Editor’s Note: I originally wrote this article for the ORU Oracle.
“Woke Church” is a thought-provoking book about the issue of racial injustice and its consequences in the church and in our society. The book was written by Pennsylvania pastor and author, Eric Mason.
The term “woke” is a common term used in popular culture, which means to be “socially aware of issues that have systemic impact” and to be “able to connect cultural, socio-economic, philosophical, historical, and ethical dots.” Mason borrows the term “woke” and redeems it to refer to believers who have been awakened from “sin’s effects and Satan’s deception.” This enables the Church to be aware of sin and challenge it whenever it arises—the sin in this context is implicit and explicit racism. He believes that the church should always “be woke.”
Mason divides the book into four parts with each section describing the attributes of a “woke” church.
1. Awareness. Mason argues that we should be aware of the “overarching truths” that unite us as the family of God, including the relationship between the gospel, reconciliation and justice, justice in God’s character, justice and the Bible and justice as the character of the church.
2. Acknowledgment of the truth. The author postulates that the American church must look back on its history and acknowledge the hard truths about racism for healing to begin. He reveals the sheer negligence and participation of the church concerning racism over the years. He argues that we should have “sober thinking,” which should lead us to lament the devastation of sin in our society.
3. Accountability. Mason proposes that we have a great “opportunity to reclaim our roles as light and salt” in the world. He argues that we should speak the truth to one another in love so that we can effectively deal with the problems of racial injustice in the church and in our communities. The author believes that we should incorporate prophetic preaching into our churches, and he also provides us with a three-level visionary framework for how the church should deal with injustice.
4. Action. The author argues that believers should spend less time arguing about what’s going on in our society and spend more time engaging the issue of injustice in our communities or we’ll miss out on “redemptive opportunities.” Mason suggests 10 practical action steps that churches can utilize to bring healing and justice into our communities. He ends the book with a beautiful tour of the book of Revelation to reminds us of what the future holds for us as believers and to energize us to continue fighting for racial justice and unity because all ethnicities will be united in heaven, worshipping God.
The book was a wonderful, insightful and convicting read. Mason wrote this book with the heart and mind of a pastor, theologian, historian and social reformer. The book addresses the difficult topic of racism in a non-judgmental, loving and truthful way. The author reminds us that racial injustice is still a current issue, not just a thing of the past, and there is still a long way ahead of us. Mason reminds us that God always wants the church to remain united and “woke.” It’s a must read for everyone.