Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Вас звільнили! & Велике пробудження, Your fired!

Written by: on January 9, 2024

Вас звільнили! & Велике пробудження, Your fired! & the Great Awokening
Vas zvilʹnyly! & Velyke probudzhennya

Part 1 – What my peers are saying.
Part 2 – What others are saying
Part 3 – What I learned.
Epilogue: Meanwhile back at the ranch (in Colorado).

Introduction – At our Christmas meal 2023, one of our guests explained that she was fired from her job because she was caught on the live camera coverage stating that she was going to use a coworkers first name instead of his/her new pronoun of “them.” This stirred an interest in me and the term the Great Awokening (a new term for me)  In my initial search I began to see the various debates on the Great Awokening versus Great Awakening (there were two Awakenings) on YouTube.

Yascha Mounk’s dives into the power of identity and he stirs the pot on “woke” issues. His PhD thesis in 2015, The Age of Responsibility: On the Role of Choice, Luck, and Personal Responsibility in Contemporary Politics and Philosophy Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University. Finds him furthering his thoughts in his book, The Identity Trap: A Story of Ideas and Power in Our Time.

Part 1 – What my peers are saying.
The members of DLGP 02, pastors, social workers, hospice are folk are at the cutting edge of dealing with “wokeness” in their local communities. While my Colorado neighbors fly the Pride flag year round, I rarely interact with woke folk.  Cohort comments give me insight into the world around me.

DLGP 02 – Kally Elliot asks a provocative question, “What if our world actually needs Identity Synthesis?”
DLGP 02- John Fehlen leads with, “The Musings of a White, Straight, Upper Class, Middle-Aged Male.”
DLGP 02 – Jennifer Vernham asks, “In the Christian community, how do we strike the right balance in the tension between not causing further segregating while still seeing and honoring the experiences of others?”
These ideas caused me to revisit the “Third Space.” Dr. Clark mentioned it in his thesis and the nearest thing I can settle on (so far) is that the THIRD SPACE is where churches (and people who live in them) can view two sides of an argument and respond with a THIRD way that is biblical/unconditionally loving.

Part 2 – What others are saying.
Wokeness and identity appear to be tidal forces, however, they are not without conservative rocks of counter thought. Searching for other sources I found many.

In a Washing Post Article (Sept 27, 2023), Oliver Traldi writes a review of Mounk’s book which Traldi states is a , “A comprehensive and reasonable account of ‘woke’ ideology.”
Traldi writes, “In the process, Mounk chronicles the rise of a set of progressive political ideas “centrally concerned with the role that identity categories like race, gender, and sexual orientation play in the world.” He argues that advocates of this ideology fixate on identity to the exclusion of all else, rejecting “universal values and neutral rules like free speech and equal opportunity as mere distractions.” This “synthesis” has, Mounk writes, become very influential because of the way it took over cultural institutions, even as it convinced only a small number of people.

The Economist writes in, Anti-woke activists are winning the culture war in America, “Two years ago it seemed that a conservative movement against “wokeness” was taking over America’s schools. Seen by many on the right as an insidious liberal outlook emphasizing race, gender and sexuality, wokeness has many guises: among them critical race theory (CRT), gender theory and queer theory…..According to Education Week, 44 states have introduced bills or taken other steps to restrict CRT since January 2021; 18 have imposed bans or limits. Conservative activists may have lost most of their school-board battles, but in many ways they are winning the war. ”

As I searched YouTube looking for Mounk, I discovered several podcasts speaking to the new Great Awokening this play on words, forced me to review the first two Great Awakenings of Christian Revival. Dr. Ryan Reeves is associate professor of historical theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and he serves as dean of the Jacksonville campus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2LTugtRQEQ. Dr. Reeves reviews the First Great Awakening 1740-1760 (just prior to the American Revolution Era), and then the Second Great Awakening 1780-1820, (post American Revolution) and importantly, how the church and the formation of a new American political structure interacted.

I include this here, because Reeves highlights the relationship between the politics of the time impacting the Second Great Awakening in American Churches.  Hmmm…the politics of our time are currently influencing our IDENTITY!

These thoughts bring be back to the statement of one of my advisors who asked, “Do the churches in Texas impact politics, or does the polarization of politics impact and influence the church. Are churches the last standing bastion against wokeness? This remains to be seen.

Part 3- What I learned and how it impacts my NPO on Immigration.

Mounks conclusion is a good review of his work he writes, “At the same time, the growing resistance to the identity trap will make it more feasible to undo some of its worst excesses” (p.270). Unfortunately, he writes, “According to this third scenario-which I consider the most likely – the forces favoring the identity trap and the forces favoring its retrenchment will continue to class for many years to come” p. 217.

This bodes ill for the equally passionate debate on my NPO regarding immigration. Mounk cautions the opponents of the identity trap to act in a smart and principled manner (p.217). He provides some guidelines 1) Claim the Moral High Ground, 2) Don’t vilify those who disagree, 3. Remember that today’s adversaries can become tomorrow’s allies, 4) Appeal to the Reasonable Majority, 5) Make common cause with other opponents of identity synthesis and 6) But don’t become a reactionary.
Mounk continues, “Opponents of the identity thesis need to be guided by a clear and consistent compass of their own. “ He states, “In my case, this compass consists of liberal values like political equality, individual freedom, and collective self-determination.” For others, it will consist of Christian faith…” (p.281).

