The Purpose Gap
Dr. Patrick Reyes, Dean of Auburn Seminary
The Christensen Symposium
The Christensen Symposium and the Christensen Center for Vocation were both established to honor the legacy of Dr. Christensen, the 8th president of Augsburg University who served from 1938-1962. His legacy was one of critical inquiry and genuine hospitality. We have drawn these lessons from that legacy which still shape our work.
- Christian faith liberates minds and lives
- Diversity strengthens vital communities
- Inter-faith friendships enrich learning
- The love of Christ draws us to God
- We are called to service in the world
It is my hope that you will hear echoes of Dr. Christensen’s lessons in Dr. Reyes’ presentation.
Dr. Patrick Reyes
He is a Chicano writer, theologian, and executive leader and the award-winning author of The Purpose Gap and Nobody Cries When We Die. Prior to his current position he was the Senior Director of Learning Design for the Lilly Endowment’s Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) where he provided strategy and direction for their diverse programs, grants, and teams supporting the next generation of leaders. In addition, he led the historic fellowships supporting scholars of color, the Institutional Doctoral Network, and partnerships in theological and higher education.
He is a peer among public theologians and deeply respected among faith and justice leaders and funders. He is the current Board President of the Religious Education Association and serves as the Co-Dean of the Freedom Seminary for the Children’s Defense Fund, offering an immersive experience for diverse seminary students from across the country to engage and cultivate prophetic voices with communities on the margins.
Patrick provides leadership on several boards in theological and higher education, publications, and the nonprofit sector, supporting the next generation of Black, Indigenous, and Chicano spiritual and cultural leaders. In the last decade, he has been recognized for his service and scholarship by Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Boston University, Claremont School of Theology, Drew University, Children’s Defense Fund, Hispanic Theological Initiative, Hispanic Youth Leadership Academy, and others.
Patrick was also recently inducted into the Morehouse College MLK Jr. Collegium of Scholars. He lives in New Mexico, where he and his family embrace the cultural and religious traditions and communities they have inherited.
The Purpose Gap: Empowering Communities of Color to Find Meaning and Thrive
“In The Purpose Gap, Patrick Reyes reflects on a family member’s death after a long struggle with incarceration and homelessness. As he asks himself why his cousin’s life had turned out so differently from his own, he realizes that it was a matter of conditions. While they both grew up in the same marginalized Chicano community in central California, Patrick found himself surrounded by a host of family, friends, and supporters. They created a different narrative for him than the one the rest of the world had succeeded in imposing on his cousin. In short, they created the conditions in which Patrick could not only survive but thrive.
Far too much of the literature on leadership tells the story of heroic individuals creating their success by their own efforts. Such stories fail to recognize the structural obstacles to thriving faced by those in marginalized communities. If young people in these communities are to grow up to lives of purpose, others must help create the conditions to make that happen. Pastors, organizational leaders, educators, family, and friends must all perceive their calling to create new stories and new conditions of thriving for those most marginalized. This book offers both inspiration and practical guidance for how to do that. It offers advice on creating safe space for failure, nurturing networks that support young people of color, and professional guidance for how to implement these strategies in one’s congregation, school, or community organization.”
(Description from Bookshop.org)