Ángel J. Gallardo’s role keeps him connected to the broader world, but he’s keeping one foot firmly planted in academia at the same time.

As Associate Director of Perkins’s Intern Program, Gallardo draws on his knowledge of Christian theology and critical theory to help students integrate their studies and experience with the demands of faithful leadership in a congregation or agency. Widely recognized as an exemplary program in preparing persons for effective Christian ministry, the Perkins’s Internship is required as part of the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Master of Arts in Ministry (M.A.M.) degree programs.

“I hope my students learn to analyze their congregations or agencies, relationships and social spaces, as theological texts,” he said. “Ultimately, I want students to live into their vocation by employing the breadth of resources afforded by Christian tradition to reflect on and carry out their ministry.”

This semester, Gallardo is also teaching Christian Heritage I to a class of 35 students in the Houston-Galveston program, filling in for Ted Campbell who is on research leave.

“That’s kept me quite busy,” he said. “Adjusting to all the teaching and admin responsibilities under a pandemic has been exciting and challenging.”

Gallardo, who graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy from SMU’s Graduate Program in Religious Studies in 2018, is interested in the intersections of race, religion and colonialism in the early modern world. In December, he presented on the Post-2020 Election roundtable at the American Academy of Religion – Society of Biblical Literature (AAR-SBL) Annual Meeting, held virtually. He is Co-Chair of AAR-SBL’s Latino/a Religion, Culture, and Society program unit.

This month, he turns to examine the doctrine of atonement in the thought of Ignacio Ellacuría, a Spanish-born priest, liberation theologian and human-rights activist based in El Salvador. That research will lead to a chapter he will contribute to a volume edited by the Alliance of Baptists.

Gallardo has also written a sermon titled “Embodying Wisdom Under Imperial Duress” that will be published as part of a festschrift for Alyce McKenzie, which his Intern Program colleague Chuck Aaron is editing for publication in the summer of 2021.

“In this sermon, I considered the ways in which a teen-aged Jesus ‘grew in wisdom and stature’ by engaging with the Pharisees and experts in the law,” he said (Luke 2.52).

Gallardo holds leadership positions in various professional and Latino/a organizations committed to theological education. In addition, he has worked with faith-leaders, activists, and scholars both locally and internationally, including during an internship in Brazil.

Locally, Gallardo stays rooted in the church as a member of St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church, a predominantly African American congregation in Dallas’s Fair Park area.  He and his wife are both active in the congregation, helping with educational programming, stewardship, and leading Discipleship classes.

“I also hope to illuminate some of the issues that arise from the church’s engagement with the surrounding community, which is increasingly Latino and Spanish-speaking,” he said. “As one of just a few Latinos in the congregation, that’s something I can contribute.”

Research Interests

Race and religion, liberation theologies, postcolonial/decolonial theory, borderlands and immigration, Bartolomé de Las Casas, history of colonial Latin America, early modern maps

Favorite Bible Verse

Luke 4:18, the “Jesus manifesto”: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me

 to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.

“That passage has always helped define my Christian identity as well as my vocation as a theological educator,” Gallardo says.

Books on His Nightstand

Barack Obama’s autobiography, A Promised Land (Crown, 2020) and Reading with the Grain of Scripture (Eerdmans, 2020) by Richard B. Hays, a New Testament scholar and former dean of Duke Divinity School.

Fantasy Dinner Party

Gallardo would invite Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Archbishop Oscar Romero and Gandhi, all three advocates of nonviolence who died violently. He’d open the conversation with a question: “What does nonviolent resistance in the pursuit of justice look like in the 21st century?”

Family

Gallardo’s wife, Kendrea Tannis, is an attorney currently working as a federal prosecutor for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Fort Worth. The couple has a little girl, Karoline, who turned 2 in October. Gallardo and Tannis met in a First Corinthians class at Duke Divinity School. Gallardo was a Divinity student at the time; Tannis took the course as an elective while in law school. “She wanted to learn more about the bible and to get away from all the Type A law school students, only to find herself in a class with Type A seminarians,” he said. “Scripture brought us together.” They celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary last year.

Hobbies

Playing and watching both soccer and tennis. Painting, mainly oil on canvas. Gallardo also enjoys making craft cocktails. He makes his own syrups and infused spirits.

Favorite travel destination:

Barcelona

Something about him most people don’t know:

Gallardo lived in three different intentional Christian communities that were part of the early New Monasticism movement, two in Philadelphia and one in Durham, N.C.

Signature dish:

Mole, a traditional chocolate-based sauce unique to Mexican cuisine. “I improvise on my mother’s recipe,” he said.

Regular spiritual practices:

Taking an early morning walk with his wife or enjoying a glass of bourbon or mezcal in the evening.

 Question he’d ask at the Pearly Gates:

“Hey Peter, where’s the VIP section? Not that I would get into it. I’d just like to know where it is.”