceiling, put on your mask before you help others. And that is so striking to me because that to me is opposite of what we're being taught.
Beth Demme: (05:27)
And there's a reason they have to tell us that, right. There's a reason they have to say put yours on first because the inclination would probably be to, "Well, let me help the person next me-
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (05:35)
Beth Demme: (05:35)
... and then I'll do mine."
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (05:36)
Beth Demme: (05:37)
But you won't be able to breathe. There's no oxygen.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (05:39)
Exactly. And that's what I feel like we're being told is always help other people. Help other people. Help other people. Don't do anything for yourself because that makes you seem selfish. But in actuality, that's what they're telling us is help yourself first because then you'll be able to help others. If you aren't taking care of yourself, there's no way you're going to be any good for others. You're going to be dead if you put on someone's mask before yours.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (06:02)
And I just think that's such a great visual that really helps me kind of process that importance. And this is something that I learned when I was working at Apple. I was a leader there and they gave us some really great leadership training. And at the beginning when I was a [inaudible 00:06:18] leader, I thought all I do is just support my team. Do everything for my team. Everything for my team. How can I help my team? 24/7. And then through training, I learned I have to develop myself because if I have no leadership skills, how am I going to lead my team? How am I going to help them develop themselves if I'm not developed myself? And that's really where I started to learn this idea that it's not selfish to spend time on myself. It's not selfish to have two hours out of the day away from my team completely, so I can focus on my development. And that is not selfish. It's actually completely the opposite. It's very supportive. It's the way that you're able to be more... It's the way you are able to support people is by supporting yourself.
Beth Demme: (06:59)
And so, when you were in that role at Apple, if someone who was on your team kind of said to another team like, "Oh, don't you think Steph's being so selfish? She won't even like help us for that." Whatever time you had carved out, then maybe that's a teaching opportunity, right. To explain how that's not selfish, but how do you think it would feel for someone else to think that what you were doing for your own development was selfish?
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (07:23)
Well, I think that goes back to we can't let what other people think about us affect us, which is so hard because I think you know for a fact you like when people like you.
Beth Demme: (07:33)
I do. I like to be liked.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (07:35)
And I don't mind it. I think, yeah. I would much rather be liked than not, but I think that's why we have to be really secure in who we are and what we're doing and the reasons we're doing it. And we have to know our "whys". That's something that I always try to focus on is why am I doing this? And that's something that Apple has always been really good about with their company in general. Apple actually kind of invented the "Why a product." Not here's our product. It's like why this is a product and that's why people are so committed to Apple. It's like, "Oh my gosh. They're changing the world." And they have and they do, and I still love Apple. I still drink the Kool-Aid.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (08:15)
And so, I think we, individuals, always have to know what our "why" is. And not just, "I'm doing this because I'm told I needed to do this," but why are you doing it? So then when people judge you, as they will, because that's just society is just... There's no one that's going to understand fully you and what you're doing and why you're doing things than you. You have to fully understand that. When people would question what I'm doing and... And I would get exactly that because part of being at Apple was you're on the floor selling or teaching. And I wouldn't be on the floor all the time with my team. And there would be those people like, "What has she done? [inaudible 00:08:53] She's just hanging out in the back." And I had to know that's not true and that's not going to stop me from developing myself so that I can be better for my team.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (09:04)
And then I could explain those things when I have those one offs with each team member is really explain these benefits and I do set aside time for them and to make sure that they spend quality time on their development as well. It's no easy task though. It was not something I super enjoyed. Obviously why I'm not still a leader at Apple. It was a great learning opportunity, but definitely not something that I wanted to do for extended amount of time.
Beth Demme: (09:32)
I hear this from time to time from other folks who are pastors that a big part of what we are expected to do is to read. You really need to be reading. You need to be up on current events, but also there's always new ideas coming out in books. Actually, once a year I have to report to my denominational authorities what books I've read, right, that have helped me in my development. But it's hard sometimes for a congregation to understand that reading is work because reading is something that they do in their leisure usually. So, I hear from time to time pastors say like, "Yeah, it's really hard to make time to read because they don't see it as work." And I haven't had that issue personally partly because I serve a small church and people aren't usually watching me work so I can do what I need to do, but it's that same idea, right. That there's this thing that needs to happen for personal and professional development, but someone else would look at it and go, "Oh, you're just being selfish with your time because you're not out serving someone. You're not opening a new food bank. You're not running a soup kitchen." Whatever... "You're not solving homelessness. You're just reading." "No, I have to do this."
