Listen Again: Beth Moore

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Today, we are re-airing one of our favorite episodes.

Beth Moore has been in the limelight for almost thirty years, but during that time, she revealed very little about her formative family history. Now, this world-famous Bible teacher is ready to tell her story for the first time.

In this episode, Kate and Beth discuss:

  • How Beth’s faith offered stability during a very unpredictable and unstable childhood
  • The complicated grief that occurs when family members cause deep, unforgivable harm
  • What it means to be fully known (and why that feels better than anything else)
  • Beth’s long-faithfulness despite experiencing rejection, pain, and hurt from her faith community

This was Beth’s first interview about her new memoir, and Kate felt so honored to get to ask this wise soul about the role of faith in lives that haven’t worked out like we thought they should.

CW: sexual abuse, mental illness.

Looking for the transcript or show notes? Click here.

Find Kate on Instagram or Facebook or X.



Kate Bowler, Beth Moore

Kate Bowler  00:34

This is Everything Happens, and I’m Kate bowler. This is a podcast where we talk to people about when life doesn’t work out like we hoped it would. Where do we go from there? What does it look like to search for hope and beauty and joy and faith despite it all, despite chronic illness or a pain that has shrunk our life? Despite grief or fear we can’t shake. Despite abuse we may have endured despite marriages or relationships that end or fall apart. Despite despite despite, the person I’m speaking with today embodies a kind of long faithfulness I’ve looked up to for a long time. Her name is Beth Moore. And I feel so lucky to get to be in Houston with her today. That is a really remarkable person so before I sit down with her, I just wanted to tell you a bit about her incredibly remarkable life. She’s been in the limelight for almost 30 years as a world famous Bible teacher and author and ministry leader. But and this is the bit where for anyone who say it doesn’t like me wake up in the morning and have all kinds of thoughts and feelings about the American religious landscape. This is just the thing you need to know to understand what Beth has been through. She was the absolute darling of the largest conservative denomination in the United States, which is the Southern Baptists. So I’m a scholar of American religion. And I so I write books about the American religious landscape. And I’ve met Beth as part of a research project I was doing about women, celebrities in this world and like, let me just let me just define celebrity here for a minute. Like, in a survey of the most followed people on Twitter, of any religious celebrity, it goes like this, the Pope, and then Joel Osteen, and then Beth Moore. So when Beth says something people listen, but what is so tricky is that she is a leader in a conservative denomination by conservative. I mean, Southern Baptists don’t allow women to preach and lead a church. They believe that men should be spiritual leaders. And they’ve been also on the forefront of American culture wars for the last 50 years or so. And so when Beth is growing up in the Southern Baptist world, carving out a way for herself, she’s doing it in the context of people who want her to have a very limited sphere of authority. And so she she gets her start, and it’s so great doing church aerobics classes in the 1980s. And then she starts teaching Bible Studies. By the time I met her, I saw her onstage in front of 10,000 people. So she’s someone who has sells millions of copies of her books, she’s a well known teacher. On you can hear him stumbling because I’m not supposed to say preaching but like on television teaching her Bible studies in a context where it was incredibly difficult for women to lead. Okay, and then everything explodes. In 2016, she spoke out against the sins of her beloved denomination about an issue really close to her heart, just sexual abuse. And she called out leaders and churches that were failing to report sexual abuse in their congregation. And those leaders who were cozying up to politicians who did the same. So when I say when Beth Moore says something, people listen, it was just wild, how much vitriol she got for saying something so deeply reasonable. And so this is Beth’s very first interview about her. Really telling the truth, the whole truth about topics that she has been, you know, respectfully tactfully quiet about for years. It is a remarkable story about hope and faith, despite all kinds of difficulties. Okay, now, the memoir title is an oh my gosh, it is a gorgeous book is so beautifully written. It’s called all my knotted up life. And I feel so lucky, we get to talk about it. All right, here we go. Well, I feel so lucky that we get to do this and that we get to do it in person. I have longed to be able to tell you just how much you’ve meant to me into just knowing how to love people in general, so bless you for doing this.


