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October 08, 2008



Wow this is a great website, with a tremendous amount of food for thought. It gives me a context for mentioning a very positive musical experience I just had. After spending years in orchestras and choirs as a classically trained musician, when someone invited me to a jazz club, I jumped at the chance to play by ear.

Watching jazz professionals play is a lesson to me about community and shared respect. I saw singers arrive and sing beautifully with a band they had not previously rehearsed with. I saw people rotate instruments and take turns. One singer ended his set with a rousing Gospel rendition of "God is good" that for me was the "worship highlight" of my week.

In contrast, I met a pastor recently who is very enthusiastic about adding a contemporary worship service because he hears people in his congregation clamoring for it.

I think this line from that website speaks to my frustration with contemporary Christian music so far: "A missional church will give integrity, morality, good character and conduct, compassion, love and a resurrection life filled with hope preeminence to give credence to their reasoned verbal witness." The shared values of integrity, love, and compassion among musicians in an actual jazz bar were stronger to me than what I have experienced recently in "contemporary music" teams. It might be that I don't do well in ambiguous situations where power vacuums exist. It also might be that folks who seem to want this kind of a service don't understand the time it takes to build a strong, supportive community among creative people. Oftentimes creative people have experienced trauma in one form or another. I see "unresolved trauma" from both sides - leadership, and participants, as an "elephant in the living room" that can be difficult to honestly dicuss...I feel very blessed by God for gifting me with powerfully healing musical experiences outside of the church.

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