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (10:51)
And I think what you just were saying really lends itself to boundaries and to really kind of setting the schedule and setting the tone of how you're going to work. Congregation members probably could understand it better if someone's like, "I want to talk to you." And you're like, "No, I'm reading." Well, I could see where they'd be like, "Oh." You could be like, "Oh, well, great. These are my open times that I have available."
Beth Demme: (11:15)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (11:15)
And really setting those boundaries and even being okay if somebody says they want to meet with you, if you only have two weeks from then available, great. "This is what I have available."
Beth Demme: (11:25)
Yeah. When I was on vacation, we talked a little bit about how I... We went on a family trip to New York city for spring break. And while I was there, I'm real... I'm not patting myself on the back, but I'm really generous with my cell phone number. I give it to everybody. Everybody in my congregation has it. And so, it meant that I got some text messages on vacation. I actually didn't get very many. In fact, I can only think of two. And one person texted with kind of this long thing that they needed help with. And I said, "I'm on vacation. Here's what I've set up for pastoral care while I'm out of town. Can you make that work?" And she was like, "Oh, I forgot you're on vacation. No problem. Let's talk about it next week."
Beth Demme: (12:06)
So, I wasn't being selfish. I was just communicating, "I can't take care of this with you right now." And she didn't respond badly. She didn't say, "Oh my gosh. You're being so selfish. I can't believe you would prioritize your family time over me," or something weird like that. So I do think that when we're just direct about our boundaries... And like you're saying not just saying no, but saying I can help you with that in three days when I get back or so and so could help you with it right now. Presenting other options-
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (12:37)
Beth Demme: (12:37)
... I think is a better way to communicate than to just text back or to maybe not even respond, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (12:44)
Beth Demme: (12:44)
"Oh, I'm on vacation. I'm not going to respond."
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (12:47)
Well, I mean, depending on what it is and who it is, I think not responding. I just emailed a company the other day that we work with and I got an auto response back saying, "I'm on vacation till Tuesday." And I was like, "Okay. Perfect. I'm not going to [inaudible 00:13:06]." But then he emailed me right away. He emailed me back right away. He was like, "Oh, of course. Sorry." And I was like, "You're on vacation. That's totally fine."
Beth Demme: (13:14)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (13:16)
We set auto things on our email and yet... So, to me I'm like, "Okay, I'm not going to hear till Tuesday. That's totally fine. I got my response." So I think sometimes we are there, but we don't necessarily completely follow through. So I don't think... If you're on vacation and whoever's contacting you, you've communicated that previously that you were. If you don't respond, I wouldn't think that there's any problem with that.
Beth Demme: (13:41)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (13:42)
But you kind of have to make those decisions.
Beth Demme: (13:44)
Yeah. Like you're saying it's kind of a one-on-one.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (13:47)
Beth Demme: (13:47)
Each situation is different. There are definitely some text messages I do not respond to.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (13:52)
Beth Demme: (13:53)
I don't want to say that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (13:55)
Yeah. Oh yeah.
Beth Demme: (13:55)
Just because I don't know who will hear it and go, "Wait, she didn't respond to my text message."
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (13:58)
That was my message. I remember now. Yeah.
Beth Demme: (14:03)
I mean, I have a couple of people that I have just completely silenced the text thread because I have one... It's like, "I should not have given that person my cell phone number. That was a mistake."
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (14:15)
Beth Demme: (14:16)
So my solution is-
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (14:18)
Beth Demme: (14:19)
... to just silence them and then read them once a day.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (14:23)
Beth Demme: (14:24)
And sometimes respond and sometimes not.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (14:27)
So would you say going on vacation is selfish?