Beth Moore  06:47

Okay, I was thinking this morning. How much I was looking forward to this because do you know, Kate, we have to rewind a little bit for where our relationship began yeah, I knew it began before you did. Because I came to love you through prayer. It would have been really, when you were just fighting for your life. And I would have come across a prayer request for you. And then I would have started following you. And I am Kate. I cannot even estimate to you how many times your name has been written in my journal. I have no idea as recently as yesterday morning.


Kate Bowler  07:30

Oh, love.


Beth Moore  07:32

Over and over, so it’s an odd thing what the Lord does through prayer.


Kate Bowler  07:36

What an amazing feeling to be because I have known that bizarre feeling of being carried by other people’s love and prayer and so he thinks.


Beth Moore  07:49

It’s a beautiful thing. Because you come to love somebody that you have never seen with your eyes or touch with your fingertips. And yet, it’s it’s very real love. I knew I felt such a connection before we are met today because I knew I feel completely comfortable with you. Oh, no, no, no, I know, Kate. Because I’ve known her in prayer.


Kate Bowler  08:10



Beth Moore  08:10

It’s so crazy, so crazy.


Kate Bowler  08:13

You know, the thing that I, you’ve always been tucked away in my heart for is, is courage always because so many of our culture wars are fought through celebrities through brands or people we don’t know. And your ministry of truth telling in public, even when it’s been painful and hard means that you are you’re the person that I always imagine is going to say, Lord, what do you require of me today? And I saw I you are one of the first people I ever think of just to say, well, what would what would Beth, what would best say about that?


Beth Moore  08:57

Oh, I can tell you that the answer that would be too much.


Kate Bowler  09:01

I don’t know exactly what you’d say. But it’s gonna be that’s always like, there’s this one moment. I remember, just maybe a couple years ago, you know, really all looking for truths that bear up the weight of our lives in all of our in the sort of, like flood of spiritual stories we hear sometimes we don’t quite know which ones are entirely true. Like, which which stories should we hang it all on? And I remember hearing somebody public tell their story. And I thought, I’m just not sure, and I reached out to you and you said something I said, you know, I just don’t know what really what to think about this. And you said something wonderful that I have held in my back pocket. Well, it’s it’s a young fruit cape, which was a perfect way of saying it’s true, but some truth need time. That was my first thought when I got a chance to read your gorgeous memoir, which is this is not young fruit you took your time to get here. So what made you want to write this memoir now? And how did you know that you could tell those truths?


Beth Moore  10:12

What I have done throughout my entire writing profession, which would be at this point would have some 65 as we’re talking, and I would have written the first thing right around 30. So we’re talking this many years, I’ve always gone by what ever I could not stop a true compelling that if I couldn’t shake it, that it was usually something I was supposed to do, or I would assume that it was if it was this particular concept, or this particular book of the Bible that I was interested in, in doing curriculum on or whatever it was, what could I not shake what would last more than a couple of weeks and keep at me and keep at me? And I think probably I knew at some point, I would want to do it. And but I would have wanted the time to be right. And somehow it did feel right to me. And I think more than anything, because I no longer had a clue who I was something about writing a memoir, when you least know how to make it concrete. I know who I am in Christ. I know the foundations of my life, but I’m saying that it was perfect timing to me because I couldn’t explain or define any of it. And I thought that’s when it it ought to be done. Not when you think you’ve got it all tied up. Because all you’ll prove to be after that may be not okay. But just think about this, all you prove to be once you’ve just nailed it down that tight unless you die that day is a liar. You know, sooner or later you’ll outlived something that you said there and it will not bear to be as true as you thought that it was. But it felt right, and you all I guess everybody says this about a memoir that is anywhere near my age, you know, certain people have to have passed on. Yes, there’s really, there’s no way I could have written this with some of my aunts and uncles and my grandparents and my parents. I say that a little bit tongue in cheek, but not very much, yes.


Kate Bowler  12:32

Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever written out of certainty. That makes sense, I right to know something, I think so it makes sense to work it out in a period of unknowing that you go back to the beginning. Our families are so often our secret keepers good and bad. You write so powerfully about the thickest thieves feeling you get those dense, stories and secrets and dumb time so and so got spanked for I would love to. I’d love to maybe start back at the beginning and ask you tell me about the family that you grew up in.


