Now “public witness” means using the right words when most favorable and discarding them when they become too unpopular (or talked about by the wrong people). Public witness is no longer about being martyred but being welcomed in the most prestigious institutions. Which, to be frank, is all well and good, though it’s been said that we aren’t supposed to want power and influence.
At this point in time, it’s hard to imagine a Christian leader intentionally forcing “wokeness” (as in “woke church”). However, it’s not for the reasons you think. Apparently, the word “woke” was a completely redeemable word as of 4 years ago. We could use it like Stretch Armstrong, pulling it this way and that. It fell within the boundaries of linguistic colonization (or should I say contextualization) to take the philosopher’s concepts and repurpose them within the church (like Paul on Mars Hill in Acts 17). We’re supposed to “plunder the Egyptians,” taking worldly concepts and submitting them to Christ. Why? Because it showed that we heard, cared, and wanted to answer the concerns of the world. We want to meet the needs of the world. Therefore, we were to wokify the church. This was very much in vogue in 2018.
“Woke” Hits its Expiration Date
But now, after all the hubbub about wokeness, the word is seemingly past its expiration date for evangelical thought leaders. Apparently, there is more to that word than meets the eye and it is no longer redeemable. What changed? Did those who coined “woke” hide their intentions? Not particularly. The etymology of “woke” was created and utilized by the same crowd that denounces the patriarchy, believes men and women are interchangeable, and believes capitalism is racist. So now that the word woke is alive like Frankenstein’s monster, there has been a retreat from its use. Not to mention, any critics of woke ideology are immediately written off as unserious thinkers who have been watching too much right-wing media.
Four years ago, using woke was all the rage. Now, taking woke to task by naming and describing what woke means is uncouth because merely by using the word woke you show how unsophisticated you are. Are you beginning to see the game?
Take a worldly ideology, repackage it for the church, use it until it blows up, and then make fun of the simpletons (or just don’t listen to them) who criticize the word and ideology it represents.
No Longer a “Useful Analytical Tool”
The same is true for critical race theory. Only a few years ago you were permitted to listen and learn from CRT. It was a useful tool of analysis. It may not have the right solutions but it has a good diagnosis.