Opinion: Christians Should Recognize The Fact That Jesus Was "Woke"

Walter Rhein

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I’ve been hearing the word “woke” a lot these days. They use the word “woke” as a bad thing. The problem is, that nobody seems to know what it means.

When I say things like that, the response is usually a snort and a laugh.

“Get a load of this guy. He doesn’t know what the word ‘woke’ means.”

“Can you tell me what it means?”

“You know! Woke!”

“Yeah, that’s really helpful, thanks a lot.”

Here’s the dictionary definition of the word.

[A]ware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)—Merriam-Webster

Okay, so why is that a bad thing? Isn’t it positive to be attentive to important issues? Isn’t it valuable to care about racial and social justice?

After all, Jesus Christ was a social justice warrior. So, is it fair to say that Christ was “woke?”

In Luke 4:14-30, Jesus revealed Himself in fulfilling the prophecy of Elijah and Elisha and being the Saviour of the marginalized. The calling of the pastoral caregiver is to be the hands and feet of Jesus, especially to the marginalized—Jesus and the marginalized: attaching pastoral meaning to Luke 4:14-30

Marginalized people are certainly in need of social justice, so if Jesus was the savior of the marginalized then that makes him “woke.” Case closed.

Why then are Republican politicians passing laws to ban “wokeness?"

For months, Florida Gov. Ron Desantis has used the “war on Woke ideology” as a pillar to lift his profile within the Republican party. For a representative who claims he backs freedom of speech, the “Stop WOKE Act” actually placed a limit on how Black and people of color speak about their history in schools and diversity in the workplace. A district judge ruled Thursday that the “Stop WOKE Act” is an unconstitutional impairment to free speech and “impermissibly vague in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment,” according to CNN—Florida Gov. Ron Desantis’ ‘Anti-Woke’ Crusade Takes A Blow

Maybe instead of calling it the “Stop WOKE Act” he should call it the “Stop Jesus Act.”

Recently a person left a comment on one of my articles. He claimed that everything was becoming “too woke.” I asked him to define the word and he never replied.

Why would you use a word that you refuse to define?

I often get into discussions with people and they get so animated and excited that they seem to stop listening to what they’re saying. They scream “I hate woke!”

“What do you hate about it? Do you hate the idea that all people are treated fairly?”

“No!”

“Do you hate the idea of justice for marginalized people?”

“No!”

“Do you hate law and order?”

“No!”

“Well, what do you hate?”

“Woke!”

“What is that?”

“I don’t know!”

Maybe it’s just because the word “woke” is fun to say. Some people like to chant things and don’t seem to care what they’re saying. Cults behave this way.

The problem is that when you use a word that doesn’t have a precise definition, you risk losing things that are important to you.

What if somebody decides that religious freedom is “woke?”

What if freedom of speech is “woke?”

What if the truth is defined as “woke?”

It’s easy to declare anything is “woke” if you don’t define the term.

Instead of getting all excited about catchphrases, we should be diligent about actual issues. We’re all Americans. All Americans must be treated fairly. Can we agree on that?

If we erode the rights of some Americans, sooner or later all Americans will lose those rights. Isn’t that obvious? Together we stand, divided we fall.

Think about this the next time somebody starts screaming and yelling about “wokeness.” Ask yourself, what rights do they want to take away? The reason they are not defining the term is that they want to use it as a weapon against you.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI
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