Friday, November 14, 2008

spirituality is jazz

i've been thinking a lot about spiritual formation...trying to give others clues and suggestions about how to grow in the Spirit, and it has struck my how musical spirituality is.

for example,
when we're first learning how to follow Jesus we stick to the basics
prayer + bible reading

then we maybe move onto other things like
listening prayer
lectio divina
conteplative prayer
scriptural study + exegesis


thing is...i do all of these and none of these regularly

almost like jazz

in jazz (a word which literally means "improvisation") you've got to know the rules in order to break them.

so, you play swung eighths instead of straight
you mix up your scales and your modes

you play with the music you're playing

and that's mostly how i approach christian spirituality. i've had a host of great experiences in my life, including times of remarkable discipline, that give me something to vamp on. it makes it easier for me to hear the Spirit now that i feel like there are many ways in which He can communicate to me that i'm practiced in understanding.

but sometimes i get uncomfortable explaining this...because i'm afraid people will try and copy or adopt my approach without all of the same background experiences.

so, for example, people who hear me say that i don't spend time each night reading my bible may use that as an excuse to skip out on time in the word

but this is a problem, given that i spend almost 20-25hours a week prayerfully studying the the parallel between my life and theirs breaks down quickly.

see what i mean?

if you want to go deeper in your spiritual life you must begin with some basic building blocks, and then move onto something new-er or more holistic etc.

you've got to know your scales before you can change them
know your modes before you can switch them
know you time before you can bend it

know the Word before you can discern the Spirit speaking to you


  1. "know the Word before you can discern the Spirit speaking to you"

    OH SNAP!

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