The Jazz Theologian

The Jazz Theologian

The Word in Jazz: Finding Your Voice (p1)

FrogWhat is the Bible?  All too often we treat it like a science project:  Study it…develop propositions about it…defend it.

Now I'm all for serious Bible study.  We can only benefit from understanding the original languages and context.  However, we can't stop at this.

Approaching the Bible as a science project…dissecting it verse-by-verse, word-for-word…has great benefit, though we need to be very careful. If we are not, then we will be like the high school student who disects a frog and sees all of the inner parts but in the process the frog looses its' life.  What if that is what we are doing to the living word?


That's why I ask…

What if we experienced the word of God as a song that sets us free to compose, a melody that has room for our voice to join in with the ancients?

Hermeneutics–the art and science of Biblical interpretation.

We need this approach to scripture but it needs to be balanced with a "jazzaneutic."

That is…

  • …the art of knowing the scriptures by living them and experiencing them in community.
  • …the willingness to let the Bible interpret us no vice versa.
  • …seeing meaning not only in what is said but what is being done by the Biblical authors.

Some "jazzaneutic" guidlines:  When reading the scriptures ask…


  • What isthe author saying?  (this will take care of the study part)
  • What is the author doing? (this will open our eyes to the off beats–syncopation)
  • Can I do that with and for others? (this will lead to improvisation and call & response. 

Did anyone take a shot at writing their own 23rd Psalm? 

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Rebecca J. Schaefer

posted July 8, 2009 at 5:46 pm

The Lord is my Maestro.
I shall not lie unrehearsed.
He entices me to me take up my instrument & play.
He conducts me toward resonant beauty and seamless transitions.
He incarnates powerful pauses.
He revives my musicality. He cause my toes to tap & my knees to dance.
He guides me toward an orchestra of talent, to fill out my repertoire'; an anthem to the Lord’s renown.
Even though no one knows my name, He hears me & applauds.
When I fear red-faced shame; there is no disgrace for You are my Conductor, we will improvise.
You prepare a festival before me, an audience of my peers.
You lift my chin with your white-gloved hand & tap your music stand.
The sound of the tuning orchestra delights our hidden artist’s souls, and surely we will play exquisite vespers with impeccable harmonies every sunset in the garden of the King.

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Matt Monroe

posted July 16, 2009 at 12:02 pm

God is all I will ever need.
He made me to live in His glory.
To enjoy and rest in His creation.
When I am in need he brings me
to a calm and quiet place.
Then He provides.
He protects me from the evil lying in wait.
When my life is drained by doubt
and my heart bleeds,
He loves me back into His form.
He brings me into purity and integrity
all for the Glory of His name.
Even as evil surrounds me every second of my being,
I walk upright shielded by His Love.
I cannot fear,
His faith in me, proven and true,
provides the comfort I need to step forward.
And when the worst of life obstructs our path,
He lifts me up and pours His grace onto me.
I will always be loved by Him, through the rest of my days and

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