Beliefnet
The Jazz Theologian

I believe that "The Beloved Community" by Charles Marsh is a must read for anyone who beleives that theology is meant to be lived.  As a Jazz Theologian I am convinced that the knowing is in the doing; that is we know what we believe by looking at how we live.  Do we believe that all children deserve parents…then are we adopting them?  Do we believe that segregation is wrong…then are we de-segregating our neighborhoods and churches?

Charles Marsh does a masterful job of showing how our faith can be lived out on behalf of others.  How we actually "meet physical force with soul force."  The Civil Rights Movement is like Jazz, while it’s participants are primarily African-American’s, it is not black history but American history.  For the church, it is not American history but church history.  When the church in America comes to grips with this I believe that we will realize that our biggest challenge is not what does it mean to be post-modern but rather post-movement.  How do we move towards the Beloved Community without an MLK?  How do we move beyond Civil Rights to Human Rights?  Jazz has lived and struggled with this and can help us if we will listen.

I also resonate with a larger view of community.  So much of postmodern Christianity is focused on community–defined as, am I in authentic relationships.  Nothing wrong with that, but let’s be honest, the "I" still is what matters most, not the "We."  IBeloved20communityt’s still idividualism being forced on a group.  I think that we are saved to be part of a people and that that new people group exists to serve the people groups of the world.

That’s what I call, "Ensemble Living."  A jazz trio is made up of individuals who mutually submit to each each other in a dialogue…for the sake of the music, for the sake of another group…the audience.

Kind of sounds like the triune God that we serve…

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