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 the people in your own life. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:18):
And I'm Beth. On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled, Why is the Church NOT Helping?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:25):
Then we'll share a slice of life, and the show will close with questions for reflection, where we'll invite you to reflect on the conversation in your own life.
Beth Demme (00:31):
So first of all, what do we mean by, "the church," in air quotes?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:37):
Yeah, I think any places of worship. Anything where you would define, if somebody says, "Do you attend a religious meeting or group or something?" So a Christian church, nondenominational, denomination, a synagogue, a mosque.
Beth Demme (00:58):
A mosque. But we really can only talk from our experience, so our experience is in Christian churches, so I think that's probably where a lot of our conversation will be today. But I think what we want to get at is why is religion not helping? Why is our connection to God not helping in all the ways that we're going to talk about today?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:18):
And we will remind people that you are a pastor.
Beth Demme (01:21):
I am. I'm a United Methodist pastor.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:23):
Blah, blah, blah, yes. And I am not.
Beth Demme (01:26):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:27):
And so, when we were planning this, I kind of gave my four cents. And Beth was like, "I don't know. I don't know if I'm going to be defensive during this episode."
Beth Demme (01:41):
I don't know.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:42):
And I said, "I don't know, that might be a good episode." So I will say, we are not going to ... Well, obviously the title is we're saying the statement, why aren't they helping? We're not saying, "Are they helping?"
Beth Demme (01:53):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:53):
We're just saying it, they're not helping. And this is why. So we're just going to share our thoughts as we do on this lovely little podcast. But Beth is a pastor, and I will try not to offend her, or maybe I will. You never know. Keep listening.
Beth Demme (02:11):
Well I just want to say that I don't have any single congregation in mind. I'm not thinking here about one religion, or one denomination, or one congregation. My bigger question is: religion has the power to transform people. I think that I have been transformed by my relationship with God. I think that it has made me a better person. So when I look at collectively "the church," I wonder why we don't see more of a transformed world when so many people are like me and are part of a church?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:50):
Is it because the world's too broken to be fully transformed? Has the world just broken too much and the church has moved too slow that it's never going to be?
Beth Demme (03:03):
Well, that feels really hopeless, so I don't want to agree with it. But, on the other hand, I really think that my view is that God is the transformer, right? God makes transformation possible. God is the creator. And so, if we, in our own humanity, are trying to create transformation, that's probably why it's not happening.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:24):
Yeah, and I agree. I think it's kind of ignorant to say we're never going to see it because our lifetimes are like a blip, right?
Beth Demme (03:31):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:32):
Us. Us, specifically, our lifetimes are a blip in the world. So, will we see true transformation in our lifetime? I don't know. I don't know.
Beth Demme (03:42):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:43):
But will we see transformation in the world over time? I would think so. I would think the world that we have today is going to be completely different than the world when I'm gone. And I think we see that in history. I don't think we see leaps and bounds, but there is change that happens. In our last episode, we were talking about Pride, and it's hard to remember a time before gay marriage was legal.
Beth Demme (04:11):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:11):
And it's just so strange to think, "Wow, that used to be such a talking point of, 'This needs to be legal', and now it is." And now it just is.
Beth Demme (04:21):
Right. And then we talked about how we thought Juneteenth should be a national holiday, and then guess what happened?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:25):
Beth Demme (04:26):
It became a national holiday.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:27):
Beth Demme (04:28):
So change does happen.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:29):
Beth Demme (04:29):
It's true. And I will say that one of my core beliefs, and I think this is a belief that is not unique to Christianity, but I come at it from a Christian perspective. I'm going to try to not say that a million times today, but I just really want to be clear about that. But I can only come at this from that perspective. Is that God is always working to transform the world. And ultimately, there will be a time where we are one with God and where God's plan for wholeness really comes to fruition.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:02):
In my mind, though, God and the church are two separate things.
Beth Demme (05:06):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:07):
Which might sound strange because it's like, "What? The church is God. God is the church. What do you mean?" I feel like I've heard that in a church before. But to me, God and church are two separate things. And we've talked about this in the past, but I don't go to a church so-
Beth Demme (05:26):
Oh my goodness. Shock!
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:28):
And I don't feel bad about that. I don't feel any less.
Beth Demme (05:32):
I'm going to get the vapors!