Beth Demme: (14:30)
Definitely not. I think going on vacation is a great thing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (14:33)
Beth Demme: (14:34)
I think time off is really important. I don't think anybody should be working seven days a week. At whatever your work is. I mean, you define for yourself what work is. I don't just mean the things you do that you get a wage for, but that there are things in your life that you consider work. You shouldn't be doing those seven days a week.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (14:53)
Yeah. Yeah, I agree. I think that's finding what that balance is and also like, "I need time to decompress in my day." That's part of... If somebody calls me after 7:00 or... I'm not going to answer because that's like I'm decompressing. I need my time unless it's something drastically important that I need to address, but I do have those boundaries of, "Well, I'm not going to communicate with you after this time." And my phone goes into "do not disturb" automatically at a certain time. So, I'm not going to communicate with you.
Beth Demme: (15:28)
Same. It's okay to have that boundary. That's not selfish. I don't even think that's self-care. We talk a lot these days about self-care and how important it is to take care of yourself. And all of that is true, but I think there are some things that are just okay that don't have to be labeled self-care.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (15:46)
I do think that is self-care though because you know what you need to be productive and a healthy contributing member of society. So I do think knowing that I need to not be on my phone after 7:00, I think that is self-care.
Beth Demme: (16:02)
I agree. The only pushback I would give is that I feel like we're like if I can justify it as self-care, then it's okay. No, even if you can't justify it as self-care, but it's a boundary that you want or that you think you need, okay. Even if somebody else wouldn't understand it as self-care, it's okay.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (16:21)
I personally don't think everything that I do has to have a fun label on it.
Beth Demme: (16:24)
Exactly. That's what I'm trying to say. That's it. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (16:27)
I don't think I have to justify, "Well, this is my boundary."
Beth Demme: (16:29)
Yes, you don't-
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (16:29)
Or "Well, this is my self care."
Beth Demme: (16:30)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (16:31)
You have to decide if you want to label these things. If that's how you have to justify it for yourself, but for me, I'm like... The older I get, the more I'm just like, "This is me." And I'm not going to try to pretend that I'm not me. And these are the things I need. These are the things that I know I need. Done.
Beth Demme: (16:51)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (16:52)
So, are you selfish?
Beth Demme: (16:54)
I don't want to think of myself as selfish.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (16:56)
Beth Demme: (16:56)
Because I think selfish does have a negative connotation, which is what we're getting at today, right. That it's okay to-
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (17:02)
It's not all one or the other.
Beth Demme: (17:04)
Yeah. It's okay to take care of yourself. It is okay to have boundaries. I do think there are times when that crosses over and becomes selfishness, which can be rude or bad in a way. And I don't want to cross that boundary.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (17:19)
That's hard to say because I think sometimes as a shy person... I'm shy and an introvert. I don't think those two go together all the time, but I happen to be both. And so, I do think sometimes I can come off as rude because I am not great at small talk. I'm not great with meeting new people like, "Oh my gosh." Those things like... And so, I think sometimes that can come off as like I am not caring or I'm rude. So, I think it's tough to label these things. I think at the end of the day, you really have to know your intentions for what you're doing. You have to know yourself and know your intentions. And it's really hard not to let what other people think of you get in your brain, but I think you have to know. And that's why it's so important. That was part of writing my book was I wanted to know myself. I wanted to know me. I wanted to... All of those things because I think that's something that is really hard is to really analyze your life and analyze who you are and where you want to go, those things.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (18:32)
And I have. And it was hard. And I didn't necessarily... Well, I didn't like a lot of stuff that I found, but those are the things that helped me move forward and kind of know the direction and know the choices I'm going to make. The people I'm going to hang out with and the places I'm going to spend my time.
Beth Demme: (18:49)
When my kids were toddlers and I was really struggling with my emotions and with boundaries and with a need to really control everyone and everything. I mean, no wonder I was exhausted, right, but I distinctly remember there being a time where I was like, "I have no idea who I am. I literally don't know who I am and I don't know if I've changed because I don't know who I was, and I don't know who I am now. And I don't know who I want to be." And that takes a lot of work like you're saying. You did that process through your book. It is a process. It is a journey. I think it's well worth it, but man, it is hard along the way.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (19:29)
And I think by setting aside those quiet moments for yourself is the way you start kind of reflecting on that. Like you said. Being a mom, being a new mom, all those things. I have no experience with that, but I have heard many stories. There is no time for yourself.
Beth Demme: (19:48)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (19:49)
But carving out even 10 minutes just to spend that time like this. "I'm going to spend this time on me." And just any time to reflect.
