Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll: "You Can't Check Straight with a Crooked Stick"


“You Can’t Check Straight with a Crooked Stick”

A conversation with the Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll


    I met the Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll when we both traveled to northern Minnesota in early June 2021 to support the water protectors who are resisting the building of a pipeline, called Line 3, that will bring even more dirty tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to the Great Lakes. We were both there as part of an interfaith delegation in support of the Indigenous leaders who are putting their bodies on line to stop the building of this pipeline that will cut right through the treaty lands of the Anishinaabe people. You can find outmore here.

Ambrose is the pastor of The Church by the Side of the Road in Berkeley, CA. He has a long resume of being a pastor and chaplain. He was a green fall fellow with Van Jones in Denver, CO working on green jobs and environmental justice. He met Sally Bingham, the founder of Interfaith Power & Light, and realized there aren’t many Black churches who are part of that movement and realized that has to change.

I wanted to speak with Pastor Ambrose because he and his church are on the front lines of racial, social and environmental justice. We talked about the inner spiritual work of love as well as the outer work of social and environmental justice. We can’t do one without the other, he says. This is the ongoing story of environmental racism toward Indigenous people and people of color who bear a disproportionate burden of environmental degradation and pollution. But it is also a sign of hope that as we stand in solidarity with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, we are also recognizing and standing with BIPOC communities near and far.


Just a note, I was speaking to Pastor Ambrose outside one of the Treaty People Gathering events so you will hear voices and other noise in the background. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.


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