21 January 2013

MLK, Jr. Day 2013

Last year the spree of deaths in New Orleans urged me to write a piece on the importance of community and nonviolence.  This past Friday, Jan 18, I read a piece in the Star Tribune about an troubling incident at the local high school near the church I serve.  On Saturday I sat down and wrote the following piece which was published this morning on MINNPOST.COM.  I wrote it in someways as my own call to always be aware of the devilish and cunning evil of racism that is in my own life and in the communities I inhabit.

On King Day, Let's Turn the Racist at Washburn into a Transformative Moment.

17 January 2013

The Importance of Jazz

This morning the lineup for the 2013 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was released.  I poured over the names and instantly my mouth began to water with tastes of pheasant gumbo, white chocolate bread pudding, and abita beers.  I wonder if anyone will be looking for the clergyman offering prayers?

I love Jazz Fest, for me it is like Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, & the World Series and then some.  I love the sea of humanity, the artistic expressions, the full range of human emotions, the synergistic blending of the sacred and the profane.  Once you enter the sanctuary on the grounds of the race track that holds the festival you are on holy ground, not perfect ground but a feeling and experience of wholeness - broken & healed.

I believe that is the importance of the Jazz Fest and more broadly for Jazz music itself.

This weekend the nation will pause and remember her great prophet of the 20th century.  A few years ago I stumbled upon his speech, The Importance of Jazz, which served as the opening remarks of the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival.  While looking for a youtube recording of the speech I discovered a remarkable recording of the speech by different San Fran area jazz artists.