Questions for Reflection
Each episode we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. You might pause the podcast and answer them right then and there, but if you keep a journal (Steph and Beth both do), you might find one of these PDFs useful. Choose the orientation that fits best in your journal.
Beth Demme (00:04):
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:06):
Where we have honest conversations about things that make us different.
Beth Demme (00:09):
Our mission is to talk about things you might relate to, but that you don't hear being discussed in other places.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:15):
Our hope is that you're encouraged to have honest conversations with people in your own life. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:19):
And I'm Beth.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:20):
And you know what? You know this one big thing about Beth. I know we've talked about it previously. But, I want to say: She's a pastor. Yeah, I said SHE. That's our title for this week.
Beth Demme (00:34):
That's right. I'm a pastor and I'm not a dude.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:36):
You are not. We really toyed around with titles on this one probably longer than we should have.
Beth Demme (00:42):
And the reason that it was hard for us was because in our own context, a lot of the pastors who we have known and who we have learned from have been white men.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:49):
Beth Demme (00:50):
And so, then it was like, how do we make the point that I'm not them.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:54):
Yes, that you're not a white man. You are a white lady.
Beth Demme (00:59):
I'm a white woman. Yeah so, it's-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:01):
Beth Demme (01:02):
That's what we were struggling with and-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:05):
So, I'm glad we really gave this a huge description of our title so people are very aware, we spend time, maybe too much time on the titles. But why are talking about this today, Beth, is because you are officially done with Seminary, woo-hoo.
Beth Demme (01:21):
Set off the confetti cannons. I am done. Three years and I have my Masters of Divinity. It will be officially conferred before this podcast comes out.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:32):
Wow. That's so exciting. So, that means you're an official pastor.
Beth Demme (01:37):
Well, I have been an official pastor—I've been licensed by the United Methodist Church for a couple of years now— but this is a level of education that will allow me to continue to pursue ordination, which is a separate thing in the United Methodist Church. So, I've been a licensed pastor ... I've been a pastor for three years. I've been a licensed pastor for two years and later this year I will be commissioned and you have to be commissioned for a couple of years before you can be ordained.
Beth Demme (02:06):
And, it's different in every denomination. That's just how it works in the denomination where I am which is The United Methodist Church.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:11):
It sounds a little complicated, but what I do think is really cool about the Methodist denomination specifically is that there is a lot of steps in education there, and a lot of education options because I think one of my frustrations, a lot of times people are like, "I'm a pastor." It's like, "Oh, where did you go to school?" "I didn't."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:35):
I think there is importance in education and having knowledge in areas that ... there's definitely it's good to have life education, experience in that way, but for me, I feel more comfortable knowing how much work Methodist pastors have to go through to become a pastor and not just decide, I want to be a pastor. So, I do think that's cool. I know a lot of other denominations have the same kind of process.
Beth Demme (03:03):
Yeah, there are. And there are some denominations that make it even harder than the United Methodist Church does. I will say that I have learned a lot through Seminary, and so I'm really glad to have that educational background and to be the best that I can be in this and to share the best information that I can.
Beth Demme (03:20):
Also, at the same time, I would say that some of the pastors who I know who are the very best pastors didn't go to Seminary and so that's the reality of it, too. They're educated in other ways. So, in the United Methodist Church, you can go to Seminary and get it done in three years which was my approach or you can do something that we call Course of Study where you go for a couple of weeks every summer for several years, and you do some very intense studying so that you get the basics on not just the Bible, but church history and denominational history and those topics that are relevant to what you will then be teaching and preaching.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:55):
Yeah. I think that's great, with anything. Leaders need to be developing and growing themselves in order to grow the people that they're leading. So I think, especially in a church setting, that you'd want your pastors to have more education than you do on the Bible and things like that so, it's good to know that that's happening.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:16):
So, we are emphasizing she a lot here, obviously, because Beth is a female and a pastor as we've said in our title, but I want to read something from this book that I think you may have read called the Bible.
Beth Demme (04:29):
I have read that. It's one of my favorites, actually.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:33):
... through your studies a little bit. I do want to read this and I want to hear your thoughts on it. So, this is 1 Timothy 2:11-15: "Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet, she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness with modesty."
