I had lunch with my dear friend Jim Mitulski on Saturday. I’ve known Jim for almost 30 years, and he is one of the people I admire most on earth. He is incredibly wise and very smart, so his advice is something I have always treasured. We have had vigorous disagreements over the years, but never for even a split second have either of us doubted the other’s deepest intent was for our good not their own. Such relationships are tragically rare.
After many decades of living off and on in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jim is packing. He is leaving the church he has pastored, his work at Pacific School of Religion, and his home. Perhaps more profoundly, he is leaving a culture that has adopted him so thoroughly that he is a quintessential Northern Californian in many ways. He is moving to Texas to be the interim pastor of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas.
That, of course, is the church where I spent two decades of my life and where many of my dear friends are still members. I found myself sighing with deep relief when I heard that Jim would become their pastor. It is not only the relief that they will be in gentle, competent hands, but that he also will bring the kind of wise, non-anxious presence that will allow the congregation to breathe and ponder their future.
When we left Dallas and the Cathedral of Hope it was a time of great grief. We still miss our family and friends there. What I did not carry with me, though, was a sense of unfinished business. We heard the vision of God for that place in the late 1980s and spent two decades becoming that kind of church. Now it is time for them to re-vision who God is calling them to be, and Jim is the perfect person with whom to do that. I pray that they will take the time to do it well. Of all churches, that one understands the power of a compelling vision to change everything.
That also is true for Jim. Who will he become now? It is true for you and me, as well. As you set out on this week, will it be business as usual, or do you need some time to breathe and ponder God’s vision for your life? Sure, you become who you are. Now, who should you become? It is never too late for God to lead us on a new adventure of re-becoming. “Behold I make all things new.” God meant you too!
by Michael Piazza
The Center for Progressive Renewal