Push back against message of fear

Things haven’t changed much since Martin Luther King Jr. described the contemporary church as “an arch-defender of the status quo.”

On June 11-12, Denton Bible Church will host a “Wokeness & The Gospel” conference, where speakers will discuss what pastor Tommy Nelson calls “the most insidious and dangerous and pervasive ideology” he has ever seen.

Far from a millennial buzzword, the term “woke” predates the civil rights era; Black communities used it as a watchword to be alert and cautious of white violence and oppression: “stay woke.” It has reemerged in recent years in response to police brutality, but the political and religious right has twisted it into a catch-all concept that weaponizes fear and outrage, just like “political correctness” and “cancel culture.”

What this conference stands against is discussion of injustice in our society, our politics and our churches. As a person of faith, I cannot imagine being any more attuned to the divine than by being awake to these realities. The Bible makes it clear that God is especially present with the poor, oppressed and suffering. Jesus himself was a victim of state violence, and his place in history is defined by the cross.

I invite other Dentonites, especially in the faith community, to join me in pushing back against this message of fear, and instead listen to and advocate for those the church has turned its back on.

Nathan Graham,


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