Beth Demme (05:03):
You're right, Steph. That is from the Bible. That is from 1 Timothy 2. There is a lot there to unpack, but I [crosstalk 00:05:13] right. This passage dooms me in a couple of ways because I've never given birth to children and so I cannot be saved that way. And also, I have a different understanding of Adam and Eve than what's described here. "The woman was deceived and became a transgressor but Adam was not deceived." That's not my understanding of Genesis.
Beth Demme (05:40):
So, I have a problem with that. But the part that really gets me, and that I have had used against me is "let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She is to keep silent." And I don't do that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:54):
First of all, how is a woman ever supposed to find silence when they have children? This is just not accurate.
Beth Demme (06:03):
I think this is written from a very specific viewpoint, and I would say that this is one very small pericope out of a very large book, and that we have to look at the whole message of the Bible and not cherry pick verses for points that we want to make.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:23):
So, context really is what we're talking about here.
Beth Demme (06:26):
Yes. I think Biblical context definitely matters and I think understanding that this is a translation matters, and I think understanding that our interpretation of words matters. So, this word where it says she is to keep silent, earlier in this same chapter, earlier in 1 Timothy 2, it says that we need to lead a quiet and peaceable life, so their quiet is the same word that's used as silent, when you look at the original Greek.
Beth Demme (07:00):
So, really, it's not "silent." It's not as if a woman should never, ever be heard. There are a lot of issues like that with this passage, but the context of this is that it's supposed to be written by the apostle Paul to his right hand man Timothy who we know was much younger than Paul and carried on after Paul was executed.
Beth Demme (07:24):
But, I don't like to pick verses apart in that way, just like I don't like for someone to use it as a proof-text for an idea. I don't want to be picky about it. So, I'm willing to accept this at full value, at face value, that Paul was saying to Timothy there are circumstances where this should not be the case. And, if you're in a culture or you're in a church or you're in a time where there is a small group of women who are being disruptive, then you would want to follow this advice.
Beth Demme (07:57):
But, to say that this is now a blanket prohibition on half of God's creation, because women are half, I think is taking it too far. And, that's actually the position of the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church USA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In mainline Protestant denominations, it is understood that women can be called by God to serve as pastors just the same as men can be called.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:31):
But, there are a lot of denominations, specifically Catholic, that don't recognize women as pastors, and I think this is verse is a key reason they like to throw out there. Why is that? Why is this still such a hot button for so many denominations? Why is it still seen ... there's people in my life, there's people I'm close to that don't believe women should be pastors, and I just can't fathom that.
Beth Demme (09:00):
I think that it just goes back to how indoctrinated we are with patriarchy. The Bible has existed in this form for at least 1500 years. This has been on our canon of Scripture and for 1500 years, it's been interpreted within a culture that is patriarchal. So, not only was it written in that frame, but it's now been interpreted in that frame for a millennia and a half.
Beth Demme (09:26):
So, I think it's hard for us to step away from that. We have some really egregious examples of it actually, even if you look at how Biblical translation happens. There's a female apostle, Paul calls her an apostle--which you couldn't be an apostle, one who is appointed to teach and spread the Gospel if women were to remain silent--
Beth Demme (09:51):
So, her name is Junia, and what we see is that in the late 19th century and early 20th century, folks who were translating the Bible, who happen to be guess what, white men, they were like, "Well, no, you can't have a female apostle. Women must be silent. So, we can't have a female apostle, so this must be a transcription error, that we have a woman's name here. So, we're going to change it to an undocumented name from that era and say that it's a man's name, that oh, what we really mean here is Junius, or something instead of Junia."
Beth Demme (10:26):
So, they tried erase this female apostle from the Biblical record, all because they were trying to reconcile everything to this verse. Not everything, but trying the reconcile that idea of women in ministry to this verse-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:39):
Beth Demme (10:40):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:41):
We cannot be erased.
Beth Demme (10:42):
Junia cannot be erased. We need to put in the show notes the Junia project because it is really fascinating just to look at what we as humans have done with the Bible and how even-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:54):
What men have done with the Bible.
