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

Last post as a student and late to the party

Written by: on April 22, 2024

Matthew Petrusek’s book, ” Evangelization and Ideology:  How to Understand and Respond to the Political Culture.” explores in detail the complex dialogue between the spreading of religious beliefs and the influence of ideological frameworks. The current situation makes this investigation particularly necessary, as the author writes, considering the impact of contemporary matters such as the political divide and the cultural shift on the practice of evangelization. His premise is that “the hyper-politicization of society constitutes an opportunity for evangelization. The Church has a unique opening to re-enter the sociopolitical fray, re-engage the secular mind, and call the culture back to Christ – provided we can effectively understand and respond to the contemporary ideological battlefield[1]” and that generally “things are falling apart.[2]

This is an interesting idea but the more I read his book the more I thought about ideological frameworks today that are at work and the more his book seemed to fit into a particular framework. Then we started to get into his ideas around “wokeism” Now whenever I see that word I assume either one of two things, the first thing is that they are just repeating fox new talking points or two they heard it somewhere and it sounded good.

“Wokeism” is a term that has gained traction in recent years, especially around politics. It was at one point used to describe a heightened awareness of social justice issues, particularly around race within the black community. It has now become a politically term, which makes any analysis of it susceptible to perceived biases. The word doesn’t mean what it once did. Dictionary.com defines the word “wokeism” as “Usually Disparaging. promotion of liberal progressive ideology and policy as an expression of sensitivity to systemic injustices and prejudices:[3]” which is the new definition. This bothers me greatly. For me in an academic discourse, especially in a book that examines the intersections of evangelization and ideology, it is crucial to approach such terms with a careful, well-researched perspective that aims to enlighten rather than inflame. I feel like he missed the mark on this by miles. Especially when he brings up people like Clarence Thomas and Candice Owens in his attempt to show that “wokeism” is the reason they are not considered part of the black community. For example in various speeches and writings, Justice Thomas[4] has criticized a culture of victimhood that he perceives in the black community. He argues that focusing on historical grievances, like slavery and segregation, can hold African Americans back from achieving more today. Candice Owens[5] has frequently downplayed the issue of police brutality, attributing high-profile incidents of violence against black individuals to isolated misconduct rather than systemic issues within law enforcement. These are just two examples of troubling thoughts and ideas from them.

As someone who understands where “woke” came from and the historical significance of that word I am tired of hearing it because it is played out and no longer means what it once did. There are some great articles for anyone who wants to understand the word here and here.

Overall I think his book is a good start (and addition) to the discourse on religion and politics. It successfully raises important questions about the interplay between faith and ideological currents. But I think the book would benefit from a more balanced exploration across ideologies and a deeper integration of non-white perspectives and theological depth. It almost feels like he is speaking in an echo chamber. I admittedly have trouble with his book but I am glad he made the attempt.

[1] Matthew Petrusek, Evangelization and Ideology:  How to Understand and Respond to the Political Culture. 6 (Kindle).

[2] Ibid 4

[3] https://www.dictionary.com/browse/wokeism

[4] https://www.foxnews.com/politics/justice-clarence-thomas-says-hes-worn-down-with-victimhood-culture

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cUQqPxw3hc


About the Author


Daron George

- Something cool goes here -

7 responses to “Last post as a student and late to the party”

  1. Kristy Newport says:

    Thank you for your post and tackling the term “woke.”

    Honestly, my brain is so tired that I am not able to access the links you provided. I appreciate your desire to look at this word academically.

    Good job…getting this in.

  2. Daron,
    Thank you for this post, I too struggle to not jump to conclusions but to seek to understand the different perspectives people bring to the table. Your insight was helpful to hear a new perspective!

  3. Michael O'Neill says:

    Outstanding closing to an academic chapter that was full of great “perspectives that aim to enlighten rather than inflame.’ I love it. Stay in the light, my brother. Keep shining it bright.

  4. Michael O'Neill says:

    You’re also not late, just ‘fashionably’ creative in your thoughts.

  5. Alana Hayes says:

    The only person that says you are late, is you! I think you are right on time…

    Amazing post, and to bring up Candice! How have we not talked about her thoughts and ideology the entire time throughout this program!? Glad you got her in on this last one.

    I always appreciate your thoughts, views, ideas, and careful explanations.

    Thank you!

  6. mm Shonell Dillon says:

    Never to late, never to late…
    We are saddened that this is the last post we will read from you. Thanks for being who you are. Be blessed in your endeavors.

  7. mm Chad McSwain says:

    Daron – thank you for your voice. A fitting last post from you and on this board (anyone else have a last post??).
    I appreciate you tackling the word “woke”. I hear it tossed around and it bothers me from a definition stand point as well. It is used to deflect from actually hearing the perspectives and, frankly, the latest method of participating in systematic injustice.
    I am excited about what you will do next. I know that you are just getting started!

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