Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 20

GOSPEL WITNESS - Smith People say, hey this sucks. Let’s start a conversation. Let’s grab our other friend and say, what would this look like if it were different? What would be the model we’d like to see? And, again, I think some of the programs that Evangelicals have could be used this way. We have the homeschooling thing. That could be used for different kinds of purposes. We have an understanding that we could do education ourselves; but what if we thought about doing it collectively, a collective Evangelical schooling system that was based on principles of justice, that was based on a principle of nondisposability? Can’t we do this so that everybody else would then see what it needs to look like? It’s not as though we’ve never done this before. We could resist the kind of sensibility that makes us reluctant and say, let’s do this. Let’s start to run the world the way we think we should. While we’re doing that, until that happens, we’ll strategize, we’ll work on a short-term basis, and there’s nothing wrong with doing that because you do with what you can do. But let’s not only do that. Let’s build while we’re doing the short-term things together. What are your thoughts about what we could do instead? Man #1: I don’t know. Part of the problem is that the bureaucracy just really beats you down. It wears you down. So, in addition to dealing with a really difficult situation that you’re invested in—which is exhausting—thinking about the time and the energy to think imaginatively is really difficult. And so, I think that for parents that find themselves in this situation, if pastors and laypersons hear that they’re in churches, if you see the families like mine that are struggling with that, it almost takes an advocate outside of the immediate situation to come alongside, because when you’re in it, you’re entrenched in it, it’s just about survival. And I’m sure you’ve seen that . . . you said it was your nephew? Smith: Oh my gosh. Don’t even get me started on the shenanigans . . . Man #1: But it was your nephew, right? So, he had an aunt to go to bat for him. Smith: No, that didn’t help. Even when you have support, it’s still a disaster zone of the highest. . . . That’s actually why I went to law school in part: because of the long list of people I wanted to sue going through the school system. Man #1: I hear you, and that was the frustrating thing. The school administrators and teachers that we were friends with became adversaries, because they felt trapped in the system, in the bureaucracy. And that made it even more frustrating, because you looked at them, and you said, don’t blame this on the system; you are the system. 19