The Jazz Theologian

The Jazz Question

Jazz Theologian: You’re a musician and I’m a jazz theologian, so let’s jam a bit.  Jazz assumes standards and practices before one takes the stage.  What are the basic practices that need to be assumed before we can experience A New Kind of Christianity?

McLaren:  First, that there’s a key we’re playing in: that’s the key of the gospel of the kingdom or dream of God. Second, that there’s a rhythm we’re working with: that’s the rhythm of Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection, and indwelling. Third, that there’s a band leader who calls the tune and sets the rhythm: that’s the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Fourth, that there’s a chart, the Bible, that gives us some basic chords and notes and melodies to learn by heart and play from the heart. Fifth, that the chart makes room to improvise – that each of us has the freedom, opportunity, and even responsibility to let loose and make our unique solo contribution, always being sensitive to what the other musicians are doing and to the integrity of our song. Sixth, that there are dynamics to be respected – you don’t play too loud, you don’t solo too often or too long. And seventh, that there is a goal – to get people up off their seats and dancing with joy to the music of God, so they’re caught up in the glorious dance, something bigger than any of us, something that enfolds all of us in God’s song of celebration and love.

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