8 Key Takeaways from ‘Atando Cabos: Latinx Contributions to Theological Education’ by Elizabeth Conde-Frazier
1. “After the 1940s, a tension arose among [Latin American] churches. The premillennial missionaries had greater influence, and the tension between their advocacy of social action and the priority of evangelization was transmitted to Latin America….some of the existing Protestant organizations ruptured into two campus: those maintaining active social witness and ecumenism, whose theology emphasized God’s work in history, and those who identified with separatist fundamentalism….Since the liberal proponents of the Social Gospel viewed education as a way of bettering society, they sought to have conversations with the intellectual classes and promoted political debates. They also promoted education that included more than teaching the Bible, such as classes in literacy, agriculture, and dance. The conservative group viewed education as a means to bring people to personal salvation and discipleship. Rooting the gospel in a particular country or culture was the goal of both of these groups, but the dimensions of life that they believed were to be engaged by the gospel determined what aspects of life their educational models engaged” (Conde-Frazier, ‘Atando Cabos,’ 14-15).
2. “When it comes to service, such ministry is understood to occur not only within the church but also in the world. We need but two things to be faithful servants in this understanding of the priesthood of all believers. The first is vocation. All must be provided opportunities to discover their vocation, and then opportunities to develop that vocation. The second thing we need to know is the state of the world. We need to inform ourselves about the state of the world in order to be moved through the Spirit to use our vocation for the restoration and redemption of the world….Understanding faith in the context of the world allows us to use our faith to carry out our vocation. Faith lived within the context of the world determines the diversity of needs and the vocations that can be developed to address these needs by the ministries of the priesthood of all believers….The ministry of the clergy is given by Christ to the church as a gift so that the Word is preached and the sacraments are administered. Ordination is a public confirmation of that calling, and at ordination the person ordained does not receive special power but rather a commissioning” (Conde-Frazier, ‘Atando Cabos,’ 43-44).
3. “Knowledge can only exist and be generated in and from a contextual reality. Such an understanding of theology steers us away from theology as sana doctrina (sound doctrine)-a set of universal formulations that cannot be changed and that comes from outside of ourselves to define us, regardless of our present situation and culture. This also changes the epistemology, pedagogy, and curriculum because it steers us away from a taught transmissive theology and from being inactive recipients of that transmission. Instead, it situates us as agents who are actively engaged in a collaborative construction of knowledge” (Conde-Frazier, ‘Atando Cabos,’ 51).
4. “Curriculum is not only books or lectures; it also includes the persons involved in the teaching/learning engagement and the content of their lives and realities….Theological education brings us to the work of reconciliation of human bonding and of connecting with creation….The politics, economics, suffering, structures of new identity formation, and strategies of survival and justice of such immigration and diasporic living must be included if resilience is to open a door to the doing of a theology of hope and thriving that informs an ecclesiology and missiology for the Latin@ community of the diaspora” (Conde-Frazier, ‘Atando Cabos,’ 61).
5. “Interdisciplinarity and the arts [must] become a part of the curriculum and pedagogy” (Conde-Frazier, ‘Atando Cabos,’ 70).
6. “If we are intentional about using [new] media and we balance them pedagogically, they provide ways of engaging multiple intelligences….All [new] media invites educators to rethink their content and more intentionally insert different types of questions along the spectrum of Bloom’s taxonomy to develop critical thinking for our students during a semester….In virtual education, an action-reflection-action model can guide our resources and modules….The tasks of the church-fellowship, social action, proclamation, teaching social justice, reconceiving economic arrangements, and liturgy-all need to be reevaluated and redefined for [virtual education]” (Conde-Frazier, ‘Atando Cabos,’ 75-77).
7. “Let’s go beyond the traditional forms of education…provide classes in English or Spanish…provide health education…share information with the community about knowing our rights as immigrant person, or about financial literacy…offer GED classes…offer parenting classes…foster entrepreneurial and financial literacy skills….Theological education that is guided by a vision of mission integral will reach to every sphere of life” (Conde-Frazier, ‘Atando Cabos,’ 97).
8. “Whether in or beyond congregations, whether singular or blended, vocations today place great demands on people. Young people seem to recognize this, and they are especially interested in developing their spirituality as they go about the work of changing the world as an expression of their passions. Theological education for these times must attend not just to skills but also to the cultivation of deep and durable spirituality” (Conde-Frazier, ‘Atando Cabos,’ 123).