By Kenneth Justice
~ At coffee over the weekend I ran into a dude I hadn’t seen in a LONG time; in his early sixties, married, with two adult children, and styling a mess of grey hair, this dude dropped out of the whole church scene and opted to start his own little home cult church. Along with his wife, one of his adult children and their spouse, for the past decade this dude preaches from his living room sofa to his audience of three adults, I guess they don’t believe in the whole mega church thing.
The dude doesn’t care for me much which always surprises me since I’m pretty laid back, “So are you still speaking your s*&t?” he asked
“Are you still preaching in your underwear?” I retorted as I wondered why he doesn’t like me
“All the churches of the world are evil and I am the only one who preaches the truth! And clearly you are still living in your heathen ways!” he said
The simple fact of the matter is that a lot of people don’t want to be around others who challenge them. It’s easy to live in a bubble when you isolate yourself, as the proverb says, “He who separates himself seeks his own desires”
Yet if we’re going to be honest, the way we grow intellectually, spiritually, and philosophically is to engage others in conversation. Even better is to engage others who are actually every bit as smart and witty as ourselves,
—–) To become the greatest athlete one should compete against the best athletes
—–) To become a great artist hang around other great artists
—–) To become a great writer engage other great writers in conversation
—–) To become a great philosopher hang out with the Culture Monk (okay, maybe that was a little self-serving)
Although its common knowledge in the athletic world that competing against the best helps you become the best; this little tid-bit of information seems to have escaped much of the scientific, political, religious, philosophy, and academic worlds. For some reason, in those fields we see some of the greatest degrees of insulation and “bubble living” among their community.
—–) In politics it’s rare to meet a politician who hangs out with the little guy in everyday life
—–) In academics it’s rare to meet a professor or college dean who hangs out with their graduated students in real life; the fruit of their academic experience resulting in a an extremely high percentage of ex-students who are unemployed or underemployed
—–) In religion it’s rare to meet a pastor or theologian who hangs out at bars, coffee houses, and among the homeless on a regular basis in order to see what life is like for the average person
—–) In the scientific world it’s rare that a scientist doesn’t end up sending me a nasty email when I dare to question their philosophy; many scientists live in a bubble and don’t take criticism very well
I have been fortunate for the better part of my life to sit at coffee house tables that are almost always crowded to overflowing; rarely a day goes by that someone doesn’t challenge my opinion. As far as insulation goes I take vacations as a way of temporarily living in a little bubble because for the most part my entire life is a glass house; I’m constantly surrounded by people whom I love and respect dearly and who are never scared to challenge me to my core.
Yesterday I received four phone calls from different friends who wanted to chat. I thrive on community. I grow through the interaction I have with my friends and acquaintances. When I consider who I am as a person, I owe everything to those friends in my life who have been at my side through thick and thin.
Let us never be afraid to engage, and if ever the day comes that we are; perhaps it’s time to reevaluate our positions.
Just a few thoughts as I finished my coffee this morning,
Categories: Culture & Society