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Atando Cabos
Latinx Contributions to Theological Education
PAPERBACK; Published: 8/31/2021
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7901-1
Price: $ 19.99
149 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 5.5 x 8.5
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Series: Theological Education between the Times

Decolonizing theological education and restoring agency to the people 

Latinx Protestantism is a rapidly growing element of American Christianity. How should institutions of theological education in the United States welcome and incorporate the gifts of these populations into their work? This is an especially difficult question considering the painful history of colonization in Latin America and the Caribbean, an agenda in which theological education was long complicit. 

In this book, Elizabeth Conde-Frazier takes stock of the cabos sueltos—loose ends—left over from the history of Latinx Christianity, including the ways the rise of Pentecostalism disrupted existing power structures and opened up new ways for Latinx people to assert agency. Then, atando cabos—tying these loose ends together—she reflects on how a new paradigm, centered on the work of the Holy Spirit, can serve to decolonize theological education going forward, bringing about an in-breaking of the kingdom of God. Conde-Frazier illustrates how this in-breaking would bring changes in epistemology, curriculum, pedagogy, and models for financial sustainability. Atando Cabos explores each of these topics and proposes a collaborative ecology that stresses the connections between theological education and wider communities of faith and practice. Far from taking a position of insularity, Atando Cabos works from the particularities of the Latinx Protestant context outward to other communities that are wrestling with similar issues so that, by the end, it is a call for transformation—a new reformation—for the entire Christian church.

Table of Contents

1. ¿De Dónde Vienes y a Dónde Vas? Roots of Latin@ Theological Education
2. El Sacerdocio Universal: Preparing the Priesthood of All Believers for a Holistic Mission
3. Notas Pedagógicas: Many Ways to Contextualize Curriculum
4. Las Estructuras Crean Hábitos: A Collaborative Educational Ecology
5. Cosas Nuevas: Considerations for Conversations and Innovations
For Further Thought

“With her usual ability to ground education on reality and her enduring commitment to the theological formation of the people of God, Dr. Conde-Frazier weaves critique with guidance and challenge with hope in a fashion that well merits the attention of anyone seeking paths into the future of theological education.”
— Justo L. González
author of The Story of Christianity
“Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Conde-Frazier is one of the most acclaimed voices within Hispanic theological education. In Atando Cabos, she invites us, de forma genial, to step into a time capsule and revisit history for the purpose of shaping what is to come. Every chapter is filled with personal lived experiences that transport the reader into rich and diverse contexts. I laughed and cried and was deeply moved as I relived my own ecclesial upbringing as a Latina. I was immersed into la misión integral and called into the here and now of the basileia. Every critical question was kind but firm—reminders to do the work of contextualizing curriculums AND reshaping the structures. A clear invitation to innovate and to step into the ‘new thing’ God is doing, yes for the Latinx community but also beyond.”
— Joanne Solis-Walker
pastor, consultant, and partner and strategist of CaminoRoad
“Elizabeth Conde-Frazier’s Atando Cabos: Latinx Contributions to Theological Education is a must read for all theological educators and administrators, particularly during these critical times in which academic institutions are undergoing tectonic shifts. After providing a historical and missional background, Conde-Frazier argues that in today’s globalized and now post-pandemic world, theological education can no longer afford to function apart from the lived realities of its students or the church. Indeed, she calls for the development of curricula that are ‘not absent from the pressing realities of today’s world’ or ‘irrelevant to the faith in the midst of the times,’ and whose goal is social justice. For theological schools looking for creative new pathways to welcome underrepresented communities, Conde-Frazier provides intriguing and practical suggestions for collaborative partnerships. This book will be one that I use and recommend repeatedly.”
— Loida I. Martell
vice president for academic affairs and dean/professor of constructive theology at Lexington Theological Seminary
“Dra. Conde-Frazier makes good on the title of her book by accomplishing the near impossible. Atando Cabos is a revealing synthesis of the many historical, social, and theological underpinnings that shape the missional identity of the LatinX Protestant tradition in the US. She names unfamiliar historical figures and events and demonstrates how these produced a reductive curriculum for theological education. Dra. Conde-Frazier then presents a richly theological vision for expanding modes of education rooted in the LatinX tradition. Her work is essential for anyone trying to understand the challenges and opportunities facing la Iglesia Latina and the broader church.”
— Emanuel Padilla
president of World Outspoken
“This is a beautiful book! Conde-Frazier reaches deeply into the history of encounter between European colonial powers who drove a specific understanding of mission, and the diverse, vibrant, and multiple understandings of mission that have arisen across a vast array of Latinx contexts. She elegantly lifts up a view of misión integral which rests within the breath of the Spirit. She makes clear how the continued vitality of Latinx congregations even in the midst of sharp oppression grows from the embrace of the Spirit’s life and work. Her book offers a rich and energizing view of theological education that is dialogical, thoroughly embodied in practice, relevant, shares the good news of the basileia of God, and nourishes the priesthood of all believers. We all must read this book!”
— Mary E. Hess
professor of educational leadership and chair of the leadership division at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minnesota
“This book is a necessary read for all people involved in theological education within and beyond the Latinx community. Drawing from her many years of multifaceted experience in theological education, Elizabeth Conde-Frazier helps us understand the historical, theological, and pedagogical treads that ground Latinx understanding and practice of theological education, with its shortcomings and successes. But also, based on her own work and the work of others within the Latinx ecology of theological education (which includes local congregations, bible institutes, seminaries, and other denominational and independent educational Latinx organizations), she proposes a paradigm for theological education that is holistically missional, intentionally collaborative, and aligned with the values of the basileia—the fullness of life God desires for all peoples and all of creation. The times are ripe for this kind of transformation of theological education.”
— Fernando A. Cascante
executive director of Asociación para La Educación Teológica Hispana (AETH)
Praise for the TEBT series:
“At once visionary and realistic, the books in this series offer fresh, short, and very different answers to the question, ‘What is theological education for?’ Studies of that question have appeared every couple of decades and seem to assume that ‘one-size-fits-all’ answers are possible. What’s new and groundbreaking here is that a group of theological educators from a broad array of very different religious traditions address the question in conversation with one another and in light of the changing place of faith communities in contemporary culture.”
— David H. Kelsey
Yale Divinity School
“The authors of this series invite us into an exercise of the imagination—to let loose of the theological school models we know so well and instead craft ways that we teach and learn as if we are living in the new Jerusalem. This is daring work. Will we have the will to grasp it? I encourage you to read and see.”
— Emilie M. Townes
Vanderbilt University Divinity School
“I would be hard-pressed to name any other resource that even approaches this series in its visionary outlook and wide perspective on the challenges and opportunities currently facing theological education. The authors represent an unparalleled selection of leaders in theological education whose views and experiences point to different paths into the future, all leading to true excellence and relevance in theological education.”
— Justo L. González
author of The History of Theological Education
“At a time of massive changes in churches and theological schools, as well as in society generally, the twelve-book series Theological Education between the Times presents an indispensable resource. Many people, especially younger generations, question as never before the necessity of religious practice or even belonging to a congregation. In this new context, the repercussions for theological education are many: What adjustments must leaders make to maintain support? How can faculty modify programs to meet the demands of modern times? What message will attract prospective students? Astute theological educators from diverse backgrounds prayed together and engaged in conversations that contributed to the authorship of this lucid and compelling series intended for anyone concerned about the fate of religion in society.”
— Katarina Schuth, OSF
Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity
“Latinx and other theological educators, religious leaders, and community activists will find in this volume cabos sueltos (resources) to challenge and enrich their reformist or decolonial visions and agendas.”