It's a vision thing...

I have a vision - or is it a dream - of calling together a down-to-earth, no bullshit inter-faith potluck followed by a jazz performance. It could be part cosmic Eucharist, part "who makes the best hummus" contest and part life-meets-death meditation on the question "can I really listen to you in both the sound and the silence?"  I don't know all the details yet, but I have a hunch about some of the players: they have to love dogs and children, they have to know how to count and swing, they have to groove to that grace that is greater than themselves but is never limited to one brand name or another, they have to laugh at themselves even while striving for greater beauty in their art, they have to have "met" and "experienced" forgiveness - I mean the "taste and see" kind of encounter with the Divine that changes your life - they have to be playful but grounded and... they have to ache for tasting the common bread of life among all the broken peoples of the earth that exists even if only for a moment. 

I know some of these cats. I know others are out there, too. So I'm going to sit with this dream - or vision - for the next six months - especially during the time of our sabbatical (that starts in just 40 days, 965 hours and 57,922 minutes) and see what percolates while we're away and when we get back home. I know it has something to do with jazz - broadly defined - and breaking bread together and taking it out to others beyond a small circle of friends so that we start listening and talking and trusting one another. In a very earthy way. Fr. Richard Rohr says if it is too abstract - and too lofty - it is NOT the gospel. And I don't mean the gospel in any narrow way: I mean something like love supreme. 
Poet C.D. Wright put it like this in "The Secret Life of Musical Instruments."

Between midnight and Reno
the world borders on a dune.
The bus does not stop.

The boys in the band have their heads on the rest.
The dream like so-and-sos.

The woman smokes
one after another.
she is humming, "Strange Fruit."
There is smoke in her clothes, her voice,
but her hair never smells.

She blows white petals off her lapel,
tastes salt.
It is a copacetic moon.

The instruments do not sleep in their dark cribs.
They keep cool, meditate.
The have speech with strangers:

Come all ye faithless
young and crazy victims of love.
Come the low life and the highborn
all ye upside-down shitasses.

Bring your own light.
Come in. Be lost. Be still.
If you miss us at home
we'll be on our way to the reckoning.

Can we bring a traveling jazz potluck to a mosque? A synagogue? An African-American church Another country? Can we eat and talk to one another? Can we play deeply meditative jazz - and then some shake-yer-booty funk? Can we talk about what we feel and sense and know and experience in the music? And the meal? And our prayers? And our life together? We are all victims of love. Sometimes we've been low life and other times highborn and always we are upside-down shitasses.

Someone asked me recently, "Why do you want to quit doing your work with the institutional church?"  That is NOT what I said - or meant. Yes, I don't have the stomach for the politics or the bureaucracy. Oh well... what I really mean is that it is just time for somebody else to do those things - not me. I have other things I want to do cuz this a vision thing - a dream thing - a thing about my heart. It is something like the prophet said oh so long ago: "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young shall see visions." I have a dream... let's see how it blossoms.


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