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!
Nobody Cries When We Die is for those looking for a call to life, for finding their purpose, and surviving every day. From the back cover:
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.
Dr. Patrick B. Reyes is a Latinx practical theologian, educator, administrator, and institutional strategist. He is the author of the book, Nobody Cries When We Die: God, Community, and Surviving to Adulthood (Chalice Press, 2016). The work explores the role of stories and violence in vocational discernment.
He is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for Doctoral Initiatives at the Forum for Theological Exploration, formerly the Fund for Theological Education (fteleaders.org). He is the first Latinx director of the doctoral initiatives, which celebrated 50 years of supporting scholars of color through fellowships in 2018. His portfolio includes oversight of annual grant funding to create conditions for scholars and students of color to thrive in theological education through fellowships, partnerships, and grants to theological institutions. He collaborates and works with leaders of institutions, foundations, and other para-academic organizations in theological and higher education to build their capacity and transform theological schools and programs for the 21st century. In 2017 and 2018, he was recognized as a "Great Teacher and Preacher," by Children's Defense Fund, alongside civil rights leaders Rev. James Lawson; Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the UFW and Presidential Medal of Freedom award winner; and, Taylor Branch, MacArthur Genius Grant and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. He received a doctorate and master's from Claremont School of Theology, and a Master of Divinity from Boston University, School of Theology.
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
Patrick Reyes offers a brilliant mix of theological reflection and biographical snippets to demonstrate how 'narrative can be used to discern vocation.' Reyes grounds us in his firsthand accounts of ministry in lalucha among la communidad in a way that is not gratuitous but instead ensures the reader gets a sense of both the struggles and the ingenuity of oppressed people. This broader and necessary education will help us remember the way the call of God shapes our lives. What is more, it will implore us to commit our lives, according to Reyes, to helping call our communities to life.
— Dr. Pamela R. Lightsey, Boston University School of Theology, Author of Our Lives Matter
Nobody Cries When We Die is a captivating narrative of redemption. Patrick captures the reader's attention with compelling stories of tragedy and grief while pointing us towards God's triumph and grace. Nobody Cries When We Die lifts up the voices and stories of people who often suffer in silence but whose voices deserve to be heard. Patrick has provided us with a gift. His transparency shares both pain and purpose on a journey to turn wounds into scars (the evidence of healing). God has clearly used Patrick's journey as an instrument of redemption.
— Romal Tune, Author of God's Graffiti
Nobody Cries When We Die is an outstanding journey. Reyes's collection of stories offers an eye-opening window to Latinx life in the US. Written in a beautiful prose, the author recounts his experiences in a community forced into violence and finds a common thread in the permanent struggle for justice and healing. It is his Christian vocation that makes him keep strong in his convictions in front of heartbreaking stories. This is a must read for anyone who trusts we can build a better world.
— Dr. Santiago Slabodsky, Florence and Robert Kaufman Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies, Hofstra University, New York
With a riveting writing style, Reyes's memoir invites readers to explore their own inner labyrinth of Christian vocational discernment. At each twist and turn on the journey, questions abound. How am I going to live? Who is calling me to life? Can anything good come from my neighborhood? His approach to examining the depths of wisdom in lived experience of ordinary, often overlooked people is a breath of fresh air for theological writing and a gateway for readers to encounter the divine in the seemingly mundane.
— Rev. Dr. Gregory C. Ellison, II, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and Founder of Fearless Dialogues, author of Fear+Less Dialogues
Patrick Reyes has given us a beautiful witness to the power, creativity, and resilience at the heart of Christian community. This is a book that every young person needs to read to be encouraged and enlivened in their call, and every leader in churches, theological education, and non-profits must listen to if they are going to adequately create space for the future generation of leaders.
—Dr. Brian Bantum, Seattle Pacific University, Author of The Death of Race
A compelling narrative, practical theology and vocational formation book all in one. Reyes is a scholar who courageously intertwines the reality of his life with deep and serious theological and theoretical reflection with the purpose of guiding one in vocational discernment. It is about time that a scholar need not leave his life aside to do theology and theoretical work which comes from the core of one's life. Now this makes sense and will make sense to every generation reading it as mentors and prodigies, ministers and parishioners or just people sharing deeply about faith matters around their coffee. This brings a full community around the table to discern, to heal and to know God more profoundly. I will use it for my Christian ministry students for sure.
— Dr. Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, Dean of Esperanza College, Eastern University, and Author of Listen to the Children
Walter Benjamin once said, 'It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us.' This book is the best interpretation of this saying to our days. Patrick Reyes writes about 'the world and himself,' showing the inside and the outside world in which the Latin@ community lives. There, without hope, we learn what hope is all about. This is a book to cry, rejoice, and ponder with at every page. I will read it to my students, to my community, and to my family.
— Dr. Cláudio Carvalhaes, Union Theological Seminary, New York City
At times both poetic and prophetic, Nobody Cries When We Die is a passionate hybrid of autobiography and theological reflection. Reyes writes such that biblical stories and theological ideas that are often flattened are fully rendered with depth, flesh, and feeling. To read this book is to enter into the world and experience it through the lens of a faithful Christian who sees struggle and injustice all around him, and there, in the midst of it all, finds God calling out for mercy and changed. Reyes has heard this call. Nobody Cries embodies God’s demand for justice and prophetic transformation, and does so in a voice that never veers from compassion. It belongs on every shelf that holds Willie Jennings’ The Christian Imagination and Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me.
— Callid Keefe-Perry, Author of Way to Water, Executive Director, ARC (Arts, Religion, and Culture).
Patrick Reyes provides us with a way through some of the most difficult questions of our time as a theologian, a scholar, and a community accountable activist. His book will be a classic text in the canon of literature produced by liberation theologians and speak to students who often are invisible in the seminary classroom. Teach it, read it, and maybe most important of all, live it!
— Najeeba Syeed, J.D., Founder and Director of Center for Global Peacebuilding, Claremont School of Theology
Reyes does not pull any punches as he takes his reader on a journey that can be a both heartbreaking and profoundly affirming story. Through a powerful retelling of his own spiritual autobiography, Dr. Reyes demonstrates how through God's redemptive power, his sense of calling and vocation have emerged, even in the midst of trauma, pain, loss and oppression. The text challenges the reader to consider how one’s own vocation can be heard and expressed in the messiness of everyday life.
— Dr. Michael W. DeLashmutt, Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs, The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church
Racism, violence, hatred, shootings. Headlines are filled with these injustices and most believe there is little hope to enact lasting change. For many this is the narrative of American society. This is the day-to-day life for millions of individuals. We are left asking the question what do we do? More than that: What are we called to do? This question leaves many of us without an answer, or with still more questions. It is a question that cannot live solely in the theoretical realm but must be lived out through practical action. Thus, Patrick Reyes’s book Nobody Cries When We Die serves as a step toward answering that question with the urgency it deserves.
— Review from Ryan Johnson of Englewood Review of Books