Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Sunday, September 18, 2016


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©

We are having a jazz worship service at our church this morning. I’ll go, and I’ll like it. Still…

My good friend, the much-loved and much-missed George Paterson, was a jazz musician, in addition to being the chaplain at University of Iowa Hospitals and a professor in the university’s School of Religion. He played trombone and often led jazz worship services. People came away from George’s services, and from George’s presence, feeling like they had experienced the Gospel. I’m sure I’ll do that this morning. Still…

Much jazz worship takes familiar hymns, like “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” and doing them in jazzy tempo and style. I like that. You get to hear that rendering of a Gospel truth in a new way. Still…

Still… in my soul, I’ll be humming, “I love to tell the story.”

I’m a narrativist, a story guy. So much jazz is without a story, at least one I can recognize. That means I’m mostly a folk music guy. Folk music tells a story, a story of the yearnings of common people to be free, to be treated with respect. I don’t hear that in jazz.

The biggest difference between folk and jazz is, jazz musicians go to jail because of their behavior, folk musicians go to jail because of their songs.


Some folks say that if you are playing and you hit a wrong note, you just call it jazz and go on. So I guess I played a lot of jazz in my younger days.

Jazz, of course, by its very nature, cannot be pigeon-holed. Some, like the Ragtime variety, is narrative.

Interestingly, the song “And All That Jazz” from “Chicago,” is not jazz. It’s straight Broadway, all narrative.

I tweet as yooper1721, because when I started, I thought you were supposed to have a “handle,” like CB radio, instead of a name. I was a Yooper, resident of MI’s UP [Upper Peninsula], and my phone ended in 1721, so…

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