May 12, 2021

What I got out of Woke Church

As Christians, we are to love other people in the same way that the Good Samaritan loved the injured stranger. We are to love other people like Christ loved us, to the point that he died for us. We are to minister to their needs and also share the Good News with them. This includes all peoples: Immigrants, Foreigners, Blacks, Aliens, the undocumented, and those who don't look or dress or talk like you. To be effective at this, we need to be aware. We need to be aware of what is going on in our city, in our country, and in our world. We need to have empathy. We need to show love. We need to be steadfast in our commitment to fulfill the Great Commandments. (p22.)

I believe all of those things are Fruit of the Spirit. That doesn't come naturally to a fallen human. The Spirit can bear such fruit in us if we allow it. And we should allow it. We should ask for it. Don't extinguish the Sprit, the Bible says.

To be blunt, the Holy Spirit allows certain Christians to see things in our society that other Christians do not. The Spirit allows some Christians to have empathy, understanding, and love for others that some Christians still lack. The Spirit helps some Christians understand gospel truths that other Christians are still blind to. 

In my last post I asked "if there is any group of people that believes they are mistreated, disadvantaged, shouldn't we as Christians endeavor to heal their hearts, their fears, and at least understand their point of view, their problems? To listen?" Blacks are saying that they are suffering. Why don't we Christians care enough to hear and understand? In Woke Church, Eric Mason claimed that "God's intent is for us to hurt with one another, to care about the suffering of one another." (p24.) The Church should be the group that society turns to when hurting. The Church should be leading reconciliation. (A recurring theme in the book, but particularly addressed in p107-108.)

Why do we have to keep talking about race? "The question is evidence of a level of disconnectedness that is either willful or based on a lack of knowledge. This is what apathy looks and sounds like." (p150.)

Has the gospel given you a new heart? Does the Holy Spirit compel you to actively "seek what is good and right for [your] fellow man" (p40)? If not, then something isn't as it should be.

"He expects us to be active in good works for His glory as a response and proof that we have been transformed. As Jesus stated to His disciples in John 15:8: 'My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.'" (p47.) 

Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35.)

And, we Christians are to be peacemakers. (p55.) Many of us need to consider whether our posts on social media make peace, or stir up strife and provoke. The underlying emotion behind so many posts seems to be not love but hate. (p134-135.)

Jesus said, "as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me" (Matthew 25:40)

The Review

I don't call what I wrote above a "summary" of Woke Church. Likewise, I didn't want to call this a book review. I don't think it is a fair or complete review. Now that I have read a few books on racism, I'm not noticing the stuff I already know. If I had read Woke Church a few books ago, I would have pointed out more great stuff. My notes here are just the things that stood out to me given where I am in my own personal journey. 

Nevertheless, I do have a few thoughts of a review nature. In Woke Church, the author makes great use of scripture, backing up his points in a Biblically sound way. I appreciate the amount of scripture used and the care with which it is used. 

I don't remember if the author gave any evidence about things like structures and systems that tend to disadvantage certain groups, or about things like privilege. If he did, he didn't give much. If you don't already believe that these things exist, I'm not sure that this book will open your eyes to that. Read one of the other books I've reviewed first. This book should convict you if you are lacking love, and should help you see the need to open your eyes.

Eric Mason addresses many other topics that a good Christian should be interested in, but I think his main point, or the main thing I got out of this book, is that we "must be clear on the issues of our day. We have to do our homework. In order to appropriately engage the issues, we must know them. There are many glaring issues that need a prophetic voice: classism, sexism, elitism, poverty, ignorance, wealth, greed, etc. … I'm not saying that we have to jump at every issue that comes up in the world. However, we should know when an issue reaches a boiling point. It is our job to be in the Word and to soberly assess the world around us." (p121 - 122.)  

The author dedicates a chapter to practical actions we can take. Many good suggestions.

I definitely recommend Woke Church to any Christian who has begun their journey of awakening, especially anyone who is any kind of leader.

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