I'm reading a book titled, "Peppermint-Filled Pinatas" by Eric Michael Bryant. It's a humorous and engaging book that offers ways to love our neighbors and fulfill the vision Jesus had for us as he partied and dined with sinners during his life on earth. I began reading this book as a study for youth evangelism. Like many endeavors done for the sake of the call, I'm finding myself personally convicted to get off of the reality television forsaken couch that's been keeping me from opening my front door for far too long.
So I thought I'd write as I go along, grappling with the ideas and fleshing them out for youth ministry sake (really for my own sake) and hoping that whoever reads this might check it out for their own sake too.
Nugget number one. (Eric, I hope you'll forgive me for referring to sections of your book as nuggets. It seems appropriate to call these ah-ha texts full of wisdom something other than points don't you think?)
We tend to judge people who do not know Christ by the same standars we have for ourselves. (Ouch, that hurt a little. But it's so true.) We should not be surprised when people who have not surrendered their lives to God live differently. If we struggle to measure up to our high standards with God's help and intervention in our lives, how can we possibly have the same expectations for others how have not sought or received God's forgiveness and strength? It's like getting mad at Stevie Wonder for not waving at us when we walk past him. p. 21
Youth ministry observation: I'm guilty of saying (behind closed office doors of course), "what's wrong with that kid!" God, give me this heart of free of judgment. Help me to see "that kid" as one waiting to be transformed as I walk beside him or her. Maybe a sign should be posted on my door for me to see before I enter our area of ministry "Teenagers in process" or "Be patient, they are growing." or "Chill out woman, I'm not through with any of you yet!".
Personal observation: Over the last five years, I feel like I've done better at not imposing my own personal expectations on everyone else. But it's still challenging to live this way--to truly "be with" without thinking of improvements for the person you are with. It's a hard habit to break but the more I find myself truly enjoying people for who they are and not for who I need them to be, the more I find myself having authentic friendships that naturally yield in personal growth and transformation.
I'll be posting more on PFP as I read.
Labels: books, Eric Michael Bryant, love, Love Your Neighbor, Peppermint-filled Pinatas, Youth Evangelism, youth outreach