Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 25

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 1 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE to say thank you for that. That’s just given me a lot to think about. I appreciate it. Smith: Thanks. I think we’re always doing them both simultaneously. There’s no pure space to work where you’re not implicated by shenanigans. It’s not like, “This is a bad place to work, so work in this better place.” Any place we work is going to be messy. But while we’re doing that messy work, could we also have another foot in another space that says, “Let’s try to build this other thing.” I think if we do that, one, it actually gives us more power in the messy place that we’re working, because we start to have people behind us to support us in that messy work. But it also keeps us accountable. It says, “This is what would help us in the messy work you’re doing, what would help further the movement that we’re trying to build. So I think it’s always kind of a both/and; it’s not an either/or situation. We do need those shortterm reforms, but we can also do the thing we actually want to do. And, again, that’s going to be a lot of trial and error. Most, 90 percent, of the things we try will be screw-ups, because we won’t have anticipated everything that can go wrong, so we’ll only learn those lessons by going and doing things wrong all the time. But the more we do it, the more we try to run things, the more we start to say, “Ah, I’m starting to note a few things here. This is st arting to work a little bit better.” But we only do that by actually practicing. Any other last thoughts? Man #5: Do you have any strategies or ruminations for how students can decolonize specifically seminaries? Smith: I don’t think you can decolonize a seminary, because—and I don’t specifically mean the seminary, but the whole academic industrial complex is just colonial. If you think of the logic of it, it’s based on the idea that education is a commodity that you have to buy. So it’s not based on a liberatory model. You’re not going to decolonize the seminary. You would instead build the thing you want that would be based on different presuppositions. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t be strategically operating within the seminary at that time to start a different conversation or use the resources or engage the resources to build the alternative model. But I don’t think we’re going to decolonize the academic industrial complex. The academic industrial complex is based on a corporate model. We talked about it: what school is supposed to do is to prepare you for a job. And look at all the ways it prepares you to be in an oppressive system. Look at grades. The grading system is based on getting you to accept capitalism, which I realize many people support. That’s another story. But, again, what does capitalism say? If you work hard enough, you’ll be rich. But of course no, we live in a pyramid system. Not everybody gets to be rich. But if you don’t get rich, it’s 24