Beth Demme (10:57):
Yeah, no, but they've done a lot of good stuff too. A lot of our Biblical scholars, Steph, because we have lived in a patriarchal world so-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:04):
Yeah, we can't say it's all bad, but-
Beth Demme (11:06):
It's not all bad.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:07):
When we don't get a voice as women, these are the things that happen. It could be better with our voice. And, things are better with our voice.
Beth Demme (11:16):
God has called women to preach and God has called women to be part of that voice, to have a voice in interpreting and applying the Bible.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:26):
So, you have been a pastor for three years, appointed pastor for three years?
Beth Demme (11:33):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:34):
So, have you come across anyone in your, and you've been in United Methodist churches is [crosstalk 00:11:41] obviously, have you come across any backlash or anything like that being female?
Beth Demme (11:47):
So, I have had an overwhelmingly positive response. I've been really warmly welcomed, but I did have, in the first church where I served, which was in a more rural community, I did have a visitor one day who everybody in the community knew because he was a fixture in the community, but he was not somebody I had met yet.
Beth Demme (12:06):
And, I walked in and he, it was almost as if he were sleeping on the couch in our parlor, almost like he was experiencing homelessness. That was what I thought at first, honestly. And so immediately, I want to meet him. I want to see what assistance he needs. Has he come to the church for assistance. I'm trying to figure all this out. So, I went over and I introduced myself, "Hey, I'm Beth. I'm the pastor here. It's really nice to meet you. It's great to see you this morning."
Beth Demme (12:36):
And, he introduced himself and, should I use his name? I don't know, what are the chances.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:41):
Sure, he doesn't listen.
Beth Demme (12:43):
Well, I honestly don't know his last name but his name is Joe Jimmy. His first name is those two names together, Joe Jimmy. He was polite to me. It was no problem. He introduced himself, and then you could tell he was a little bit confused when I said that I was the pastor, but he didn't fuss or anything, just let it go. So, I went and I finished getting ready for service and I put on my robe and I come out and I'm getting ready to process in, and I see that he's talking to my husband.
Beth Demme (13:09):
He came in and he stayed for part of the service. He didn't stay for the whole thing. It was not okay with him that I was in the pulpit. It was basically what it came down to. So, after church I asked my husband, I was like, "Hey, I saw that you were talking to him. Did he come to church today because he needed something?" It was not a church where we often got visitors, and so I just was, is there something that we can be doing for him?
Beth Demme (13:30):
And he said, "Well, I don't think he'll be back." And I said, "Okay. What was it?" And he said, "Well, I went over and introduced myself and we were talking, and I just didn't tell him that I was married to you. I just say, hey, I'm Stephen, nice to meet you." And, Joe Jimmy had said, "You know I came this morning because I heard that this church had a new pastor, but I had no idea that it was a woman. I'm a man. I can't have a woman in authority over me!"
Beth Demme (14:00):
At which point Stephen was like, "Well, the pastor is my wife and I think she's amazing and I think that you'll really get a lot out of it if you stay for service." So, that's really the only first hand experience I have with someone saying, someone experiencing me as a pastor and saying that it's not okay.
Beth Demme (14:20):
I have friends who I grew up with who have a very hard time with the idea of me being called as a pastor, and I've been told on Facebook (of course, because that's where all the best conversations happen) that I must be mistaken, that God does not call women to preach, and so I must be misunderstanding my calling and that God wouldn't call me to do something that conflicts with what the Bible says.
Beth Demme (14:47):
And, that it says in 1 Timothy 2, and I do not allow a woman—.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:51):
If you haven't read it ...
Beth Demme (14:51):
Yeah. What you'll see in some denominations is that women are allowed to teach women's Bible study, or they're allowed--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:58):
Beth Demme (14:59):
Yes, only other women, and coed classes, only until the boys reach a certain age. So, what you see in those denominations is that a 14 old boy will have more authority than a 40 year old woman.
Beth Demme (15:17):
And, I think just on the face of it, we can see that there's something about that that's not quite right, the 40 years of life experience and a couple of decades of Bible study and a lifetime of church experience, should give you more authority than a 14 year old boy. Gender doesn't play a role in that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:45):
Yeah, I have a lot of thoughts on that for sure. But, I want to get back to ... you've said this a couple times, this word "called." And, I don't know if that's a churchy word.