Beth Demme: (20:02)
And that is the metaphor of putting your oxygen mask on first.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (20:05)
Beth Demme: (20:07)
I can say from personal experience. When I did not put my oxygen mask on meaning having those boundaries around my own self care, I did some damage. That wasn't okay. It wasn't okay to try to live out of that dysfunctional model that I had created for myself.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (20:26)
So, how do you know if you're being selfish in a bad way? Do we just look at any teenager to know that? I mean, that's a hard time. That's a hard time in life for everybody. So, for the teenager, for the parent.
Beth Demme: (20:41)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (20:42)
Beth Demme: (20:43)
I love teenagers. I do.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (20:46)
Somebody's got to.
Beth Demme: (20:47)
I mean, give me teenagers over toddlers. Oh, well, yeah. Any dog on day. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (20:52)
Well, if we're comparing those then yes.
Beth Demme: (20:54)
I mean, toddlers? You're talking about selfish? They are selfish beasts.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (20:58)
Beth Demme: (21:00)
It's part of how they get their needs met.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (21:02)
It's how they learn.
Beth Demme: (21:03)
Yeah. It's developmentally appropriate. Understandable. How do we know if we're being rude?
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (21:10)
Well, it's interesting something you just said was they're learning to get their needs met. So, is that something that we can look at to see if we're being selfish? Is this something that is helping me get my needs met? We have some very basic needs and then we have some that are maybe beyond the basic needs, but part of not talking to someone after 7:00 is I need my sleep. And if I am engaged in something that's keeping me wired and awake, I'm not going to have good sleep. And that's a basic need that I need to have. And for me, a basic need is I need my three meals a day. There are people that... I remember working with somebody that would just drink Mountain Dew all day and forget to eat which I was like, "I don't know how you're standing. I don't understand that." But for me, I got to get all three of my meals. So, I don't schedule things around noon because that's when I eat lunch. And so, those may look like selfish like, "Oh, do you want to have a Zoom at noon?" "No. No, I don't, but we could do it at 1:00"
Beth Demme: (22:20)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (22:21)
But I don't because I need my basic need met.
Beth Demme: (22:26)
I kind of like that paradigm. If you're doing it so that you have a need that's being met, then it's not selfish. It's something else. It's a boundary or it's self-care or it's just being human. I think that that might be helpful.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (22:42)
But it's part of knowing yourself and asking yourself, "Why am I doing this behavior?" This behavior that could be perceived as selfish. Why? Am I doing it just because I don't want to? Well, maybe that's selfish. Are you doing it because I've already done this week and I need this time to decompress? So I think it's personal. I don't think society can tell us what's selfish for us and what's not. Just like no one can tell us what is a sin for us or not. That's something that's individual.
Beth Demme: (23:13)
Right. But I'm trying to think of an interaction I've had where I felt like someone else was being selfish.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (23:20)
Beth Demme: (23:21)
I'm trying to kind of understand why did I think that. The only examples that are coming to mind are times where I thought someone had a duty to care for someone else and they opted not to do that because they wanted to do their own thing. And doing that once is fine or doing it when you're having it... Doing it because you need to meet a need is okay, but if that is always your pattern, then maybe that's where it drifts into maybe not narcissism, but something on that spectrum. Because we did say at the outset we're not talking about-
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (23:59)
Narcissist. Then it doesn't count. Yeah.
Beth Demme: (24:01)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (24:02)
Are we talking about... Okay. Let's say we have two divorced parents or divorced couple and they've split the kids equally, but one of the parents every Tuesday wants to go bowling and keeps asking the other parent to take the kids. Even though the other parent it's a struggle for them to take the kids, but they're the kids so why not take them. They want to make [inaudible 00:24:32]. So, is that being selfish of the other parent to always keep giving the kids back even though it's their day?
Beth Demme: (24:38)
I mean, that does feel selfish to me, but the parent might say, "Well, I really..." Me bowling is like Steph turning her phone off at 7:00, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (24:45)
Beth Demme: (24:46)
I don't know. So, that's where you get into it. Maybe we can't judge it for another person, but I could especially think of it like...
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (24:53)
I think it's all in the way it's communicated and the execution of it. If that is truly important to that parent to have the bowling, I think if that has been communicated accurately with the other parent, which it may not be if they're divorced, but yeah. I think if it's accurately communicated and also figured out, maybe the other parent takes them on different days or something.
