How many ways can we tease yet another metaphor out of the
name “Jim Post”? Surely Jim has a folder of some-tired
and some-true witticisms at the expense and benefit of his
surname. My own reference comes from the first few weeks
of VOTF when, as I think of it, Jim Post got “posted” to
a longer tenure as president of VOTF than he had anticipated.
It was Jim Muller who identified Jim in the earliest days
of VOTF. Maybe at our third meeting, Jim Muller said to me
(more than once) – “Keep an eye on the BU professor” and “What
do you think of the BU professor?” Jim’s voice
was clear, articulate, forceful, respectful and uncommonly
(and contagiously) confident that our small group was onto
something long, long overdue. His message was fixed – we
would do all in our power for as long as it would take to
right the unspeakable wrongs of so many. Jim announced, and
made good on, the end of what he called “couch potato
In these best and worst of times in our Church, VOTF has
been piloted by Jim Post. He has kept the faith alongside
the rest of us, worked to change the Church alongside the
rest of us, and called attention to the lay voice in a way
few could have managed (and, significantly, none other has).
When VOTF started to articulate that the laity are not going
away, Jim’s sheer force of conviction gave our grassroots
movement the gravitas it needed. His conviction became that
of one person here, eleven there, fifty somewhere else – at
colleges and universities; gatherings both large and small
in Catholic parishes and non-Catholic “havens”;
TV and radio interviews, newspapers, magazines and books;
and all the “c” places – Council meetings,
corporate think tanks, conference calls, conventions and
What VOTF needed in 2002 was credibility – from that
would come staying power. If one could reduce all of Jim’s
VOTF contributions to one gift, it is the credibility the
organization has earned (“the old-fashioned way”)
by his leadership – this, despite everything from outright
hostility among certain Church leaders to fringe blog vitriol.
No one has maintained what Jim calls “a laser beam
focus” on our three goals better than Jim – nor
has anyone had to fend off as many assaults on that focus!
There is so much left to say to this one volunteer extraordinaire who
has done so very much to keep VOTF on the landscape of the
Church in the early, early days of this 21st Century.
I know we will have opportunities to do so – each in
our own way. For the moment, I believe I can speak for thousands:
Jim – thank you, Godspeed, and keep us posted!