Beth Demme (15:55):
It is, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:56):
... or not, so can you explain what that is, and can you talk about what that was like for you?
Beth Demme (16:00):
I do think it's a church-y word. The way that it is often used in my context is that it's as if God has called me into ministry, that it's not like a phone call, but almost like that. I feel God has led me into this path and my calling came at a very inconvenient time, which is one of the ways that I know it's not from me because I was really comfortable doing my own thing, living my own way.
Beth Demme (16:33):
My husband and I were planning for early retirement in all the ways that we could just do what we wanted to do, be in complete control of our time. And places that we wanted to visit and places that we wanted to try living, and we really had a solid plan and had put all the pieces together financially so that that would work out, and I started to feel like God wanted me to do something different.
Beth Demme (16:59):
So, at first I thought well maybe I'm supposed to go back to practicing law full-time. So, I really sat with that question in my prayer time, and there's this prayer that we attribute to John Wesley even though he probably didn't write called the Wesley Covenant Prayer, and I was praying that all the time. It had become a regular part of my routine and it can be a very dangerous prayer if you pray it and mean it, because basically what you're saying to God is, do with me what you want. I will be obedient.
Beth Demme (17:29):
You have to guide me. You have to lead me, but I will be obedient to where you lead me. And, I was praying that with a lot of sincerity and that led me to learning the Bible better and then it led to me teaching Bible classes, and then it led to me leading retreats, and then it led to me going to seminary, and it led to me serving as a pastor which is a very different plan than what I had thought my 40's were going to be.
Beth Demme (17:53):
I'll be 40, what year is it? I guess I'll be 45 this year, and we had planned to basically be retired and be doing our own thing by the time I was 47. So, taking on a new career was not part of my plan. But, through my prayer time, through my spiritual life, I felt like God was telling me that this is the path that God has chosen for me. And, I think that God has a path available for everyone and that God loves us whether we follow that path or not, but that there are special experiences and special connections, and times when you have this thinning of the veil between us and heaven or us and God where we can really have these tremendously impactful moments when we are following what God would have us do.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:48):
So, when you got the call to go into ministry to actually be a pastor, did you think it was a reality? Had you seen female pastors growing up in church? Had you been like, that's something I want to do? How did you know that it was something that you could do?
Beth Demme (19:06):
Yeah, I didn't have any female pastors growing up. They were all men, wonderful men who I learned a lot from and who, very thankful for all of them. We had had a female pastor at the church that I was attending at the time, but it was not anybody who I had been close with. It was somebody I would've encountered as an adult, so not as formative as in my younger years.
Beth Demme (19:29):
And when I first felt called, I didn't believe it. So, I met with a male pastor and we worked through some things together. We worked through a couple of books together and worked through some Scripture together and he affirmed that he was hearing the same thing in his prayer time about me that I was hearing.