Beth Demme: (25:17)
So we picked our title, Being Selfish is Good, because we really wanted to kind of push back on that idea that selfishness is bad. But I think we get to the idea that selfishness is bad because we think that being selfless is good. That it's good to always be serving other people. That it's always good to put other people ahead of yourself. That it's good to think about what other people want or what other people need.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (25:38)
But it's more complicated than that. And we don't like complicated.
Beth Demme: (25:41)
We don't like complicated.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (25:42)
But it is more complicated than that. And we can't just continue to throw out cliches and that's the way to live life. You can't just open the Bible and just randomly turn to pages and like, "That's how I'm going to live."
Beth Demme: (25:55)
I got to tell you. We recently had a rabbi visit. A weekday Bible study that my church hosts. And it was fantastic. And one of the things that he said in a few different ways and his time with us was you Christians think that you're reading Jewish scripture when you read the Old Testament. What you call the Old Testament what we would call the Hebrew Bible, but you don't read it the way we read it because we love gray area. He's like, and so we don't read something and go, "Okay. Well, that's it." He actually picked up a pad of paper in front of me. He actually picked up and he shook it. And he was like, "We want to shake the scripture and see what falls out."
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (26:39)
Beth Demme: (26:40)
I thought that was so great because so often what I feel like I hear from people who want to open the Bible and just have it be very-
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (26:52)
Beth Demme: (26:52)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (26:53)
Beth Demme: (26:53)
Right. The Bible is Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. That kind of approach to things. They think that they're reading the scripture the way it's always been read. And that couldn't be further from the truth. Going back to even the time of Jesus and how scripture was read in the first century. So I'm really going to be able to build on what he said and I really appreciated him saying it. He even said... Now, he's a reform Judaism, which I don't really understand the different kinds of... I would just say he was not Orthodox. That's how he described it. He's reformed, not Orthodox. And he said when we read scripture, we see God referring to many genders. We don't see it as just man and woman. And that I know was really a big concept for everyone who was listening. So, gray area all over the place.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (27:47)
Do they have female rabbis?
Beth Demme: (27:49)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (27:50)
Do they have LGBTQ+ rabbis?
Beth Demme: (27:52)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (27:53)
In the reformed?
Beth Demme: (27:54)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (27:55)
But not in the Orthodox?
Beth Demme: (27:57)
So I guess there's reform and there's Orthodox, and then there's another group called Chabad. And then there's... It's not as many denominations as Christianity, but there are different lanes that you can travel in, and I don't really understand all of them, but... I mean, I don't even understand what they all are to be able to list them. We don't have to leave this in, but he also said... And I thought, "Oh, that's... I should ask him about that." And then I didn't because I didn't want to put him on the spot, but he said that temple Israel got a specific allocation from the legislature and appropriation from the legislature for $600,000 to increase their security. And that they're going to be adding another $400,000 to that. So they're going to spend $1 million just on security because the Anti-Defamation League has documented that anti-Semitic hate crimes have gone up 70% in Florida in the last four years, five years, whatever. It was a really great conversation. I was really happy he came and I was really glad that I wasn't the one who invited him. The most conservative person in the Bible study invited him.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (28:59)
Beth Demme: (29:00)
So I was like... After he left, I was like, "Well, guys. He almost makes me seem conservative huh?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (29:05)
Do you think we could have him on the podcast?
Beth Demme: (29:06)
He would love to be on the podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (29:10)
Well, Pastor Beth, was Jesus selfish?
Beth Demme: (29:12)
I think Jesus is the ultimate example of someone who was not selfish.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (29:17)
Interesting because I would say the opposite. I think he was selfish in the best of ways. I mean, it wasn't selfish to die. I mean, he just sacrificed himself for other people. So that's selfless.
Beth Demme: (29:28)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (29:28)
Okay. I'm not denying that. I think everybody has a good feeling about Jesus. I don't think there's any questioning. I don't think we're going to change people's minds, but well, you either love him or not. I think probably one or the other, but I'm not sure where Beth stands on that, but we'll ask her.
Beth Demme: (29:50)
I love Jesus. I'm a Jesus person.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (29:53)
There's many songs that you could listen to that will be just those words.
Beth Demme: (29:57)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (29:58)
I'm a Jesus freak. Oh, yeah. There's a song called Jesus Freak.
