The word “woke” has been co-opted by the political right, but its’ origin lies in the African-American community during the American civil rights era. The original users of the term used it as an admonition to one another “stay woke” or remain awakened to the dangers of injustice all around them. Would Jesus of Nazareth be considered woke today?
Today, the word is used by some right-wing culture warriors to demean anything they disagree with.
Don’t like Trump? Woke.
Don’t like Truth Social? Woke.
Don’t want to ban books we disapprove of? Woke.
Supporting Disney? Woke.
Allowing trans athletes to participate in sports according to their embraced identity? Woke.
The Wokeness of Jesus
In the Gospels, Jesus is often saying, “Let he who has eyes to see…” or “ears to hear” to represent the same type of admonition that the civil rights pioneers were getting at.
Feed the hungry. Woke.
Visit prisoners. Woke.
Forgive debt. Woke.
Heal the sick (for free!). Woke.
Loan and don’t charge interest. Woke.
If someone asks for your coat, give them your shirt as well. Woke.
Sell your possessions and give the money to the poor. Woke.
How Did We Get Here?
How did so many church-going Americans end up so far from the ideals represented in Jesus’ sermon on the mount?
It’s possible that our discipleship was more formed by Donald Trump, Fox News, and the ultra-conservative parachurch organizations like Focus on the Family than by Jesus.
I’ll be diving into this topic in my next book which will hopefully be released next year.