Beth Demme (19:49):
And then, I talked to, actually to Charlene, who we've had as a guest. She helped me work through some of this. Am I really called to this? Obviously, worked through it with my husband because it would impact our whole family. So, there were affirmations along the way that helped me understand that this is what I was called to do, even though I had not seen it growing up. And, I don't think you did either. Did you ever have a female pastor when you were growing up?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:15):
That's funny, because the female pastor that I grew up with is who you work with at Good Samaritan Betsy. So she was the very first female pastor that I had ever experienced, and I was older. I was in high school. So, my formative years when I was younger, I had two male pastors at Killearn where I used to work. That's where I grew up, the church I went to.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:37):
And, like I said, I really, or like you were saying, I really connected to them, but that's all I ever knew. I only knew male pastors. I never thought much of it. I never thought the women couldn't be pastors, but I also, I didn't really put much thought into it. Growing up, I thought a woman could be president. Well, I haven't seen that yet, but I still think it's possible and I want it to happen.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:02):
So, I never put too much thought into it and then we had, Betsy came and I did like Betsy. I actually, I worked through high school volunteering at the church and so I did interact with her, but I never felt as close to her as I did with the other pastors because I grew up with them. They were there when I was five years old. But, I did like having a female pastor.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:26):
I did think, it was the first time it opened my eyes like, oh, she's like me and she's up there. Oh, that's cool. There is something so impactful seeing someone that looks like you up there. There's something that you can't even really realize, but when you see a woman up there in authority, there's empowerment that comes from that, and so I think it's so important to have all types of people represented in all places, in churches, in media, in all these places. But, I didn't have a huge experience with women in churches.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:06):
And, I will say now, if I go to church and it's a male pastor, it's just like, been there, done there. And, when there's a female ... well I was telling you before the podcast, there's a show that, I'm not super into, but I've continued to watch the show because they have a black female pastor and I'm like, "This is so refreshing. It's something new and different and important to see represented in TV," and I'm just like, "Oh, I'll keep watching because I like this." So, I do think that's really, really important to be able to see those things.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:40):
But yeah, that was really my only experience was Betsy and we did have one other female pastor, but it wasn't for very long. So, I would say, I don't really see it, but I love when I see it. I'm so excited that you're a pastor and it's just also really weird that I'm friends with you. That was the other thing. Growing up, I was like, I can't imagine, I actually, the pastor I grew up with the most was Bob. You know Bob.
Beth Demme (23:07):
Yeah, amazing. He's one of my mentors for sure.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:09):
Beth Demme (23:10):
Love that man.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:10):
Bob was great, but I'm not friends with Bob. He knew me when I was five, so I wouldn't say we're friends. We're friendly, but I would never say I'm friends with Bob. That's so strange to be friends with a pastor. But, I am friends with a pastor and it's just-
Beth Demme (23:25):
But, they're just people.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:28):
I know [crosstalk 00:23:28] but they weren't people. Growing up, I didn't see them as people. I was like if I saw them out somewhere I'd be like, "Whoa, that's a person."
Beth Demme (23:33):
Well, part of that is probably the age difference too. If you saw your third grade teacher out having dinner, out shopping at Target or whatever, it'd be like, "Whoa, you're totally out of context. What's happening here."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:42):
Yes. Still I'm like, what?
Beth Demme (23:45):
Right. You wouldn't have been friends with any of your teachers, whether they were pastors or whether they were teachers, but most of your teachers were probably women.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:56):
Beth Demme (23:58):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:58):
Beth Demme (23:59):
So, you're in an industry that is, I would describe as male-dominated. If you think about DIY projects, or you think about home improvement shows, I think normally those are roles that we see filled by men. Now, if you wanted to decorate, that would be not-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:16):
The décor side.
Beth Demme (24:18):
... male dominated. Yeah, the décor side would be more female led, I guess, but you're not on that side. You're on the DIY side, the construction project side.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:28):
Yeah. And, it's interesting. Most of my jobs have been more male-oriented, like when I worked for Apple, I was one of a handful of women that worked there. There's now a ton more women, but I've typically been in that space my whole life, because that's what I gravitate towards. And, I do at first, I will say I was really intimidated at different times, especially when we started getting sponsorships and started going to events where it would be male oriented events, especially our tool events that we go to, a lot of men there, and a lot of men that are on the marketing team that are talking to us about tools and things.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:05):
And, it's interesting. It's very interesting to go to those kind of events because you can see they're trying really hard to ... they know women spend money and they know women get things done, and so they need women to use their tools. They know that. But, they're still men and not completely sure how to talk to women in some capacity.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:27):
Some, no issues, but you could see a lot of them will have women on their marketing teams as well, to help bring that representation. And, there was a company, I'm not going to name the company, but there was a company where they were marketing to men by having a beauty pageant type thing. And, it was disgusting, and it was offensive and actually women like me, women DIYers came forward and brought it to the attention and said, "This is not okay." And, it actually doesn't happen anymore. It got shut down.
Beth Demme (25:57):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:58):
And that was amazing. It's not happening anymore, and that was an old, that was an old thing. They used to do that, all the tool companies.
