Jim Pospisil: Creating Harmony

Jim Pospisil believes that the connection between his work and justice boils down to one simple idea: “If you have a gift, it must be shared. Who am I to deny the possibility of love and beauty in this world?” As the music director at Peace Church, Jim shares his gifts, bringing love, beauty, and harmony to our community.

At the heart of his commitment to social justice is Jim’s concern about division—division in our country, in our city, in our families. “Our language has become heated and people aren’t as kind as I would like,” Jim says. “We marginalize people with anti-Muslim or anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.” Jim sees this divisiveness anytime someone critiques a person who is different from themselves, including those who have differing political views. “It’s easy to be angry at someone without understanding them, and I include myself.” Working to heal this divisiveness is also at the heart of Jim’s commitment to racial justice. “The message is so simple: what is most important is how we treat each other.”

Peace Church has been a source of support and inspiration for Jim in terms of responding to social justice. “I found that people in our church community were much more engaged than I have been. There’s always someone who has been engaging around justice, and I don’t need to reinvent the wheel.” Often this leads Jim to attend community events. “Someone else plans something—and I’ll show up to play music.”

Jim finds that Peace is a great source of information about justice events and issues. “I value announcements at church and the Peace Bell. They take what’s happening and add perspective that you might not get just through major news networks. Now I know how to dig deeper, put things in perspective. A lot of this is driven by wanting to teach his children about morality and current issues. “They ask questions about things, and I feel like I need to be pretty solid in understanding what’s happening and share what I know. Kids keep you honest—once they get to a certain age, you can’t just make stuff up.”

Reflecting on the connection between his faith and action, Jim commented that he is blessed with a life in which opportunities for action continuously present themselves. “Whether it’s an event downtown or a church event, there are always opportunities to talk with others, to be open to relationships and new experiences. “When I pray, I usually start with ‘God I’m sorry’ and then move to ‘what should I do now?’ It’s usually fast and quick—when I’m running, there’s a lot of clarity. Runs are mini-vision quests. Sometimes I get an answer to a question I didn’t even know I had. That’s probably one of the few times in my life when I open myself and I’m in my best place. That’s when I have spiritual clarity.”

As he reflected on the connection between music and the sacred, Jim noted that “different musical styles and traditions all have the potential to be holy. It is important to start with reverence, humility, and wonder. The point is not to impress, but to serve, to offer up what we have, and experience something beyond ourselves.”

When asked about people who have been influential in his life, Jim responded by reflecting on those who have helped him become “a better me.” “I love talking with Nancy Nelson because she’s earnest and compassionate.” He also loves his daily interactions with Nathan Holst, which often challenge him to think about what is happening from a different perspective. Jerry Cleveland “inevitably thinks about something I haven’t thought about. He gives constructive criticism always under the umbrella of love and compassion.” Gudrun Witrak “understands my vision, and walks with me in frustrating moments, as well as moments of ecstasy.” Jim finds it humbling to realize how much of a family we are here at Peace. “It’s beautiful, and I guess we’re on this ride together.”

At the heart of Jim’s Christianity is that moment of need and affirmation when Jesus is on the cross between the two thieves. One says, “Get yourself off the cross,” and the other says, “Remember me.” Jesus responds: “You will be with me.” “My faith journey has said, you’ve given it a shot and you’ve failed, but you’re always held in love. I say I’m sorry, and the answer comes quickly and simply: God the coach slaps me on the butt and says ‘get back in there’.”

Jim’s gifts and his music help us all get back in there, seeking harmony in beauty, love, and faith. “Start with faith, and justice shouldn’t be too far behind.”
~ Interviewed by Nathan Holst