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Dr. Patrick B. Reyes

Author, Teacher, Strategist

Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Access

Dean, Auburn Theological Seminary

Host of the Sound of the Genuine Podcast

The Purpose Gap

A note from the author

Like the wealth, education, housing, and many other gaps, the purpose gap is the combination of these conditions that create a gap between those who can achieve their dreams and find lives of meaning and purpose, and those who must overcome great adversity just to imagine a better life. I wrote for those who want to eradicate this gap and build new worlds where our children can thrive.

I wrote this book as a love letter to my people. I wrote for the dispossessed, marginalized, ignored, my Chicano and broader Latinx/e/o/a community, Black, Indigenous, and people of color. I wrote for my children and your children’s futures. I wrote for all those whose lives of meaning and purpose have been cut short through violence and incarceration. I wrote for those whose imagination about the meaning and purpose of their lives is limited by the personal and systemic pains of hunger, poverty, and abuse.

I wrote for parents, teachers, social workers, friends, neighbors, religious leaders, and elders who are creating the conditions for people on the margins to thrive. I wrote for and with those who no longer settle for gaining access to the systems of oppression that created the purpose gap. I wrote for and with those who close the purpose gap so that the next generations will have access to the resources, knowledge, and practices to dream big dreams and achieve their many purposes.

We can do this work no matter our circumstance, but we must be realistic with our starting place. Closing the purpose gap means not turning away from reality by escaping into the false idealism. The gap is real. To close the purpose gap, we must draw on our (BIPOC) spiritual and intellectual wellsprings. In this book, you will find studies, stories, and visions that provide insights about how to create conditions for people to thrive in your community. The book is a guide moving from why the purpose gap exists, how to overcome it, and what the world looks like when we work to close the gap.

I did not find my purpose. My purpose found me in the form of my community, ancestors, and elders who spoke power over our lives, who saw something not just in me but in our people. This is an invitation for you to join that community of freedom fighters, world builders, dream chasers, spirit workers, soul healers, and ancestors in training. We can close the purpose gap together. I am grateful for your life. I love you. May we build the world together so that our descendants may have the lives and futures they deserve.


With all the love of my people,

Patrick B. Reyes

WHAT PEOPLE are saying about the purpose gap

He shows us that in order to conquer the purpose gap we will need anew orientation to vocation, renewed networks, indigenous knowledge, and reframed theologies. We must practice different ways of knowing to advance the journeys of individual and institutional discernment. Our children’s thriving call us to strategies and tactics for pursuing purpose other than those formed from and within mainstreamed communities. With this great call before us and stakes this high, we are blessed that God has graced us with a guide. I invite you to read with head and heart open to mi primo and teacher, Patrick, and the children of our community, whom his purpose serves.

— Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, President and CEO, Children’s Defense Fund

Nobody Cries
Nobody Cries
Nobody Cries
Children's Defense Fund selected Nobody Cries When We Die as the inaugural book for ​the CDF Book Club beginning September 2019. Check out the website for interviews, reading guides, and to join the book club! 

When the screams of innocents dying engulf you, how do you hear God’s voice? Will God and God’s people call you to life when your breath is being strangled out of you? For people of color living each day surrounded by violence, for whom survival is not a given, vocational discernment is more than “finding your purpose” – it’s a matter of life and death. Patrick shares his story of how the community around him – his grandmother, robed clergy, educators, friends, and neighbors – saved him from gang life, abuse, and the economic and racial oppression that threatened to kill him before he ever reached adulthood. A story balancing the tension between pain and healing, Nobody Cries When We Die takes you to the places that make American society flinch, redefines what you are called to do with your life, and gives you strength to save lives and lead in your own community.


This book is written for 

  • Young adults and those who care for them, especially for young adults of color who are navigating violence. 

  • People searching for life amidst harrowing circumstances. 

  • Communities that are seeking to embody peace and justice, informed by their members, ancestors, and traditions. 

  • Institutional leaders and educators who want to inspire the next generation through story and practice. 

WHAT PEOPLE are saying about nobody cries when we die

In Nobody Cries When We Die, Patrick Reyes vibrantly presents our common yearning to embrace a vocation to life. What God wants for us is life in abundance, to walk the life of justice and compassion with joy. Reyes anchors his narrative at the margins and in this, we all find the 'good soil' and invitation to live fully.

— Fr. Gregory Boyle, Founder/Executive Director of Homeboy Industries, Author of Tattoos On The Heart

Dr. Reyes Guest on Podcasts



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