Is that what you REALLY believe???

is that what you REALLY think


By Kenneth Justice

~Have you ever been afraid to tell someone what you really believe?

—) Afraid of them getting mad at you

—) Afraid of them thinking you are stupid

—) Afraid of them making fun of you

—) Afraid they won’t like you anymore

The Internet and Blogging is an interesting medium because it puts our words and thoughts out to an unsuspecting world. People we’ve never met now have access to anything we write and make available.

I would be lying if I said I never spent any time thinking about what people might think when they read what I have to say. Over the course of my short blogging career I’ve been called a few uh…colorful names, received a number of unhappy emails, and have found out that not everybody agrees with The Culture Monk.

Stepping out into the world and telling others what you REALLY believe can be scary. It also tells us a lot about ourselves; how will we react when people don’t receive what we have to say? How will we react when we receive criticisms?

—) Will we be defensive?

—) Will we lash back?

—) Will we be patient?

—) Will we simply ignore the critics?

How do you deal with people when you tell them what you believe and they aren’t happy about it?

To be honest with you, I’m always surprised to find out that anyone agrees with me. Too often in my life I have felt like it’s been me against the world; as though I’m stuck in a vicious culture that is unwilling to think outside of the box. It often feels as though the people in Western Culture are too closed minded; everything is often black or white, right or left, and liberal or conservative. People who are in the middle like myself can often be left feeling on the outside….as though we were born in the wrong era or at the very least born in the wrong culture.

As a Christian, I read the bible verse that says, “Fear no person” yet it doesn’t bring me much comfort because I wasn’t born with a ‘bullhead’. I’m more of the sensitive type and am not fond of getting into a verbal fight over beliefs. I’m a pretty laid back individual……but the reality of life is that if we’re going to bring about any kind of positive change in the world we’re going to have to tell people what we believe…right?

I mean…..that’s what got people like Gandhi in trouble; for telling the people in authority “This is what I believe”. It got him arrested….and in the end it got him killed.

Same thing happened with that dude Jesus in the bible…….he went around all lovey-dovey like, hanging out with the poor, calling the religious leaders a bunch of hypocritical f***ing a** h***s (my modern vernacular) and those religious leaders fought back by getting him nailed on a tree.

That kind of s**t scares me; am I so committed to helping the poor, reaching out to the homeless, and speaking my mind about injustice in the world that I would be prepared to die for my beliefs?

Holy cow dude…..I don’t know about that. I’m being honest with you……dying for my beliefs…seems kinda extreme doesn’t it? That level of devotion to a cause seems so remote from the life we live here amongst Western Culture….doesn’t it?

Of course, Gandhi and Jesus didn’t walk around with a sign that read, “Please murder me”……they simply stood up for something they believed in, they spoke their mind about “JUSTICE” and “Truth”…..and it ended up getting them killed.

Okay” you might be thinking, “Aren’t you getting a bit extreme here Kenneth? I mean C’mon dude, you’re talking about being martyred for helping the poor, speaking out against injustice, and serving humanity? REALLY???”

Obviously I’m not obsessing about whether or not I’m going to be murdered if I begin really speaking my mind……..but it puts things in a different perspective, doesn’t it?

Think about it. There are people that have lived throughout the course of human history that had such a deep love for their fellow humans that they were willing to pay the severest penalty for speaking their mind. It’s a pretty intense thought….isn’t it?

Am I that type of person…….I really don’t know; I can’t answer that because the kind of devotion those people throughout history demonstrated seems so much farther above my meager existence and abilities.

I’m just one little person who sits at his computer and types away……..or can we be something more?

I think I’ll have another cup of coffee as I consider the topic a bit more,




Categories: Culture & Society

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32 replies

  1. I see your point completely but remember it only takes one person to start the change. If no one does anything to help, nothing changes. And no one on either side, white or black, left or right, liberal or conservative dislike change. Whether it’s change in amount of taxes paid, change of social acceptance, or social justice. Everyone wants some sort of change to benefit themselves or society but it takes that one person to start it. And the one who starts it usually doesn’t think about the negative end that could happen, they are filled with the positive ideas that they are helping others have a voice. 🙂 Great post.

