gail song bantum

blog on identity, leadership, discipleship

jazz teaches us about community


in his recent article entitled tension gives it groove, ross kane offers a profound connection between jazz music and its capacity to articulate the christian life in community.

we all know that real relationships encounter ups and downs and conflicts abound when living life together. so how do we negotiate such a life in community? kane writes,

Despite the church’s expressed commitment to creating a peaceable community through reconciliation, in daily life we often sidestep tension and conflict… 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.

what a great analogy! tension can be a beautiful thing. if we could only imagine our lives, our interactions and our offerings of vulnerability as something not to be feared but rather as a collaboration of sorts – each one hearing, adding, receiving, and filling out the interpretation of the other. this is the call of christian community.


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