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:33):
Beth Demme (05:34):
You know, that old Southern thing about, "Oh, she said something so shocking, I can't even contain myself."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:40):
Oh, I wish we were doing video on that one. Beth had a great little mimic.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:46):
My, my, my.
Beth Demme (05:48):
My, my, my.
Beth Demme (05:48):
Bless your heart.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:49):
Beth Demme (05:50):
Bless your heart.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:51):
Oh, we should do an episode called bless your heart.
Beth Demme (05:53):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:54):
Oh, not should. We need-
Beth Demme (05:55):
Right. We want to.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:56):
We want to.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:57):
So, what I was saying is I don't feel any less of a Christ-follower, of a believer, of all those things, by not going to church because I feel like the church has not met us, the people, where we're at, where we are today. And I feel like that's a big part of why they're not helping. I'm so over hearing the debate of the LGBTQ community and the church not accepting. I'm over it. I'm over it because the church is done. I'm done listening to you guys debate this. This is not a question. These are people. These are humans. God loves them. Why are we still talking about this?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:40):
I'm over it. And we were ... We've been talking about this since I've been alive. This has been in the conversation of the church, in the sphere of the church. And so, to me, the church is not doing anyone any favors by continuing this conversation and not accepting people and loving people. And to me, I'm over it.
Beth Demme (07:03):
Okay. So, first of all, I agree with you that God and the church are not the same thing. And if I were in a church, and I heard someone say that their church was the same as God or was the only way to God, I would really be very skeptical of that and I would have a lot of questions because anytime we say, "This is God," then we've created an idol.
Beth Demme (07:29):
People do that with church. People do that with the Bible. We don't worship the Bible, we worship the God of the Bible. So, I agree with you that the church and God are not one and the same. I do know from my own personal experience that the church can be a way to experience God, to know God, or to know of God. We can never completely know God. God is bigger than anything we can comprehend. So, totally agree with you on that. I also agree with you on the fact that it's maddening that the church is still going round and round about LGBTQ, about.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:10):
Beth Demme (08:12):
Female ordination. So, we've got issues of all kinds of bigotry.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:16):
Of not believing that white supremacy is a thing.
Beth Demme (08:19):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:21):
Of not recognizing white privilege and doing something about it.
Beth Demme (08:26):
Right. White fragility is alive and well in American Protestantism and American Evangelicalism. It is alive and well there. It's alive and well in a lot of other institutions, too, but I definitely see it in the church. And again, I don't mean any single congregation, I mean "the church."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:48):
Yeah. And I mean, the church ... And that's the thing, is like, any place that is a place of worship is ... I lump them all together. Even cults, you know? I lump those with the church. And so, it is almost a losing battle because ... And when people say, "Christian," they're a Christian, there are so many versions of Christian that I have to ... If you just tell me you're a Christian, I'm like, "Okay-"
Beth Demme (09:20):
Right. "Are you safe?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:21):
"... I'm not going to say much until I kind of get a vibe of what kind of Christian you are."
Beth Demme (09:25):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:26):
Because there is just so much behind these places, and I lump them all together. And so, when one ... I mean, we saw that a lot during the election. We saw churches take political sides, which, that's another thing that I am so over is church being so political. And not even political within republican/democrat, but just political in choices they make and people they talk about, people they don't talk about. I'm just like ... All of that has really made me disillusioned with the church. And doesn't help themselves to get more people in the church.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:04):
Like, I think fundamentally the concept of church is beautiful, and great, and important. I think having a place with like-minded believers coming together as a community, I think, is a great concept and having a place where you can come dedicate a time to be with God. I think that is very impactful and important, but the more churches I've been to as I've been getting older, the more I'm like, "I'm not finding this in these churches," and that's what's really tuned me out to church as a whole.
Beth Demme (10:39):
Yeah. I think you're right that church is a place where like-minded folks can gather together. It is a place where we come together so that we can worship, but worship should always be something that takes us outside of ourselves.
Beth Demme (10:52):
So, sometimes, I have heard people say, "Well, that service really isn't ..." And this is a very Christianese word, right? "But that service really isn't feeding me anymore." Okay. But guess what? We're not there to worship you. We're there to worship God. And so, if you're not feeling connected to God, then that's something we can talk about, but worship is not primarily about what you receive. It's really primarily about what you give.