Beth Moore  13:14

So I grew up in Arkansas and a family of eight I have four brothers and sisters, and then my two parents and then my grandmother. And we were very, very much even though I was raised in a college town in in Arkansas, and a two college town. I was raised under very heavy, rural Arkansas kind of upbringing because my grandparents and my grandmother who lived with us, and my mother and father all were raised in rural parts of Arkansas. So I like to say that we’re from the bowels, not just the hills, we’re from the vowel so our is to go to all of that terminology, all of those things, and I would not trade anything for that three generational home. I really, I really wouldn’t. I was really tickled with a sister a couple of days ago, one of my sisters was in town and at my house and I was telling her I said, you know, I never remember in our entire young lives ever taking a shower by myself. I whatever girls were in the family where that was my mother, my grandmother or either one of my big sisters, whoever was in the shower on Saturday evening, they would go can we stick Bethy in there and then I would just speak because I was the youngest girl in the family. And I would just be stuck in the shower with whoever is just this kind of life […]  you know, in the good and bad that goes with all of that. But I wouldn’t I wouldn’t trade those family members for anything.


Kate Bowler  14:45

Yeah, I was wondering if there are restaurant families and nonrestaurant families. There are the ones that just are wonderful at the seamlessness of public small talk and and then there are nonrestaurant families and which you’re not the family that invites other people over for sleepovers and wants everybody to know, all the things that happen, you had a sharp divide between the family that everybody knew truly, and the family that really I mean, even just until now, no one really had the sense of what was going on.


Beth Moore  15:17

Absolutely, yeah, absolutely I could not have known how to articulate it when I was young, but it was the best way I know to describe it was the most the common denominator that stretched across the board. To the point I would say, even to my parents deaths was just long term deep instability, never knowing how it was going to go, though, but a difficult background in that I was a sexually abused as a child but the longer it wasn’t just that if there were any such thing as just being sexually abused. And there’s not but if it, it was also because I think to myself, if if you pull that out of it, it still would have been an extremely difficult childhood. Because there was just no telling what was gonna happen and what was going to be and where my parents gonna make it and so much conflict in the home is so much hostility in the home and, and unfaithfulness, and so it was quite something. And all this time, Kate, I was taken to church and so I look at that there’s so many mixed feelings to have about it because would you call that hypocrisy? Yes, yes, you could, you could. But I would also tell you that having been taken, that really is where I came to know, Jesus, and came to believe in the one true thing that marked any kind of stability whatsoever in my life.


Kate Bowler  15:57

Yes. it is so weird.


Beth Moore  16:29

So weird.


Kate Bowler  16:50

How it can be the truth and its proximity at the same time?


Beth Moore  17:03



Kate Bowler  17:04

And not knowing is.


Beth Moore  17:06

Which is which, at any given time.


Kate Bowler  17:08

Or a child’s mind that can’t possibly, other than to know that the ground is constantly shifting under your feet? And that can have a strange sense of knowing that things are terribly wrong. And yet some things like God’s love can be so, so deeply right, so a way of being maybe, like one of the only if I think of it like reflections, one of the only non funhouse mirror reflections you get back.


Beth Moore  17:38

It’s true, and Kate, do you ever wonder I know that you do. This, the pure wonder of faith, because don’t you think how was it that I or we, in our different traumas, knew to believe this one? thing, this one person this? That how did my young mind discern the difference? I’ve thought about it so many times, because I’ve had a lot of friends that have not had that experience, they that did not transfer over in other words, they didn’t trust God, because they couldn’t trust their parents or whatever, somehow, I did believe it and I guess I don’t know, what do you call that the gift of faith? I don’t know. I know all things of God are from God. So I know it comes from him. But I somehow knew or felt that he was real. And that some of what was right before my eyes that I could see. And touch was the lesser of my realities. It was a very odd thing, these are things I’ll ask the Lord about.


