The Jazz Theologian

The Jazz Theologian


Ensemble Community (p4)

posted by Robert Gelinas

Hands What is Christian community?  Normally we only define it in terms of the present–who are the people that we know, worship and pray with.  If we get radical, we also realize that community is not just about who we know and have relationship with but that it includes all Christians who are alive at the same time we are.  Therefore, issues of division in the body matter…black & white, Baptist & Catholic…even though these go beyond our immediate set of relationships and local church.

Biblically speaking, community is all of this and so much more…

Not only are Christians called to live in community with those in the present but also the past and the future.  When God would introduce himself in the Old Testament he would sometimes say, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."  With that introduction He helps us to see that to know him is to know them as well–we live today in light of those who lived yesterday.  In Hebrews 12, we are reminded of the "great cloud of witnesses" that cheer us on as we run the same race that they did. They view themselves as actively in communion with us and we are living for the day that we will join them–we live today in light of the relationships we will have in the future.

Some of our modern day view of community seems so myopic, self-centered and short-sighted.



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Ensemble Community (p2)

posted by Robert Gelinas

Ann Pederson, Associate Professor of Religion at Augustana College makes the following observations about jazz and community as she draws upon the work of Paul F. Berliner:

"Paul F. Berliner’s Rich Study of the jazz community includes a chapter entitled ‘Hangin’ Out and Jammin’:  The Jazz Community as an Educational System."  With great detail, he describes the process of learning how to improvise within the jazz community…jazz musicians have perfected the art of hanging out in the jam session.  During these informal sessions great learning takes place.  Individuals share their talents by forming causal apprenticeships.  Jam sessions bring together amateurs and professionals to lean from and with one another.  The jam session creates its own community for learning how to improvise."

"Learning occurs through mentoring."

"Jam sessions set the musicians free to take risks.  Diverse cross sections of people come together to just play and learn from one another.  The jam session remains an open system where diverse people with diverse talents can come together to learn."

"Learning occurs individually through the support of the jazz community.  ‘Overall, the jazz community’s educational system sets the students on paths of development directly related to their goal:  the creation of a unique improvisational voice with the jazz tradition.’  The jazz community exemplifies the constant struggle between leadership and following, interdependence and individual freedom.  The goal of a jazz community is to find the balance where the individual’s freedom to improvise is grounded in the support of the ensemble.  The individual plays freely but within the group.  Limits are set for the dynamic of freedom."

"…the group lends its support as each member learns to discover her or his own musical voice."

How’d you like to learn to follow Jesus in that kind of environment?



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Stephen Bess

posted May 10, 2006 at 12:33 pm


I picked up Blues & Roots by Charles Mingus today. It’s a favorite.



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Phil

posted May 12, 2006 at 9:50 pm


JazzTheo,
You continue to strike a chord (pardon the pun) in how people must envision and enact the journey of following Jesus. Jazz reflects, emits, and, for those with ears to hear, can create life. Thank you for the inspiration.



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jazztheologian

posted May 13, 2006 at 10:23 pm


Stephen,
Mingus was the man…I believe that it was him who said, “Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.”
stay in the groove,
jt



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jazztheologian

posted May 13, 2006 at 10:23 pm


Phil,
Good to hear from you and thanks for the kind words…
Whatever happened to that Chicago thing?
jt



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Katsura

posted May 16, 2006 at 12:16 pm


I’d love that kind of environment, JT. I don’t really see that happening in the context of the traditional Sunday service. That is more like watching a concert with a talented player on the stage. I can go home and practice what I heard, but there is a big difference between a concert and a jam session. Do we do away with the concert completely, allow it to take a back seat to the jam session or just try to fit in a jam every so often, if our schedules are clear? I vote for the occasional concert and a whole lotta jammin.



