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