I am in love
I am not a teenager anymore. Just vain appearance does not attract me anymore. The older I get, the more interested in the whole package I am. Don’t get me wrong, my wife is as hot as hot can be, but it is not the first thing I love about her. Joana is caring (just ask any of her friends), she is smart (gosh, she speaks three languages, have opinion on each Star Wars movie and is hard to beat in every theologic debate I get into), she challenges me to be better (I would not be half of the man I am without her at my side).
It is funny. Yesterday we parked at a Starbucks and I stayed in the car waiting for her to pick up our order. When she was walking back, I could see that a man saw her from the other side of the street and he crossed into her way just so he could try to flirt with her. She was astonishing beautiful wearing a black dress, and he, of course, tried to talk to her. I was not mad at the guy (well, ok, maybe I wanted to punch him in the face two or three times…), but who could blame him? I fell in love with this woman more than 15 years ago, and each day I am more in love. But as soon as she entered in the car I told her, if he knew who you really are, he would not only try to talk to you, he would get in his knees and propose you right away (what is what I did 15 years ago when we were both teenagers).
Well, I am part of a church in Hollywood. But not any church. Mosaic is the cool kid on the block. All my friends that are not from Hollywood love Mosaic’s Instagram or their songs. They love Erwin’s Mcmanus fashion and the fact that I got to play synth with some folks that are touring across the country playing for dozens of thousands of people.
Mosaic’s pastor is well know and praised by every influential leader out there. Hillsong? They love Mosaic. Lakewood? Same thing. Eugene Cho, Ed Rene Kivits, The Justice Conference? They all follow him and retweet his quotes as if it was written by some kind of guru. My gosh, even Marcos Lemonis has quoted him.
And it is not Erwin. Our broadcast team is top of the notch. Our Band has released some hits that are being played in every country and in more languages that we can speak. Our other pastors are some type of Hollywood Fashion Week and many of them hang with celebrities here and there. Sports, Music, Movies… I’ve lost the count of how many famous people I’ve seen at Mosaic.
There are also the “kids”. Mosaic has recently opened a campus in Venice. So, we are not meeting in Hollywood, but also in Venice. It is not that easy to find a church that is succeeding in such places. And Mosaic keeps moving forward. So, it is not surprising to me that many people fall in love with Mosaic. From Brazil to Europe, from LA to New York. I’ve met people from everywhere asking me how is it? How is it to hang with Mariah McManus on backstage?! What did you do to play synth with such famous band?
How is to play with this drummer, or that bass player, or what is the brand of the shoes from that latino pastor (Emerson is for sure the most fashion latino pastor in the world).
I don’t talk about those questions. To be fair, I never think about them. I surely do not paint Mosaic as this perfect haven that you may think it is based on its social media. And for years I’ve avoided to call them “My Tribe”.
First, I am not American, second, I am not that much of thing there. Mosaic is big, and if you had to list the most influential people there, my name would never come to your mind, so, it is hard to call it “mine”. But, to be fair, it has not been easy to call anything “mine” here in the US. Usually, “My” things I left in Brazil. My friends, my favorite restaurant, my favorite park, my favorite beach… and here is where it is getting weird for me… I think it has changed.
I look at “my” things now, and I can’t differentiate it anymore. Some of my best friends live here now, and most of them are americans. My Favorite beach? Here also. My favorite Surf Spot? Here. My favorite coffee shop? Here. Restaurant? Here. And my favorite people? My Tribe?!? Who would guess it, they are here. And 90% I met at Mosaic.
So, Mosaic is not about the three hours a month that I am on stage. It is not about the cool looking people dressed for a fashion show. It is not about the lights or the amazing social media. Mosaic is not a thing… it is a bunch of people, a tribe.
Mosaic is Carlos, and Andi and Robbie, and how they welcomed me as one of them.
Mosaic is Joseph offering me his time so I could understand how to use MainStage.
Mosaic is someone crying to me that he is losing his voice.
Mosaic is my friend telling me the story about how he broke up with his girlfriend, and we praying together.
Mosaic is one of our best friends asking for prayer because her kidney is sick.
Mosaic is Thursday 7am, when we open the scriptures and pray together.
Mosaic is Saturday 6am, in El Porto, surfing in the cold Pacific.
Mosaic is the only place where I could bring my atheists friends to hear there may be something more than just what we see and where they don’t need to believe to belong.
Mosaic is my wife making friends and laughing again despite the many scars we both have that were made by church people.
Mosaic is me crying for hope, but not alone.
Mosaic is me screaming ‘Let faith rise up in us’ alongside another 800 people that are as needed as I am.
Mosaic is the parking lot team, and the seriousness they take on doing their job as the tip of the spear.
Mosaic is the many times we gather together before a service and Brooke says something that shapes the way I see my role as part of the church.
Mosaic is JD and Victoire and LJ and Phil… no, their names are not in the MSC album, but those folks can shake the building when they are leading.
Mosaic is Jordan and his broken leg sending positive messages from the hospital, and the whole team praying for him… and then, it is Jordan on stage, killing it on the bass as if nothing had happened before.
Mosaic is Stephen, and Britney and Greg and Debbie, and a place we call home and family in the holidays.
Mosaic is 10 people having dinner at my house while we try to explain to them how to eat farofa.
Mosaic is the messages we send to each other after a long and tiring Sunday serving.
Mosaic is Julia and Martoinne praying for the band every sunday 7 am.
Mosaic is me, and my wife, and our friends.
Mosaic is people. Mosaic is a community of faith in Jesus Christ.
Mosaic is faith.
Mosaic is love.
Mosaic is a voice of hope.
So, I am not “falling in love” with a hipster cool fashion church. I am in love with a lot of people. I do not have a crush on the lights or the stage. I am in love with the evening coffees and surf mornings.
Trust me, when you are looking for a tribe, the least you should care is how they look like, or if they are on the news or not. When I met Mosaic I had no idea who they were. I’ve never heard about a McManus and I had no idea they would dress as cool as John Mayer. What made me fall in love with Mosaic was the many hands being raised every Sunday asking for a new life and to be baptized, what makes me love it more and more are the hands raised on the backstage, praying for each other.
I never thought I would say that again, but after 13 years, I am in love again.