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.
“The Purpose Gap is much more than a book about overcoming challenges and the importance of mentorship: it is an invitation to wholeness…. For Reyes, bridging the purpose gap is one thing, but thriving on the other side, whole, is the true testimony.”
—Theresa S. Thames, Associate Dean of Religious Life and of the Chapel, Princeton University
“For every academic library and educator’s toolkit, The Purpose Gap articulates the liminality between what we have, what we could have, and what we wish we had as Brown image-bearers.”
—Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros, author of Becoming Coztōtōtl
“The Purpose Gap offers a guide for dismembering the coloniality that is stealing our children’s futures and marring their souls, and Reyes holds us each to account for doing more than just our best.”
—Shaya Gregory Poku, Dean for Equity, Social Justice, and Community Impact, Wheaton College Massachusetts
“Through unforgettable stories, penetrating insights, and questions for reflection, Reyes urges us not to excuse what is as doing the best we can and instead invites us to ‘create the conditions for future generations to thrive, to find meaning and purpose.’”
—Rev. Shannon Daley-Harris, Haley Farm Co-Director for Retreats and Religious Affairs Advisor, Children’s Defense Fund
“This book is required reading for all who listen in the streets, who walk heavy with grief, for those who stand on tiptoe searching for hope and dance when liberation takes on flesh; it is a book for those who long for a world in which all children thrive.”
—Janet Wolf, Director of Public Theology and Nonviolent Organizing, Children’s Defense Fund
“Reyes has written a 200+ page love letter to future generations of Black and Brown people, by both calling out unjust systems and calling in community to practice abundant life and love together.”
—Lakisha R. Lockhart, Assistant Professor of Practical Theology, Chicago Theological Seminary