  2. Anyone can be that person; but first we must truly and enequivocally accept the burden of responsibility we lay unpon ourselves.

  3. Maybe it can all be done without the drama, no? We seem to be so jacked up with superlatives these days that nothing seems ordinary. Not even the ordinary.

  4. Kenneth, I don’t want to sound brave, because I am not. But in my life when it came to a yes or no, I always chose the answer that I felt was correct, even if that meant pain and suffering. Because I am too scared to live with a dishonest me. But trying to bring it to logical terms, I think that a stance from all people, that they are not afarid to give their life for a just couse, would certainly make the bad “guys” think twice before they push their plans forward. And eventually you won’t have to give our life. But if we leave it to others, then nobody will step forward and the bad changes are going to come very fast and cause much more pain. And yes, since Jesus allowed to be sacrificed for someone else’s sins, we should learn something from it. That a change is going to come.

  5. I used to think I didn’t argue or give opinions freely because it was a Southern lady thing, but I guess that isn’t the case. It always seems like people can give their opinions freely and people take them in stride…except me. It feels like, for some unknown reason, people take what I say personally if I disagree with them in any capacity. So I’ve gotten “gun shy” in a way. And yes, the blog aspect is somewhat liberating, I agree.

  6. I am a blunt person and say what i think. Also in real life. And yes have banged some heads that way, but i am not sorry for speaking the truth. That is the truth in my eyes. my opinion. And there are to things one can do with it. deal with it and at least respect it. or think about it. But i will not be the judge of that.

  7. I think your post shows a self awareness that’s really hard to come to. I think part of the West, specifically in church, is to claim you have it all together and are totally all in with Jesus.

    But that stuff is hard! It takes that moment to step back and say “i may not actually act out what I tell myself I believe.” Then you can start to ask the question of “how deep into this am I going? Am I really going after this Christian thing?” but it takes that hard self reflection.

  8. Kenneth… you’re becoming a potty mouth lol. Just saying. No but really – there really are many who have paid the price for being so willing to put themselves out there – MLK, Jr., is another. He was reluctant at first to be the voice of civil rights but in the end, I don’t think he’d regret any of it (other than perhaps not having more time with his family). I, too, have felt like I must be the only one who feels this way at times. I’m possibly a bit more “liberal” than you about some things but even so, I can be reasoned with but it seems hard to find others who are at least willing to listen/talk about things. We’re getting more stubborn in our “old age” if you will. Just last night I was told I was an idiot and to get back to the kitchen because of my opinions on a football game/player LOL. Really? You’re going to resort to sexist comments just because I pointed something out you didn’t like… about FOOTBALL??? A sport? Wow. Totally lame. It was a win for me for sure haha. It sucks being “yelled” at like that and yet I’m the one who gets satisfaction from it because if something so insignificant can get that reaction, the debate is over, I win.

    • I gotta throw a lil colorful language in once in awhile to keep it real 😉

      Have you ever taken a political test to see where your beliefs are at?? I take em all the time for fun and I almost always end up somewhere in the middle. Conservative on a couple issues, Liberal on a couple issues and mostly in the middle.

      As to your friend and the football conversation, first off) I LOVE to cook and do the majority of cooking in my household so anytime someone makes a sexist comment about women being in the kitchen I get annoyed, secondly) I’m always right about football 😉 j/k

    • yeah im not sure i’d call that dude my friend lol but i tend to feel the same way – im pretty sure im right about everything haha. 🙂 no i haven’t taken a political test and i may just have to do that. it would be interesting to see where i fit thought i think i’ll probably end up left leaning. sounds like we’ll have more disagreements about football also -should prove interesting haha.