Beth Demme (26:06):
Yeah, just another pretty face.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:07):
All the tool companies used to have women, beauty pageant type women, just showing of their tools. And, it was ridiculous, because they knew nothing about the tools, using them, and it was just, it was not cool at all. And so, it is changing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:25):
Tool brands do know they need women. But, we're in this transition where they know they need women, and they need women represented, but they're not really sure how to do it, and I want to be me, authentically me. And, take it or leave it. This is who I am. I love tools. I talk about tools. I use tools. I get excited about tools.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:44):
When I go to tool brand events, I talk about their tools to them and I'm not thinking about what I'm saying. I'm just talking to them about their tools, but many times after those events, my mom will be like, "I was so impressed. You were saying so many things and I was watching them watch you and they were just so impressed." And I was like, "Oh. I wasn't trying to."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:01):
I don't try to impress people. I know about tools. I know about a lot of stuff now, because we've been doing this professionally for five years. And, I anytime you've done something for so long, you get knowledgeable, and I've gotten way more comfortable in those situations. I can tell when someone judges me for being a female. It happened to me at Apple when I would train men on computers.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:24):
They would look at me like what is this girl going to teach me. I'm used to that look, and I just let them look all they want and I just keep talking and doing my job.
Beth Demme (27:33):
Right. Because, there's nothing about your gender that would make it so that you don't know about tools, or that you can't learn about tools, just like there isn't anything about my gender that would make it so that I can't learn about the Bible or teach about the Bible or hear from the Holy Spirit and then give a message. There are no gender restrictions on these things. That is a cultural imposition that we've placed.
Beth Demme (27:56):
Do you ever get comments from trolls on your YouTube channel or in other places where you put content that are related to your gender?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:10):
The biggest ones are on YouTube. I call them haters, our haters. And, I don't got time for that. So, we definitely will get people, we've gotten a lot of, and not even creative, a lot of get back in the kitchen, or there's no way a man's not behind the scenes, which is frustrating because in actuality, at some of the events we've gone to, when we've talked to other women, sometimes they do have their husbands behind the scenes doing things and they don't disclose that and it's frustrating, because I was like, "That doesn't help our industry, the fact that you are hiding that. That's not helping things."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:45):
And, some people are hiring people behind the scenes. I'm like, "That is not helpful." Most people though, most people are on the up and up. They're sharing truth, all of that, but you do hear those things. So, when people say those kind of comments, I just shut them down. I'm not against comments that are negative if it's constructive. But, if there's nothing constructive ... there's nothing constructive about telling me to go back in the kitchen.
Beth Demme (29:08):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:09):
It's not lunchtime. I don't need to be in the kitchen. So, I just delete those comments, and there's no use having an open debate about that.
Beth Demme (29:19):
We had a situation on our, actually on our church Facebook page recently, where a woman was commenting, very critically, about the fact that we are a church with female pastors. And, I read the comment. I read her reference to 1 Timothy 2. I understood where she was coming from, and I deleted it. And, a man on our staff said, "Gosh, I wonder, maybe we shouldn't delete it. Maybe we should use this as a teachable moment."
Beth Demme (29:47):
And, I had to step in and say, "It's not a teachable moment, because there's no willingness here to be taught. This is someone who has been exposed to all sides of this question and has made up their mind, and they think that I've decided wrongly, that I have not heard from God, and that I'm not doing what God has called me to do," even though they don't know me. They feel like it's okay to come on the church Facebook page and say that. And so, this is not a teachable moment and this comment needs to be deleted. And so, we did delete it, but I don't know it wasn't exactly mansplaining, but I think there was some element of that, of, oh no, people just don't know, no, people know what they're saying.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:27):
Yeah. It's interesting because I have a friend that has told me before, "Oh this is what I would say back to that comment," when people say things like to me. And I was like, "Yeah, you can say those things because you've grown up in a world where the world is based around you, around you as a man." And so, yeah, you can come back at that. You can say that because that's what the world has been set up for.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:53):
And, unfortunately, the world's not set up for me to speak my mind always and for me to have an open, healthy back and forth dialog. You have nothing to lose so yeah, you can have that conversation. So, that is frustrating when men will be like, "Oh, you should say this back, da, da, da." It would be nice if I could, but this is not the form and that's not going to happen.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:19):
Yeah, so a lot of times we just delete them. There's no use having any kind of back and forth. There's enough hate in this world that I don't need it in my comment section.
