L3 Leadership Podcast Transcriptions: Q&A With Bishop David Zubik

By May 22, 2018Transcripts

Please enjoy this transcript of this episode with Bishop David Zubik. It was transcribed and therefore might contain a few typos. For ways to connect with Bishop Zubik, the notes, and for links to everything discussed, check out our show notes!

Bishop Zubik: 00:00 We got to tear down walls, we gotta stop dismissing people and we got to look for the common denominator that’s there. The common denominator that’s our hearts, you know, but I think that we forget about that and I think we can see that ugly reality growing in the world in which we live.

Doug Smith: 00:20 This is the L3 Leadership podcast, episode number 194.

00:25 This is the L3 Leadership podcast. And now here’s your host, Doug Smith.

Doug Smith: 00:36 What’s up everyone? And welcome to another episode of theL3 Leadership podcast. My name is Doug Smith and I am your host. I hope you’re doing well. In this episode you’ll hear a question and answer session we had with Bishop David Zubik at an event that we recently hosted and you’ll hear Bishop Zubik share his thoughts on how unity can be possible across denominational lines, how to lead people with opposing views, had an impact the next generation, how to show people you’re living your faith, how to surround yourself with people who will be honest with you. And he shares about how we can personally pray for him and everything that he’s doing. Again, if you haven’t listened to Bishops Zubik talk, you can go back and listen to that in episode number 193 and you can also go back and listen to my interview with Bishop Zubik in episode number 166 if you enjoy this, if you’re unfamiliar with Bishop Zubik, just a few things about him.

Doug Smith: 01:21 In 2003, Pope John Paul the second named him the 11th bishop of the diocese of Green Bay and in 2007 he was named by Pope Benedict the 16th as the twelfth bishop of Pittsburgh, which is what he still does today. He’s currently responsible for 632,000 people in the Greater Pittsburgh area. That’s right, 632,000 people and he is actually in the middle of leading them through and it’s a huge transition through a movement called on mission for the church alive and he’s done a great job leading that effort so far and you’re just going to love this q and a. But before we dive into that, a just a few announcements. I’m going to ask you a question. Have you ever wanted to take your life and leadership to the next level? Have you ever desired to be surrounded by a community of leaders that will encourage you to challenge you, hold you accountable, help you reach your potential, and cause you to make a bigger impact?

Doug Smith: 02:10 If so, then you need to become a member of L3 Leadership. When you become a member, you have the ability to join or launch one of our mastermind groups. You’ll have access to our community of over 100 liters and access to the tools and resources you need to take your life and leadership to the next level. To learn more about membership, go to L3leadership.org/membership. I also want to thank our sponsor bank. They’re an insurance broker based out of Pittsburgh and led by my friend Russell Livingston. He has a huge passion for developing next-generation leaders which why they host our leadership events on a consistent basis and if your organization has any insurance needs, encourage you to check them out at Babbins.com. That’s Babbins.com. With that being said, let’s dive right into the q and a with Bishop Zubik and I’ll be back at the end with a few announcements.

Attendee: 02:58 Bishop, after 500 years

Bishop Zubik: 03:00 a lot of infighting and strife and in the body of Christ, we’ve seen a resurgence of an ecumenical, a relationship between a lot of traditions and here locally in Pittsburgh. You’ve been personally a huge leader in that. Ecumenical a tradition here and I just wanted to know how you work with leaders of other traditions and get them all in the same room that you’ve been so successful and how we as leaders can get people, many traditions all focused on the same exact goal?

Bishop Zubik: 03:29 Thank you. I think that the first thing that we have to address is the reality, the ugly reality, that there is a growing intolerance in the world in which we live for people who think differently than we do or are different. And I think once again, we have to go back to what I said in my, reflection that we’ve got to be able to see things with the eyes of justice, the mind and the heart of God. And so that basically means that, for Christian, we need to be able to look at the other person whom we see as if there Christ and we have to treat them as if we’re Christ. And so I just think that it’s so very important that, we can’t so much focus on the differences and sometimes the sharp differences that exist among us.

Bishop Zubik: 04:20 We’ve got to take a look at those bridges that we can, in fact, build with each other. There’s a story of the day that, I was announced that I was going to be the new bishop of Pittsburgh, which was on July 18th of 2007. The next day I was heading back to Green Bay because I was still going to be bishop there for two and a half more months. I was praying the Catholic prayer of the Rosary and there was a guy sitting next to me and when I was finished he said, oh, are you afraid to fly? And I said, heck no. I said, you know, I fly, you know, thousands and thousands of miles every day. I said, I just do that because my first journey of the day I always pray the rosary. And I said to them, well then you must, it must be a Catholic if you know what the rosary is.

