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, Lecturer of English, Albert J. Griffith Ph.D. Endowed Fellow, Our Lady of the Lake University, and 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 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.”
—Dr. Janet Wolf, Director of Public Theology and Nonviolent Organizing, Children’s Defense Fund
“Reyes has written a 300+ 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
“The grace that Dr. Reyes leaves one with is rooted in love: love for self, community, and the love expressed in an unapologetic calling to serve as designers of conditions that close the purpose gap now, generations ahead, and in the sacredness of our ancestors.”
—bel Reyes, Executive Director, Innovation Bridge
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Average rating from 5 members
Finally! A book that not only describes how finding purpose in one's life isn't about self development, but the development of an entire community. Using a mix of theoretical, spiritual, and real world experiences, Reyes seeks to provide the reader with the contrast between purpose, success, and meaning through the collective lens of our communities, and the individualistic definition pushed in modern society. Much like Baxter Magolda's self authorship, Reyes reframes purpose through cultural capital, redefining power, and the collective support for a community. The fallacy of the "pull yourself up by the bootstrap" narrative is challenged and recognizes that individual success is determined by support through systemic economic, educational, and spiritual systems, and what may be perceived as failure to thrive is not due to individual choice, but through systemic barriers. I found myself highlighting quotes and passages, and find the reflection questions thoughtful and informative. I cannot wait to integrate this book into my college success class!
Don’t make the same mistake I did in assuming The Purpose Gap would be the same ole run of the mill, cookie cutter self-help book. I was pleasantly surprised by the level of inspiration, hope and meaningful guidance the author provides, especially during these uncertain times. Reyes has a gift for knowing how to keep it real and reach his audience at the heart space. There comes a time when the oppressor becomes oppressed by his own desires and the oppressed become the oppressor of those who would wish to liberate them from that same oppression. In my opinion, Patrick Reyes is a living example of this paradox, being a powerful advocate for his community and race, while living outside his community and marrying outside his race. So, I guess by default, this makes him the perfect person to speak on the paradox we are now facing in this oppressor/ oppressed society we are all navigating in. Reyes’ masterfully written book shares engaging stories, excellent analogies with an empowering message, all filled to the rim with an Agape type of love! In fact, it is the LOVE that makes his book most remarkable and reachable to his intended audience. Buy it, read it, FEEL it. You will not be disappointed.