Kate Bowler  18:56

Truth telling is so core, it’s like if I it’s, it’s so core to who you are, and trying to figure out who is telling the truth, came out of just a whole nest of lies that you were trying to somehow coexist with. Your dad was a very unsafe person.


Beth Moore  19:19

Oh my goodness, yes. And really in in every way, not only as a parent but also as a as a husband. And to my mom, and I remember I talked about this a little bit, standing over him when he had his stroke, which would several hours later in his earthly life, and thinking to myself, who who were you really? And I never Kate, I never really knew that when when asked, why did I name the memoir all my knotted up? Wife, that’s the not that I there are so many things I couldn’t sort out I wanted, I wanted to be able to categorize things in okay, this is all good, this is all bad I didn’t want any of it to be mixed up. I didn’t want any of it to be unclear, and it was like, when did you did you change? When was it? Was it complete? You’re just these things that you’ll that you’ll never know. And it’s a very, very complicated grief. When you bury a parent that has brought much harm to you, because they’re still your parent and there’s still that you cannot even deny that connection. All right, I couldn’t I was raised under that roof. And he lived to be, you know, at seven years old so.


Kate Bowler  20:51

I forgot to hear the truth of it from him to like you couldn’t trust him to be a reliable narrator of what he does.


Beth Moore  20:59

Oh, absolutely not. I remember that even when he was found out, and it would not have been me, that would have that would have brought that to the surface. I don’t think maybe it would have been at some point but it did, it was out of my hands but I remember when he was backed into a corner was the only time he ever apologized. And it was in such a way to say, and this is the last I want to speak of it. It was more transactional. And, you know, I was on to that even at that point, and I would have been in my 20s at that point, but I didn’t I didn’t buy it then, and I didn’t buy it later. By the time his life was over. I was undecided, a that was as good as it got, yes. So it’s very, very difficult, very, very complicated now feel very differently about my mother, I absolutely adored my mother and my mother was not by any stretch of the imagination perfect but or even altogether stable, very unstable for part of my life.


Kate Bowler  22:23

Some very dark years.


Beth Moore  22:25

She really did.


Kate Bowler  22:26

How long was that season?


Beth Moore  22:27



Kate Bowler  22:28

Sort of this low.


Beth Moore  22:29

Okay, I love that you and I are talking Kate when I have just been with some of my brothers and sisters, we got to discuss some of this. And so I was trying to tell them my life was different than theirs. They knew a very, they were much older, they knew a troubled home and an unstable home but I and my two siblings closer to my age, lived in what we would have called the years of absolute madness. Absolute madness, where there was nothing I can remember thinking there’s nothing like being a kid, especially a kid old enough to know how much is wrong. Like you don’t, you don’t have a little kids mind anymore by this time you’re a young adolescent and you can process the assaults you know, that there’s infidelity, you know, that there has been abuse you know what has happened now, you know, you know, it’s sick. And yet, neither parent is a way to go. My mother was so sick and so depressed that she just for, I’d say, I’m gonna, I’m gonna estimate it at four years of what I would just call feeling like we were just spinning in the air, I always get the picture of that of the house and Wizard of Oz just spinning in the air to spinning where we had no, where it just felt like it didn’t land that we were just in a in a storm in a store and a violent storm. But it was unstable throughout but those years were maniacal. And the reason they were is because my mother who would have been who was our stability, went through an unstable time. And because of that, and there was nothing and so it was looking looking to your mother and thinking she can’t take care of me looking to your father and thinking you are the scariest thing in my life. And what happens to us now? It was It was terrifying. It really was terrifying.


Kate Bowler  24:41

When you describe sort of leaving your home and then having to be a different kind of person as you go out into the world. What did it feel like to have those two layers? Like what was the underneath one? It’s trying to think of how to describe it, is it shame is it just is it just that that swirling terrible is dislocated chaos that feels like it could look like a collapsing star?


