Having worked with my beloved spiritual son, John Hope Bryant, for nearing 20 years as his pastor and friend, I know from the depths of my spirit that his spirit is speaking to a nation that needs to listen to "LOVE LEADERSHIP."
He deals with the physical: "You should never ask what the payment is when an interest rate is attached."
He deals with the metaphysical: "Most people find strength in things that are outside them: money, power, titles, wardrobes, cars. But most of the things that make a leader are on the inside: integrity, wisdom, confidence, vulnerability, joy, passion, compassion, intuition."
He more than adequately shows us the divine dialectic of taking the thing working against you and making it work for you: "Loss creates leaders by stripping away your physical crutches, and even your emotional crutches, and leaves you with nothing but the spirit. And in the spirit lies your true power."
He is in perfect harmony with the teachings of Judaism,Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism--all of the isms that if practiced would help us avoid our schisms.
"Love is so strong that it's the only reason the human race is still here, after all the opportunities we've had to destroy ourselves." Yes, in the last 4,000 years of history, we have had less than 300 years of peace, most of these wars being religious wars. We holy folks will fight about anything, and when there's nothing to fight about, well, we'll fight about that.
We note that John does not equate love with money, as some materialistic preachers of the gospel do. Instead he says, "Love always leads to money. Money is nothing more than one of the many by-products of love leadership. That's right: money, over the long term, is simply another confirmation that you're doing good work. It's a by-product. It's never the product itself."
The very words SHALOM/RELIGION/PEACE each comes from a root word meaning, "the pieces fit." The pieces fit when you advocate and demonstrate love. The pieces go to pieces when you let fear, or loss, or anger lead you to stray away from love to hate.
Thich Nhat Hanh, author of "LIVING BUDDHA, LIVING CHRIST," would applaud John Bryant for sharing his thinking--To "love your enemy" is impossible, because the moment we love him, he is no longer our enemy.
Rev. Dr. Cecil L. "Chip" Murray
Pastor Retired at First African Methodist Episcopal Church. Los Angeles
Adjunct Professor, Center for Religion, University of Southern California