Bishop Zubik: 05:12 And he said, I once was not anymore. I’m now a Buddhist. And I was kinda surprised at his answer. And I said, well, I said, that’s quite a transition. Like what happened? And he said, to tell you the truth, he said, I really believe in Jesus. I just have never seen anybody who says they believe in Him who acts like him. And that was an answer to the prayer about what my leadership had to be in the Church of Pittsburgh. And that’s when I came back to do my, uh, my opening homily at my installation. I raised the question, are you excited about your faith? And that’s what put us on, on mission for the church alive, which says we got to teardown walls. We gotta stop dismissing people and we got to look for the common denominator that’s there and the common denominator.

Bishop Zubik: 06:00 It’s there as our hearts, you know, but I think that we forget about that and I think we can see that ugly reality growing in the world in which we live. So I can tell you that, you know, bishop Curoso the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in our area and myself worked hard to be able to observe the reformation and the 500th anniversary. And there are a lot of people who didn’t appreciate that and my own tradition. You know, there were some people, and I have to say a small minority said you become a protestant, you’re no longer a Catholic, but the issue is like we have to be able to take a look at working together, whether it’s with other Christian denominations or it’s with non Christian denominations or with people who aren’t believers at all. And so I just think that the important element of it is we’ve got to take a look at and identify the elephant in the room, which is intolerance and be able to take a look at if we’re serious about our faith, how we recognize God in every person that we made. I hope that’s helpful.

Attendee: 07:17 Thank you. Along similar lines, can you talk about a time when you have had to lead people who have a very different view than you do? Is there any situation that comes to mind?

Bishop Zubik: 07:29 Sure, let me give you

Bishop Zubik: 07:33 very concrete example, in 2003. And I think for those of you who might be, well, maybe even people in the Catholic tradition don’t know this, but you know a priest only becomes a bishop by being appointed by the pope. That’s the only way it happens. And whenever a priest receives an assignment, it comes directly from the pope. And so, on, September the 30th 2003, I get the call from Pope John Paul the second saying that I was being made the bishop of Green Bay, Wisconsin. And you know, afterwards I talked to his ambassador and said, can you give me a sense of what, I need to be focused on when I get there? Well, it was like three days later I get 10 pages single spaced about, you know, things that, that were current there. And one of them had to deal with Catholic education.

Bishop Zubik: 08:34 And the, in the, on the university level, there was a real resistance in the community about passing on the faith. And there were public statements that the professors sign and said, even though we’re Catholic community, we’re not going to teach the Catholic faith. So when I got there 10 days after I was installed in December of 2003, I met with the president and said, I just need to tell you, I’m not going to look the other way. We’ve got to address this. And, I know when I stepped on campus, some people looked at me and said, what are you doing here? We don’t need to have you here. But what I did was I invited all the members of the theology faculty and the administration of the college to come to the house where I was living, no agenda, we prayed, we had dinner.

Bishop Zubik: 09:31 Delightful evening. Three months later they invited me to come to the college. A little bit of prayer, dinner, delightful evening. So we did that four times and the first of the first year and then moving into the second year, I said, well, like now we need to start to talk about some substantive issues. And we were able to do so because at that particular point there were relationships that were established that weren’t touching on the touchy issues. And so for the next two and a half years, we came to an understanding to say, hey pal, I’m not the enemy. I’m not as one of the people said to me, you’re the wise man being sent from the east to straighten us out. But it was a reality to say once we came to be able to see each other as we really were, that trust began to grow.

Bishop Zubik: 10:26 And when trust began to grow, then we could come to the middle of the bridge. People could talk about what their fear were, I was able to talk about what my fears were, and lo and behold, the tension no longer exists. So I think once again, that’s the very thing I’m suggesting to, our pastors now as they’re moving into our mission. When that all starts on October the 15th, you know, guys, the issue here is not what, what buildings you need, you don’t need. The issue here right now is not taking a look at how you have to necessarily rein in a budget. The first thing you gotta do is bring people together so that they’re not resisting what it means to come together as a faith community and once you establish those relationships and you do it in simple common, ordinary ways, Parish festival, you know, coming together for Christmas party or whatever it is. Then people begin to say, hey, wait, you know, these people are very much like me. And then eventually as has happened in some of the Paris is already they’re saying we’re ready to come together. So I would say that would be an example of how that happened in my own life. What years was it that you taught in secondary?

Bishop Zubik: I was involved in secondary education from 1974 to 1987, 13 years.

