On Being ‘Woke’

Hang on, friends.

It’s about to get honest and maybe a little uncomfortable.

Here’s the truth. I don’t want to be ‘woke’.

Not only on Saturday mornings, but in the current cultural sense of ‘wokeness’, which, ten years ago, was just a hip way to say that you’re paying attention, but now is an entire culture of virtue signaling and moving boundaries unlike I’ve ever experienced. I tend to believe that it’s FIRSTLY a root problem. Society is becoming more secular with each generation losing a little more connection to the faith. Folks are more likely to identify as non-religious, or, more popularly, ‘spiritual, but not religious’. And the Christian movement has moved its borders with each new generation, too. In fact, a staggering 58% of self-identifying Christian individuals in a recent survey said that that they don’t believe in an absolute truth, but that truth is up to each person to determine for themselves.

You read that right, didn’t you?

Almost 60% of the folks who say they believe in God, also don’t believe that He is THE Truth.

Like dried out, deadened stalks swaying in the wind, these precious lost souls have no roots in the Word of God. No connection to the source of Life and no knowledge of the absolute Truth.

And when you don’t have roots to ground you, any old breeze can knock you down.

That’s happening on a culture-wide scale. The woke progressive mindset, which says that there is no truth except what you decide is truth for yourself, is sweeping away the weak and ineffectual arguments of rootless Christians raised on platitudes and vague scriptural references with little context. Carina Benton wrote an article awhile back that speaks to this much more articulately than my thoughts here,

and in it, shared some current examples of individuals in places of power heralding the move of Christianity towards ‘social, racial, economic, and climate justice’ as a cultural victory.

That’s a fancy way to cast any Christian who disagrees as backwards, racist, Bible-thumping, justice-hating bottom-dwellers.

Benton continues,

These articles disingenuously pit abortion and sexual morality against poverty, racism, immigration, and the environment, juxtaposing a pesky group of anachronistic Christian “bigots” on the right with their “progressive” counterparts on the left. The message is clear: “conservative” Christianity bad; “liberal” Christianity good.

Do you see it happening, friend?

There’s a few key scriptures that get thrown around like they’re some kind of kryptonite for conservative Christians. In my head, that played out literally, like I was looking at an indignant progressive person saying ‘What, you disagree with me on the basis of your scriptural reference?!’

HAVE THIS BIT OF SCRIPTURE WITH NO CONTEXT.

Buuuuuurn.

Supervillain scenarios aside, that’s exactly what happens. And with little root in Truth – and a whole lot of focus on self-love – mainstream religion has become an amalgamation of loosely interpreted Christian morals, social demands, politics, and secular culture. And to carry that banner loudly and proudly is to signal your own virtue and moral superiority.

Here are some examples of what I mean.

Judge not, lest ye be judged. (Matt. 7:1)

This doesn’t actually mean that Christians are not supposed to identify sin or evaluate others’ decisions in any way. It’s simply an admonishment to search one’s own heart before condemning another for his or her sin and to recognize that our own judgement is imperfect. The very next verse warns that the judgement we use will be the very judgement used against us (verse 2, for reference).  

He whom is without sin, cast the first stone. (John 8:7b)

This was spoken by Jesus to a group of Pharisees who had brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to him. They were testing Him, trying to pull out the ol’ book and force Him to throw it at her. Jesus knew Mosaic Law because, well, He’s God and was the divine inspiration behind it. And Mosaic law required both the woman and the man to be given the same punishment, so the group of accusers weren’t in compliance with the law they were attempting to use as a trap. They only brought the woman to Jesus.

Jesus wasn’t condoning or excusing adultery. He was pointing out that the accusers were not in compliance with the law because firstly, they only brought one of the guilty parties to him, and secondly, in the customs of Mosaic law, the witness to the crime had to participate in the punishment.

In their attempt to trap Jesus, they’d trapped themselves, and none of them could pick up a stone.

Jesus goes on to tell the woman that He does not condemn her for her sin and tells her to go and sin no more. Note that this condemnation references a sentencing to punishment, not a judgement call. He wasn’t excusing her sin, He was pardoning her from punishment for it.

Man judges the outward appearance, but God sees the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7)

In this example, God spoke into the prophet Samuel’s heart as he was being led to anoint a new leader over Israel. Samuel was focusing on physical attributes in searching for God’s chosen king (David), looking for someone who was handsome, powerful, stately, authoritative – basically king-ly.

God had already chosen David, who was young and, well, not king-ly. He was directing Samuel, his servant, to look past the physical attributes he considered important and follow God’s leading to anoint the next king.

God wasn’t excusing physical displays of immorality with ‘…but he/she has a good heart’. In fact, He never says the human heart is good, or pure, or noble – because it isn’t. And to quote this verse as if it excuses all outward actions because God must somehow approve of what is going on in that person’s heart and soul is a dangerous misuse of a lesson.

Love one another.

This command is found throughout the Bible (see 1 John 4:7 and cross-references) and is as simple and straightforward as it reads. Followers of Jesus are instructed to love others as Christ loved us – insomuch that He laid down His life for us. We should, in turn, share that love with others.

Love does not equal acquiescence to a lie.

The Bible never commands Christians to approve of another’s sin. It commands them to love that person, in spite of their sinful choices. To reach for them and share the gospel of Christ, not to acquiesce or to alter the truth to fit that person’s lifestyle.

These are just a few of the many, many examples of scripture twisted to fit into someone’s ‘personal truth’. And I honestly want no part of it. I’m not here to signal to anyone that I’ve progressed beyond the gospel of Christ, because I’m not leaving it behind.

I don’t say that to be harsh, friends. I say this with all the love in my heart; my Truth is Jesus. Not only His love for mankind, but the sacrifices of the cross He bore for my sins. The responsibilities of His disciples. The gospel.

I didn’t create that truth within myself. I don’t believe that it is MY truth and that YOUR truth is different.

What you cling to may be different, but if it isn’t Jesus, it’s not Truth. And if you don’t know Him for yourself, it would be my honor to introduce you. As an old saint in my childhood church would say, ‘I love y’all with the love of Jesus’! Have a blessed week, friends.

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