Speak Faithfully for Greater Justice – Rev. Dr. Marcia Ledford

“It’s up to us to fully self-actualize, and one of the greatest ways to do that is to be engaged in social justice action.”   Dr. Marcia Ledford

Now more than ever, a wider and deeper understanding of the church’s role in social and political life is needed. Many church leaders continue to work towards providing important platforms from which people can deal with political, social and economic matters, as well as the relations between the state and wider society. Our guest today, Rev. Dr. Marcia Ledford, has been working towards greater social justice by empowering people to act on social injustices faced by different groups.

The Rev. Dr. Marcia Ledford’s ministry is in Southwest Detroit’s Latinx population—an international port with an aggressive regional ICE director. Dr. Ledford is a civil rights attorney representing society’s most marginalized. An Episcopal priest, she holds a Master of Divinity from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. She earned her Doctor of Ministry in political theology from Pacific School of Religion.

Dr. Ledford founded Political Theology Matters, LLC, to help the faithful develop public theology mission and broadcast messaging for greater social justice. She is trained for community organizing through the Industrial Areas Foundation and volunteers with Michigan United. PTM is a for profit company but is also an altruistic or philanthropic enterprise.

Dr. Ledford want to inspire people to do good–to shock their potential for justice. She believes that she needs to make a living ethically and via positive contributions to society. Engaging in political theology, speaking faithfully in public, for social justice, represents the culmination of her life’s work and experiences.

She is passionate about achieving greater social justice in American society. Her message’s foundation in progressive Christian theology intersects with the US Constitution, especially the First Amendment. She brings humor, poignant stories, and inspiration in her conversations. She sparks dynamic, vital conversations about the most important issues of our time–protecting civil rights and our beloved constitution and democracy.

In today’s episode, our guest will talk about her journey towards advocating for social injustices. She will also elaborate more about spiritual resistance and what it entails.

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  • I write, speak, teach and preach to help people get better equipped to be faith based advocates in the public square for social justice. [3:32]
  • Political theology is taking your faith formation and using that as a basis for calling out injustice and demanding greater equality across our social spectrum. [3:49]
  • My mission came to be after my being absolutely appalled at what our archaic immigration laws are doing to Latino families in southwest Detroit. [4:43]
  • We want to be sure and get our demands in with respect to pathways to citizenship. [5:45]
  • Spanish, like the romance languages are all inflected, meaning that nouns can have a gender assigned to them. [6:51]
  • The practice has been adapted to start saying Latin x, which is neutral, and is intended to include everybody. [7:07]
  • This has been an ongoing effort to be more inclusive when terms from this inflected language are used. [7:30]
  • When I was coming of age in the late 70s and early 80s, I came out as a lesbian. [10:09]
  • I had been very involved in my church growing up and so I had a really difficult coming out process, at least, with my own personal struggle. [10:20]
  • I felt like I had to choose between my faith and being who I was and this is very true even today. [10:44]
  • I had to navigate the society as a lesbian which means that I couldn’t access some things. [11:14]
  • I recognize that my white privilege affords me certain benefits and give me opportunities that I wouldn’t ordinarily have as a person of color. [11:56]
  • I still was a second class citizen in many of the fundamental ways that we regard being an American. [12:14]
  • Over time, I became more sensitive to the call to ministry that I had experienced from when I was a teenager. [12:32]
  • I wasn’t seeing women and I certainly wasn’t seeing lesbians up at the pulpit in the altar but I finally agreed to go do this and be ordained and asked for help from the holy spirit. [12:44]
  • I became ordained in the Episcopal Church, where I serve the Latin x community. [13:06]
  • It was a combination of my love of the gospel, and my experience as a civil rights attorney, that really fueled this mission. [13:16]
  • Even though I don’t know exactly what it’s like to be a person of color, I decided that if we didn’t do anything about the ills, it wasn’t going to stop. [14:06]
  • I think sometimes people think that when a law is made that it’s carved into stone. [15:35]
  • Our Congress has the power to change those laws, and if they won’t change them, then we need to put people in there who will. [16:27]
  • The fact that all these voter suppression bills are pending throughout the country is an indicator that elected people know that they are in danger of being voted out for not doing the will of the people. [17:18]
  • What I advocate for is the First Amendment which gives us a place to go where everybody can talk and not have to worry about slandering the crown. [19:03]
  • I wanted to create a place for us to work stuff out and that means that our best chance of doing that is when as many voices come together as possible to say their piece. [19:52]
  • By talking about it, we identify the problems and the issues, and we try to work out a solution that serves the majority of the people. [20:12]
  • Once people realize that they can do it, then we have to instill confidence and provide tools and resources to get people basically off their doffs and go advocate for justice. [20:47]
  • Commercial break. [21:17]
  • The immigration issues affect our country on a national basis and so if immigration is something that you want to work on, you certainly can. [23:32]
  • I really believe in what’s called the spirituality of resistance. [23:48]
  • Things bother us, but we feel like they are such big complex problems and I don’t really know what to do about it. [24:01]
  • We’re all human beings and have a human connection to one another and therefore we got to have everybody. [24:29]
  • The spirituality of resistance involves two things which are digging deep into yourself to determine what issues really bothers you, and finding a group that works on these issues to work with them. [25:23]
  • It is one of the most empowering things I have ever experienced in my life, which is why I work with Michigan united. [26:19]
  • If you feel like your representatives in the Congress are not doing what you want them to do, then you need to be in touch. [28:09]
  • There’s lots of ways to be involved even if you’re super busy and feels overwhelming. [29:14]
  • One of the mottos I try to live by is we don’t get a dress rehearsal and it’s up to us to fully self-actualize, and one of the greatest ways to do that is to be engaged in social justice action. [30:27]


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