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Blending Liberation Theology and Humanism with Terrance Thomas

REv. Terrance Thomas Image of late 40 year old black man, shaved head, goatee, glasses, grey sweater over a pink button down shirt, smiling

 

Our conversation today centers on the humility it takes to actually listen to a different perspective than your own. Maybe listening with an open mind is something we can practice. Rev. Terrance Thomas believes that God is on the side of the oppressed – those that experience injustice because of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Ultimately, though, he believes the pattern he’s seen in the scriptures: that God will step in to help/heal/bless AFTER we’ve gotten up ourselves. So, that’s what he encourages us to do first. 

Then there’s the practice of Black joy and Hope as resistance. The whole idea of oppression is to keep people down. So when people continue to shine and live fully, it is an act of resistance to find happiness and comfort despite tribulations.

Meet Rev. Terrance Thomas 

The Reverend Terrance L. Thomas is an Itinerant Elder with the African Methodist Church and Senior Pastor of Bethel AME Church in Champaign, IL. In addition to his pastor role, he has worked as a hospital chaplain with Advocate Aurora and Carle Health. He sits on several community boards including Champaign Country Christian Health Center, CU Trauma and Resiliency, and HV Neighborhood Transformation. He is also the Executive Director of the Bridgewater-Sullivan Community Life Center.

A dedicated liberation theologian and unapologetic Black Nationalist, Rev. Thomas received his undergraduate degree in Inner City Studies with a minor in Sociology from Northeastern Illinois University and a Masters of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. 

In his spare time, Rev. Thomas enjoys theater, jazz, the sultry soul of 70’s music, video games, political discourse with a sip of whiskey, baseball, professional wrestling, and community service projects. He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc; a proud father to five beautiful children; and he loves to quote Zora Neale Hurston when she says, “If you ain’t got it, you can’t show it. If you do got it, you can’t hide it.”

Find Rev. Thomas on Facebook.

Resources We Mention

  • Why We Can’t Wait by Dr. Martin Luther King
  • The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone
  • God of the Oppressed by James Cone
  • Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology by Pamela Lightsey
  • The African Methodist Episcopal Church: A History by Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Dickerson
  • Katie’s Canon: Womanism and the Soul of the Black Community by Rev. Dr. Katie Cannon
  • Battered Love: Marriage, Sex, and Violence of the Hebrew Prophets by Rev. Dr. Renita Weems 

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