Stay Woke Advent or Waiting Sucks

Stay Woke Advent or Waiting Sucks November 25, 2014


Nothing I try to type seems right today. I already preached a Twitter sermon this morning on white fear and don’t have the energy to rehash it. I posted a reflection to Facebook about the phenomenon of Dr. King worship, while viewing the protests of the last 109 days with scorn, disgust or confusion and it became a blog post: This All Happened Before. Of course people also tried to whitesplain me there too. My mother-in-law, concerned for my safety. asked me to be careful attending a vigil (a VIGIL for the love of all things) in Nashville tonight.

So, I have nothing. Today I wait. We will wait in the darkness. I don’t feel like waiting. I was not looking forward to Advent (usually my favorite season) because I don’t feel like waiting.

A few weeks ago, a friend and I were talking about how much waiting sucks. Yet, somehow in Advent it’s supposed to be fun, with Jesse trees and chocolate behind tiny doors and special candlelit services. We want to feel better about it. But sometimes we don’t. Today I don’t feel better waiting for Peace, for Justice, for Oppression to cease. I want Shalom.

The idea for #StayWokeAdvent was born from this talk of mutual frustration. I didn’t mean to start a campaign. I just wanted others to help me explore the deep, complicated, disorienting, hopeful-yet-crushing darkness of waiting. I want to feel less unseen and alone.

So, I share it here with you today. I hope you will join it too. It’s just a sharing of ideas, thoughts, laments, poems, songs, art – whatever it becomes – whatever we make it, both online and hopefully, it will seep into our congregations, gatherings and personal meditations. It won’t change the world, bring down white supremacy or make the fear of the “other” melt away. But maybe as we reach out into the dark and find each other, the waiting will be a little easier to bear.

Keep watch with me. The night is not silent. We are not asleep.

Re-posted from #StayWokeAdvent

It’s Advent………“Stay Woke”


cry out



accept grace




wake up


hope (even if just a little)

sit with the darkness

squint at the light






As we wait for the things that are yet to come, as we wait for the justice our hearts long for, as we wait for the little seed of hope to die and bring forth life – we look for the arrival of shalom…..

So often Advent is explained as a season of hushed, joyful, expectancy, like a child waiting to open shiny presents under the Christmas tree. Yes, there is darkness, but it is mediated by twinkling lights and shiny wrapping paper that makes it okay. Just be patient, and soon you’ll get the goodies. We acknowledge the darkness, but try to scramble past it for light as soon as possible.

Have you ever been stuck in a dark place with only a sliver of light or no light at all? You know those times waiting for news that could bring just as much struggle as it brings resolution? Remember the times of waiting and waiting, not knowing when the answers will come? Times of anticipation, of unknowing, of darkness before more light, are not always joyful, peaceful, or even largely hopeful. These are times of struggle, times of wrestling, doubting, mourning, crying, yearning, times of staying alert to the signs that light may be coming, that things are changing.

This is the time, the time of Advent, to stay alert…to “stay woke”…to your senses, your mind, your body, your feelings, your spirit to where to Spirit is stirring and leaning. Stay woke….to the impact your life has on others…Stay woke…to the injustice that we either contribute to or diminish…Stay woke….to the groanings of the world…Stay woke…to the humble, radical, empire-upsetting ways of Jesus…Stay woke…to the darkness…Stay woke…to the light…and to the sacred and profane in both.

#StayWokeAdvent is a project of people interested in exploring the depths of the darkness and interaction with light through the time of Advent. It is an experiment in spiritual honesty during a time of the year that is often covers up the pain and struggle of the world with a giant glittery bow.

The night is not silent. We are not asleep. We will have a #StayWokeAdvent as we process through the lectionary* with visual art, literary and biblical reflections, music and more. Join us in whatever way you desire. The darkness is fuller and richer – and not nearly as scary when we are in it together. I am asking that you join us in this journey.

Follow the hashtag #StayWokeAdvent for articles, podcasts, reflections, etc. Read, react, contribute something, share. We will be following a syncrhoblog type format with the final archive of activity on the Theology of Ferguson site: Posts begin Friday, November 28 at Stay Woke Advent.

#StayWokeAdvent was inspired by the equality and justice movement born out of the death of Mike Brown, and the subsequent rise of both a freedom movement and militarized police response. This intersectional movement has inspired us to re-examine the relationship of faith and justice. We seek justice as many Jesus followers before us have and as Jesus did himself. That seeking includes darkness, light and lots and lots of waiting; therefore, Advent has a lot to teach us in the ultimate pursuit of Shalom.


*The lectionary for Advent year B: is here if you wish to use it.

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