The Dean of the School of Christian Service

He sat in his office polishing his brass nameplate on the desk, looking around the room with a carefree smile on his face.

I stood in the next room, watching him, while his secretary tried to catch my eye.

“What is it?”, she finally asked – annoyed by this student who obviously wanted the Dean’s valuable time.

“May I see the Dean?”, I asked.

She approached him with great pomp and enquired as to whether he had time to see me.

He smiled and motioned me in. I had always liked him. His smile seemed so inviting.

For some years, I had been considering the injustices in the world and in the last months had been observing these same injustices – in spades – at the religious institution where I was a theology student. I began to speak of my concerns and of a yearning to be an “agent of change”.

He sat there, smiling.

I felt frustrated. I began to give examples of what was happening at the university – examples of special treatment, hushing of rape claims (as the fellow involved was the son of a university benefactor) . . . I shared concerns for human beings and concerns of inconsistencies with the stated religious ideals which were claimed to be the basis of the organisation.

He sat there, smiling.

“What sort of idiot are you?” “Can you hear me?” “How can you smile through all of this?” – Such thoughts, but then too young and polite to verbalise them.

He sat there, smiling.

I tried everything I could think of to get a response from him other than that idiotic smile. Nothing had an effect. After letting me go on awhile – with the same mask on – he guided me to the door, thanking me for coming in.

I had wanted guidance, insight, something from this “leader” – nothing but a smile which I now despised.

Then it hit me like a freight train – the world is not being changed because those in positions of authority don’t give a fuck. They don’t give a fuck about the exploited – and don’t want to have their good time affected by the stories of the downcast. This fellow was just happy to sit in his office and look at the walls of books, his name on the desk and his name on the door. What was injustice to him? If he could surround himself with people like himself – happy and respectful of his position – he could be blissfully happy.

I walked out of his office realising why the world doesn’t change – those with power don’t give a shit, don’t want to rock the boat, don’t want to take the chance of ruining the good thing that they have.

I have you to thank for this insight.

You have been dead some years now, but I still see you sitting there in your office, polishing your nameplate, with that stupid smile on your face.

Gerald Lee Jordan
Diamond Harbour NZ
07 February 2013