Beth Demme (11:19):
The other thing about church is that although it is a gathering of believers who share a common religion, I think the best churches are those who are organized around those beliefs, but then act them out in service to others. Again, getting beyond themselves. Getting outside of themselves, which requires some transformation.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:42):
Yeah. Which, I totally agree with that. But right before that, you said something that I have to point out as freaking church talk that super annoys me, and also another thing that has really turned me away from the church because I just think it's the church being lazy and putting it back on me for being the problem.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:02):
So, you said, "I'm not getting anything out of the service." "Well, maybe you're not putting the time into it that you need to be doing."
Beth Demme (12:11):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:11):
And I have heard that time and time again. If I give some kind of feedback like, "I feel like this service is not serving the community ... And I also ... Well, you are church, but I used to work for a church. So, when I talk about some of these things, I'm also talking about things I have heard in meetings and not just me being a congregation member, but me being an active role in a church service and planning a church service, these are things that I have said and brought up in church planning meetings.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:46):
Saying, "Doing this kind of service," or talking about, "This is something we have done. We've done this. We've covered this. Why don't we branch out into this? I don't feel like people are getting this out of it." "Well, if people aren't getting this out of it, then maybe they aren't putting the right stuff into it to get what they need out of it." And I think that is super lazy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:07):
I think that's the church not wanting to step up and say, "How can we do this better? How can we do this differently?" It's putting it on the individual. Okay. Well, you're not enjoying our service. You have to figure out what you're doing wrong. And I think that's why the church isn't helping because they're not spending the time ... And again, the Universal Church, in my opinion. I'm not saying, specifically, the church I worked at, but I think that that is such a harmful thing to throw it back at somebody. Especially ... Anytime someone's giving you feedback, I think, in general, where people are pretty defensive if someone's like, "I didn't really like that." "Well, maybe you got to check yourself. Maybe that's why you didn't like it."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:46):
But I have grown up in the church. I have been to many different churches. I have a home church ... I had a home church for many, many years, but I've been to so many different services, and that, time and time again, is what I hear. And it's not even directed at me, specifically. It may be something I hear in a sermon. It may be something I hear in a certain way. But it's, "Okay, if you're not getting something out of our service, you need to check yourself."
Beth Demme (14:12):
I totally hear how that could be received as a cop-out, but I also think that's there is truth in it, that we only get out of something what we put into it. And I know this has not been your experience, but if someone visits a church just once and they happen to come on Stewardship Sunday, and they say, "Wow, that church is all about money." No, you got to come again, right? Because that one service was focused around something that you didn't like. And I don't mean you, personally. Because I know you have never gone once and then abandoned a church. You have really put in the effort. I totally understand that.
Beth Demme (14:48):
I also have experienced it where ... Well, I'll just use myself as an example. So, I've pretty much always been in church. I mean, I grew up in church, so I pretty much have always been there. And when I have been in seasons where I did not feel connected to God in worship, it was not about what the church or was not doing, it was about something that was going on with me. So, to try to put what's going on in me, try to put that on the church, is not fair.
Beth Demme (15:18):
And it also makes it just about me. Maybe someone else was there, maybe most of the people who were there, really felt energized and really felt connected to God, and just because I didn't doesn't mean that the church has done something wrong.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:33):
I hear you, and I've heard your words from many other people, and I'm not denying the words, but having heard the words many, many times. And agreeing, actually, with your statement, but the execution, I think, is not being executed correctly from the church. At least in my experience, the execution of, "Check yourself," and however they say it is not helpful to the individual. I agree. If you're not getting something out of the service, maybe it's something you need to examine in yourself. Maybe it's something ... Did you only go to one church service? I agree, but asking someone to check themselves and not helping ...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:17):
Like, if someone came up and was like, "You know, I just really didn't get anything out of that service," it'd be like, "Oh. That would be really interesting. Can we sit down and just have a conversation?"
Beth Demme (16:27):
Yeah. My go-to statement wouldn't be, "Oh. You didn't get anything out of church? Well, you didn't put enough effort in." It would be a whole conversation.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:33):
But in my experience, that conversation doesn't happen. When I brought that up in meetings before, and I suggest, "Why don't we talk to the people? Why don't we find out?" That doesn't happen. And so, I think it's always assumed that that person needs to deal with their stuff, but that action doesn't happen, which is the point of ... In my opinion, the point of the church is to help all of us. Yes, we're a community, but we're also individuals. And if we've learned anything this year, people are about themselves.
