When Bishop Easterlings started talking with the Rev. Willie Jennings about some of the deepest things they know, the conversation was so rich that it couldn’t be contained in one episode. In order for you to hear it all, it’s been divided into two parts. The first segment explores how the church thinks about God, the reasons why people read hierarchies of worth into God’s creation, the potential of us working together and the powerful gifts of understanding what we receive from indigenous cultures when we re-examine our conceptualization of ownership. Savor the richness of thought and passion inherent in this conversation at the table. And don’t forget to tune in for Part 2 when we launch Season Two of Thursdays at the Table on September 7, 2023.
The Rev. Willie James Jennings, an ordained Baptist minister, is an associate professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies at Yale University. He is the author of The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race and After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging. He is now working on a major monograph provisionally entitled Unfolding the World: Recasting a Christian Doctrine of Creation as well as finishing a book of poetry entitled The Time of Possession.
Questions for Reflection and Extending the Conversation
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling: Beloved, welcome to Thursdays at the Table. It is my honor to have as our guest today the Reverend Dr. Willie James Jennings. He is an academic, a systematic theologian, known for his contribution on liberation theologies, cultural identities, and theological anthropology. He graduated from Calvin College, received his Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, and his PhD in Religion and Ethics from Duke. He's also an ordained Baptist minister and actually served several churches in his tenure.
He's currently an associate professor of Systematic Theology and Africana studies at Yale. He's the author of the award-winning book, The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race. He also authored After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging, which seeks to reimagine theological education. Dr. Jennings has also written a commentary on the Book of Acts for the Belief series. He is married to Joanne, and they have two wonderful daughters, Njeri and Safiya. Welcome to Thursdays at the Table, Dr. Jennings.
Dr. Willie James Jennings: I am so glad to be here with you, Bishop. What a joy. Thank you so much for this invitation.
Bishop: Indeed, the joy is mine. I often share as a part of this, because this whole concept is about, "Who do I want to sit at the table with and have conversation?" As you know, especially in our culture, when you sit at the table and you have a conversation, you're going to get to the whole truth eventually, right? You're just going to lay it all out there. That's the concept behind this. I often have a mug before me that I feel represents the kind of conversation that I hope to have with the invited guest, but also who I deem them to be. What they mean for me in the world. The mug that I chose for our conversation today says, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." A quote by Gandhi. That's how I see you. I see you as embodying the change that you hope to see in the world.
Dr. Jennings: You're too kind. Thank you so much.
Bishop: [laugh] Amen.
Dr. Jennings: That's a beautiful cup.
Bishop: Oh, thank you. Thank you. Speaking of cups, how do you fill your cup? Are you coffee or tea?
Dr. Jennings: In the mornings I'm coffee. Strong, black, nothing in it. Decaf, because at this point in my life, my doctor has told me, "You need to go decaf." Then in the afternoon, I enjoy a cup of Oolong tea, and that's what I'm having right now, a nice cup of Oolong tea.
Bishop: A cup of Oolong tea. All right. Well, I love my both and folks, amen.
Dr. Jennings: Amen.
Bishop: Well, let us then, as I say, get to the deepest things we know. You've described your younger self as being very inquisitive in general, but about scripture in particular. Now, it's been my experience that questions aren't always welcome at church. Were your questions well received?
Dr. Jennings: No, my questions were not. In part because I was such a precocious young man who had learned the fine art of how to speak gently when someone is trying to teach me or preach to me. I often asked both the obvious question but also the difficult question in public, and that's what made it so difficult. I had the habit of remembering what I heard. I would sometimes raise my hand in the Sunday school and then raise my hand in Bible study, and a few times I even tried to raise my hand at the end of the sermon.
I would raise my hand, and I would normally say something like, "Reverend, you said this. Now, this contradicts what you said last week when you said this. Help me understand what's the difference between what you said then and what you're saying now." I didn't realize at the time I'll be asking questions about the intricacies of interpretation. I'll say, "Now, where do you see that in this text?"
Bishop: How amazing. Tell me how old were you when you were having these kinds of conversations?
Dr. Jennings: I started right before my teenage years, and it went right into the heat of my teenage years. It got to the point where the poor pastor, when he saw me coming, you could see the look of dread on his face because I was going to keep asking questions. My mother and my dad and my sisters and brothers, especially my older brothers, they didn't mind me asking questions, but my poor pastor, it got to the point where he pulled my mother to the side and was really wondering about the validity of my salvation.
