Rev. Dr. Dan Jones, Senior Minister
Dan Jones was ordained into the Christian Ministry by the Southwest Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), June 24, 1984. Since that time Dan has served several congregations in Texas and Oklahoma including, Temple, Graham, Katy and Enid, Oklahoma. Dan began his ministry at First Christian, Garland, September 4, 2001.
Dan attended Northwest Christian College in Eugene, Oregon, from 1975-1977, completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism, August 1979. Two years later, he began his seminary work at Texas Christian University, Brite Divinity School, graduating from Brite with a Master of Divinity in August 1984. Throughout his seminary years, Dan served as weekend pastor for Central Christian Church in Pilot Point, Texas.
Dan completed his doctorate from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Austin, TX), November 2012. His dissertation, "Theology of Hope for Pastoral Care: Reframing Life's Losses in the Context of God's Future," draws from numerous contemporary theologians, primarily Jürgen Moltmann in suggesting a process of regaining hope following loss.
Dan married Jenny (Mills) Jones in his home church in Eugene, Oregon, June 29, 1979. They have a daughter, Megan Jones, a graduate student at University of Texas, Austin. Jenny is a special education teacher at Lakeview Centennial high school, Garland.
ABOUT RECOVERY OF HOPE
In their book, Salinger, David Shields and Shane Salerno write about noted American writer, J.D. Salinger (Catcher In the Rye). At one point they say that Salinger participated in the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp. Salinger was deeply affected by what he saw. So affected, the authors say, that it could be said that “Salinger went into the concentration camp and never came out.” In fact, his book, Cather in the Rye, reflects much of that despair. In my years of ministry, I’ve known a handful of people like Salinger. Having seen the darkness of life, they never fully recover. Yet, this work, A Theology of Hope, is my personal testament, an autobiographical witness, that new hope can emerge from the shadows of darkness.
(Open the following link for a copy of Theology of Hope)
A few notes about the work.
Celebrate the many courageous people named in this work who have faced great hardship, looked into various hearts of darkness, and emerged to declare the light of faith. Appreciate with me their willingness to share personal stories of faith. Celebrate with me their witnesses of faith. Their stories, under assigned pseudo-names, are sprinkled throughout the work, especially chapters 1, 4 & 5.
Pay particular attention to chapter 2 under the section “Foundations of Hope for Pastoral Care,” beginning page 38ff. This is the heart of what I wanted to discover. I name three main consolations and frame each of them with a significant icon. This is what I believe about hope. Not only hope as resurrection, or hope as the will to engage in life despite the hardships. But also, and in the beginning, hope as an awareness of God’s suffering solidarity with us in our darkness. This is the substance of a theology of the Cross—God with us.
Pay close attention to the final chapter and especially the quotes from Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer, who speaks to us from the reality of his will to hope, declares what I’ve come to believe: that hope is a modest thing. It doesn’t make grand claims. Rather, it chooses to see the patterns of God in all of life, even especially, the Cross moments.
See the progression of hope chart I constructed on page 135. This is the so-called holy grail of discovery in my dissertation. It describes the convergence of several disciplines to name those places when we might be able to claim new hope by reframing hardship in the context of God’s future. As the chart explains, hope is a delicate process of new discovery. It doesn’t emerge easily, especially once it’s been lost. But if the readiness is there, as I think it is eventually for all of us, God provides.
- Note the “Dialectics of Hope,” named on pages 173ff. This is a key point in my dissertation. Hope is not a black and white proposition. It is a whole bunch of “this-and-that.” Hope is a messy, imprecise, ultimately life-long recurring, process.