Kate Bowler  25:07

All of it, all of it, but shame is huge, and there is really no telling how much impact it has on anyone that has a background of sexual abuse, like I do. Many, many people contend with it anyway but especially with that factor, there’s no telling the kind of impact that it had, but also that inner chaos, it was where you asked yourself continually, if someone liked you, or if you got if I got anything if I got any kind of accolade, but there would always be that thing of that. They don’t really know me. So it’s this part of me, even though that part of me was real. But it wasn’t all there was so one reason why I told pretty quickly, even though I didn’t tell an end didn’t until the memoir, tell who my perpetrator was. One reason I told fairly early in the first thing I ever wrote, I mentioned, it was clear, I’d been sexually abused, or at least abused, I don’t know that they would have known they’d have been able to complete it, but I don’t know if I could have put that particular modifier with that word at that point. But because I wanted to be known, I think we, I think we all do, I would want to know, do you in knowing me […] we do and when we’re telling the truth, we accidentally tell the truth yeah you know.


Kate Bowler  26:43

It’s a weird bit about ministry to where you’re trying to tell the truth about God. You’re trying to tell the truth about the world? And then wait, yes, digging up. The fact that the trees things I can say about myself.


Beth Moore  26:54

Yeah, exactly. One of the things that I pretty quickly do, especially if it’s a new group, like if I’m speaking, so it’s always going to come up at any speaking engagement. It’s always going to come up that I have a really bad past and I’ve really known what it’s like to be in a mess. And I made up my own making, not just someone else’s making of my own making for that very reason. Because I want to go listen, I want you’ve got a chance to make a decision right now. Because if you needed a teacher that has done this pretty well, you really need to bolt you really need to turn back in your ticket. I’m not your person, every now and then I’ve wanted to say to somebody you know what? I’m not your person. I can tell you need someone else that did it different you you need and Graham loss because I have so much respect for and she did things so that’s not me, I was a train wreck.


Kate Bowler  27:50

That’s I think people say that entirely disingenuously and I know but you’re really like no truly when I look at the category of good and bad it is a you describe like a silty grey and because of that if you need the purity of these categories to know something about God, this might not be your.


Beth Moore  28:11

There’s a lot of teachers out there and it gets to be your choice that you go you know what I don’t want somebody this messy because this people before listen, this is false humility […]  So I was so messed up, I made so many bad decisions and so many along the way in cycle that uh, so many deep ditches and so that’s just I like people to know that going in, you know, if you need to know that or you can understand where I’m coming from. And I just need you to know that you know what teacher you got yourself.


Kate Bowler  28:48

I found it sounds like a compliment, but I found it very encouraging to get a sense of how like, the ongoingness of the kinds of struggles that you’ve faced, it helps it did does it it helps me be middle aged, frankly. There’s this moment where you’re trying to translate the chaos, the sand castle feeling of being a kid with unstable accounts of who you’re supposed to be in the world and what you deserve and whether good things are supposed to happen to you. And then you get married and then you get to you then you have to build a new sandcastles with somebody else who usually has things that made them feel so incredibly attractive and stable at that moment. And then as I there’s a wonderful talk called why you will always marry the wrong person by a Lambo. And either there’s there’s something wildly matched about the way that our pain finds other people’s pain.


Beth Moore  29:56

Oh, I do I have said so many times baggage try It’s baggage. I’ve said it so many times. Let me tell you this, though, because it made me as you were talking, you made me think about my editor. She texted me at one point when I had turned in a particular part of the book that would have covered my adolescence and in young adulthood and she said, Beth, I just wanted to check with you because she said, she said, I need you to know she said, This reads as if you were promiscuous. I’m sure I would have busted out laughing 30 years ago […] Carol? I was, I hate to do this to you. She said, well, I guess we’re chicken I just wondering, because I want to make sure you meant to come across this way as well in because it is a memoir. About I would want so much for it to be different and I want somebody listening to know it’s not laughing over because I’m glad about it. I’m just simply saying, this is my story. If you got to have a different one bless you, bless you, I’m so thankful I don’t have one, I have lunch with you but you know what I’m saying I don’t know how good a friend […] just wasn’t me but I’ll never forget that. So fun to have this with you, because I I’d love for our listeners to know that this is the first I’ve got to talk about the book so you’re the very first interview I’ve had about the memoir. So well, I don’t know that it’s any honor. But it is the first I’ve kept my mouth shut all this time. And so because it’s been turned in for what about, you know, four or five months, and so it feels good to just go ahead and say I can’t help yet, you know, it was but I can tell you God is good that I can tell you.


