Miguel De La Torre is professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado, and a contributing correspondent at Good Faith Media.
1. What story, verse or passage from your faith tradition’s sacred texts has significantly influenced / shaped your life?
John 10:10 – “For I have come to give life and life abundantly.”
This verse – in a nutshell – is the mission of Jesus, becoming the lens by how to live one’s life and read the biblical text. Everything that gives life is in line with Christ’s mission. Everything that brings death is not of God.
So, when I consider the death-dealing social positions advanced by patriarchy, classism, antisemitism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc., I have no choice but to actively work against these structures which reinforce a way of being which is not of God. To be a disciple of Christ is to engage in life flourishing solidarity with the disenfranchised, the dispossessed and the disinherited.
2. Who are three people (other than your family) who have shaped your life and worldview? And why?
José Martí is my intellectual mentor. He was a late-19th century revolutionary and philosopher. His strive for political and social liberation serves as a model for me to emulate.
Gustavo Gutierrez is my theological mentor. Among the first to articulate a liberation theology, he provided a framework by which to do my faith, in solidarity with the oppressed seeking both spiritual and political liberation.
Katie Cannon is my consciousness-raising mentor. She was a premier womanist scholar who served on my dissertation committee. Her work has taught me that there are those who are on my margins, where I am complicit with their oppression, and thus have a responsibility to them and myself in the quest for liberation.
3. List three of your “desert island” books, movies or TV shows.
Maybe I’m too literalist, but a book on how to build a boat, grow food and make fire.
4. What is one of the most critical issues people are facing today?
Globally – the degradation of our planet because of the failure to take seriously human impact on climate change specifically, and the environment in general.
Nationally – our flirtation with fascist ideas as we continue to pass laws which suppress and subvert the vote.
5. What are a few of your hobbies?
I am a hiker. I walk at least five miles a day – during the winter I do half that on the treadmill. I love traveling, inching my way to the Travel Century Club.
6. If you could freeze your life into an already-lived 10 seconds, what would they be?
First time I kissed my wife (longer than 10 seconds). First time I held my two children.
7. Our tagline at Good Faith Media is, “There’s more to tell.” What’s your “more to tell”?
Publishing only 43 academic books, I am well-aware there definitely is more to tell!
Reflection and resources at the intersection of faith and culture through an inclusive Christian lens.