About the Waking up to Whiteness course
Opening the Door to Theological and Biblical Discussions on Race as a White person
Within the contemporary Western church and theological institutions, it is common for disciples of Jesus from a “Global Majority Heritage” to highlight their contextual particularity as an intrinsic grounding for God-talk and the Christian life as a whole. However, only recently have White Western Christians and theologians begun to reflect on their own placement regarding the colonial wound of White Western modernity.
In this online 2024 Whitley Lecture, Tim Judson advocates an approach to theology that faces the inadvertent and invisible assumptions made by White people and White institutions in the name of a paradigmatically White Jesus. He witnesses the charge from Black theology towards White Christians. Rather than instrumentalising Blackness, he reflects on the lessons he is learning from Black thought and experience, which have been a mirror and critical friend regarding his own White subjectivity. He proposes a work of reconfiguration in order to address the heart turned in on itself racially (Whiteness), which entails a personal struggle to see, hear and perceive oneself as a disciple who is consciously White. Judson then offers a reading of Gethsemane that yields a helpful theological imaginary for White people like himself seeking to attend to this. From here, Judson proposes some of the rudimentary ways through which White churches and institutions can cultivate greater wakefulness, helping disciples to “stay awake with Christ” and resist the temptation towards racial slumber in a world that is continually racialised by Whiteness.
About the Speaker
Tim Judson is Lecturer in Ministerial Formation at Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford. He also serves as Pastor of Honiton Family Church (SWBA), Devon, having trained for Baptist ministry at Bristol Baptist College.
He has recently published his first full monograph, Awake in Gethsemane: Bonhoeffer and the Witness of Christian Lament (Baylor University Press, 2023). Tim is part of the Baptists Together national racial justice hub and a member of the International Bonhoeffer Society. He holds a PhD from the University of Aberdeen.