Juicy Bits (Musings on Music)

Hello Dear Readers,Saxophone in Glass Tile

I haven’t blogged much of late because I am working rather furiously on my comprehensive paper for my master’s program at Regent College. The assignment is an exploration of different ways Christians have thought about music over the centuries. It occurred to me today that I could at least share some of the juiciest bits with you.  So here’s something to savor, from John Terpstra, quoted in Jamie Howison’s very fine book: God’s Mind in That Music: Theological Explorations through the Music of John Coltrane.

A visiting friend and I were listening to a jazz trio one Sunday morning in an Anglican church. The trio led off with a prelude by John Coltrane, and then accompanied the singing of hymns and responses. For the offering they played a piece by Thelonious Monk. While the ushers passed the plates between the rows the bass tromped out the vintage, the piano danced on the head of a pin, and the saxophone reached deep into the invisible joinery of mortise and tenon in the high-raftered interior of the building. As the notes slowly resolved again into three musicians stationed below the altar with their instruments, my friend leaned over and said, Today I believe in God. – John Terpstra, Skin Boat

Photo by Tony Fischer Photography, Creative Commons

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6 comments to Juicy Bits (Musings on Music)

  • Joell

    Typo in the first paragraph Though – Through. :)

  • Joell

    Typo in my typo correction. Through- Thought ! Lol

  • That is some beautiful writing there. Inspired by a *love supreme* : ) .

    Reminds me of Marc Cohn and “Walkin’ In Memphis”:

    Now Muriel plays piano every Friday at the Hollywood
    And they brought me down to see her/And they asked me if I would
    Do a little number/And I sang with all my might
    She said, “Tell me are you a Christian child?”
    And I said, “Ma’am, I am tonight”

    Thanks for that, pal. “…the invisible joinery of mortise and tenon” — yeee. Been thinkin’ ’bout church architecture lately. Love that.

  • Charles Wilson

    God bless you and thanks. for your being a loving singing From Charles Wilson in Tampa Florida

  • Heck, heck, Carolyn Arends… you are so… religious ;)

    I don’t know about God, he’s a bit of a hurtful guy. But, okay, I realize I only say this because I was once hurt terribly by a good Christian friend who did not forgive me a mistake. It is so emotional. But hurt changes people. I will probably never be able to explain how exactly I lost the god-feel. It just happened – more or less like “shit happens” I guess. It just happens.

    But that’s probably why I recognized something here, while reading. This freaky “Today I believe in God” experience. Sometimes, something brings back memories of the past, when the word “god” represented something, something deep inside, inexplicable and irrational – a bit like love, when its abstraction suddenly makes a switch, into something almost tangible for the mind to grope. Like seeing a different dimension of life, one you can’t see all the time.

    If you’re Christian like that – unorthodox in the name of love, so to say – I think you will be doing fine. If you’re being real, that’s more than divine enough for me.

    About the music and Christians: will your only include nice stories or not? I mean… will you mention the odd fact that Judas Priest was being accused of having recorded, reverse-wise, satanic verses in his music – while anyone could hear more satanic stuff already while listening to the music straightforward? ;-)

    Oh, well, Christianity. Don’t get me started on it. But I sort of like Jesus. Call me an “atheist for Jesus” if you want. Some of my best friends are Christians – open minded ones. Forgiving and compassionate people. It’s not all horror. We’re all human. I just bought your book on kindle. I was just curious. I always want to know how human Christians are. I guess you will pass the test ;)

    Take care.

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