Beth Demme (31:28):
Exactly. It was why, when Joe Jimmy talked to my husband that day, it's why it was important that it was my husband that was able to affirm that I am called to do this, rather than him saying, "Beth, why don't you come here and explain to Joe Jimmy how you are called by God and everything that you've done to affirm your calling and how you've executed this, how you've worked this out biblically." He was able to just say, "No, she's my pastor and my wife."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:52):
And, I think that's great because the world is set up where men do have this certain power, and I think there has been a lot of things recently where that's changing and men are recognizing what that looks like. But, it's great what your husband did, is he used his power for good.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:09):
He could've just said, "She's a good pastor," but he actually took the opportunity to say, "Well, she's actually my wife and she was called," and actually use his voice for good so that guy Jimmy John, John Jimmy, Joe Jimmy, Jimmy John? No, that's wrong.
Beth Demme (32:28):
Different. Different guy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:31):
So, he used his power for good, and I think that's awesome that he recognized or he took that opportunity to honor you and respected you and saw your calling as real and right and affirm that.
Beth Demme (32:43):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:43):
So, that's very cool.
Beth Demme (32:45):
Right. And, if Joe Jimmy had just been making a comment on social media, I would've deleted him, because he was not going to be taught by me, so in that respect it was good that he could hear from another man.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:56):
Exactly. One thing you had mentioned was gender shouldn't matter in most of these settings, in a church setting, but I would even go as far to say is, it does matter in an important way, because the Bible is interpretation and that is what you're doing on Sunday mornings. You're interpreting the Bible, and all we have heard from is male voices interpreting the Bible.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:20):
And, I think it's super important for us to hear female voices and interpretations, what women are taking from it. There's things that we haven't been hearing for years because men just can't see it the same way as us. We're different genders. We see things differently. We have different experiences in life.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:39):
So, I think it is super important to have female voices represented in different genders and different ethnicities, I think that is all really important, especially when it comes to the Bible, something that's been interpreted and reinterpreted and all that for how many years. I think it's important for us all to hear that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:02):
I do want to mention that it is our anniversary Beth.
Beth Demme (34:08):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:11):
We have been podcasting for one whole year.
Beth Demme (34:14):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:14):
That is so cool. And, it is a bummer that we are still having to remote podcast.
Beth Demme (34:21):
Yes. We were so close, so close to deciding that we could be in the same room together and then both felt like maybe we had had some exposure, so didn't want to expose each other.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:30):
Yes, so there are factors that-
Beth Demme (34:32):
We stayed remote.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:33):
Yes. So, we are remote for our anniversary, but we are still doing it though. We're still making it happen. So, a year later Beth, should we close up shop? Are we done?
Beth Demme (34:43):
No, I'm having more fun than ever.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:45):
I know. I feel like we've gotten it figured out. We got through a pandemic, so we're good. Or, we're in the middle of a pandemic, never mind. We haven't gotten through.
Beth Demme (34:55):
We haven't gotten through it yet, but we've ... I'm having fun. And, that's why we started this was to have fun and ... but I just love having conversations with you. I always learn something and even if it's something like today where I was sharing a lot of my own experience, being able to reflect on that with you, is very beneficial to me, and so, I hope that our honest conversations are helpful for other people too.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:18):
Yes. I do too. I think we're both very task oriented people, so I think it's great that we ... but we also like to talk to each other, so it's great that we have a forum to talk to each other, but also get a task done. It's two things I can check off my list. I love it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:35):
But, we've been doing this a year and we've mentioned it a couple times, but if you want to help us celebrate our one year anniversary, one huge thing you can do for us is if you are in the Apple podcast app, it's purple on your phone. It should be there automatically with your phone. Click on it, go to our podcast, which you should be in if you're listening to me talk. But, scroll to the very bottom and you'll see five stars. All you have to do is hit that fifth one.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:02):
You don't even have to write a review. You can if you want to.
Beth Demme (36:04):
We love to get reviews.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:07):
Yes, but click that fifth star and that really, really helps us to get five star reviews, and yeah, and that's all you have to do is just boop.