Kate Bowler  36:45

Well, you set up for me the opposites of a of young Beth meeting, your young husband, you are as Baptist as they come, and he had some Catholic.


Beth Moore  37:00

Oh, as Catholic as they come.


Kate Bowler  37:03

Give me the Compare and contrast of young young Beth nukes, young Keith.


Beth Moore  37:08

What really set us both up for one another. We went to the same college, and we were both he would have been in his second semester as a junior I would have been in my first and I was headed toward marriage with someone who would have been much more compatible, and more stable in a lot of ways but I had come to the conclusion that was someone I dated through high school and dearly, dearly loved, dearly loved but he had a very whole family. Just some of those rare people that really mean he’d whatever you would picture as the as almost an idyllic family, he had that and even when I had never told anything about our family, nothing, nothing, never to him. Nothing, not to my best friends, no one. It was just such a big secret that we carried for so many years. But yet I knew instinctively they can’t handle me. They would never again, that desire Kate to be known, and to think I won’t be able to hide it one on one. I won’t, I won’t be able to hide it within four walls is coming out that how messed up I am how messed up my family is is going to come out and I’m not going to be safe with him when it does. Because so in the middle of this Keith also is someone much more compatible much more from his world, we made an unchaste I mean when I tell you fireworks and I mean that bad as well as good, I mean, we have had nothing if we’ve not had fireworks and by that I mean we are fiery, we are both fiery, we fought hard we, we loved hard, we just saw that it just we brought a lot of emotion into the same house. But he was also from such a broken home and a home that was together. This is a strange thing about the commonalities that Keith and I had in all our differences. The pain that dwelt within our walls was probably to have a pretty fair degree of the same depth and breadth. Just totally different, he had come from tragedy he and his brother had been in a fire when they were little bitty boys his his older brother was three and a half and he was two and his brother died he lives six days some both boys were burned and it was it was traumatizing. And that family just literally as who would, who would this is this is where I have a lot of trouble, casting any kind of blame, even though the trauma it has caused all of us is just unspeakable but still, how do you get over that? How does your mother get over that? How does your father get over that? And so there was that, and then I came from all manner of instability and, and abuse and mental illness, and so you put all that together under one roof, and you have got a disaster, and we were a disaster. We truly, truly were, but somehow, I oh, my goodness, I tell you talk about mixed feelings. Quick I was so glad because if somebody said if you had to do all over again, well, but I don’t yes, that’s okay.


Kate Bowler  40:48

It’s the perfect thing to say. You had to do it all over again. But I don’t, don’t this is the life we have.


Beth Moore  40:59

And I yes, in I’m gonna try to get through this next minute here, if I can this is the only part of the audiobook that I cried so hard, and that we had to stop it, and then I had to pull myself together as did, as did my team, it was trying to record it, and then come back to it, because I’m very, very tender hearted about this but I’m very tender hearted about Keith. Very, because I love him so much. And he is the most complicated person. The most complicated person and it’s very hard to sort out, even for him. What comes from that background, their pain and trauma, what comes from his own chemistry and physiology? That’s my guy, and we’re, we’re still, we’re still at it.


Kate Bowler  42:04

Yeah, I don’t know, anyone who has had as much pressure on them to have a perfect marriage than you. I really don’t. Your obvious, incredible public giftt podcast or inventory is the visual medium so I will just say that you are incredibly beautiful, so talented, like a powerful call on your life that has put you in front of millions of people in a religious world that demands that Christian women have a story about a about marital wholeness, that is, otherwise the rest of their calling becomes somehow invalidated. And you have I don’t, I don’t know anyone who has had as much pressure on them.