Bishop: Well, see, it should've been quite to the contrary because, first of all, the fact that you were listening, that you retained the information, even the fact that you continued to be present, although if your household was like my household, we didn't really have a choice as to whether or not we were going to church. Even when I went to college, I would come home on the weekend and my mother would say, "I hope you remember."
Dr. Jennings: That's exactly right. That's exactly right. There's no such word as choice.
Dr. Jennings: I was raised Baptist, but I tell people all the time I was raised a Calvinist. You are going to do this because God has already demanded you do this.
Dr. Jennings: "You're preordained to do this." "Yes, ma'am."
Bishop: Why do you think that so many pastors, preachers actually resist questions? I've even heard some go as far as to say, "In some places to ask a question is to be challenging God." Where do you think that ethos came from in the church?
Dr. Jennings: I think it's always had at least two streams that gave it life. The one is just the classic anti-intellectualism. It's always been a part of Christianity in the Western world, that a thinking faith is always imagined as a problematic faith. For many people to ask questions and to think of thinking as a part of one's discipleship is always, for many people in the Western Christian world, been seen as a foreign, an alien element in thinking of faith. You have that strong stream that continues.
The other stream is the sheer vulnerability and the fear that often accompanies so many folks in ministry and the inability to face that fear head-on with the recognition that I don't have to always present myself as knowing everything. That I can actually present myself as a learner, continuing to learn, but that takes a different not only formation but a different way of being in the world in which you invite people into deep thinking as a fundamental part of their living in the faith and their discipleship.
Those two streams meant that I often encountered ministers in the pulpit. When they were approaching a difficult passage of scripture, when they were approaching a difficult topic, you could see them negotiating hard to avoid the difficulties. Working real hard in the way they preached, in the way they circled around and the way they danced around it, they were often afraid to jump into the deep end of it.
In many ways, they were denying God's people, precisely what God's people wanted. The space to actually speak the truth about themselves and about life. That's right there, that text. At the same time, also living inside for so many, as you know, and especially within the Black church tradition who were denied opportunity for study and for education. Part of that negotiation was also recognizing the lack that many ministers had when they climbed into that pulpit that they really did not have the tools that they needed. Some knew that and tried their best to address it. Others knew that and tried their best to conceal it. We couldn't conceal that. You can't conceal what you don't know.
Bishop: No. Eventually, it will come to the fore. It will come to the fore. Then I presume it was that kind of inquisitiveness that actually led you to a formal study of God's word. You are a professor of systematic theology. Now, some of us hear that and not quite sure exactly what that means. Help us understand what systematic theology is all about.
Dr. Jennings: I'm glad to. Systematic theology is the study of what the church thinks. Both specifically and in the practice of thinking as a Christian. Systematic theology considers what has developed in the history of the church's thinking and the practice of thinking. That is, doctrines and ways of thinking that draw on the scripture and on the way other Christians in the past and the present have articulated their life with God. Systematic theology is in fact the study of the thinking of the church. Then the facilitation of more precise thinking, more clarity in the thinking of not only the church but of the individual Christian.
Bishop: Then when we think about what the church thinks, it's doctrine, its way of thinking. When I look at scripture, when I look at the canon from Genesis to Revelation, I can't see anything except liberation. I can't see anything. Of course we start seeing the people before they became known as the Israelites, they're in bondage, but that whole story is about them being drawn out of bondage. We see this tension between bondage, liberation, being oppressed, freedom, being led to the promised land.
When I read scripture, I just can't see anything else. Yet it seems like even in the church, the way that the church has participated in oppression and whatnot that I don't know that the church has always interpreted that as God's intention for the created order. How did we begin to read hierarchies of human worth into God's creation?
Dr. Jennings: That's a wonderful question and I love the way you put that when you read, you can't see anything else but the liberative impulse of God. That God wants to have shaping of the beating of our hearts and our lives. I think that's correct. What that shows is really the way in which we who are Christian came to call this Hebrew Bible, the Bible of the people of Israel, along with a set of loose letters and other kinds of texts written by those early Jewish believers, came to call all of that the Christian Bible. The way we've come to that is because we were introduced to it all through the work of redemption in the life of this Jesus of Nazareth. That's the crucial thing.
