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Twenty-five years ago, we began our first cultural experiment in diversity. A handful of us committed ourselves to creating a place that did not simply welcome ­people different from ourselves but instead pursued them. It was a simple concept really: love knows no boundaries. We were privileged to break down barriers that had for too long defined and maligned the church. As a Latin American, I knew all too well what it feels like to be the outsider. It is a strange thing to be invited into the kingdom but not always into the church. I also discovered that often, when invited into the church, the same opportunities for leadership were not afforded me as they were for others. I never put it in the category of racism or even prejudice; I simply accepted that all of us recognize the value of ­people similar to us more readily than the value of those who are different. I have reluctantly accepted that after 9/11 I will spend my life as one who is subject to random search (especially when I don’t shave), yet as quickly as I am now to be targeted for a pat down, I had been throughout my life as likely to have been overlooked for having leadership potential. 11

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Not Li k e M e

I am convinced that this is the leadership challenge for the twenty-first century: It is not whether we can embrace diversity or accept and love ­people who are different from us; it is whether we will be able to identify and reach the future leaders of the world. The challenge we face is more than how to add some color to our churches. The future of our churches and the vitality of the movement of ­Jesus Christ hinge on this very issue. Chris­tian­ity’s credibility rests on the church’s resolve to not only embrace the differences in ­people but to celebrate and unleash them. For the last fifteen years, we have been a part of a community that has come to be known as Mosaic. Mosaic is a tribe of over eighty nationalities that have converged in the city of Los Angeles. In a city known for racial and ethnic polarization, something beautiful — ​something miraculous — ​has transpired. The city that inspired the Academy Award – winning film Crash has within her womb the birth of hope for its masses. It was here that Rodney King asked, “Can’t we all just get along?” Eric Michael Bryant answers this question; and what’s more, he tells us how we can make it happen. And he isn’t speaking from theory but from practice. Eric is an anomaly at Mosaic. He’s a very white — ​and I mean very, very white — ​bald guy! If there ever would have been the experience of reverse discrimination, it would have been here. Yet no one has exhibited more cross-cultural dexterity and adaptation than he has. This capacity, as well as his uncanny leadership gifts, has positioned him to serve on our navigator team with me over the past several years. Eric has been an incredible gift to me and to Mosaic and the kingdom at large. His leadership and influence are invaluable not only to us here in LA; they reach across the world. Here at Mosaic we give our leadership team superhero names. 12

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F o r e wo r d

Eric’s is “Stealth” — ​our attempt to describe his unique ability to lead without being seen. Eric is a master of invisible leadership. He has learned the true art of leading leaders. This gift mix informs his writings and makes his contribution even more significant. Eric knows what he’s talking about, and he practices what he preaches. He has been writing this book for several years; I’m just glad he finally wrote it down. Not Like Me is Saving Private Ryan meets Nacho Libre! Eric calls us to a heroic mission and at the same time exposes our flawed humanity. He tackles one of the most critical and complex issues of our time and brings it down to earth and keeps us grounded in reality. It’s quite a gift to force us to face such uncomfortable and serious issues and at the same time to keep us laughing. Somebody needed to write this book; I am grateful that Eric did. We will all be better as a result. Thank you, Eric, for awakening in us a love that knows no boundaries.

Erwin Raphael McManus Erwin serves as the primary communicator and cultural architect of Mosaic in Los Angeles. He is the author of The Barbarian Way, Chasing Daylight, and several other books. Architect, Activist, Innovator,


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Not Like Me - Forward  

0310329965_NotLikeMe_sc.indd 11 5/27/10 7:29 AM 11 n Ot l I k e M e 12 erwin serves as the primary communicator and cultural architect of Mo...

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