Beth Moore  42:53

I’m so glad you’re bringing this up, Kate and I’m so glad this happened this morning, or I might not have thought to say it, but the odd thing that I could not have seen coming and I find mysterious to this day, and it happened again this morning. Is that because I was a woman leader. You know, a very conservative world where there weren’t a lot on at that point on a platform. My marriage went under scrutiny immediately. They did, he never went with me. They did not know him at all. And suddenly he was being judged case in point this morning. I saw someone who this thank goodness, this doesn’t even bother me now. Well, now I’ve got to say I wanted to be a smart aleck about it this morning. I really did. I rehearsed what I would say what I’m wanting to say. But I didn’t say it but a woman said do not be like Beth Moore and marry someone like Beth Moore’s husband, who can’t take authority over his home and his wife knows a woman who wrote it. She does not know my husband has never been to my home knows nothing about my husband has never thought you don’t know what what do you mean don’t marry a man like my husband? You don’t know my husband from a little green man from Marlise.


Kate Bowler  44:29

That’s right, that terrible phrase take authority over because.


Beth Moore  44:33

Oh my God.


Kate Bowler  44:33

Performance of who’s in control over a conservative female leader is one of the most invisible, terrible, complicated performances that very talented women have to navigate when they have to be charismatic, but not too showy because the local pastor was made because it’s a borrowed stage. Because one of my very first feelings of calling was was in the confusing the confusing world of does God get to call me as, as a woman to have any are my gifts real on their own, and the culture wars over this had been fought over you in such a in such a terrible way.


Beth Moore  45:17

In a very public way, and I didn’t see it coming. I have been an active member, I’m going to say, in my lifetime of I’m going to estimate I’ve tried to think exactly about six different churches. And so some of them would have been years and years. But these even though I would have told you that I was around that I was always exposed to some level of sexism, if you would, in other words, I knew that there was everybody around me that mean there was everybody believed in male headship, including me. There was not a kind of disdain, there was not misogyny that I was aware of it, it would be here and there but not as a tone. And what I mean by that is my whole adult life. I served with women and men shoulder to shoulder, it never dawned on me I would never was on any kind of ministerial team at my church. The only thing I ever did and got paid at my church was teach aerobics. So you know, more than I can possibly give you all the time that thinks that I was after my pastor’s COVID I you know what I was really after legwarmers there was no part of me that saw that coming and may I say, not only was that where I became aware of it and ran into it, I also want to say I saw an intensifying of it. And several of my peers, from my same conservative world agree with me on this, we say to one another that are in our mid 60s, something wildly changed the cause in the last several years, I I’m not sure a woman could have done what I got to do. In in my church and in my community, in many churches, because that’s how much it’s it’s continued to pull in my opinion. And I may be wrong, Kate my, my perception may be very mistaken. But from where I sit and how I perceive it, it continued to pull to the to fundamentalism. And so it wasn’t that I have fought for something that we never had. I’m also fighting for what I did get to have that I can’t see my little sister’s having you know what I’m saying in that part of the world so it’s been it’s been a very strange thing. It’s just such a polarized world that we live in so yeah, it has really been something and this is the beauty of the call because the reason I have stuck with it is because the Lord who call me and does the Lord who will call me out so I don’t know what to do with that. So well what did you do? […] This is who brought me in you dance with the one who brung is my grandmother said you know.


Kate Bowler  49:02

I guess I wanted to maybe since I could talk to you all day, maybe. And with a question about faithfulness. I mean, aging is, of course an incredible privilege. And as we age, we are forced to opt into a certain kind of faithfulness, where we have to ask ourselves and the people around us like what things endured, what things stayed.


Beth Moore  52:42



Kate Bowler  52:43

The way that you and your husband have chosen to love each other through the darkness, to imagine a life together after the kids are gone. Also, your obsession with your kids and your grandkids is a mean things. Speaking of things that endure that obsessive, beautiful, intense, high voltage, you can’t escape from the love that you have.


Beth Moore  53:09

That’s right.


Kate Bowler  53:10

The sense of intense gratitude, I hear from you about every precious thing that you were able to hold on to after those not all good things were given to you as a child think when you’ve had the nonrestaurant family, you are sort of extra grateful for extra long, for all of the all the good things just start to feel like gifts, I guess.


