This month's Temple Talk entitled, "Social Justice: A Christian Perspective" the founders of One Temple Fitness and Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis discuss how social justice is a core value of Christianity and the role the body of Christ should take against oppression.
This talk was inspired by the current political climate in the United States and how systematic oppression is present in so many facets of our lives. Whether it is the debate on access to health care, police brutality, or the rise of hate crimes or demonstrations.
As our 45th president was inaugurated, the national dialogue has been about the racial divide in our nation, but also the increase of civic engagement and activism. According to USA Today College article, it stated, "a long-running annual UCLA study published in 2016, college students are more likely than ever to be involved in political and civic engagement. The study found one in 10 students expected to be involved in some kind of protest during their college career – the highest the survey had recorded since it began in 1967."
So, what does all of this have to do with Christianity? People have argued that some of our top social justice advocates and leaders were birthed from the church and communities relied on the church for support, services, and guidance. So, what is the role of the church today?
According to a HuffPost article titled, "Social Justice is A Christian Tradition, not a Liberal Agenda," the author wrote, "Participating in social justice is a Christian tradition inspired by Jesus, not liberal causes, populist agendas, media platforms, lawmakers, or mainstream fads. It’s a deeply spiritual practice."
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Thema Bryant-Davis, PhD MDiv is a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University. She is also an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Dr. Bryant-Davis is a published author whose areas of expertise are trauma recovery, the sacred arts, and women's ministry. Dr. Bryant-Davis is a former psychology representative to the United Nations. She was named by ESSENCE magazine among women who are shaping the world. She is co-editor of the book Religion and Spirituality in Diverse Women's Lives. Dr. Bryant-Davis is a media mental health consultant who strives to live by the words of her mother, "God is speaking. My life is God's vocabulary."