Being Woke is not for Me

I have lived enough years to see numerous cultural trends launched upon young malleable minds—Woodstock, the sexual revolution with its free love and the ultimate consequence of sexually transmitted diseases, Viet Nam protests, and the civil rights movement just to mention a few. Social change does not come easily, nor is it always right. Spontaneous movements often flare up and burn out quickly, but outside forces fuel and exploit the idealistic and inexperienced youth.

Take the “woke generation” as the latest example. On the surface it sounds good, like “pro-choice” or “Black Lives Matter.” Of course, all humans want choice to live however they wish, and black lives do matter, but not to the exclusion of innocent children or other races. In both cases, emotions direct the action, not logic.

Inherent in the term “woke” is a feeling of superiority, like only privileged people are aware of social injustice. The movement is intrinsically fraught with generalization, exactly the thing they say they are against. Even the term is exclusionary, giving its adherents a sense of well-being and self-importance. Conformity and groupthink overcome reason. Being “woke” appeals to the pride lurking in all of us.

As a Christian, I find “wokeness” disturbing on a spiritual level. The new “woke” culture appears to me to be a neo-Gnosticism—salvation can only come through special knowledge, only imparted to a few. The rigidity of the “woke culture” reminds me of dogma often found in cults. “If you disagree with me, you are inferior and destined to the dust-heap of history.” And they say generalization is bad? The hypocrisy is palpable.  By looking at the world through a microscope searching for “micro-aggressions” from those they wish to marginalize, they become what they say they hate.

Am I condoning social injustice? Absolutely not! We are all equal in God’s eyes, no matter what color, nationality, or creed. We as Christians should be about doing what we can to change inequities, not as a group, but as individuals. Jesus, when asked about the greatest commandments answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind…the second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the prophets.” (Matthew 37, 39-40 NASB)

America is not perfect, but at least we still have the freedom to choose how we treat people—our neighbors. We have come a long way because Christian principles founded our nation and has energized change. Our founders were themselves not perfect, but we inherited their wisdom through our Constitution. Inequities will always exist. It is up to us to exercise our faith through works of kindness and charity, not aligning ourselves with a movement that may or may not be as pure as it sounds.