Beth Demme (17:03):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:04):
And people want to help themselves, and people want ... "What's in it for me?" Whether that's right or wrong, that is humans. That's what we've learned. And so, in order for us to grow as a community, we got to help the individuals. And so, how is the church helping those people who are lost and hurting and not getting anything out of their Sunday service?
Beth Demme (17:23):
I hope that churches are doing that work. I mean, I have examples in my own life of churches doing that work. Do I think that every lost teenager or every lost adult is being reached? No. I don't think that the work is done by any means.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:38):
I haven't heard that in my world. I have friends who have been disowned by the church. I have friends that don't feel comfort in the church, don't feel like they have a safe space in the church. I have felt that myself. So, in my tiny world, I don't see the church helping, and it's frustrating, and especially during the election, hearing so much political talk from churches. Evangelical churches? Oh, my gosh.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:06):
And when I hear that kind of hate speech, when I hear that from a church, a Christian church, it just continues my disgust for what the church has become. And I know that's not fair to put that on the Methodist denomination, not to put that on, but I do. And I see it as a whole. And there's, like, a billion churches in Tallahassee. I think a billion and one. And I'm just over it. There's too many ... Okay. "And then we hate the gays over here, and we're okay with them here. And here? Absolutely not. Women, get out! You can make our dinners and that is it, and have the babies." And I'm over it! Okay?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:55):
You know what? I was never for it, to be clear. I always liked when we had ... My home church, we had a female pastor pretty early on when I was in high school, I think, and I appreciated it. I was like, "Wow. I didn't know a female could be a pastor. That's cool." We had her on the podcast, Betsy.
Beth Demme (19:19):
Yeah, that's right.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:20):
Yes! She was the first female pastor I ever knew.
Beth Demme (19:23):
I definitely agree with you that there is a lot that the Universal Church or that religion gets wrong. I definitely agree with you on that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:32):
You should agree because that is the title of this episode.
Beth Demme (19:36):
Don't should on me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:37):
I'm going to should on you because we shoulded on everyone with our title.
Beth Demme (19:41):
I definitely think there are ways that the church pushes people away, and you know, you said the question of LGBTQ inclusion has been a question your whole life. The United Methodist Church was created in 1968, and this question came up the very next time that there was a national church gathering, which was 1972 because they meet every four years. So, it has been a question, not only for your whole life, but for my whole life. And I'm with you. I'm over it. I'm ready to stop talking about it. I'm ready to.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:13):
Just accept and move on.
Beth Demme (20:15):
I'm ready to just honor the image of God in everyone, because that is a core belief.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:22):
But I still feel like even if every single church finally ... Which, it never will happen, but even if every single church finally accepted all people, I think it would still be years until people truly felt safe to go to churches. I don't know. I feel like my generation ... Actually, I'm thinking about my friends. I don't know any of them that go to church. Actually ... Yeah. I don't know. I have to church with one of them. I'm not sure. I don't think she does. I don't know.
Beth Demme (20:53):
Yeah. Well, there was a study that came out during the pandemic by a group that routinely and regularly studies or survey ... They don't study it. They survey. Surveyed church attendance, and for the first time in their record-keeping, fewer than 50% of people surveyed are connected to a church.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:12):
Beth Demme (21:14):
And I think this was specifically limited to Christian churches. I don't think this was about religion more broadly, but I would have to double check.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:20):
That's an interesting way of saying it too, "Connected to a church." I like that.
Beth Demme (21:23):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:24):
Because, well, "Attend a church ..." because there's people that would probably say they're connected to a church even if they don't regularly attend. And then, membership is not a thing with every church, so I like that. "Connected to a church." I'm not connected to a church. Are you connected to a church, Beth?
Beth Demme (21:41):
I am very connected to a church, and you are welcome to be connected to the church to which I am also connected.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:45):
Because they're young, and hip, and a really happening place, right?
Beth Demme (21:48):
You'll always be welcome there. There are people of all ages.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:53):
Beth Demme (21:54):
I haven't met everybody yet, so I can't say that. Because I've only met about ... I've met maybe 10 people, so it's hard for me to say.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:03):
Well, that's interesting that you say that about your church because as we're talking about this episode, which I think is a great episode right before you start at a new church. You're going to be the lead, sole, only pastor? What do you call it? Lead pastor?
