Beliefnet
The Jazz Theologian

I’m trying to learn how to understand the pain of those around me.  John Howard Griffin became "Black Like Me," choosing to live a pain that was foreign to him.

There is a reason why jazz musicians will choose to learn to play other instruments, it allows them to better support them and respond to them during the song.

Lately I have read two books that have affected me profoundly.

Greatestgeneration

"The Greatest Generation," by Tom Brokaw, has affected me deeply.  I am in contact with people from this generation daily and I have found that they do not readily volunteer the pain but at the same time, it is very close to the surface…one only needs to ask a few questions.  Where did you spend your twenties?  How many anniversaries did you miss?  Tell me about the friends you lost during the war.  Do you still find yourself saving in case the economy crashes again?

The other book is, "Night" by Elie Wiesel.  The horrifying story of a 14 year old boy who was forced to survive in Hitler’s concentration camps.  What caused this young devout Jew to grow up and write…Elie_15

"Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever.

Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live.

Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes."

Elie_wiesel_mug_small

On the cross, Jesus chose to absorb our pain; I want to learn how to follow in his steps.  I want to be willing to read the books, see the movies, drive in the car for six hours until I reach the desolate reservation of our Natives, cross the street and talk to my neighbor that was arrested last month…my gay neighbor who just lost his father…the woman across the street whose husband just abandoned her…

Lord, help me to be willing to listen with my life.

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