Eliacín Rosario-Cruz, 33
Program and Community Catalyst (rabble-rouser), Mustard Seed Associates
-How would you describe your job/leadership role (one phrase)?
Program & Community Catalyst at Mustard Seed Associates / rabble rouser
-What one or two things most motivated you to get involved?
One of the motivations to be involved with Mustard Seed Associates (MSA) is because it is a grassroots relational community connecting and collaborating with other creative young Christian leaders.
-As you think about your work and/or your participation in the body of Christ, what's your biggest passion?
One of my passions is to plant the seeds of hope and conspire to create liberated spaces in which we as Jesus' apprentices can actually practice and live God's reality in our world. In my opinion we Christians in the North follow our cultural script too faithfully. At the most, some Christians talk about resisting the system, resisting the empire, but resisting takes us only so far and quickly turn us into mere reactionaries.
As a Latin American, I find hope and inspiration in the autonomous social movements in the global south—the MST in Brazil, the Zapatista women in Chiapas, the indigenous movements in Bolivia—the people in these movements are not only dreaming new dreams, they are making those dreams into a new reality.
I believe we as Christians need to create places and contexts in which we live out the way of Jesus. By that I mean, physical places and relationships in which the story given to us by a market-driven, individualistic, racist, sexist system is challenged and subverted. Ricci (my wife) and I are fortunate (blessed) to be part of conversations with other young and old Christian radicals who are re-writing the story, conspiring, living incarnationally, and re-imagining life in the way of Jesus. At Mustard Seed Associates, we feel driven to collaborate with others in the decolonization of our imagination.
-What's the biggest challenge you see facing young Christians/the church now? In the years to come?
There is a topic that keep coming up in many of my conversations with creative young leaders,which is how to be involved in creative and counter-cultural ministries and still be able to pay the bills. While this is not a new challenge, the current economic situation makes it much harder than, say, 20 to 30 years ago for young leaders to make a living while doing creative, grassroots ministry.
-We hear often that young Christians'—particularly evangelicals'—perceptions of Christianity are changing, that their concerns are broadening to encompass more social justice issues. Do you see this happening in your own experience? Or, if you would describe your experience of young Christians differently, how would you describe it?
I am assuming you mean North American young Christians.
I find that the understanding of our mission as followers of Jesus has changed from one that takes into consideration only the Gospel and salvation to a broader understanding of God's purposes in the world. What that means is that we can no longer have a religious devotion without being involved in issues of justice, redemption and restoration.
-What one thing would you most like to tell Christians? -What one thing would you most like to tell non-Christians?
What if we work together for the common good?
-How has your family background impacted and enriched your vocational journey?
I was raised in a working barrio in the small town of Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico. My father was a factory worker all his life and my mother stayed at home to take care of the family. To me, they were the true new monastics, with rhythms of prayer, work (lots of it) and community. My parents have a very simple but powerful faith. I learned from them to embrace the wisdom of the poor whom believe that God is on their side, showing them favor and love no matter [what] their circumstances.
-What gives you hope?
Easter. My daughter's love for gardening. Our little community of the Mustard Seed House. Friendship with other young conspirators. Libraries. Autonomous social movements in the global South. Street artists. Workers’ co-ops in Argentina. Potlucks. Horizontalismo. New Monastics. DIY culture.