Beth Demme (22:18):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:19):
The pastor? You're going to be the pastor at a church in Tallahassee that you were just appointed to.
Beth Demme (22:24):
Yes. So, in the United Methodist system, we get appointed. We don't get hired. We don't get called. The church doesn't decide who their pastor will be.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:33):
Do you get fired?
Beth Demme (22:34):
I hope not.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:35):
No. Is that a thing? Can they be fired, or are they-
Beth Demme (22:39):
You can be removed.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:40):
... honorably discharged?
Beth Demme (22:41):
You can be removed-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:42):
Beth Demme (22:42):
... or you can be put on involuntary leave of absence.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:47):
Oo. So, Beth, you're starting a new church.
Beth Demme (22:50):
Yes. I'm very excited about it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:51):
This is a great way of enjoying that.
Beth Demme (22:54):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:57):
So, we've said the church is not helping, so my question for you is how are you going to help now that you are at a new church?
Beth Demme (23:05):
I would just say the work is never done. There's always going to be more help that needs to happen, more transformation that we need to be open to.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:13):
How do you create transformation?
Beth Demme (23:15):
I don't. But I hope that I help people feel connected to God so that God can create transformation.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:23):
How do you create an environment for transformation to happen?
Beth Demme (23:27):
Well, I think a lot goes into it. I mean, it's really all built on relationship and conversation and teaching and-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:36):
Accepting and loving?
Beth Demme (23:37):
... being accepting and loving, and sharing in the sacraments. There's a lot that goes into being the church. We are ... My hope for the church, for this particular, specific congregation, I have a lot to learn as I go in, but my hope would be that any church I would serve would be open to the community, that it would be a place where the community feels comfortable gathering. So, whether that's that it's a place where, when somebody needs to have a neighborhood meeting, they use it. Or, it's a place where AA meets. Those kinds of groups, I hope, are using the church and feeling comfortable.
Beth Demme (24:17):
I hope that they're a polling place. I think that's a great service that churches can provide. So, I hope that their doors are open in that way, and I hope that their hearts are equally open.
Beth Demme (24:30):
So, before I started working at a church, ever, for the very first time, somebody told me, "You might not want to do that because once you see the sausage being made, you're really not going to like it here." And I had the opposite experience, that it made me love the church, and the people, and the folks who worked at the church. It increased my appreciation, and my gratitude, and my love for all those folks. But, I kind of feel like it had the opposite effect on you.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:53):
It's funny because I love sausage, number one. I've never seen it being made, but I've heard that phrase as well. And it is interesting because it goes back to what we were talking about where maybe you're the problem, you got to check yourself if you're not getting something out of this which is an interesting concept because I have been involved with the church since high school. I was volunteering. My mom worked at the church, and I volunteered, and worked, and then worked full-time years later. And so, I've done a lot within the church.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:28):
I didn't really see the full sausage when I was in high school because I was a child, so they didn't show the full sausage then, but I sure saw the sausage when I was working full-time as an adult. They didn't hold anything back.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:44):
But it's interesting, because I worked with a lot of good people. I mean, I loved the people I worked with. I'm not going to lie. I still have a lot of those people in my life, I'm close to a lot of those people.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:55):
So, I do not want to bash it at all, in my experience. Like, there was a lot of good things that came out of working at the church, but it's kind of funny because a lot of people I worked with went on to be even more involved with the church or become pastors, and I'm like, "What's wrong with me?"
Beth Demme (26:13):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:13):
Like, why am I the one that's so disillusioned by everyone else was like, "Let's drink the Kool-Aid even more!" They were really into the sausage, so I don't really get it why I had a different opinion, but I did.
Beth Demme (26:29):
You want my pastor answer?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:30):
Oh, I've probably heard it 20 million times. Let's hear it! It's going to be good. This will be the quote for the episode. Go.
Beth Demme (26:35):
Because God is calling you to something different.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:39):
She didn't disappoint, folks! (singing)
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:44):
Well, there you go. God is calling me to something different, and I think that leads me to ask you, what is God calling you to?
