Really thin skin!!!


By Kenneth Justice

~ The last week at coffee has been off the hook.

—) On Saturday I was part of a four hour, three person discussion/debate over the merits of the U.S. Civil War

—) On Sunday I was part of a three hour, four person discussion/debate over the issue of legal and illegal immigration

—) On Monday I was part of a four hour, five person discussion/debate over the issue of war in general and when and if a country should ever go to war

If you’ve listened to the weekly podcast I am apart of you probably know that I’m pretty laid back in conversations and while I may take a particular point of view I tend to be open about hearing other sides to the issue. This attitude of mine is most definitely not the way I used to be as a younger person.

When I was younger I guess you might describe me as being a zealot; whatever the issue being discussed (even issues that I wasn’t very well read and studied) I was often overly opinionated, antagonistic and close-minded. Perhaps I’m wrong to attribute my earlier behavior as simply that which I acquired from watching all the Evangelical Fundamentalists around me; but nonetheless I was a stubborn young cuss who thought he knew it all (just like all my Evangelical counterparts who also believed they knew it all).

~ Question Everything ~

It wasn’t until I began learning more about grace and understanding that it was less important for me to argue with people and more important for me to listen to others and love them that I began to mellow out.

There was also a major turning point in my life when I began to question everything. For too long I took everything that I believed for granted. I was slow to change my beliefs because I was fearful of questioning the very groundwork of my foundational knowledge.

My Uncle Bob used to say that “Fear isn’t something to be taken lightly, it’s a heavy force that keeps people from growing up”.

Many people are fearful of questioning their belief systems. They are afraid of admitting that the ‘truths’ they’ve held dear for so long; may not be truth’s at all. Admitting that you’ve been believing a lie can be a difficult pill to swallow. Coming to the realization that you’ve put your eggs in the wrong basket means we have to sacrifice our pride and demonstrate a little bit of humility.

In talking to so such a diverse crowd of people at coffee all over the world I always run the risk of stepping on people’s toes; I have to be sensitive to other people who are quick to become defensive if they hear something that contradicts their belief system. Some people have such thin skin that they when offended they will hold grudges for a lifetime.

This past week I was asked, “Kenneth, but do these conversations that every day people have in everyday life really amount to anything? Are we really contributing to change in the world?

Of course that is a tough question to answer, what do you think?

For now, I think I’ll finish my coffee,


Categories: Culture & Society

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19 replies

  1. As long as people are at least talking about the issues and describing the change they want to see happen,a difference is being made. It is when we go silent that hope is lost and nothing changes. Our words and opinions can have a far greater effect than we could ever imagine so let’s keep the discussions going.

  2. As an opinionated person I know what you are saying here,.
    Change in the world will only come from those who are willing to admit they were wrong and are willing to change there opinions. The only way to know if you are wrong or could have you change your opinion is to have something to compare it to. That means to listen to opinions others may have.

    Do we make a difference, I do not know. do i change opinion based on others yes i do. have I been wrong before. I know i have. In the end if I can be a better person by the believes and standards based on my and other opinions it is a small step to a better world.

  3. Even if your conversations aren’t contributing to change in the world, they are contributing to understanding + respect. Is that not enough? Why must change be the goal?

  4. It’s hard to get me to change my opinion. I’m very stubborn. I tend to lean on facts… wait… Did we establish there are no fact? Damn… – the wifey

  5. If I stop someone from killing, perhaps I make a difference. If I pray for someone in need, perhaps it can change things…. “Doing” a talking about something won’t change lifes/world. And I don’t buy the stories like ” oh, a blog saved/changed my life”

  6. If something works, why would you want to contribute to changing it? If a conversation is pleasant and enjoyable to all, why must it change anything? Mao’s Cultural Revolution was all about continual change. We see how well that worked. (Not!) By the way, how come no, “Really?”

  7. During our morning walk, we talked about being positive all day in our thoughts and words. How long could we do that successfully? Then our conversation morphed into whether it mattered to bad mouth others if they never ever knew about it. Does it change the world for the worse in any small way?
    A facet of the conversations question you pose?