I stopped there (at faith) as his six steps plus being true to our Christian values on Immigration is a headliner for my NPO. With this as a guide I apply his steps to my NPO and specifically the dialogue to be engendered at the Immigration Symposium on March 9, 2024, at Dallas Baptist University.
1) Claim the Moral High Ground – Deuteronomy 10:18 (Orphans, Widows and the foreigner amongst us) remains one of the key verses that shape a biblical response to refugees/newcomers.
2) Don’t vilify those who disagree – The symposium is being conducted in Texas, where a fair degree of voters are anti-immigration. On the public stage, the Governor of Texas is bussing and flying immigrants to “sanctuary” cities. This has become a focal point for the immigration discussion in the state. Be quick to listen, slow to speak are nice guide rails for the discussion.
3) Remember that today’s adversaries can become tomorrow’s allies. How can we empower the churches to influence politics on immigration rather than the other way around?
4) Appeal to the Reasonable Majority. Dr. Stu Cocanougher Pastor at the Southcliff Baptist church warned me about confronting churches hostile to immigration. Instead he argued that there large majority of churches who need to be informed and empowered to reach out to newcomers.
5) Make common cause with other opponents of identity synthesis. Although there are 10 U.S. Refugee Resettlement Agencies most have distanced themselves from their religious roots. Nonetheless, it is important to engage with these agencies as they actively are involved in resettling the newcomer.
6) But don’t become a reactionary. Social media has enabled people to become anonymously HOSTILE to everything. Conflict fuels adrenalin and allowing the dialogue to continue in polarization does not serve the newcomer.

Epilogue – Meanwhile back at the ranch (in Colorado) – “Former Weld County librarian wins settlement after district fired her for promoting LGBTQ, anti-racism programs. “ By Matt Bloom, Sep. 22, 2023
A former librarian will receive $250,000 from the High Plains Library District as part of a settlement in a lengthy civil rights dispute over her firing. Brooky Parks lost her job at Erie Community Library in 2021 after promoting anti-racism and LGBTQ history workshops for teens. The programming drew backlash from the district’s board of trustees, which oversees more than a dozen public libraries across Northern Colorado

The battle continues…



[1] Mounk, Yascha. The Identity Trap: A Story of Ideas and Power in Our Time. New York NY: Penguin Press, 2023.

[2] Washington Post. “Review | A Comprehensive and Reasonable Account of ‘Woke’ Ideology.” September 29, 2023. https://www.washingtonpost.com/books/2023/09/27/identity-trap-yascha-mounk-review/.

[3] The Economist. “Anti-Woke Activists Are Winning the Culture War in America.” Accessed December 28, 2023. https://www.economist.com/united-states/2023/12/09/anti-woke-activists-are-losing-many-of-their-school-board-battles.

[4] Bloom, Matt. “Former Weld County Librarian Wins Settlement after District Fired Her for Promoting LGBTQ, Anti-Racism Programs.” Colorado Public Radio. Accessed January 2, 2024. https://www.cpr.org/2023/09/22/weld-county-fired-librarian-settlement-high-plains-library-district/.

About the Author


Russell Chun

interlinkt.org is now ready for your Refugee Resettlement needs. 15 tasks, languages ESL plans coming

5 responses to “Вас звільнили! & Велике пробудження, Your fired!”

  1. mm Tim Clark says:

    Russell, as I read your post I feel your pain. I’m finding that many on the right are buying into a whole “package” of politics that don’t allow for nuance or Biblical contextualization.

    In other words, if you are PRO immigration, you must be pro LGBTQIA, CRT, Marxism, etc..

    It’s frustrating as a pastor when I want to speak to something scriptural that there will be people who will write me off because it is part of the “other team’s political package”.

    I said this Sunday that if we really preach Jesus we’re going to offend both Democrats and Republicans (which I’m sure offended some).

    Keep up the good work brother. Help the church see the heart of God expressed so clearly throughout scripture for the alien, orphan and widow. I love what you’re doing!

  2. mm Pam Lau says:

    I appreciate how you summarize and work out what you are learning for us. I am curious how you process the Weld County library situation. I haven’t read the whole story but was the librarian helping teenagers or creating conflict for them? What is your perspective now that we’ve read Mounk? It seems if we could talk openly about this issue, we could have some breakthrough. Thanks for your post!

    • mm Russell Chun says:

      I was surprised to see how liberal Colorado Springs is. My neighbor flies the gay flag daily and the Rotary Clubs here no longer pray or do the pledge of allegiance. Up the street Manitou Springs is a pretty “witch” town that caters to alternative beliefs. Stylish and slightly expensive it caters a VERY different crowd.

      My take….there is strong spiritual battle going on in Colorado Springs. Our governor is openly gay with an adopted child, you can abort freely here and smoke marijuana doing all of the above.

      Sigh, there are still 161 churches on the roster here. The battle continues.

  3. mm Kim Sanford says:

    I appreciate your thoughts relating Mounk’s 6 steps to your own NPO context. That speaks to me and helps me contextualize Mounk’s work for my own time and place. I look forward to seeing how you work on your own question “How can we empower the churches to influence politics on immigration rather than the other way around?” You’ve got a big challenge in front of you, but you’re making great progress! Keep on!

    • mm Russell Chun says:

      Dr. Clark mentions in his thesis, the “Third Space.” I find this intriguing. The space is where people can look at two polarized ends of a topic and insert (one hopes) a biblical lens interpreting the debate.

      I believe this will be my goal for the Immigration Symposium.


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