Beth Demme (26:52):
God is calling me to be part of the United Methodist Church, which is really aggravating. God and I have talked about this a lot, that I have really high expectations and really high standards, which means I am often disappointed. I expect more out of people than they are able to or willing to deliver, and I expect a lot out of institutions, and I am learning that those expectations are not really grounded in reality and will only lead to disappointment. So, having to look within on a lot of that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:27):
That doesn't make sense in my mind because you say you expect a lot out of institutions, and I do too, and that's what I saw, is I did not ... None of that met my expectations, and I didn't see how I could help improve that, and that's why I ultimately am no longer involved with them, but that's interesting that you expect a lot and yet ...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:49):
Well, I guess that's your whole thing is you expect a lot, you wanted more to happen, and so you were like, "Well, then I'm going to be in charge. I'm going to become a pastor, and I'm going to make that happen." Is that the ...
Beth Demme (28:01):
Yes, yeah. In general, when I am frustrated or disappointed with something, I wonder, "Oh, what can I do?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:07):
Yeah. And I took the opposite approach.
Beth Demme (28:10):
Because God is calling you to something different, and that's okay.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:13):
Yeah, no. I'm not saying that my journey was wrong. Maybe mine was completely right.
Beth Demme (28:20):
I think it is.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:23):
Maybe everyone else is wrong.
Beth Demme (28:25):
Maybe we can all be right. Maybe there's right for you and right for me-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:30):
Maybe nothing's wrong.
Beth Demme (28:32):
Whoa. I don't think I'd go that far. There are some things that are wrong. I would also just say, as almost like a footnote to this that in terms of the Christian church, at least, we tend to see a Reformation about every 500 years, and we're pretty much right on cue for that. It's been about 500 years since the Protestant Reformation. Well, it's been a little bit more than 500 years. I think we're at, like, 501? So, it's time for a Reformation. It's time to shake things up. It's time to examine how we've been doing things, and let God work on us.
Beth Demme (29:11):
We have so much fun making this podcast, and we've heard from some of you that you're wondering what is the best way to support us? So, we've decided to expand the podcast experience using buymeacoffee.com. You can go there and buy us a cup of coffee, or for Steph, a cup of tea.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:26):
Beth Demme (29:26):
Or, you can actually become a monthly supporter and that will give you access to PDFs of the questions for reflection, as well as pictures, outtakes, polls, and more.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:35):
The kinds of things that we would put on social media if we had a social media channel, but we actually don't for the podcast because we decided from the beginning that we didn't want to add to more white noise in your life.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:46):
So, one of the great things about Buy Me A Coffee is that you'll be able to 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're looking for without a bunch of distractions.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:58):
We plan to post probably once or twice a week, and we're excited to get your feedback as members on our Buy Me A Coffee page, which we are lovingly calling our BMAC page.
Beth Demme (30:08):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:09):
BMAC! So, you'll be able to find a link in our description to find out more and to sign up.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:18):
I want to remind you that we have a voicemail number that you are welcome to call and leave a message. You can answer any kind of questions we've asked in the past, or give us feedback, tell us anything, whatever. It's also a text number that you can text. And Beth will tell you what that number is.
Beth Demme (30:38):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:42):
And something that we ask every guest we have is a question, and I want to ask Beth the question.
Beth Demme (30:48):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:49):
I just thought, "Oo, this will be fun." Okay, Beth, what TV show, podcast, or book are you excited about right now?
Beth Demme (30:56):
Well, I am listening to a really great book. It is called In My Grandmother's House, and it's by Yolanda Pierce, and she's an African American woman and she's talking about her faith journey and how it's rooted in what she learned in her grandmother's house. And she's got all these really powerful, beautiful metaphors about ... She was raised by her grandmother, so her grandmother and her mother. But about her grandmother's hands, and about how when her grandmother was a child, she had to pick tobacco as a child. So, from a very young age, her hands were coarsened by work, and yet, those were the same hands that really cared for her and caressed her, and were soft and gentle for her.
Beth Demme (31:45):
So, that's the book that I'm into right now. What about you?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:48):
Beth Demme (31:48):
What TV show, book, or podcast are you into right now?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:52):
Well, I wanted to say that Darryl in our Juneteenth episode mentioned a book that I have ordered on Amazon, and it should be here very soon. It is Don't Get A Mentor, Get A Sponsor.
Beth Demme (32:02):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:02):
That interested me, so I ordered it. And actually, I'm curious. So, I've gone through different phases, but lately, I've been into the phase that I want the hardcover. I want an actual, physical book, so I've been buying actual books. How about you? How do you get books?
