[Guest commentary by Eric Bryant, author of Peppermint-Filled Piñatas: Breaking Through Tolerance and Embracing LoveFriendship, Tolerance, Diversity, Love and serves as an elder, speaker, and navigator overseeing the leadership team at Mosaic in Los Angeles with pastor Erwin McManus. Check out Eric's blog and more info at http://www.ericbryant.org/. Eric is currently on a book tour that includes Albuquerque, Houston, Fort Worth, Waco, Austin, San Antonio, Phoenix, and Cleveland. Get more details at www.ericbryant.org/schedule.]
Signs of change are all around us. I’m meeting more and more leaders who are determined to create communities that show and share Christ’s love in fresh ways in their cities. These leaders and communities have inspired me to believe in a new future.
In addition, serving at Mosaic in Los Angeles has been a life-changing experience. Whether volunteering in the parking lot, hosting a small group, working with teenagers or college students, or serving as part of the leadership team, I’m continually amazed by this community. There are so many loving, sacrificial, talented, and courageous people, and we’re all from such varied backgrounds. Not only are we diverse ethnically; we’re diverse socioeconomically, generationally, politically, and even spiritually. Stepping into this diverse community as outsiders in 1998, my wife Debbie and I immediately felt welcomed and included. For the last several years, I’ve learned a great deal from our community and our leaders.
My desire is to live a life that embraces the people Christians love to hate. I want to gain influence among those who look different, act differently, live differently, and believe differently. I want to overcome the Christian stereotype with love. I want those around me — whether or not they have a similar background and worldview — to be aware of God’s love through my words and my actions. I want to take Jesus seriously when he challenged us to love God and love our neighbor. I want to learn "the art of woo."