Attendee: 11:54 And so now we see times have dramatically changed since then and I wonder if you would agree that the message of do the right thing is a lot harder to communicate now in the world of social media and the other distractions that we have for our high school students. If you could comment on that.

Bishop Zubik: Yeah, you bet. One of the goals that I

Bishop Zubik: 12:15 placed on my heart three years ago is I want them to make sure that I was going to go to every one of our 12 high schools and spend an entire day not as the bishop coming to teach, but in the role of the student. And so, the principal then would say, the faculty the Bishops coming, if you want to invite them to come to your class, please do so. So, you know, I learned more about calculus and I ever did when I was in high school or chemistry or Italian or Latin or whatever. So it was, it was really good and I was able to see how the teachers were relating to the students. But I think it’s those kinds of personal encounters of the teachers who were there not only knowing their stuff but also demonstrating where their convictions were that that starts to make the young people began to think. It is a difficulty and I don’t wanna I don’t want to just leave this at the feet of young people today.

Bishop Zubik: 13:22 But all of us, we get so absorbed with our iPhones, you know, that’s why they bring it in from the car. So I’m not bringing that in. I’m going to leave it in the car because I don’t want to feel the same buzz and somebody’s calling me with my distraction, trying to find out who’s calling. But I think that while those, those tools are meant to help communication, it’s actually doing the opposite because I think we’re forgetting about the human face and the human heart. And I also want to think that that’s the reason why intolerance is growing because our communication is with the machine as opposed to the people who are around us. And so I think it’s a matter of modeling and I think from the perspective of those teachers, but I think it’s also a matter of modeling for the perspective of parents because I think that’s also one of the sad realities that, you know, there clearly is the breakdown of the family and I think things, principals, you know, that when I talked about those four virtues, those are things I learned from my parents, but I’m not sure that you find, as many homes today passing on those kinds of virtues that are there.

Bishop Zubik: 14:34 So it’s a matter of looking for ways to do it. And my conviction is that the most primary way to do it is starting with, with each one of us and living the principles that are ours. Because kids will notice that they’ll notice the difference and they’ll come forward, start to make comments and questions while their minds are fresh. For that kind of that kind of stimulation.

Attendee: 14:58 What would you suggest that us Catholic’s do to use those tools that are so distracting to help evangelize?

Bishop Zubik: 15:06 I’ll go back to my last comment. It’s like showing that you’re living your faith because I think we’ve become so conditioned in our lives to say one thing and do something else, but I think when people see that there is a sincerity about a conviction that is obvious in your life, then that I think, starts to make people think, you know, and I think if every one of us who’s in the room today, if you think about somebody that you really admire all bet, any money, it’s going to be a person who is true to who they are. Not a fake, not a phony. It’is interesting, I had a conversation with a woman recently who was the spouse of one of the senior leaders in our community and unfortunately, they had a very painful divorce, you know, but she just said to her, I’m so sorry that you had to go through that.

Bishop Zubik: 16:08 She said, well, you know, part of what the difficulty was, she said, I could see what was happening. My hubby was the CEO of a major corporation and she said to him, she said, look, she said, the air up here is pretty thin, so you better be aware of that. That that’s not always going to be there. You’re not always going to have, you’re plane. You’re not always going to have your yacht. You’re not always going to have five houses that can come crumbling down. And so I think it’s that reality that says, let’s take a look, we’re all standing on the same good earth and as we’re standing on the same good earth, it’s an earth that God has created and we are standing on it had been created by God as well too. So I think that becomes the reality to be exactly who you are, you know, it’s pure and simple and people will admire that.

Attendee: 17:00 Do you have any personal daily routines, maybe morning or night or just kind of that you abide by to keep your mind on track?

Bishop Zubik: 17:08 Yeah, I made reference to my favorite spot in the chapel at the seminary. I’m there early in the morning and I’m there late at night. And then the other thing that I do is every morning I workout on the treadmill, you know, I just have to be able to do that, to cleanse my body and clear my mind, you know, because of all the stress that I feel in my life, I’ve got to be able to make sure I look for the right, the right antidotes to this stress and God’s number one in terms of the prayer and then also taking care of the body that God gave me. So I do that, you know, and I’m a fairly routine, kind of a person, not a slave to it, but at the same time recognize that that’s what works for me. So that’s what I really try to do.

Bishop Zubik: 17:58 But the prayer is the big piece, you know, bringing, coming before the Lord. Like this morning, you know, we have mass corner seven before we came here, but I get up pretty early. I get up about 3:30 every morning, you know, to do the workout and get ready to get ready for the day.

