Eric Mason—Woke Church

I’m pretty sure everybody around me would have said he would have been a preacher because I was sort of a church boy. Church was like a haven for me because it was a place where I found significance, dignity, identity as a youth growing up in the neighborhood, and so it was a blessing for me. Free afternoon, I’m reading, riding a bike, and other things. I’ll just say that. But enjoying my family and just chilling myself. So that’s the type of environment I like to create. Love my backyard. Love it. I almost didn’t graduate from high school and I made it, barely made it, into college. Strained my way through grad school and through my doctoral program, and here I’m now hating to write having had hated to write, now I love it. And look at God, that was basically it. Everybody was on me about it – everybody because it was bleeding out of me when I reawakened the heritage of my upbringing on that the fact that social justice, church unity, and black identity, yet biblical gospel-centered spirituality didn’t have to clash with each other, it needed to complement each other. As people say, “You naturally talk about this, and this is a part of what you do, you need to write.” Every single person from mentors to friends to family members was like, “You really need to write on this topic.” So the call of the book is asking the black church, us, to continue the heritage. White church to jump in, but then do it under the spiritual leadership of the black church who have experience in this, and I think it’s very, very important that we stop being these different institutions and become one big organism. The Bible says, “How can two walk together unless they agree?” Nothing, unless we agree on the brokenness of our familial paths, we won’t be able to get therapy as the global church through our ministerial and practical future. And so, the book has helped to open the dialogue, give some practical things, but one of the things is us agreeing on that there’s a problem and that God has given us the gospel as a mechanism to deal with these things because we are the best-equipped entity in the world to deal with racial injustice The message of Woke Church is the call for the American church to unite, and us to go from being a pathetic voice to being a global prophetic voice. And when I mean prophetically, I mean speaking to the issues of our society based on Isaiah 58, based on Micah 6:8, based on Matthew 23:23, based on all of those massive scriptures that play a role in us speaking to the powers and structures because we’re supposed to proclaim based on Ephesians 3, “…the manifold wisdom of the gospel to the rulers and authorities.” My prayer, my dream, my vision is for my white brethren to get it. Get there’s something wrong, and stop blame shifting, making excuses, and telling us to include this, that, and the third. On the other side, blacks to say, “I’m not gonna give up on what Christ has already died for.” And that’s unity, and us to get together and us to work together as a corporate body to fight injustice verbally and practically with orthodoxy orthopraxy, and we to be known for what we’re for versus what we’re against. I think what the church needs to wake up from is that we’ve been culturally captive to Western culture and the political structures of patriotism and triumphalistic narratives of the United States. I think the way that it’s been asleep is kind of the same thing, and so now we need to be awakened to that reality because I think that there’s such a deep marriage, particularly in evangelicalism, to Western white middle upper class culture, and we don’t know that that imperialism impacts the brand of Christianity because that’s the loudest, most media-connected voice. However, Christianity, people in this country don’t notice it’s not monolithic. They view Christianity basically by the most dominant, visual, and vocal group. My desire is for us to be more unified and change the vocal notes and tones that people in the world get from us. I think right now they’re getting just a kid playing on the piano who doesn’t know how to play. We need Beethoven, and we need, you know from our black folk, we need Twinkie Clark on the organ giving all different types of notes to the world that they can hear and be able to hear the gospel through because I think that that’s the biggest. People aren’t Christians and wrestling with Christianity not because they don’t understand the gospel. They don’t understand us, and that’s the problem. I think I say this over and over and over and over and over again. I think that there are people that are already woke. And you’ll see what the definition of woke is in the book, and so don’t let that word run you away. But I think one of the things that our white brethren, in particular, need to do is to go on a search and journey to study non-white or non, I would say, conservative narratives written by people about American history. It is so important because when you get a Republican narrative, or I don’t want to just pick on them, but a narrative that’s written by somebody in majority culture that already agrees with the American narrative, you tend to get stuff left out. Whereas, one thing I like about the Bible is God can love you and tell your whole story. He tells David’s whole story in two different books. He tells Solomon’s story in two different books and doesn’t leave out the messes. As a matter of fact, Chronicles will tell you, “And are not the other works of David and all of his flights written in the book of the Chronicles of the Kings.” In other words, look at all of his life. I think that America does itself a disservice by training people not to look at the good and bad and ugly of this country. That’s why so many people today fight against being woke because they don’t have a realistic understanding of the narrative of how this country was formed One of the things I think the church can benefit on is going through it in droves and groups I think that that’s gonna be… I’m praying for reading clubs, I’m praying it goes viral in a sense of it’s been a conversation starter and keeper and it creates creative juices flowing by the Holy Spirit across the body of Christ so that people can begin to say, “What ways can we repent? What ways can we work together? What ways can we see this as an ongoing dialogue?” One of the things I want through the book I want people to know is this is not a momentary thing where you say, “Oh! We got the ‘aha’ moment.” No, you can’t do 400 years of oppression, undo it in a couple of years. Restitution takes time. Repentance takes time. Restoration and reconciliation, those things take time, but I want us to symphonically not wait to the end of the process to begin doing stuff, I want during the process of it as we’re working through it and challenging one another and growing spiritually as a unified body. I’m praying that our body maturity would grow up, not just a spiritual maturity. The problem with the church, I think, is we’re so individually focused in Western culture that we don’t understand sanctification is not just individual. It’s our body image in the sense of our spiritual growth. So my hope is that we’ll grow really, really strong muscles as the church in the area of being a prophetic voice to racial injustice.

1 thought on “Eric Mason—Woke Church”

  1. That red bracelet with the pendant, i notice you wear that in most of your videos. Is it a Kabala bracelet, are you into Kabalah. Genuine question here pastor

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