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The Jazz Theologian

Desmondtutu_1 Desmond Tutu says that Ubuntu is a way saying that, "My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours."  It is the realization that, "A person is a person through other persons.  It is not, "I think therefore I am."  It says rather:  "I am human becasue I belong.  I participate, I share."

It was this way of community that was imbedded in South African culture that Tutu turned to, to bring about healing and unity in his Apartheid ravaged country.  The Archbishop knew that the Gospel calls us into a new community.  He was aware that the work of Christ on the cross had broken down the dividing walls of hostility (Eph. 2).  He had been on his knees with Jesus in the garden when our savior prayed, "May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved them even as you have loved me." (John 17.23b)

However, for the impact of the Gospel to be experienced it needed to be translated into that culture.  Ubuntu is the means by which that is happening. 

Jazz is an American way of doing community and if understood and applied then I believe that we will see churches coming together across race, class, generational and denominational barriers.  We must allow the all encompassing work of Christ on the cross to redeem this way of being and belonging so that community will become life in concert with and for each other.

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