Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 24

GOSPEL WITNESS - Smith system is. He’s saying, “It’s all I can do to cope with that system, much less change the system.” So, I totally agree. It just seems like such a big job to empower our clients. Smith: Well, it’s too big a job for one person. That’s why it has to be done in a collective kind of process. And that’s essentially what the system sets us up to do. In class, people were saying, “You know, I realized I never think about saving the world because I’m always thinking about my problems.” And I’m like, well of course that’s all you’re thinking about because there’s nobody else to help you with your problems. We don’t have any support for our own problems, so of course we’re going to be very preoccupied with our problems, because nobody else cares about them. But it would be very different if all of us were very concerned about all of our problems, so we knew it wasn’t just our problem to solve. If we had that freedom that comes from that support, we would also be thinking about everybody else at the same time. So I don’t think we should punish ourselves or say, why didn’t I do more? You’re set up to not be able to do more. That’s the set-up. But we need to create a different structure, as I mentioned before, that frees us to be able to do that, and that happens when we start to collectively care for each other, which frees us to be able to imagine something else. Man #4: So, yeah, on that last note you were just talking about, that came across so profoundly, and we were just talking at the table afterwards about the fact that what you’re offering in terms of just going back to reimagining—and so I just wrote this question. We’re working within this colonialism and this capitalist . . . all of what we’ve inherited, this legacy, but now we want to do all these reform projects within it, but we’re still working in more or less the same structures. The same presuppositions are there. You say Evangelicals have the capacity to imagine. Well, in my twentysomething years, we’ve had to confront a lot of this . . . the same kind of authority structures. To me, egalitarianism and Evangelicalism aren’t necessarily synonymous; so even just that move itself is such a . . . it’s an imagination as opposed to, let’s just make modifications on these. . . . So I’m just going to quote my friend Joe here, who gave in summary what you said. He says, “It’s not about simply deconstructing the dominant syntax; it’s about imagining a whole new syntax.” Because we—especially academically—we’re always doing the deconstruction thing, and that’s great. But you’ve introduced something that is going to be giving us something to be thinking about for a while, which is, “Yeah, but what if, what would it mean for us to be different in terms of those presuppositions.” We just say, hey, they’re still embedded: individualism, authoritarianism . . . just always kind of there. But what if we confronted it and imagined. . . . So, I just want 23