Every generation or cause coins its own words, phrases, or symbols. My generation used terms like “hip,” “jive turkey,” “tune in, turn on, drop out,” and “get down.” (My, I’m really dating myself, aren’t I?) Then there are causes like the homosexual cause which uses “LGBTQ” and has pilfered words like “gay” and given it a different definition. Even the rainbow of Noah’s day is not considered sacred. Now it’s a symbol for the homosexual cause. Today’s generation uses terms like “woke” and “cancel culture.” For ancients like me, what do these terms mean?
Here’s a rather lengthy definition from Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary of what it means to be “woke:”
Stay woke became a watch word in parts of the black community for those who were self-aware, questioning the dominant paradigm and striving for something better. But stay woke and woke became part of a wider discussion in 2014, immediately following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The word woke became entwined with the Black Lives Matter movement; instead of just being a word that signaled awareness of injustice or racial tension, it became a word of action. Activists were woke and called on others to stay woke.
Like many other terms from black culture that have been taken into the mainstream, woke is gaining broader uses. It’s now seeing use as an adjective to refer to places where woke people commune: woke Twitter has very recently taken off as the shorthand for describing social-media activists.
Got it? Yeah, me too. I think I would summarize “woke” as meaning “being aware of social and racial injustice and taking action to combat it, a type of ‘biased awareness’.”
What about “cancel culture?” What does that mean? Again, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary says it means”
Cancel is getting a new use. Canceling and cancel culture have to do with the removing of support for public figures in response to their objectionable behavior or opinions. This can include boycotts or refusal to promote their work.
Again, let me take my best shot at defining “cancel culture.” Cancel Culture is “taking offense at what someone says or stands for and attempting to cancel or delete them through boycotts, threats, intimidation, or violence. It attempts to cancel freedom of speech.”
What does the Bible have to say about these inflammatory and divisive terms? It exhorts us “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” (Romans 12:18). The Bible powerfully confronts divisive speech and bitter epithets when it says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31, 32).
Next month, I’ll write a sequel to this article. It will be entitled “How to Stand Firm in Dark Days” and will deal with “How to not be drawn into the deception,” “How to go against the current” and “How to reasonably deal with the unreasonable.” Stay tuned. It should be good!
Trying to stay current yet biblical,