By T. Carlos Anderson

– T. Carlos Anderson –

“In this hyper-partisan age, those of us who are bridgers have an abundance of worthy and necessary work to do . . . Our very survival as a civil society depends upon it.”

“Now in its 10th year, the majority of Todos Juntos’ adult learners are still Latin American immigrants. Through the years, though, Collazo has welcomed adults and their children from South Korea, Iraq, Russia, China, Vietnam, Burma and Nepal.”

“The renown Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel spoke these three words – ‘words create worlds’ – to his students and to his own daughter, raised in the post-Nazi world. The wise rabbi based his teaching on the first chapter of Genesis wherein God’s words create the world of light, seas, land, and sky.”

“Jesus instructs his disciples in Matthew 18 to deal with conflict face to face.”

“We live in an age of hyper-partisan divide where the demonization of others is accepted behavior and mistrust is rampant. Can purposeful encounters between adversaries bear fruit for peace and understanding? Many who have experienced the healing ways of restorative justice practices answer the question with a resounding ‘Yes.'”

“We don’t make America great by demonizing other people, but by welcoming and befriending vulnerable persons—that’s the message and challenge of this popular Christmas story.”

“But it’s not outside the realm of possibility that these old stories of Abraham, David, and Mary, and the parables of Jesus, which include characters like the Good Samaritan, sow good seeds in young souls that later bear life-giving fruit for future generations.”

“Jesus told a parable about sheep and goats. How those with resources and agency treated those who were marginalized, sick, hungry, imprisoned—Jesus referred to these as “my brothers and sisters”—provided the parable’s punch. As a pastor and follower of the Jewish rabbi who told the parable, I’m encouraged to work with partners who serve those in need in our city, many of these being children. To do so is not only a marker of faith, but it shows a commitment to build bridges for the sake of common good.”

“The women file past me into the room. They all wear the same bland prison whites, a pullover top matched to loose pants with an elastic waistband. Most of the women are in their twenties and thirties, and not attractive in the conventional sense. Their collective presence jars me, though I do my best to appear nonchalant. The prison unit, a substance abuse felony punishment facility in Texas that offers treatment for alcohol and drug abuse, claims them for seven to twelve months because of drug possession or DWI conviction . . . Some of the women’s faces betray hard decisions and painful memories – of which I will hear when they begin to speak.”

“What twenty-first century America needs: fewer “self-made” millionaires and billionaires who want to tell how they did it (so the rest of us can also strike it rich) and more citizens, be they rich or poor, who understand that strong and healthy communities produce the best and brightest individuals.”

“When the president models reactionary behavior concerning immigration, it follows that some ugly bits of our history will be repeated. Take a stand – either from religious conviction or human solidarity – and welcome the stranger in your midst. We have more in common than that which differentiates us.”

“A message arrived from my hometown. My parents informed me that the mother of one of my high school classmates had passed away. I don’t remember having known the deceased, and I had lost touch with my classmate from our Chicago-area high school of thirty-five plus years ago. My folks shared this news with me because of the jarring request at the end of the deceased’s obituary: In lieu of flowers, please don’t vote for Hillary Clinton.”

“Jesus was a committed social egalitarian before this encounter with the unnamed foreign woman; he became a stronger one after the encounter.”

“As a pastor, I realized my garden was reflecting the cycle I taught and preached about during Lent: unless a seed falls to the ground and dies . . .

“Consider, for example, forgiveness. Science can teach us about the benefits of forgiveness, but it can’t teach us how to put it into practice. That’s what religion does. Furthermore, religion and science working together help define and categorize different types of forgiveness, a mutual enhancement that makes the world a better place.”

Selected Published Articles

“We Share More than a Meal at Thanksgiving”

Austin American-Statesman, November 28, 2019 – Op-ed page

As blog post, linked here

Christina Collazo’s 10-year mission to teach parents and children at Todos Juntos

Austin American-Statesman, September 14, 2019 – Austin 360 Life Section, lead (or “lede”) article

“Words Create Worlds – for Better and for Worse”

Austin American-Statesman, August 16, 2019 – Op-ed page

As blog post, linked here

“The Biblical Roots of Restorative Justice”

Austin American-Statesman, February 16, 2019 – In Your Own Words

As blog post, linked here

“The Demonization of Others Won’t Solve our Problems”

Houston Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman, The Eagle (Bryan-College Station), and other papers in Texas as an op-ed – December 2018 – co-authored with Jim Harrington

As a blog post, linked here

“Childhood Bible Stories Shape our Future Lives for Good”

Austin American-Statesman, September 28, 2018 – In Your Own Words

As blog post, linked here

“Building Bridges for Common Good”

Austin American-Statesman, July 21, 2018 – In Your Own Words

As blog post, linked here

“Better Than Church”

Austin American-Statesman, October 28, 2017 – In Your Own Words

As blog post, linked here

“Even Jesus Needed a Community to Grow; Be that Community for a Child”

Austin American-Statesman, August 2, 2017 – In Your Words

As blog post, linked here

“Welcoming the Stranger not to be Forgotten During this Difficult Time”

Austin American-Statesman, April 1, 2017 – In Your Own Words

As blog post, linked here

“In Lieu of Flowers”

Austin American-Statesman, October 29, 2016 – In Your Words

As blog post, linked here

“Listening to Other Voices”

Austin American-Statesman, August 20, 2016 – In Your Words

As blog post, linked here

“Death, Resurrection, and Cilantro”

Austin American-Statesman, March 20, 2016 – In Your Words

As blog post, linked here

“The Minority Status DNA of the Church”

Austin American-Statesman, October 10, 2015 – In Your Words

As blog post, linked here

“Can Science Replace Religion?”

Austin American-Statesman, April 18, 2015 – In Your Words

As blog post, linked here

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By T. Carlos Anderson

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