We who are Christian we come to this thing called a Bible through the recognition that our lives have been claimed by the God of Israel. Known to us in one of their own Jesus of Nazareth, who we Christians came to understand, not simply as a prophet of God but actually God in the flesh. It's that difference, it's that fundamental difference that then means when we turn to the Bible, we are turning to try and make sense of two crucial matters. One, that this God who has redeemed us, who has shown us the light and the life and who has freed us from bondages both that we knew and bondages that we did not know. What we are coming to realize is that that God is actually the God who created us.
Now we have to understand, "Okay, the gods who my people said created me, actually is not the God who created me, it's the God of Israel." That in of itself is mind-boggling, and so part of the turning is to try to understand, "Okay, who is this God who actually--" It's like finding out who your real daddy is. "Where is from?" That we would hold to that analogy softly because God's not a guy. What's important here is that it is first of all trying to make sense of who this God is. That's why we turn.
Then the second reality that drives us is that we're trying to keep up, catch up with the reality of this redemption that has come. We have to now yield and follow the spirit of God into the life of Jesus. Then follow the life of Jesus. Now, my dear sister bishop, here's the problem for us
Bishop: All right.
Dr. Jennings: Those two tasks are massive, and Christians have always struggled to try to figure out who this God is and what does it means to follow this God-made flesh. In that process, we have and continue to make profound mistakes like creating hierarchies, like creating what we think are visions that capture what this God is about. When in point of fact, they don't capture what this God is about. We continue to make mistakes. Those mistakes should be seen in two ways. Those mistakes on the one hand are the recognition that we needed the salvation.
Dr. Jennings: Because we were deeply problematic people. On the one it's the recognition, on the other hand it's the recognition that we are always groping to try to create that which gives witness to not only who this God is, but who we are with this God. Hierarchies, patriarchy, forms of social life, ways of thinking that in point of fact don't give witness to a God who gives life, but gives witness to death. We are always caught up in that.
Bishop: That's amazing. Gives witness to death. When we force upon God this notion of domination, this notion of male over against female, of particular flesh coming out of a particular part of the world over against other as witness to death. When, again, in this cannon, every time we see Christ and again you remind me that I come to it through the lens of the redemption of Christ, and I receive that, I understand that, but everything about Christ is about life. Is about being generative, is about restoration. What is it about our human nature that wants to slip back into this rendering, this witness of death, rather than what has been given to us through the one that we claim as our Lord and Savior?
Dr. Jennings: We were created for communion. We were created for life together with God and with one another. The struggle we have is to enter fully into that reality of communion and not fall into isolation and fall into ways of living that make life together an option, not an absolute necessity for me to be human. The challenge we are in the midst of is entering fully into what God is calling us not only to do, but to be. To be those whose very identity is formed in communion. Which means it's an identity that glories in differences joined but not eradicated. It glories in differences joined and not eradicated.
It glories in the multiplicity of the creation that God has bestowed the grace of existence upon. It glories in being one among the many. Me being among the creation and to be together in life together is exactly what God is calling us toward. This in itself, that's not a fantasy, that's not utopia. That is the thing that establishes life. The reality for us is that we struggle, we struggle mightily. This is where the importance of understanding the life of Jesus as a boundary transgressing, a border breaking-
Bishop: That's right.
Dr. Jennings: -reality of life. As I like to say, when Jesus comes Jesus does this thing that is so important for us. Jesus gathers a crowd and that crowd that Jesus gathers, bishop, these are not friends. These are people. I think we've often run past how important the crowd is in the Gospel. If you take away the crowd in the Gospels, you're not going to have the Gospels.
In the Gospel, so the crowd gathers and the crowd is made up of everybody. Friends, enemies, lovers, former lovers, folks who would if you turned your back on them, a knife will come out of somewhere and next thing you know there'd be blood on the ground. You got enemies, you got people who have sworn that if they see that person, they will take him out. People who have been hurt and threatened and here they are. People from every station in life, the rich, the poor, the powerful and the weak. Those who work in the military and those who have felt the military boot on their neck. You have all of them and here they are shoulder to shoulder, leaning forward, straining to hear what this Jesus is saying.
Now, here's the point. Jesus wants it that way. His very life is to gather the people who would prefer never to be near each other. What happens when that crowd shows up? The screaming, the crying, the yelling, "Jesus, please come help me. Jesus over here." People reaching to grab him. The disciples almost at their wits' try to keep his body from being torn to pieces.
