Sunday, November 8, 2009

Jazz in Theology & Reconciliation -- "Tension gives it groove"

Just in time for Sunday, Ross Kane reflects on the powerful potential for instruction which Jazz music offers ministers and congregations alike when encountering conflict. Instead of eliminating conflict, Kane argues that Jazz teaches how to create something useful - even beautiful - out of it.

Despite the church’s expressed commitment to creating a peaceable community through reconciliation, in daily life we often sidestep tension and conflict. “It’s probably easier to move to something else and not address that comment,” thinks a pastor in a tension-filled meeting. “I’d rather not talk to the pastor about the way we’re doing our music these days,” thinks one parishioner. Often Christians see conflict and tension as problems to be forgotten or hastily avoided.

For the jazz musician, however, without the tension there is no groove. The sense of movement in a jazz solo depends upon the building up of harmonic tension followed by release. In jazz, the idea is not to reduce the tension or eliminate it, but rather to negotiate it and let the tension and resolution work together to create something beautiful.

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