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To be “woke” or not isn’t really the question.

What does it mean to be woke? Being woke means you have an awareness of social and political issues affecting African Americans/Canadians. In that sense, yes, everyone should be “woke”. The challenge is being woke has been bastardized by many to mean much more and has effectively become less! “Wokeism” now divides the right and left of the political spectrum and is destroying our society through this divisiveness. 

Woke and Catholic

Being woke and Catholic at Easter is fraught with challenges. It’s frustrating when a child raised Catholic comes to a family gathering and insists “they don’t celebrate Easter”. As they sit to dinner at a large family gathering. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that the Catholic Church is far from perfect. As is any organized religion, indigenous groups or even those who claim to be Atheist and yet still put presents under the tree at Christmas, and expect their kids to show up at family gatherings. And why do families usually gather? To celebrate something. Life, death, and yes, faith.

Do I expect my kids to respect us and our faith? Yes. Do I expect them to be good Catholics? That’s not something that is a given. Whether we like it or not, our kids will make their choices and we need to respect those. We’re blessed that our kids will still join us at family gatherings when they can. Yes, I wish it was more. And there’s my inner conflict. Being raised Catholic, my core values are family first and much of that is driven by my faith in Christ and the Catholic church. Others will say “I don’t need the church for that”.

Faith and Values

The challenge is if organized religions hadn’t existed for so long and been the centre of the family, I’m not so sure we would have the values as a society, as imperfect as they are, that we do today. Note, I said organized religions, I didn’t say the Catholic church nor did I say this was specific to Christianity. I believe society would be in total chaos. I know it may seem like it is but really, it’s not. Struggling, yes. Lost in chaos, not yet. It’s just my experience of Easter this weekend is what prompted my writing today.

Organized religions that come to mind are:

I consider myself woke because I recognize that black people in Canada face different challenges than I do. I recognize I come from a place of privilege in comparison. The reality is I consider myself woke and Catholic but neither is related to the other. The “bad Catholic” in me has said for years that the reason I continue to identify as Catholic is I haven’t found another church that’s any more perfect. There are different things about different churches, that are the very reason they exist, that I like and don’t like. So, if they’re not perfect, why would I change? To face a different set of frustrations? No, I choose to stay with my Catholic family and try to make a difference. 

Wokeism is Divisive

Currently, I would argue this is a bigger issue in the United States but the reality is it’s creeping into Canadian culture as well.

In the US, this is really evident in policy differences between the Democrats and the Republicans. Left versus right in the political spectrum but you can really see in states that are considered Republican, things like anti-abortion laws are coming back into play. Especially since the Roe v. Wade decision being repealed. We’re starting to see more violence in these areas and parent groups being much more aggressive in schools. 

In Canada, this is becoming more evident in schools, particularly around sex education and sexual identity. I think it’s not quite as polarized because we have a multi-party political structure making it a little harder to create that hard right and left.

Anti-Black racism is an issue, as is murdered and indigenous women, and residential schools. The shame is wokeism as originally defined as “alert to racial prejudice and discrimination” has now become an all encompassing term for all of the above. Now, the attention is divided and spread out across many different areas and I think the message is lost. I suggest by all means, be woke. But more than that, be aware, self aware and learn to love. Period.

Back to Easter!

This is a time that Christians are thankful for Christ giving his life so that we may live. Now, let’s remember that He never intended that to mean to the exclusion of all other faiths but to be with open arms to any who wanted to share in the experience. 

Regardless of your faith, yes, I believe even Atheism is its own faith, let this be a time of family and love. Rather than trying to tear each other down, find your people who will lift you up as we begin the journey to the rebirth of spring as the world comes alive again after such a long period of deep sleep.

Happy Easter!

What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for Thistle Fish & Chips in Burlington, Ontario, my family who met us there and our children who will continue to improve on the world we leave them. (And fix some of the stuff we broke! 😉  What are you thankful for today?

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