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Daily Life Like Jazz

Bill Carter, a Presbyterian pastor and jazz musician, was interviewed once for an article about jazz in the church. He shared an insight he’s learned from his music, about this whole subject of taking risks in the Christian life:

The act of playing jazz, like daily life, is an informed risk. Improvisation happens through nimble fingers, serious training in music theory and form, and a willingness to jump into uncharted territory. It takes disciplined, technical preparation to play this music, and it also requires the freedom to take enormous risks. You work hard to lift the music from the page and release it into the air. Yet there is always a safety net of grace. If a musician hits a sour note or flubs a rhythm, it cannot be replayed, only forgiven. There will be another opportunity to play better notes on another day. These basic characteristics of jazz make it particularly congenial to the life of Christian faith.

A jazz musician would never perform a single number, were it not for the willingness to risk that first note.

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