Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 26

GOSPEL WITNESS - Smith because you were lazy and didn’t work hard enough, and you don’t get to complain about it. Similarly with the grading system: If you work hard enough, you’ll get an A. But no, not everybody’s going to get an A because we have a grading curve, and very few people are going to get As. But if you don’t get an A, you’re stupid, and you don’t get to complain about it. So this is what we’re learning to accept. Look at how we teach. Look at these chairs: they’re not very comfortable. You have to sit there for eight hours. It’s uncomfortable. Somebody’s lecturing for five million hours. You’re bored out of your mind. It’s just uncomfortable. You’d really rather be eating and taking a power nap. Why are you doing that? Because you’re learning to be miserable at your job. If we were to put our body back into education . . . and this is where I think the body’s important, because our body tells us a lot of what’s wrong with the system. But we learn to ignore the body. Ask yourselves, why do we live our lives so that we’re miserable all the time? If we were to listen to our body, we would say, why can’t I take a nap now? Why can’t I relax? Why do I have to be up till 3AM to get this job done? Why are we in such a workaholic system? Again, it’s back to the colonial model. You’re not human unless you work. So it’s the amount of work you do that makes you human, and if you’re not working . . . academics are ridiculous about this: you have to look like you’re working twenty-four hours a day, or you’re not a good scholar. You can never tell anybody you ever actually went to watch TV, because they’ll think you were a slacker, because you’re not actually supposed to have a life. So what if we were to actually say—again, put our bodies back into this—“This isn’t sustainable. Why do we have to be miserable?” And what world would we need to have so that our life was not around misery most of the time, except for the two hours of vacation you get? What would it have to look like? In every way, the academic system mirrors the larger economic system, which is designed to get you to accept misery most of the time for your occasional iPod. So, instead, education would just need to look different. Our education would not make us accept misery. It would be fun. It would be exciting. It would be joyful. It would be embodied. People were saying it would be outdoors. All those things were very embodied things: arts, music . . . Well, if you had that kind of education, would you accept a miserable job afterwards? No, you’d be wanting arts and music in that job too. You’re going to be outdoors in your job too. So, this is basically what we’re calling for here. We’re going to have to rethink everything. So we’re not going to decolonize the seminary. But, if we happen to be in a seminary, that doesn’t mean we can’t work in that place to think strategically about how to mobilize, create, use the resources to think about the thing we actually do want instead. (Applause) 25