This is the question I asked myself when reading a newspaper headline a few months ago.
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines “wokeness” as “a state of being awake, especially of social problems such as racism and equality”. It goes on to say, “Wokeness encompasses the need to search for more knowledge, understanding and truth in order to challenge injustice”.
The term “woke” originated in the USA, referring to awareness of racial prejudice and discrimination. Since 2010 it has also been used as a general term for left-wing political movements and perspectives emphasising the identity politics of people of colour, LGBT people and women.
So are you “woke” or not?
Before you answer, let me say that wokeness is complex (if you hadn’t already realised that?). It varies in meaning from country to country and can even mean different things to different people. Some people are deeply woke – it affects every area of their life.
There are important positive aspects of the “woke movement”. If you are committed to justice and dignity for all human beings, this is at the heart of wokeness. William Wilberforce and Martin Luther King Jr, in their struggles against racism, identified with the teaching of Jesus. We have seen, in the UK recently, a lot of publicity focused on highly esteemed historical figures who were involved in the slave trade.
However, wokeness has a troubling way of dealing with dissenters. One is either “woke” or “not woke”, in a way that precludes the opportunity to improve one’s awareness of other justice issues. The posture of the “Woke Movement” often leaves no room for discussion. So-called “cancel-culture”, an effort to shame, silence or side-line an individual or institution because of opinions regarded as socially unacceptable, is a characteristic of wokeness. We all should be made aware of injustice and systematic racism in society. But this requires patient dialogue and the capacity to listen.
There is also an attitude in wokeness that sexism occurs only in men, and racism only with white people. But in reality all human beings have a tendency to be unjust to others. We are all biased in some way or other.
At the heart of the “woke movement” there appears to be a mindset that finds delight in breaches of its moral code, often fuelled by anger. People are labelled “woke” or “un-woke”, a generalisation with respect to an individual that the “woke movement” itself does not own.
I propose that “wokeness” needs to be treated with caution. I think that “being woke” is a way of creating moral boundaries without God. This means there is no room for redemption or restoration - no opportunity for genuine change to take place. Grace and forgiveness are not available.
[I acknowledge an email from J.John and The Philo Trust, entitled: Waking up to Wokeness, for some of the information in this blog]
|Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.||Smith Wigglesworth|
|In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.||Eric Hoffer|
|Take what bothers you most as an invitation by God to work at solving that problem.||Lance Wallnau|
|Without grace, life is filled with struggle, it is not a life we enjoy; but with his grace, we can enter the rest (peace) of the Lord and experience joy unspeakable and full of glory.||Joyce Meyer|
|You never lose; you win or you learn.||Nelson Mandela|
|Your behaviour won't change until your thoughts change. As long as you think, "I can't do this", you are never going to be able to do it!||Joyce Meyer|
|I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe.||Smith Wigglesworth|
|Leadership is not about titles, positions or flow charts. It's about one life influencing another.||John Maxwell|
|If God is enthroned on my praise, who is enthroned on my complaining? If I enter his gates with praise, who's gates am I entering when I complain?||Bill Johnson|
|When we believe in God's sovereignty, and not our own understanding, we'll see how our problems will never outweigh what God has promised us (Prov. 3:5 NIV)||T D Jakes|
|Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.||Jim Rhon|
|If I give up my right to understand, He will give me the peace that passes understanding.||Bill Johnson|
|Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.||Winston Churchill|
|You can't change your life, but if you change your mind, God will transform your life.||Kris Vallotton|
|In prayer we bring our spiritual enemies into the presence of God.||Jarrod Cooper|
|Once in a while we manage to stumble on the truth, but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened.||Winston Churchill|
|The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.||Winston Churchill|
|When the Lord says, "Do something", the favour needed to do it is already attached to the command.||David Forster|
|Being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, then you aren't.||Margaret Thatcher|
|The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but God will make us good because he loves us.||C S Lewis|
|Fear is misplaced faith.||Kris Vallotton|
|God has already seen every mistake, every failure and every weakness, and the good news is he's already forgiven you. He is not holding it against you.||Joel Osteen|
|God is not nearly so interested in changing your circumstances as he is in changing you.||Joyce Meyer|
|Pray, and let God worry||Martin Luther|
|Those who never change their mind never change anything.||Winston Churchill|