Beth Demme: (30:00)
There is a Jesus Freak. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (30:02)
Beth Demme: (30:04)
You mean that's contemporary. That's what we call contemporary music in the church. The '90s.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (30:09)
I know. Yeah. Classic contemporary. Yes. No. Classic is how I call it.
Beth Demme: (30:14)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (30:16)
Okay. Well, what about all those times when he went off by himself and he spent all this time with God and was not... Being with his disciples were not helping other people? I mean, people now say that you're being selfish when you're not helping someone else.
Beth Demme: (30:31)
It's true. Jesus did go off and spend time alone with God.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (30:35)
So Jesus was-
Beth Demme: (30:36)
And he did spend time in prayer.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (30:36)
Beth Demme: (30:38)
And he did do his work so that he could then empower and enable the disciples. So, for example, you may have heard the story of 5,000 people being... Well, 5,000 men. So plus women and children. So more than 5,000 people being fed with five loaves and two fish. And at least one telling of that because it gets told in different ways in the gospels, but at least one telling of that, Jesus tells the disciples, "You go and feed these people. You are empowered to do this." And maybe the disciples thought he's being so selfish. He wants to just sit there while we do all the work. I don't know.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (31:16)
So maybe he's the ultimate example of being selfish is good. And the importance of spending time on yourself so that you can empower others.
Beth Demme: (31:26)
I agree with at least half of that statement.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (31:28)
What part didn't you agree with?
Beth Demme: (31:29)
I don't know. It just feels wrong to say that Jesus was selfish because we think of selfish as bad. We think that selfish is negative.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (31:35)
But society has put the word in such a tiny little funnel and that's what we're talking about is get it out.
Beth Demme: (31:42)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (31:42)
It's not this or that. No, I don't think I'd make a t-shirt that says Jesus is selfish, whatever, but I think that's a great example to show us that being alone and spending time on yourself is not a bad thing.
Beth Demme: (31:59)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (31:59)
Which people call selfish which if we are going to use that term, I don't think that's a bad thing.
Beth Demme: (32:04)
I agree with you. How much should you love that we were able to find the Jesus face-palm image for our last episode and include that in the graphic?
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (32:14)
I was excited.
Beth Demme: (32:15)
It's pretty exciting.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (32:16)
Beth Demme: (32:16)
Yeah. That is a statue that is across the street from the Oklahoma city bombing site.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (32:24)
Oh, so that's real.
Beth Demme: (32:25)
It's a real thing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (32:26)
Beth Demme: (32:26)
It's a real statue. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (32:27)
Oh my gosh.
Beth Demme: (32:29)
And I think that it's-
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (32:30)
It's more sad Jesus.
Beth Demme: (32:31)
... Jesus being sad and covering his face, but it kind of looked like Jesus was doing a face bomb.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (32:36)
Yeah. That's what I thought. I thought it was like a made graphic thing.
Beth Demme: (32:41)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (32:41)
I didn't even realize it was real.
Beth Demme: (32:42)
But maybe it would be a similar thing here, right? Maybe if we're like... Jesus, it feels selfish to go off and have time alone and to be restored and to spend time in prayer. That feels so selfish. Maybe it's another face-palm moment. Like, "No, you don't get it." That's not selfish. That's good. If it is selfish, then being selfish is good.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (33:06)
We have a ton of fun making this podcast and we love knowing that you have fun listening. Some of you have asked how you can support us in this work. Well, actually, there is something you can do. We're now on buymeacoffee.com. You can go there and become a monthly supporter or just buy us a one time cup of coffee or tea for staff.
Beth Demme: (33:25)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (33:26)
To show our thanks for your support, we put PDFs of our questions for reflection as well as pictures, outtakes, polls, and more. Your support helps cover production costs like professional transcripts we have made for every episode. And by the way, those are always available on our website with a link in each of the descriptions of the episodes.
Beth Demme: (33:43)
One of the great things about Buy Me a Coffee is that you actually get an email when we post new content. You can go straight there and you don't have to deal with ads or being bombarded with other content. You see exactly the content you are looking for without a bunch of distractions.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (33:57)
We post once or twice for each episode and we're excited to get your feedback as members of our Buy Me a Coffee page. There's a support link in the description where you can find out more and a sign up.