Attendee: Thank you for the opportunity to ask you a question. And my question was somewhat similar, was just what daily activities that you do to practice to keep like the prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice, like what daily activities do you do to keep them? Yes to, to get those, to grow?

Bishop Zubik: Well, the prayer, the prayer is an important part of it, but also there’s something else that I don’t think that, uh, we’re also comfortable of doing it. It’s really inviting other people to give us their insights and you know, I think going back to the story of the CEO’s wife, but the thin air being so thin, I think that when you’re the CEO of anything, okay, everybody’s going to be kissing up to you and people aren’t going to be honest with you.

Bishop Zubik: 19:06 And that really frustrates me so that whenever we come together for any kind of consultation, any decision I have to make, I do consultation with my senior staff and they’re still resisting after 11 years of telling me what they think. So to be honest with you that the Jesuits have a, nice tradition that the person who’s elected as their provincial, he chooses somebody who has the title of associates, the associates is the person who’s going to tell him what nobody else is going to tell them, you know, it’s going to tell them what other people think he shouldn’t hear. And so I had one of those people and I specifically said that this is your job because I knew he was going to do it and he does it. But I think that’s what’s really important. I think so that’s how those virtues become.

Bishop Zubik: 19:59 They become real until, because it’s not my own impression of who I am or how I’m living these things, you know, I may think that I’ve done something terrific and he’ll come over to say, pal, you better take a look at how you just said what you said because it’s coming across differently than I think. I think that you wanna you intend to make it. So I think that that’s really important that yes, somebody in your life who’s going to such a straight, you know, and that you don’t become defensive on that kind of stuff, but listen carefully and there are times I get defensive when he says that, but then I have to go back and he knows the way I am my process and come back, you know what you were right. You know what I mean, to do this a little bit differently. So I think that’s what helps me to have somebody like him.

Doug Smith: Just last question. I always just like close with asking a leader.

Doug Smith: 20:48 One, how can we specifically pray for you and how can we even just partner with what you’re doing here in the city?

Bishop Zubik: 20:54 Yeah, I mean the answer is I just need prayers. You know, I think in, in the, in our tradition as Christians, a prayer isn’t simply a matter of asking God for things for ourselves, but it’s to ask for the common good. And, and that’s, that’s what I know I need the most of. Absolutely. So because I always want to be able to make decisions that are, that are right, I make mistakes, you know, I can be misjudged, but at the same time I’m trying to do my best and because what’s in my heart, my whole purpose in life, and I know what I’m going to be judged on when I breathe my last is David, what did you do to bring people closer to me? And so that’s where it is and I certainly want to go to heaven, you know? And so I think that’s what we need to support each other on that.

Doug Smith: 21:53 Hi everyone. Thank you so much for listening to our question and answer session with Bishops Zubik. You can find ways to connect with him, a key takeaways and links to everything that we’ve discussed in the show notes at L3leadership.org forward/194. Again, you could also go back and listen to the bishops talk on the four characteristics. Every leader must develop an episode number 193. And you can also listen to my interview with Bishop Zubik and episodes number 166 and 167. I want to thank our sponsor, any jewelers that jewelry jeweler, owned by my friend and mentor, John Henne, my wife Laura, and I got her engagement and wedding rings through many jewelers and we just think they’re awesome. Not only do they have great jewelry, but they also invest in people. In fact, they give every couple that gets engaged, a book to help them prepare for marriage.

Doug Smith: 22:34 And we just love that. So if you’re in need of a good jeweler, checkout Hennejewelers.com. I also want to thank our other sponsor, Alex Tulandin who’s a full-time realtor with Keller Williams Realty. If you’re looking to buy or sell a house in the Pittsburgh market, Alex is your guy. He is a member and a sponsor of l, three leadership and he would love the opportunity to connect with you. You can learn more about Alex and connect with him at Pittsburghpropertyshowcase.com. As always, if you enjoyed the podcast, it would mean the world to me. If you’d subscribe, share this on social media, and just leave a rating and review. That does help us grow our audience, so thank you for that in advance and if you want to stay up to date with everything we’re doing here at L3 Leadership, simply go to our website at L3 Leadership.org and sign up for our email list. As always, I like to end with a quote and unquote Bishop Zubik from his talk. Again, if you haven’t listened to this, I highly encourage you to go back and listen to it, but he said this. He said, “Oh God, help me to lead today as if it were my first day of service, my last day of service, my only day of service.” That’s powerful. Thank you for listening and being a part of L3 Leadership. Laura and I appreciate you so much and we will talk to you next episode.