There was a great church writer who once said that when we see Jesus in the crowd, here's what we see. We actually see the original, or should I say, the real condition, the real reality of the creator and the creature. What Jesus shows us is the creator in the presence of the creature and the creature in the presence of the creator. If we were in the presence of our creator, we would do exactly what that crowd is doing. "Help me, please. Forget this man next to me who's yelling after you. He is unimportant. Listen to me."
Bishop: "Listen to me. I need help."
Dr. Jennings: "Let me just knock him out quickly so you can hear my voice." This is us. This is the creature and this is how we would act if we were present to God. What this early writer said is that Jesus strips away all other realities to bring us to the crucial reality. God is with us and we are screaming for the help we need.
Now, if we take that as the beginning, then here's what we know. It is out of that relation and that dynamic that Jesus seeks to form a community, a community of people who are border crossing, boundary trespassing.
Bishop: Boundary breaking.
Dr. Jennings: They are together and they bring all those histories of hatred and suspicion and fear and in the presence of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, they are now told, "Work on this. Work on this right now. Because you are here, you're disciples of this Jesus."
Bishop: Amen. Yet in this 21st century, we still gather as segregated bodies on Sunday morning. You talk about who came together and that Christ wanted it that way and yet we have re-segregated and continue, even more so, I think in this year of 2023 than perhaps we had been in some decades past, I see us moving further in the wrong direction. If we're moving away from that, what does it mean for our embodiment then of this creator and being part of this creation that we're going in the opposite direction?
Dr. Jennings: We have, especially in this critical moment-- I'm speaking globally. In this critical moment with the pandemic having done damage to us. We have allowed the fear of the other to drive us further into isolation. What that means is that all the ways in which we have segregated ourselves have now been refreshed. So many people have now, whether they do so because they've surrendered to it, or they do so because the fear has seduced them to thinking that this is the only way, increasing numbers of people have lost faith in the possibility of a new shared form of existence.
Now, the beautiful moment, the beautiful reality that we can start to spy out even inside of this downward turn is that on a planet in peril, more and more people are starting to realize that we do have a shared project in front of us and we're going to survive. We have got to think our way toward each other because it's not going to happen unless we do. We might be able to segregate our lives, but we can't segregate the water.
Bishop: My Lord.
Dr. Jennings: We might be able to segregate our communities, but we can't segregate the air. We can't segregate our food stuffs, and what the pandemic has showed us, we really can't segregate our bodies. I would prefer that we come to this realization not negatively. We come to it positively that to be together is to come into the site of a new possibility of thriving life that we have not yet touched, we have not yet felt.
Bishop: Right. There is a difference to come together out of necessity, to come together out of disaster is one thing, but to come together out of an understanding that this was the intention. This will create beauty. This will create the real Imago Dei. To come together in that way is far more positive and I think loving than to do so out of disaster.
You also focus in a lot of your writing on this notion of possession and how we have misunderstood God's intention for possession. I want to ask you a specific question around that. Do you think indigenous cultures got it more right than some of our theologies when they looked at all of creation as equal and to be revered rather than existing to support humanity's capitalistic thirst?
I'm thinking now about animism and, again, this native American understanding of all of created order, again, having its own purpose and having a sense of equality and how some in the Western world have really almost called that heresy. Talk to us again about that notion of your notion of possession and if some of our indigenous cultures got it more right than we do.
Dr. Jennings: That's a wonderful question and, in fact, what we're talking about is really a way of understanding our life in the world and in places prior to what most historians understand as the modern colonial period or colonial modernity. Here what we're talking about is not so much an indigenous way of understanding possession as opposed to the way Christians have have thought, but really a way that the vast majority of the world understood what it means to live in the world, as opposed to what happens with colonial modernity.
What do I mean by that? I mean by that, that for so many peoples, for millennia, if you ask them “what does possession mean?” If they're standing in a place, living in a place, what does possession mean? What you will hear is that they will articulate their life as being possessed by a place. That this place where we live, these waters, this mountain, these animals, this land, this dirt, this landscape, it not only speaks to us, it speaks through us. When our ancestors die, they join this land. With the land, they speak to us and through us.
