Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith


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When I was in college, I used to study for my Greek and Hebrew exams at a local jazz venue. I was fasci- nated as the ensemble played together, in concert with and for each other. As I watched the way the musi- cians supported one another, casting glances to com- municate, and how each instrument complemented its neighbor — IT began to dawn on me. One time, young and old, rich and poor, country and hip-hop, black, brown, and white, surrounded me. The band had a Latin saxophonist and a young dread- locked brother on stand-up bass.

On piano and drums two middle-aged men, one black and the other white, played together. As the groove began, the saxophone player mo- tioned for someone in the crowd, an elderly black man, who slowly made his way to the stage. His voice was far from perfect, but as this man sang about love gained and love lost. IT was present he had IT we wept because of IT For almost two decades now, I have wondered what it is about this thing called jazz that brings so many kinds of people together. When I see an eclectic en- semble allowing for fresh takes on old standards, or as I look around the sometimes smoke-filled room and see that I am sitting with all hues of skin, I sense that there is something in this for the body of Christ.

As followers of Christ I think that we have some- thing to learn from jazz. For as I watch the way Jesus interacted with people, healing one blind man with a word and using saliva on another, I see him improvis- ing. I see Jesus in IT.

Finding the Groove : Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith by Robert Gelinas - Paperback

I have discovered in jazz a way of thinking, living, communicating — a way of being. Not a rut, but rather a set of factors that converge, creating a place to settle in and space to be. Jazz is not the solution to all of the flaws of our faith. Rather it is a way for you and me to experience the gospel — the coming of the kingdom of God — in spite of and because of our deficiencies.

A groove that gives new life to the Scriptures, church, and the way we view community. I often wonder what it would look like if we composed a jazz-shaped Christianity. What if there was a way for Christians to live with the tensions of our faith and to embrace their beauty? What if you and I experienced church like a jazz ensemble listening to the beat of the image of God in each of us and community meant that you and I felt connected, not only to those we can see, but also with those who have followed in past generations and have yet in future generations to follow Jesus?

What if there is another way to know the Scrip- tures? What if we experienced the word of God as a song that sets us free to compose, a melody that has room for our voice to join in with the ancients? What if every moment of life with Jesus is pregnant. What if so much of what has gone wrong with America has also produced something that is right and good, allowing for us to live and love with soul because we understand why caged birds sing? What if we could find the groove and in the process live in IT?

These are the questions I have been asking in the hope of composing a jazz-shaped faith that will lead me closer to the kingdom of God in our midst. Something Is Out of Sync This whole issue is personal for me. At times my faith gets out of sync. I have moments when the Scriptures fail to intrigue or inspire.

What’s a Jazz Theologian? Ep. 7 | The Sankofa Experience

Times when I long for the desire of the psalmist to meditate on them day and night, for them to be food for my soul, for the word to be alive, piercing, and real. At times, it feels as if something is missing. I have an unshakable sense that something is off in the way we pray, read our Bibles, and worship.

The barriers of race, class, generation, and denomination continue to keep us apart, and we are not sure of the last time we felt that those in the pew next to us were truly brothers and sisters, let alone those who attend other churches.


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I love the church. Do you sense it? Do you feel the wobble in the wheel? We marvel as we read that three thousand people came into the kingdom in Acts 2, yet many es- timate that around the world today, some three thou- sand people an hour are coming to know this Jesus whom we serve! Just not here in America. My first degree was concerned with what the Scriptures say; the latter focused on how we communicate and live the faith in the various cultures of the world. For example, is drinking wine, wearing pants, or the practice of some tribes to initiate their boys into manhood by sending them on a lion hunt in line with the ways of Jesus?

Many a missionary has struggled with this process be- cause we are not neutral, unbiased observers. When I see an eclectic en- semble allowing for fresh takes on old standards, or as I look around the sometimes smoke-filled room and see that I am sitting with all hues of skin, I sense that there is something in this for the body of Christ. As followers of Christ I think that we have some- thing to learn from jazz. For as I watch the way Jesus interacted with people, healing one blind man with a word and using saliva on another, I see him improvis- ing.

I see Jesus in IT. I have discovered in jazz a way of thinking, living, communicating — a way of being.

Daily Inspiration

Not a rut, but rather a set of factors that converge, creating a place to settle in and space to be. Jazz is not the solution to all of the flaws of our faith. Rather it is a way for you and me to experience the gospel — the coming of the kingdom of God — in spite of and because of our deficiencies. A groove that gives new life to the Scriptures, church, and the way we view community. I often wonder what it would look like if we composed a jazz-shaped Christianity. What if there was a way for Christians to live with the tensions of our faith and to embrace their beauty?

What if you and I experienced church like a jazz ensemble listening to the beat of the image of God in each of us and community meant that you and I felt connected, not only to those we can see, but also with those who have followed in past generations and have yet in future generations to follow Jesus? What if there is another way to know the Scrip- tures?

What if we experienced the word of God as a song that sets us free to compose, a melody that has room for our voice to join in with the ancients? What if every moment of life with Jesus is pregnant. What if so much of what has gone wrong with America has also produced something that is right and good, allowing for us to live and love with soul because we understand why caged birds sing?

What if we could find the groove and in the process live in IT? These are the questions I have been asking in the hope of composing a jazz-shaped faith that will lead me closer to the kingdom of God in our midst. Something Is Out of Sync This whole issue is personal for me. At times my faith gets out of sync.

I have moments when the Scriptures fail to intrigue or inspire. Times when I long for the desire of the psalmist to meditate on them day and night, for them to be food for my soul, for the word to be alive, piercing, and real. At times, it feels as if something is missing. I have an unshakable sense that something is off in the way we pray, read our Bibles, and worship. The barriers of race, class, generation, and denomination continue to keep us apart, and we are not sure of the last time we felt that those in the pew next to us were truly brothers and sisters, let alone those who attend other churches.

I love the church. Do you sense it? Do you feel the wobble in the wheel? We marvel as we read that three thousand people came into the kingdom in Acts 2, yet many es- timate that around the world today, some three thou- sand people an hour are coming to know this Jesus whom we serve! Just not here in America. My first degree was concerned with what the Scriptures say; the latter focused on how we communicate and live the faith in the various cultures of the world.

Finding Groove Composing Jazz-shaped by Robert Gelinas

For example, is drinking wine, wearing pants, or the practice of some tribes to initiate their boys into manhood by sending them on a lion hunt in line with the ways of Jesus? Many a missionary has struggled with this process be- cause we are not neutral, unbiased observers. We bring our own culture to the faith and often end up trying to make people over in our image. Like when Paul was in Athens. He wondered how to explain the good news to these erudite philosophical people.

He was Jewish, but the Athenians were Greek. He could have taught them to be Jewish first and then to follow Jesus, but God does not require that we shed our culture to know him. Practicing Christianity. A Safe Place to Practice. GodThe Original Jazz Ensemble. Having Time to Listen to Others. Having Time to Listen to God. Becoming Timekeepers. The Acoustics of Listening. Develop Your Ear. The Dream That Almost Wasnt.

Jazz Piano Simple Stride Technique, Exercises, & Drills - pudazyjy.cf

Red White and the Blues. Why Do Caged Birds Sing?


  1. On Liberty;
  2. Governmental Intervention in Foreign Trade in Archaic and Classical Greece (Mnemosyne Supplements; History and Archaeology of Classical Antiquity)?
  3. Search Results.
  4. Mo Better Blues. What Color Is Jesus? So What Is the Statement? What a Wonderful World. A Jazz Theologian. About the Publisher. Whose Are We? Describing God.

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    Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith
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    Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith
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    Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith

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