Beth Demme (32:17):
I don't buy physical books anymore if I can help it. I try to do everything on Kindle, which ...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:22):
Beth Demme (32:23):
Well, I always do Kindle, but honestly, I'm old-school enough that it makes me a little bit nervous to have everything in one platform. But what am I going to do? That's what I've done.
Beth Demme (32:33):
Because we mentioned that I'm starting a new job, and so, I have to set up my office. And so, I have a lot of books ... I don't know. The age I'm at, or the careers I've had, or the schooling I've been through, whatever. I have a lot of books. And I wanted an app that would tell me how to put them on my bookshelf. I didn't want to have to make these decisions. And there are a lot of apps out there where you can just scan the barcode and then it populates your personal library. It gives you the cover, and it'll arrange them by author, it'll arrange them alphabetically. But I really wanted it to create the Dewey Decimal System for me so I could replicate that in some way on my shelves, and it turned out that that wasn't a thing.
Beth Demme (33:11):
And so, I said to my husband who is a software developer, I was like, "This is what you should do. You should create some software to do this because I can't be the only person ..." I did a lot of research, I read a lot of articles, the same six apps came up in everybody's list and none of them do this thing that I wanted done. And he was like, "Wait a second. It's the year 2021, and you think the growth market is to create an app for how to categorize actual, physical books?" And I was like, "Okay. I hear your sarcasm. I see your point. Nevermind." So, yeah. I am not doing the physical books right now.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:48):
Yeah. And I have a lot of books that I had purchased through Apple Books, and that's how I was doing my books for years, for years and years, especially when I live in my apartment. I was like, "Mm-mm (negative). Don't need anymore stuff." But I pretty much have, like, no books anymore, and so it's almost like how kids are back into vinyl records. I'm like, "I want a book again."
Beth Demme (34:08):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:09):
So, yeah. Interesting.
Beth Demme (34:11):
Well, here where we record the podcast ... I like to call it the podcast studio. Sometimes you make fun of me for it, but this is our podcast studio and it is fun to come in here and see not only your book, but the books of people who have been guests on the show. So, I think that's pretty cool, to be able to physically see it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:27):
Yeah. And that's kind of the idea of why I'm buying books. And because the book that Darryl recommended, I'm going to put it on the shelf because he recommended it. So, yes. That's also part of it is then we can have them on display, which is kind of fun.
Beth Demme (34:42):
Yeah. It's pretty fun.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:43):
So, I'm into a TV show right now. I actually watched it a couple weeks ago. There's only eight episodes. But I'm still obsessed with it. It's so funny, and I'm listening to the music. There is a show called Girls5Eva, and I told you about it and you haven't watched it yet because-
Beth Demme (34:57):
I'm going to.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:58):
... I don't know why.
Beth Demme (34:58):
It's on the list.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:59):
Yeah. It should be on the top of the list and over the list, and you should have watched it five times by now.
Beth Demme (35:03):
You have shoulded on me so much today.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:05):
You shoulded on your husband!
Beth Demme (35:07):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:07):
You should make this.
Beth Demme (35:09):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:09):
Yeah. And guess what? He's not doing it at all. Shocking.
Beth Demme (35:12):
He's annoying. I know.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:14):
And he told you why he should not do it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:17):
So, it's called Girls5Eva. It's hilarious. If you are a breathing human, you will love this show. I mean, there's no ... My mom first watched it. She loved it. She's in her 60s, and she loved it. I'm in my 30s, and I loved it. So, I think every single human will love this show. It is only eight episodes. It got renewed for a second season, so yay. It's on Peacock. Don't make fun of me. I did not create this. This is NBC's streaming platform. I know, everyone has a streaming platform, but it's worth it to get at least a month to watch the eight episodes.
Beth Demme (35:52):
And it's Tina Fey, you said?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:55):
She is an executive producer. But it's about a 90s girl group that get back together in their 40s, and sing their songs, and it's hilarious. If you are, like I said ... For me, it's hilarious because I was into 90s girl groups and boy groups ... Boy bands. Boy bands. They were groups, but we called them boy bands.
Beth Demme (36:14):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:15):
So, it's hilarious because I remember all of that. It's, like, spot on. It's so funny. I highly recommend it to all humans.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:23):
It is time to hear something weird. Do you have any weird new for me?
Beth Demme (36:26):
I do have some weird news, and this caught my attention right away. In fact, as soon as I saw the headline come across the Twitter, I was like, "That's it! That's the weird news I'm taking the podcast." I have to say, it's blown up a little bit.