Then if you say, "Is this land yours?" In a sense, now that I've said that, you could say that this land is ours, if you understand what I mean, based on what I just said. Now, the way I just described that, that's precisely what we see in the Hebrew Bible. We see a land, the land as God's land, that God gives it life, brought it into being, and that God will speak through the land to the people and then the land will speak through the people as God wills it.
What we find with Israel is that they are in the land, but probably the best way to understand them having the land is to say they are a cosmic renter of the land. The land belongs to God. God owns land, because God is the creator. Here we we're using some clunky language when we say God owns, but let's just stick with it. God owns the land. What God says to the people of Israel is that, "This land that you are on, if you treat the widow or the stranger or the orphan poorly, this land will witness against you." God actually talks about the land as though the land is alive and animate, like the land is another actor. In fact, there's one passage in Leviticus where God says that if you misbehave on the land, the land will vomit you out.
Now let's bring that forward. So many indigenous coaches the world over, what I just said is precisely the way they would talk about if they ever used the word possession. That's what they would talk about. The European colonialist, when he came to the new worlds, wherever we're talking, whether we're talking about the Americas or what we came to call America or Canada, or the Caribbean, wherever we're talking, when they came to those places, they brought a different vision of possession.
For them it was not being possessed by like it was for the indigenous people, the land speaking through us. The land in a sense giving us the logic of our very existence. It was possession of. They came and they said, "No, the way we understand possession is that you own it and we have a specific set of conditions by which you can claim to own the land. If you don't meet those conditions, then that land is considered, the word is terra nullius, empty. That is land that anybody can take because it is not owned. What they forced upon indigenous peoples is that if you are going to be able to keep this land that we are trying to take you out of, you have to accept the way we look at land. You have to stop saying, "The land speaks to us." We don't care about that gibberish.
You have to say, "We own exactly 17,000 acres from here to there. That's our land. We will enter into negotiation with you about how much of the land we will sell to you." All of that it's foreign, strange ways of thinking. Now why is all this so important for us? This gets back to your wonderful question. Why this is so important for us is that if we do not have a sense of the land as alive, an animate, a living reality that is in relation to us and to God, then the vision will have of land is as dirt. Stuff that we can do whatever we want to with it. Change however we want.
We will have the idea that the land basically is like a slave to us. We can do whatever we want and the land has no voice, no say in the matter. Then we can treat the land as a commodity, as property. Then it becomes, we can cut it up, fragment it, put on what we want to, and if there are things that we want to dump on it, we can do it because it's land and it's our land. That is the reality that Christianity helped to create against its own older, more ancient shared vision of the land as alive and living.
We are inside that history. I always tell people we really can't get to the bottom of the ecological catastrophe and how we address it until we come to an actual Christian vision of land as living, as a creature like us that needs to be treated as a co-creature like us. Until we come to that, we will continue to talk about the land in terms of stewardship and how we use it better, how we can manipulate it better, how we share it. It's okay to talk that way at one level, but at the most fundamental level, it still treats the land as a slave.
Bishop: Well, exactly. When I hear you speaking, it makes me think about, as I've heard some other theologians put it, this illegitimate expropriation of our neighbor's land. It still has an illegitimacy to it because it could turn on a dime, and we could get back again to this ownership through conquering, ownership through domination, rather than what I heard you talking about was an ownership through relation. From dust we have come, into dust and dirt we shall return, and speaking through embodying that land, again, rather than through violence and domination.
Dr. Jennings: Right. That's so difficult for us. We have been shaped and this is a part of as I call the pedagogy of the colonial moment. We have been shaped, all of us, that the first time we look out on any horizon, any landscape, any land, the first question we have been habituated to ask is this, "Owns it."
Bishop: That's right.
Dr. Jennings: That's the first question we've been habituated to ask. What we have to understand, that's a marvelous-- and I mean, marvelous in the negative sense, that's a marvelous achievement of creating a demonic vision.
Bishop: Just call it what it is, demonic. I like that. Again, as I told you, at this table, we're going to get to the whole truth, and that's a demonic understanding, but so many would recoil from that use of that term.
Dr. Jennings: Absolutely. They would think, "What's wrong with that?" What's wrong with that is, when you ask that question, it is tantamount to asking, "Who slave is this?"