|What you do (for a living) is not who you are.||Celia Apeagyei-Collins|
|People who write you off when you fail know nothing about history and even less about life. No person ever fully succeeds until they fully fail.||Lance Wallnau|
|There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite. Satan, the leader or dictator of devils, is the opposite, not of God, but of Michael.||C S Lewis|
|He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.||Jim Elliot|
|You never know how much you really believe anything until it's truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life or death to you.||C S Lewis|
|If you know you are loved, faith is easy. It's easy to trust someone you know loves you.||David Forster|
|Every moment that you spend upset, despaired, anguished, angry, afraid or hurt, because of the behaviour of someone else in your life, is a moment in which you have given up control of your life.||Unknown|
|Remember, you do not have to live today by how you feel, nor by what you think about yourself, nor by what someone else thinks about you. The person who created you thinks you are wonderful, and he waits with open arms for you to agree with him.||David Forster|
|Shift gears from doing something in God's presence to simply being in God's presence.||Lance Wallnau|
|Your future doesn't depend on what is in front of you, it depends on who is in you.||Lance Wallnau|
|Did you know that you are utterly and completely loved by God, without doing a single thing, good or bad.||David Forster|
|no one knows how bad they are until they have tried very hard to be good..||C S Lewis|
|If we are living daily by faith, we will be constantly over our head; Beyond our ability to do this our that. We should all be in that place in some area of our life. If we are not, we will be like an old wineskin; too rigid and inflexible to receive the Lord's new wine.||Rick Joyner|
|For a believer intimacy with God is not an option, it's a necessity. Guidance and direction depend on this intimacy and sensitivity to Holy Spirit. There is no substitute for the latter.||Graham Cooke|
|Jesus reveals the Father to us. He gives us peace and rest. He is not a hard taskmaster.||David Forster|
|The God who creates everything, pursues you. Don't let anyone tell you you're are worth less than that.||Louie Giglio|
|In the kingdom, physical obedience brings spiritual release.||Bill Johnson|
|Don't be surprised if you pray for nearness to God and he sends a trial. Nearness always requires dependence.||Desiringgod.org|
|Our corporate worship doesn't meet a need in God, it meets a need in us.||Sam Storms|
|How you feel is not who you are. Feelings are great servants and terrible masters.||Kris Vallotton|
|There is a lot that is good in your life. Don't take it for granted. Don't get so focused on the struggle that you mis the gift of today.||Joel Osteen|
|The enemy commits identity theft when you believe you must earn what God freely gives.||Alison Brown|
|If you agree with your creator and receive what he freely gives, you will have serenity in your identity and confidence in your countenance.||David Forster|
|If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.||David Forster|
|A satisfying and exciting life organises around an identity focused on Jesus, not the church..||Graham Cooke|
|Satan cannot impose his will on anyone, he has to have our agreement.||Graham Cooke|
|Every day adjust yourself to where God is taking you, that is, toward the prophetic vision he has given you.||Lance Wallnau|
|Real faith is not faith in an outcome (of a particular situation or circumstance), it's faith in a person.||David Forster|
|Be in no doubt that God will redeem the losses and mistakes of your past life.||David Forster|
|God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because there is simply no such thing.||C S Lewis|
|Wealth, women and status; these are the major temptations that can draw a man away from God. Each is morally neutral; yet given the appropriate significance, each can control us.||David Forster|
|The devil's finest trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist.||Anon|
|Fear is the enemy of love. The two cannot exist together. We have to choose daily: Fear or Love.||David Forster|
|You are not saved because of the quality of your faith. You are saved because of the object of your faith; The Redeemer!||Tim Keller|
|Revival goes from the bottom up; Reformation goes from the top down. Therefore reformation is institutional and revival is personal.||Lance Wallnau|
|Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.||Albert Einstein|
|Inner peace is key to experiencing God's presence. Rest is a weapon against the enemy||Graham Cooke|
|Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons exist. Children know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.||G K Chesterton|
|When you are at peace with God, you will be at peace with yourself and with other people.||David Forster|
|You can believe in Christianity in the same way you believe that the sun has risen; Firstly, because you see it and secondly because by it you see everything else.||C S Lewis|
|A little while ago I became old enough to start believing in fairy tales again. This means there are far better things ahead of me then what I have left behind.||C S Lewis|
|Your unfinished destiny is your most potent argument with death.||Graham Cooke|
|I am not focused on what I am not, I am focused on what he is for me.||David Forster|