Beth Demme (36:40):
So, I really like to find weird news that nobody has heard of. By the time you listen to this episode, you might have heard this story.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:46):
Well, tell me what it is. Let's see if I know about it.
Beth Demme (36:47):
Okay. So, there was-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:48):
Is it airplane-related?
Beth Demme (36:50):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:50):
Beth Demme (36:51):
There was a man diving for lobsters off of the coast of Massachusetts. Apparently, that's a job where humans dive down and pick up lobsters with their hands? I didn't know it was a job, but it is.
Beth Demme (37:02):
And as he was down there collecting lobsters, he got swallowed by a humpback whale.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:08):
Beth Demme (37:09):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:10):
Beth Demme (37:11):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:11):
Wait, is this-
Beth Demme (37:12):
Swallowed. Like Jonah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:14):
Like Jonah! Like Jonah from the Bible.
Beth Demme (37:16):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:16):
This is very on-topic, on-brand for our topic.
Beth Demme (37:19):
I know, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:19):
Good job, Beth. What?
Beth Demme (37:20):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:21):
Swallowed, like eaten?
Beth Demme (37:23):
Well, I don't really understand how whale's digest things, but this man was completely within the whale.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:30):
And he was conscious of this?
Beth Demme (37:33):
And he was conscious.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:34):
Beth Demme (37:34):
He didn't lose consciousness. He was only in the whale, he estimated, 30-40 seconds.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:39):
Beth Demme (37:41):
So, his name is Michael Packard, but his spotter who was on the boat with him was ma guy named Josiah, which is super biblical.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:49):
Beth Demme (37:50):
So, Josiah is on the boat watching, and he sees all of this thrashing in the water, and he's thinks, "Oh, no! It's a shark!" And then, a few seconds later, the thrashing stops, and then the water kind of boils again. He's like, "Oh, it's not a shark. It's just a whale. It's fine." And then, his friend gets spit out of the mouth of the whale, and he's in a dry suit, and the article that I read said that the whale had ascended so fast, the dry suit got puffed up with air? Anyway. I just think that's insane that somebody was actually swallowed by a whale. He was not seriously injured-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:24):
I thought that was made up for the Bible. That's real.
Beth Demme (38:26):
He was not seriously injured. He was taken to the hospital. He had soft tissue injuries, but nothing serious.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:33):
Oh, my gosh.
Beth Demme (38:34):
I saw an interview with him that was the same day he got swallowed. He was outside the hospital talking to a reporter.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:41):
Did he feel like it was a religious experience?
Beth Demme (38:44):
I didn't hear him say that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:45):
Beth Demme (38:46):
I don't think it seemed like that to him.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:47):
Man, I would be like, "God loves me so much that He got me swallowed just like Jonah. I must be, like, a prophet now."
Beth Demme (38:53):
Well, God was pretty unhappy with Jonah at the time that he was swallowed by a fish. So, I don't know.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:57):
Yeah, but it's, like, biblically famous.
Beth Demme (39:00):
It's pretty famous. I agree.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:01):
Beth Demme (39:01):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:03):
That's pretty epic.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:04):
Well, that was, Beth, super weird. I hadn't heard of that also, so if this is blowing up then I'm obviously not paying attention.
Beth Demme (39:11):
You're going to hear it everywhere now.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:12):
Beth Demme (39:13):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:13):
I'll pay attention to it. So, that was on topic for this episode. That was super weird, and it was a happy ending because they're alive.
Beth Demme (39:21):
Happy ending. He's okay. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:22):
So, those are your now three things for weird news. You got to have all of those-
Beth Demme (39:27):
It's a lot of pressure. I don't control the news stuff. I can't-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:32):
The news controls you, Beth. You can make this happen, Beth. I know. I have full confidence in you, God is with you.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:43):
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 between for you to answer to yourself, or you can find a PDF on our Buy Me A Coffee page.
Beth Demme (39:54):
Number one, do you go to church? Why or why not?
Beth Demme (39:59):
Number two, what do you need the church to be or religion to be?
Beth Demme (40:06):
Number three, what types of worship experiences have you participated in? How did you feel after each one?
Beth Demme (40:11):
And number four, do you agree or disagree with the premise that church is not helping? How do you see the church helping or not?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:22):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars podcast. Thank you for joining us.