Bishop: Hmm, my God. My God. Well, in this same vein, because we know that what you've been describing is what was inherent in things like the doctrine of discovery and manifest destiny. That's really what this began to lead to. Now, just a few days ago, the
Dr. Jennings: Listen, with this Pope, and not his most immediate predecessor, but the Pope before that one, we had those moments in which from the papal office, from his chair, the Pope spoke words that I applaud because they do two things. They acknowledge history of Christian wrongdoing, which is fundamental to the work of repentance that we as Christians always do. We repent because this is what it means to be Christian.
The second thing it does is that it alters a trajectory of thinking that moved out from those original people decisions. That then shaped ways of doing theology, ways of understanding church and ways of understanding the Christian life. By the Pope saying, "As the leader of the church, as Christ's messenger on the earth, I say, we apologize. We repent for what we've done." That is beautiful because it then will say to so many people-- bring this question to them. How has this idea of discovery worked itself down deep into the bones of Christian sensibility, of theological sensibility, of church sensibility?
It has worked itself down into the bones. It's worked itself down into the bones, as I've often said, by creating a situation where the church and Christians have been shaped to see themselves as teachers first and learners second. Because to discover means that you have arrived at a place where you have entered knowing that you should be in charge. Your discovery means that you have positioned yourself to now explain to everyone else that they have been discovered.
Bishop: Right. You thought you had an existence before we got here, but we have now discovered you.
Dr. Jennings: You thought you has existed, but you have now been discovered. Because before you were invisible to everything including God.
Bishop: To everybody.
Dr. Jennings: But I have discovered you. That framework is so deeply embedded. First inside of a certain reality of Christianity, but then it's like a woman pregnant with not just twins but with triplets that gave birth to a reality of Western thought, Western education, that always imagines the rest of the world in need of being taught, and developed. We use that language to this very moment. The developed world. What does that mean?
Dr. Jennings: You tell the whole world outside the West as developing? That very language itself grows out of the doctrine of discovery. Having the Pope say this has been such an important thing. Also, the Pope's recognition that it established a way of engaging people that at this point is counterproductive to the witness of the living God found in Jesus of Nazareth.
Bishop: Amazing. You talk about what it's meant to the church, again, these doctrines, these philosophies, these foundational notions that folks held, it also meant something to the public square, to governments because things like eminent domain. The notion of still being able to move in, to displace, to take because we have the right, we have the superseding need, so even the way that we relate through our governmental entities was affected by things like that. That eminent domain shows up so often in communities of color.
I think about a community that I pastored in Boston. It was a wonderful community. Something like what you talked about, the crowd that gathered around Christ, because it was people of color, but they were a varied ethnicities. There was the most wealthy there, but middle class and below were there. It was taken by eminent domain. They were promised that they were going to be relocated and they would be able to stay together as a community. Of course, that didn't happen because it rarely happens. These promises are made to these communities, but it rarely happens. The same notion of this colonialist idea of the majority being able to come in and displace the minority still exists today out of this same kind of philosophy.
Dr. Jennings: Absolutely. That's discovery, development, and domain are a straight line. What you're naming is the fundamental problem of the idea of terra nullius. That something is empty. Therefore in need of being brought into proper use. Those who have been empowered to bring it to proper use, the way I put it is to bring it to maturity, claim the right. They claim it as a moral right to do what's best for that land as they claim the right to do what's best for those people.
It's precisely that vision that I'm going to bring it to maturity, bring it to where it can be most productive, that so many governments as nations formed understood that that was a fundamental power in their hands. To look out on the world and to ask in terms of the space that is in their domain, what is its best use? Then it would always add for the sake of the common good, for the sake of the people.
We always knew that the crucial part of that sentence, is the first part. What can it be used for? "Oh, I forgot to add. Oh, for the sake of the common good, but let's stick with the first part. That's it." We are deeply inside that. This is a problem I'm thinking a lot about these days. It's the problem of real estate. The problem of a developer class that is primarily hidden across the world.
Bishop: That's right.
Dr. Jennings: It's the problem of an engineering and architectural class that often functions without a moral compass in what they envision, what they create, and what they do. It's those in every sector of society that benefit by having the fundamental decisions about the very structure of our living taken out of the hands of the people, taken out of any kind of democratic process, and made the domain of just a few. I have seen in so many places where decisions that should be for the many are made by the two.
Bishop: That's right.
Dr. Jennings: Not even the few, two. Sometimes the one.
Bishop: The one. That's exactly right.
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