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jazztheologian

posted May 16, 2006 at 2:14 pm


Katsura,
Hmmm…well first of all, worship services are 1/7 of the week, so they seem to be taking a back seat to the Christian life already. Especially if you compare it to the number of concerts a jazz musician does per week.
But I am not sure that I agree with your assumption that the “concert” (that is the place where you put into practice what you learned in the jam session) is a worship service. So no I don’t think that we do away with the concert…the concert is what it is all about…I just disagree with you as to what the concert is.
jt



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Phil

posted May 16, 2006 at 9:24 pm


Still working on the Chicago meeting….save your dates in early December.



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jamey johnson

posted May 17, 2006 at 11:31 am


just want to say “jazz theo” great blog – i put you on my “innovative homeboyz” list – love it!



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Katsura

posted May 17, 2006 at 11:44 am


Hey, it’s your blog, so you get to define the terms. Based on your definition of the concert, then, I have to tell you that the concert sounds like “look at me, do what I do” and that does not sound like community.
Community and therefore “Christian Living” is supposed to be based on relationship, not mimicking someone who has it all together. The way I see it, in this metaphor, the mentoring that Berliner talks about happens during the jam session, not the concert.
In short, it’s all a jam session… My wife, my kids, friends, co-workers, the stranger I talk to on the bus, the stranger I choose NOT to talk to on the bus (and thus exclude from my jamming); I don’t want to perform for them, I want to interact with them. That is what builds community.
Awaiting your thoughtful reply…



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jazztheologian

posted May 18, 2006 at 7:28 am


Katsura,
you’ve inspired me…Community is this thing that can be defined in a variety of ways…so let me devote a few posts to the kind of community I envision.
You are right when you say that what I am talking about sounds like “look at me do what I do.” and you say that that does not sound like community.
Are you sure? How did Jesus and the scriptures define community? Was it based upon relationships as you say?
Help me understand what passages are informing your view of community…



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John Frye

posted May 19, 2006 at 7:29 am


JazzTheo and Katsura,
I’ve reread the post several times and I cannot see where it advocates the mere mimicking of someone who has it altogether. The very goal of the community (jam session) is to help the apprentice fins his or her own voice, not lock-step follow the leader. Jesus said, “The apprentice is not above his Master, but when the apprentice is fully trained (creating improvised jazz, not just reading ‘notes’), he will will like his Master (Luke 6:40) Jesus and the Twelve were a jazz community, not a classroom community. Being a follower of Jesus is a skill (like jazz), not content (“repeat after me”). I hope these few comments help your jam session.



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jazztheologian

posted May 20, 2006 at 8:13 am


John,
Thanks for stopping by…I think that Katsura would agree with you but was questioning the “church worship service,” as viable way of learning to be like Jesus–as a jam session. I think that it is “a” jam session and should not be “the” jam session.
jt



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Jose

posted May 22, 2006 at 5:59 pm


I love this post. As jam sessions involve respect for the particularity of each player, their skill, and the nature of the instrument being played. It’s this fusion that makes for beautiful music.



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Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting The Jazz Theologian page. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!

posted 9:08:40am Feb. 14, 2012 | read full post »

Celebrating National Adoption Month
November is National Adoption Month.  God is up to something.  The Bride of Christ is waking up all across this nation to the need to care for orphans through adoption and foster care. James 1.27 makes it clear that to be Christian is to care for orphans, "Religion that god our Father accepts a

posted 1:42:26pm Nov. 11, 2011 | read full post »

Sermon of the Week: Your Lot in Life (P6)
This book just keeps getting better! [vimeo]http://vimeo.com/31323811[/vimeo]

posted 3:00:02pm Nov. 05, 2011 | read full post »

Guest Blogger: Patricia Raybon
A Ghost? Or Our God?   By Patricia Raybon It’s dark, cold and early. But I’m excited. On this morning, the most important thing I have to do is hear from God. And not just a little bit. I want to hear without limits. Isn’t that what we’re all saying today? That we want to be blessed by

posted 6:00:00am Oct. 31, 2011 | read full post »

Sermon of the Week: Your Lot in Life (P5)
Good News:  Pure Motives Are Not Required Before We Serve In The Kingdom of God! [vimeo]http://vimeo.com/30383671[/vimeo]

posted 3:56:39pm Oct. 28, 2011 | read full post »




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