  8. Interesting question. However, for the sake of clarification, if we eliminate everyday people and their everyday conversations from the world, who actually is left? I suspect everyone would be gone; therefore, who remains to make what change?

  9. While that’s a great question – I’m still stuck on the fact that you had 4/3/4 hours each day to sit, have coffee and talk!
    I think I need to go buy a lottery ticket…

  10. Hard to tell who’s wright or wrong
    Let’s just all get along..:)
    Glad you changed your attitude
    Now your successful with graditute!:D

  11. I think having these discussions is usually based on entertainment purposes and ego, and not anything to do with wanting to change the world

  12. You and I both wear shoes from the same cow, though our cobblers come from different families.

    Does it amount to anything, are we changing the world? Probably not, but we are having open discourse and exchanging ideas, which are after all the seed to invention.

    Just the other day, the news had a report about a guy who died, someone I ‘d never heard about. But, if this guy hadn’t existed and communicated from where he was in life, Kennedy never would have become president. So maybe we can’t see an immediate affect of our communication…maybe though, as a result of one of these conversations…a good idea does evolve…it could happen. But if it doesn’t, isn’t our life just a little bit richer because of the interchange that we have had with others?

  13. Sharing differences of opinions, (or ideas), without resulting in negative emotions or physical violence is ALWAYS helpful.

    It teaches us about sharing instead of stealing, listening instead of talking, understanding and acceptance instead of prejudice.

    Conversations with others are the building blocks of of having a well-rounded view of the world. It allows different cultures and personalities to make meaningful dialogue towards peace in this earthly existence.

    What a shame the current parts of the world in civil unrest and international conflict didn’t talk to each other more. What a shame religious opponents don’t respect each other’s ideas.

    Talking about peace and harmony (instead of right or wrong) has great merit.

  14. I love discussions, but get easily impatient with those who have loose tongues and closed ears. I tend to avoid them. But, people love to be asked and you are often surprised by the answers to difficult questions. Am I contributing to save the world? Only if I look at the world one soul at a time.

  15. Of course, there are people who believe the only way to change the world is by force, this lies at the core of fascism. And all religions seem to go through periods where they belief can be achieved by force. Perhaps, there are those who become genuine believers through torture, but the idea seems to be perverse to me.

    Real and lasting change for good can only come through discussion. Force will turn your cities into ruins and transform your children into corpses or terrorists. Those, who don’t believe change can come through discussion will find themselves under the jackbboot sooner than they think, the way things are going. Never has there been a more urgent need for talk, yet our leaders keep reverting to force.

  16. I’m learning the lessons you speak about on a constant basis. Such is the plight of youth struggling to gain wisdom in a world full of know it alls (oneself included). It’s an ongoing process in learning to temper my opinions and viewpoints and just listen. Not argue for the sake of being right or to win an argument.

  17. I have often said that I learn more from people that disagree with me than those that agree. To ignore the voices that rise from the tables of earnest discussion has always been the folly of mankind, rulers, and government. When the voice of reason cannot be heard, the bloody screams of conflict will.

  18. “There was also a major turning point in my life when I began to question everything. For too long I took everything that I believed for granted. I was slow to change my beliefs because I was fearful of questioning the very groundwork of my foundational knowledge.”

    I had a major turning point. Around the time I quit church completely, and got my job, I was 25 and became aware of how little I knew about the world. Noticing the diversity of all my coworkers, I wondered things like “How many of these people are going to hell? Am I going to hell? What is the point of life anyway?”

    Through questioning things, I went from a suicidal depressed angry christian to an extremely pro-life vegetarian atheist in the span of about two years. There are so many things that helped this happen, but the major factor was a change of environment that made me question who or what I am.

    I think it is amazing that my experiences during that time were able to wipe out nearly everything I had believed for the first 25 years of my life. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self so many things. The question is, would I have understood back then what I do now?

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