The Jazz Theologian

The Jazz Theologian


Coltrane the Soul Trane

posted by Robert Gelinas

"A Love Supreme" the original Liner notes

"Dear Listener:

All Praise Be To God To Whom All Praise Is Due.

Let us pursue Him in the righteous path. Yes it is true; “seek and ye shall find.” Only through Him can we know the most wondrous bequeathal.

During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music. I feel this has been granted through His grace. ALL PRAISE TO GOD.

As time and events moved on, a period of irresolution did prevail. I entered into a phase which was contradictory to the pledge and away from the esteemed path; but thankfully, now and again through the unerring and merciful hand of God, I do perceive and have been duly re-informed of His OMNIPOTENCE, and of our need for, and dependence on Him. At this time I would like to tell you that NO MATTER WHAT…IT IS WITH GOD. HE IS GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL. HIS WAY IS IN LOVE, THROUGH WHICH WE ALL ARE . IT IS TRULY—A LOVE SUPREME–.

This album is a humble offering to Him. An attempt to say “THANK YOU GOD” through our work, eve as we do in our hearts and with our tongues. May He help and strengthen all men in every good endeavor…
May we never forget that in the sunshine of our lives, through the storm and after the rain—it is all with God—in all ways forever.

ALL PRAISE TO GOD."

Signed John Coltrane

I find myself listening to Coltrane all the time.  Specifically his signature album, A Love Supreme.  Recorded in 1964, seven years after he heard "The sound," Coltrane teaches us something about how we can keep pursuing God for a lifetime.  What do you do when you have experienced God and the yearning remains to experience him again?  Coltrane developed his own set of spiritual stages to sustain him to the end.

A Love Supreme is more than a musical album it is a series of stages for one’s spiritual life.  The album is separated into four stages and each song is meant to represent a season of the soul. 

Coltrane's stations are as follows…

  • Acknowledgment
  • Resolution
  • Pursuance
  • Psalm

Coltrane had set a spiritual goal:  To become a Psalm.  Working backwards from that end he had thought through what stages were necessary for that to happen.  Ultimately, what was driving him is captured in the title of the album…A Love Supreme.  That is all he wanted and all he wanted to be.

What do you think of Coltrane's stations?  Do they ring true in your pursuit of A LOVE SUPREME?



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Beloved

posted July 28, 2007 at 8:31 am


Dear Pastor Robert
I’ve desired to learn how to study God’s Word better and I hear you and other teachers of the Bible Studies I have been doing talk about the Greek or Hebrew words or the history of the times behind the scripture we are looking at. I want to know how to do that myself. I have purchased a Strong’s Concordance, an Illustrated Bible Dictionary, and a Word NIV Study Bible that I recently purchased. As I am trying to read a scripture in the Bible and then look up the information non it I’m becoming a little overwhelmed and feeling a little lost on how to use all these things and apply them back to what I’m reading. I know you are so busy so is there someone that you could delegate in your staff to start a Bible Study that would go over one chapter in the Word Study Bible and walk through doing this so I can understand how to do this myself? If there is not enough interest for a whole Bible Study I’d be willing to pay to have someone tutor me so I can understand how to do this. Can you help me?



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Tyler

posted July 28, 2007 at 10:57 am


First off thanks for starting the “what i am reading” section.
Coltrane’s stations are excellent. I love the idea of “becoming a psalm.” Might He become our one thing that the song that is created thorough the “ensemble” of our lives call all to the beautiful CREATOR & SAVIOR.



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Beloved

posted August 8, 2007 at 9:53 pm


I feel like I should apologize for my post on July 28th. I don’t think this was received in the spirit it was intended. I’ve been a christian for 37 years and I’m just hungry for to learn more about studying God’s Word. It still breathes life into me and I don’t really care who shows me how just wanted somebody too.



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jazztheologian

posted August 8, 2007 at 10:26 pm


Beloved,
No need to apologize! What you are asking for is vital and needed…Pastor Keita, as Director of Spiritual Formation, is in charge of all of our adult Ed. We seek to offer classes like this often. Perhaps you could contact him and find out if we have anything lined up. I would love to meet with you concerning your questions but sometimes my schedule does not allow, perhaps you could meet with Pastor Doug or Keita.
Your questions and desires are good. I’m guessing that what I said tonight made you feel otherwise. That was not my intention…I was not trying to say that that the traditional approach was wrong but rather that it is foundational and incomplete.
Blessings to you and continue to fan the flame that God has placed in you for his will and his word.
robert



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Beloved

posted August 9, 2007 at 1:46 am


thank you. I agree your schedule is very busy and I wouldn’t expect an appt. thanks for taking the time to respond. I’ll ask those names you mentioned if they have plans for a bible study group in the future.



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Doug Groothuis

posted August 10, 2007 at 7:11 am


Robert:
Coltrane is misspelled in the title of the article. Being quite conversant with Trane, I have never read of him “wanting to become a Psalm,” but rather his “wanting to become a saint.” Sadly, he probably failed in the theological sense. He succeeded in the musical sense, of we can use the term that way.
His theology was a hodgepodge, a mish mash of Eastern mysticism, Christian memory, and personal experience. He had some kind of experience that helped him shake a drug addiction. But after that, he lived with Alice before divorcing Naima, and even had two children with her before marrying her. This is not saintly activity.
I am a devoted appreciator of the music of John Coltrane, which I do not find annoying in the least (except for some of the later material with Pharoah Sanders, whose shreaking could crack paint on the wall). It is, rather, transcendentally beautiful, pointing beyond itself to God’s gift of beauty.



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Anonymous

posted August 11, 2007 at 9:13 am


Doug:
The word “of” in the fourth sentence of your message should be “if.”
-Anonymous
p.s. I enjoyed your blog.



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Chanel Graham

posted April 30, 2009 at 3:11 pm


Thanks for sharing! I had no idea Coltrane created such beautiful music from this posture. I agree with his four stations. In my pursuit of A Love Supreme, I’ve found myself grappling with how to live comfortably in a stage of resolution. Oddly, it’s not always easy to live without discord or tension. Certainty can be harder to stomach than the unknown.
I think that’s why I like jazz. Unlike Don Miller, I enjoy how it doesn’t resolve; it plays with you a bit. But Coltrane’s right in seeing that spiritual maturity requires resolution. Because it’s our acceptance of our right-standing before God, of the decks being reshuffled and that pesky problem of sin resolved, that forms the basis of the Christian faith.



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Marcus Goodyear

posted May 1, 2009 at 11:26 am


Interesting comments here.
Beloved, I highly recommend PC Study Bible. I have the resources you describe but PC Study Bible (once you learn it) is an incredible resource. I’d be happy to talk with you more via email about how I use it if you want to contact me via my blog contact form.
As to the four stations of Coltrane. I wish we could unpack those more. Then again, I’ve got your book on order. I’m assuming that will unpack things like this.



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