Beth Moore  53:34

I will tell you that. it is not unusual for Keith and I to just be watching a show streaming something on the screen. And one of us put our hand out the other one put your hand in that hand and to look at each other and realize we both got tears in our eyes, that it’s not wasted on us that we are together. And one of the things I think a lot about because our hands now look like our grandparents hands when we married. And Kate I loved that you said a minute ago it’s a privilege to grow old, because I sit across from you. And I would not dare say differently because of course it is. Of course it is. Of course it is. I think how many times I’ve prayed that for you that you will grow. You will have those grandchildren that you will and you write it is and it is precious. And there are times that I look at the creases in our hands. And he has all manner of scars on his hands from all his fishing. And I think maybe we’re still here. We’re still here. And I think that all of that is tied to a very faithful God seated on the throne that just keeps whispering over and over I’m still here, I’m still here. Some good hope, my dear, that is a good well let me tell you this.


Kate Bowler  55:59

We love that full arc feeling, of course we do. We love the feeling that our lives and our pain and tragedy somehow add up to something meaningful. We want our lives or choices are loves to really matter. Neat and tidy stories that are easily explainable. Bad becomes good, wrong becomes right. It’s probably why tropes like this made me who I am today, or everything happens for a reason, are so compelling. But rarely do we feel the full arc of it all. Life doesn’t always make sense. We are left with unanswered questions. unforgiveness, guilt, that we can’t let go of wrongs that were never righted. So, here’s a blessing for moving forward, when our lives still don’t make sense. It’s from our new book of blessings. And we altered the lives we actually have because, you know, that’s what we’re working with. And the book is available everywhere books are sold. Okay, so here’s a blessing for that feeling that life isn’t what you would have chosen. Blessed are you when the shock subsides, when vaguely you see a line appear that divides before and after. You didn’t draw it, and you can barely even make it out. But as surely as minutes, add up to hours and days, here you are forced into a story you never would have written. Bless it, are you in the tender place of wonder and dread.


Kate Bowler  57:45

How to be whole when dreams have disappeared? And part of you with some rare mastery control, determination, bootstrapping and grit are consigned to the realm of before where most of the world lives in the fever dream that promises infinite choices, unlimited progress, best life now. Bless it, are we in the after zone, loudly shouting, is there anybody here? We hear the echo, the shuffle of feet, the murmur of others, asking the same question together in the knowledge that we are far beyond what we know. God, show us a glimmer of possibility in this new constraint that small truths will be given back to us. We are held, we are safe, we are loved, we are loved, we are loved. All right, my dears. Bless you. Hey, and before I go, Lent starts this week. So Lent is that very bummer. So I always think of it. So forgive me, it’s still 40 days before Easter, where we can tell the truth about our lives. The lovely, difficult, the heartbreaking. So let’s just bless it all this Lent. We have free downloadable guides for whatever this season is bringing you. So it’s guides for you to use in your everyday life by yourself. Or there’s one if you want to use it with a group or there’s one if you lead a congregation or some kind of spiritual community and that’s for pastors and chaplains. It’s all totally free but you can go to Kate This Lent and download it for free. Okay, we just want to be there for whatever you need. Have a beautiful, terrible day my friends. I’ll talk to you soon. This episode of The Everything Happens podcast was made possible because of our generous partners, Lilly Endowment, the Duke Endowment, Duke Divinity School and leadership education and of course nothing is possible without the wisdom and expertise of my absolutely fabulous team. Jessica Ricci, my heart I love you, Harriet Putman, Keith Weston, when Higginbotham, Brenda Thompson, Pope Anderson, Jeb Burt, and Catherine Smith. This really is my very favorite kind of group project. So if you want to know what else we’re up to head over to so you don’t miss a thing. I would really love to hear what you thought about this episode. Would you consider leaving a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify? It means a ton to us when we hear what you liked, or who you want to hear in conversation next. Also, we really love hearing your voice. Feel free to leave us a voicemail. We might even use it on the air. So call us at 919-322-8731 Alright lovelies, I’ll talk to you next week. But in the meantime, come find me online at Katie Bowler This is Everything Happens with me Kate Bowler.

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