All That Jazz

April is jazz appreciation month, which the Smithsonian (a U.S. National Museum) calls both a historic and living American art form. Since jazz is the most free and flexible of all musical genres, this seems like a good time to examine those characteristics in our lives. Acclaimed trumpet musician, Herbie Hancock said, “The spirit of jazz is the spirit of openness.” I think that’s what many people find so fascinating about the musical form. It is by nature, open. It’s open to ideas, changes, improvisation, expression, collaboration, and creativity. I find it interesting that in playing jazz, a musician can be both part of something, yet unique at the same time. There is the whole, but there is the distinctiveness of individuals. But some people don’t like freethinking, creative expression, or new ideas. No wonder jazz was outlawed in various times and places like Nazi Germany. The Soviets didn’t outlaw it, but they openly criticized it. Even in the U.S., at least 60 communities banned jazz from being played in public dance halls in the 1920s. One has to ask what people were afraid of! Which begs the question, what you YOU afraid of? Like much great art, jazz came out of tremendous suffering. It is the product of slavery, oppression, and struggle. Sounds like the great themes of life, doesn’t it? Sometimes we are tempted to let the hard knocks of life close us down and make us hard. But if we let tough times change us, we can actually become more open, honest and trusting, and graduate to a new level of personal maturity. If musicians had been satisfied to maintain the status quo, we would never have experienced jazz. Rather, many transformed their pain and struggle into life, beauty, and openness; they continue...

017: How You Think Matters Dec10

017: How You Think Matters...

http://media.blubrry.com/gcoyl/p/media.medeor.co/gcoyl/17-How_You_Think_Matters-Jack.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 22:07 — 20.3MB)Jack Woloshun and Dr. Deb discuss theological & philosophical views that determine how you live your life. How you view how the world works really does influence what you value and the choices you make. At the end we mention a documentary, Lord Save Us From Your Followers. You may find it a refreshing take on the faith, especially if you are one who has been hurt by the church or otherwise found that you no longer...

Top 10-#4 Think Flexible...

In 1956, actress Doris Day recorded the hit song, “Que Será Será.” It was introduced in the Hitchcock film, The Man Who Knew Too Much and later used as the theme of The Doris Day [TV] Show. “Whatever will be will be” is what the words mean. Other popular expression are, “it was meant to be,” and “everything happens for a reason,” as if someone or something is driving the universe. These expressions reflect a worldview that is fatalistic and predetermined. The problem is, the world doesn’t work like that. I believe there is someone bigger than me, a being referred to as God. I’m not a Deist who believes that God created the world and then left it. Neither am I a determinist who thinks God causes everything. (If that is so, you must conclude that God is a monster, a topic I will address in a later post.) The world is not on some pre-determined course. There are too many variables. There are too many possibilities. There is human freewill. Animists believe spirits inhabit everything (trees, the ground, everything) and humans are mostly powerless to fight them; people live in fear. Muslims say, “nsha’Allah,” which means, “God willing.” Behind this saying is a belief that nothing happens outside of God’s will. These ideas have invaded Christianity as far back as Augustine in the 4th and 5th centuries. However, life shows us that things can change. In the bible, there is great evidence that God changes his mind. I have free will, so I can choose my path—and change my mind. If I see the world as fixed, then I am either in the right or in the wrong. I am either on the merry-go-round or I am off. I’m either in God’s...