Beth Demme: (34:10)
If you're listening to this episode today because you got your Buy Me a Coffee email, you got the announcement that we send out with our PDFs for the questions for reflection and the brief description and the image for that episode, then I just want to say I'm glad you're here. Thanks for being part of our Buy Me a Coffee and thanks for listening.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (34:32)
And I want to mention that... I think I've mentioned before, but I have a DIY business.
Beth Demme: (34:38)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (34:39)
Mother-daughter projects. And you can find that on YouTube and on our website, but I also have started a second YouTube channel and I have officially changed the name of the channel and I wanted to announce it.
Beth Demme: (34:49)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (34:50)
Do you know what it is?
Beth Demme: (34:51)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (34:52)
Hi, I'm Steph. That's the name of my channel.
Beth Demme: (34:55)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (34:58)
So I officially changed it. I post a lot of videos about my greyhound and about kayaking, but now that I have made it more broad to Hi, I'm Steph, I'm going to just make videos about things that relate to me because hey, I'm Steph.
Beth Demme: (35:14)
Can I be on the channel? Can you post something about how you do the podcast?
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (35:18)
I actually want to film a behind the scenes of the podcast-
Beth Demme: (35:22)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (35:22)
... for Hi, I'm Steph.
Beth Demme: (35:24)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (35:24)
So, yes. That is-
Beth Demme: (35:26)
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (35:27)
Yeah. So I would definitely want to do that. And I was going to do that last week or the last time we recorded and then I was like, "Oh, this is going to be too complicated." So, next time we record, I will record behind the scenes and you'll be in it if you choose. That would be hard for you to not to be in it.
Beth Demme: (35:45)
It would be hard to do a behind the scenes of the podcast and not have-
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (35:52)
Beth. One of the [crosstalk 00:35:53]. Yeah. It's definitely going to be really...
Beth Demme: (35:55)
It'd be a lot of muted space.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (35:57)
Yeah. It's going to be a lot of dog action too because you got to show the pups.
Beth Demme: (36:03)
They don't do anything. What are you going to show? Are you going to show them not doing anything?
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (36:06)
Yeah. I'm going to have a dog cam the whole time. I'm going to speed it up so it's 30 seconds of an hour and they don't move. Yeah. Just to make sure you can tell. And maybe we'll have some action from the dogs in the episode. Of course, you won't even know what the action is, Beth, right?
Beth Demme: (36:24)
You mean the smells that come?
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (36:26)
Beth Demme: (36:26)
Especially from the one dog?
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (36:28)
Beth Demme: (36:28)
From Tosh. Woo.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (36:29)
Yeah. But you wouldn't even be able to know on video.
Beth Demme: (36:32)
Oh, you'll know because I will react.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (36:35)
There's nothing, but then a reaction from the humans, "Ah." But we have a spray for it. It's fine. So if you want to find my second YouTube channel... Well, if you want to find either of my YouTube channels, we'll put a link to them in the description, but one is mother-daughter projects DIY, and one is Hi, I'm Steph. With appropriate commas. I say that at the beginning of all my videos. And so, I finally was like, "What a great name of my channel." I'm going to make shirts for people. Hi, I'm Steph. It's not confusing at all for someone else to wear that shirt. And then if someone's like, "Oh, hi Steph." "No, I'm not Steph." "But your shirt says that's your name." "No, that's a YouTube channel." "Okay. What's your name?" "Stephanie." Going to get to my friend Stephanie first.
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (37:23)
At the end of each episode, we end with questions for reflection. These are questions based on today's show that Beth will read and leave a little pause for you to answer to yourself or you can find a PDF on our Buy Me a Coffee page.
Beth Demme: (37:33)
Number one. Have you set boundaries for yourself? List them.
Beth Demme: (37:39)
Number two. Do you tend to spend time working on yourself so you can be better for others like putting on your own oxygen mask first or does that feel selfish to you?
Beth Demme: (37:49)
Number three. Do you think it's good to be selfish? Why or why not?
Beth Demme: (37:54)
And number four. Does it matter to you if someone thinks you're selfish? Why?
Stephanie Kostopoulos: (38:01)
Discovering Our Scars is produced by Stephanie Kostopoulos and Beth Demme. Thanks for joining us.