Lesson 8: Woke Christianity and Reality

Jim and Tammy Fae BakerI started this series by observing many of my friends were asking “What exactly is woke?” After about two months, I am willing to define it as awareness, a basic value in all the great world religions. They all claim to discern reality that is described as facing the truth, providing a healthy way of life, providing harmony with the grain of the universe, or doing God’s will.

However, the term itself carries a number of overtones in our day. Most of these come from Black American history which alludes to being alert to racial injustice and organizing to realize the potential of the Black race.

Aspects of these two characteristics have been appropriated by other groups in the cultural revolution taking place. Feminists, climate change advocates, LGBTQ activists, immigration asylum providers, and critics of economic injustice are all described as being woke.

These movements have created a force that leads an opposition to use the term in derision or mockery. Woke alludes to groups who are supposedly destroying the traditional values that made America great but perhaps even more groups of naïve do-gooders whose policies weaken American power.

I have suggested Woke Christianity offers support for groups calling for change. Repentance, a key element of our faith, involves rethinking that enables an individual to change her mind and a society to correct its errors. Salvation by definition is transformation.

Among other things, awareness of reality entails recognizing the new global society created by technology. The resulting demographic changes make parochial understandings of race and civilization obsolete. We are all dependent on people throughout the world.

Awareness of scientific findings acknowledges many nuances of sexual identity that go beyond simple male and female categories. We should recognize all promises of faithfulness in love. That allows the possibility of homosexual marriage.

Awareness also perceives technology has created an environment challenging former ideas of something being natural. Technological intervention makes defining a natural birth or death impossible. It also forces us to rethink teachings on contraception, abortion, and euthanasia.

This kind of change creates great uncertainty. All of us are uncomfortable when common sense is challenged and longtime standards modified. The desire for certainty leads some to turn to celebrity politics that demands unconditional loyalty, ad hominem arguments that ridicule, power and wealth as determinates of truth, obstruction as a primary political tactic, and divine approval as endorsement.

Some Christian groups try to find certainty in fundamentalism that approves only one kind of biblical interpretation, Pentecostalism that claims direct messages from God, and celebrity preachers who pretend to guarantee good health, family, and finances.

Woke Christianity responds by trying to offer a realistic narrative of what is happening. It tries to hear God’s word that gives meaning to life in every changing period of history. It has faith in God’s promise to provide a peaceful, just, and loving future.

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  1. paul wildman says:

    good job Fritz reclaiming Woke in its original sense


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