I’m a Woke Bloke


justice LGBTIQA racism Social justice

I’m a Woke Bloke

16 June 2022 Hits:2061

Woke is a word that has enjoyed a revival in recent times, along with a significant change of meaning. It’s a word I’ve used for years to mean the progression of arising from sleep, as in, “I woke up.” But these days, it’s become an insult that is particularly popular with conservatives, including conservative Christians. So, let’s explore the meaning of woke and find out if I really am a woke bloke.

How it started

Woke was first used by Blues singer Lead Belly in 1938. Lead Belly’s “stay woke” encouraged black people to be vigilant to physical danger. The word was then adopted into Black slang from the 1940s onwards.

The expression “stay woke” became popular on Twitter about a decade ago as a hashtag encouraging people to stand up for those on the margins of society, especially the victims of systemic racism. Woke was also adopted by white people who wanted to stand with their black brothers and sisters in their fight for justice.

Woke gets hijacked

But at the same time, woke was being co-opted by other white people as a derogatory replacement for political correctness. And that’s the way woke is mainly used and understood nowadays. I’ve had this sneer thrown at me a few times when I’ve stood up for marginalised people.

When I speak out for refugees or the LGBTIQA+ community (or any other victims of discrimination), I’m woke.

When I wrote blogs to counter some bizarre conspiracies at the height of the recent pandemic, I was denounced as woke. One Christian leader dubbed me “that woke pastor from Melbourne.” The word has become a condescending insult to dismiss anyone perceived as being a politically correct lefty.

But I like Merriam-Webster’s definition the best, that woke people are “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).” That meaning describes my worldview and how I live and should define any genuine Jesus follower. So yes, I truly am a woke bloke!

Rob Buckingham

Senior Minister

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7 replies on “I’m a Woke Bloke”

Lorraine Baileysays:


John Littlesays:

Neat and good comment.

That closing paragraph says it all beautifully. I be woke also Rob.

Beth Kennedysays:

If this is woke may us all be woke


Thank you Rob for putting your case so clearly. If we were (especially as Christians) to approach every issue and person we encounter with love, patience, kindness and goodness we could not avoid being woke.

Virginia Psays:

Interestingly no scriptural references to back up a secular term. And what’s the go with continually blasting “the right”? You wrote a little while ago not to bring politics into church yet you’re always having a go at “conservative” Christianity. Most conservatives I know are tolerant and love their neighbour – difference is, they recognise that Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever and doesn’t change to suit the latest social justice movement.

Rob Buckinghamsays:

Thanks for your comment, Virginia. I’m not “blasting” conservative Christians. My comments are an observation that “woke” has been adopted by people who are particularly of that persuasion. It’s an observation and not a criticism. And I agree, praise God that Jesus never changes. His love endures forever.


I had no idea what woke meant. so thank you.

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