Beth Demme (36:17):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:18):
Well another way I want to celebrate our anniversary is our very favorite person to call is Charlene, which you mentioned in this episode. I feel like she's our third host now. Well, I'm super excited, because I finally have met her, because we had her on podcast a couple of weeks ago.
Beth Demme (36:33):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:34):
And, she's my favorite person now too. So, whenever I'm in Nashville again, in four years, I will see her.
Beth Demme (36:40):
When traveling is safe again, at some point.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:43):
At some point, four years. But, she called in about our episode last week which is very cool, because that is the episode that we recorded in January and we kept pushing off and pushing off.
Beth Demme (36:54):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:54):
And, it got pushed off so long, but she called in to respond to the episode, and I wanted to play that because I appreciated that.
Beth Demme (37:02):
And, that was the episode, are you the authority on you?
Hey ladies, it's Charlene in Nashville, I don't know if there was a question [inaudible 00:37:10], but I wanted to give you my opinion on your podcast. It was great, the one that you just did on the authority on you. Two thoughts that I wanted to get out there and I hope I have enough time is, I really believe that we love the way we love ourselves. So, back to the middle of what you guys were saying, Stephanie's point of the Bible where it says love your neighbor as you love yourself.
I believe that we do love our neighbors as we love ourselves and the word love is just a simple word for a very complex state. As you know, love is patient, it's kind. So, the way in which I am patient with myself, is the same degree or manner or way that I am patient with other people. So, before I really knew myself and before I loved myself like I do today, I loved people, but I loved them differently than I love them today.
So, the more I fall in love with myself, which is a continuum, not a state of rest, the more I love others. And, it grows. The more forgiving of myself, the more I can forgive others. The second thing was for an audit, I think that Stephanie's right. We do it naturally, and I used to want a million friends, but in concentric circles, we take people with us from season to season and we also have circles of importance or priorities.
Not really importance, like everybody's amazing. I love people, but there's only certain people in my really close circle right now and as you have marriage and family and all sorts of things, people get kicked out and then as [inaudible 00:38:43] change, I think people come back in, closer, kicked out's kind of harsh, don't mean to be harsh but-
Beth Demme (38:47):
It does sound harsh.
But, there's definitely some people that can call me and I would go in the middle of night and rescue them, and there's some people that I probably wouldn't wake up for the phone call. That sounds terrible but ... so, anyway, hope you're doing good. Love you guys. Keep wearing those masks, and I'm coming to Florida for my birthday in July, so hopefully I'll see you from six feet away. Talk to you later, bye.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:14):
Oh, that was awesome. First of all, I heard a lot of Steph was right in that, and I really appreciated that.
Beth Demme (39:20):
Oh, I heard that too.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:22):
Beth Demme (39:22):
I heard that too, for sure. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:24):
I also heard some harsh words about a friend group, but I totally agree with it. Do you think she would come in the middle of the night, would she answer your call? Are you on that list?
Beth Demme (39:34):
So, I'm tempted to test it, but yes, I believe that she would answer my call in the middle of the night and that she would do anything she could for me. You guys, you know she and I have been friends for a really long time and-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:46):
Well, thank you Charlene for calling in. We love to hear your thoughts on all of our podcasts, especially when I'm right. At the end of each episode, we have questions for reflection. These are questions based on today's show. Beth is going to read them, and we have a pause between where you can pause the podcast to answer them yourself, or you can find a PDF on our website at dospod.us.
Beth Demme (40:10):
Number one, what is your experience with female pastors? Number two, have you ever reflected on what the Bible says about women in leadership? Does it seem true to you? Number three, think about the role models and your own work. How many of them have been women? Number four, think about the last person you muted or unfriended? How did it feel? If you've never done that, consider why you haven't. Are your friends really that easy to get along with?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:41):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars podcast. Thank you for joining us.
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Mental Health Advocate. Author. Podcast Host. DIYer. Greyhound Mom.
I'm a mom who laughs a lot, mainly at myself. #UMC Pastor, recent Seminary grad, public speaker, blogger, and sometimes lawyer. Learning to #LiveLoved.