  9. I like your articles, they are the right bite size, insightful and to the point.

  10. as I’ve told you I’m not religious, but I do have a belief system that I believe I would be willing to die for… I would however never go out of my way to embrace such a destiny… and one cannot say what one would do when faced with death until they find themselves in such circumstance… but I would like to think that I would stand by my principals regardless of possibility of persecution… I have no problem speaking my mind…but I bite my tongue and choose my battles… I have become a little more strategic in how I express and defend my beliefs which are generally centered around ideals of love and equality… but in truth I am more of a blunt instrument when it comes to furthering those ideals…

  11. Wonderful article 😉 Sure got me thinking ^^
    (And it reminded me of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the mirror” 😉 )

  12. You can never know what you will do until the moment you are asked to do it and then it’s easy to decide.

  13. T.C.M., was a serious way to sign your post, I was like, “Huh?” at first. Anyways, yes, it is hard to say what you’re really feeling and really believe, because you open yourself up to judgment and ridicule. But sharing those things is what allows people to know you, to connect with you. It definitely a balance. Another good post Kenny!

  14. Great insights. I found that my own fear of rejection can be overcome by understanding that you don’t have to become me in order for me to have a relationship with you. Hey, we’re free people. We can disagree. It’s still legal in some countries. 🙂

  15. One thing I have found repeatedly studying the Monomyth (“The Hero’s Journey”) in ancient and modern storytelling is the individuals called to adventure are often unlikely types. Their societies don’t suspect them and they often don’t expect themselves, either (leading to a “Refusal of the Call”) step. And sometimes, the adventure is a revelation of truth, or is symbolic of it.

    And I relate to this journey as my own experience. I’m terrified to talk about it too deeply, for fear I’ll be mocked. It nagged at the back of my brain until I was 18, and then it started to really unfold. “No. No way. I must be crazy,” I kept thinking, over and over, and I still sometimes think it, 21 years later. I don’t think I’m special, or worthy. I don’t want glory, or prestige. But the path continues to unfold, and I see more and more of what I can only describe as eternity. What helped me was this: in order to learn how to die for my convictions, I must first learn how to live for them. So I try every day to live true to that, that my here and now lines up with where I know I’ve been, and the vision of where I see myself going. Then, if it really does come to pass that my Master asks me to lay it all out on the line, and give all, then I will know that my struggle was not in vain. Until that day, ’til all are one… I think I can be happy, even today. Even though the pain is bad (even right this moment), I know I’ve got friends and family that love me. And that too, I think is important: to learn how to love, and be loved.

    I think that can be true for anyone, regardless of belief, but especially will be true in how they live and die for it: knowing how to live, how to die, how to love, how to be loved.

    • It wasn’t till college that I studied ‘the hero’s journey’ in any great depth and I remember being struck with the thought of how curious it is that the overwhelming majority of stories in Western Culture prescribe to the various elements of that diagram.

  16. I know that I have friendships in which the entire friendship hinges on them not knowing what I really think. I could speak up but however kind or mild or non-confrontational I might be, they would stop speaking to me from then on. Not much potential for a deep friendship with them, I guess, and maybe I should just cut them loose. I have done so in the past. I know there will come a time when they will find out my “true colors” but I guess I want to pick the right moment. I am ambivalent about it, I admit. Sometimes it seems like a lose lose situation. I am resolved, though, not to walk away from anyone because of their beliefs or their sins, but I haven’t been tested yet. As to martyrdom, I think that is just something people drift into, for the most part. You go far enough out on a limb, there comes a point where you stay till it breaks or you retreat. It is the end of a gradual process.

    • Carroll,

      I grapple with the same issue; having ” friendships in which the entire friendship hinges on them not knowing what I really think”

      Especially when it comes to the subjects of philosophy or theology.

      The problem is not mine though; i’m okay with people disagreeing with me. the problem is usually with the other person; they tend to cut off anyone in their life who doesn’t agree with them entirely……

  17. I have friends who are very religious and I have no faith. I have friends who wouldn’t walk across the road and I love sport and exercise. I love to drink, my husband takes no alcohol. I think we can get on with a multitude of personalities and differing opinions if we want to. I like to look for what we have in common not what we have not.
    I do like a good debate though! I really enjoyed this and other posts I have read tonight. Great blog!

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