third-way-thinking-groove-banner-21I didn’t initially plan on making this into a series, but I just came across a great passage on third way thinking as I’ve been reading through Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith, by Robert Gelinas.

Robert’s jazz-shaped faith is composed of three foundations, or keynotes:

  • Syncopation
  • Improvisation
  • Call and response

These keynotes have implications both for “our walk with God (spirituality) and our joining in to help others walk with God (evangelism).”

One of my favorite explorations of these keynotes comes in chapter four, “Creative Tension.”  Robert points out that in our desire to resolve conflict, tension and perceived contradictions in the Bible and in our faith, perhaps we have lost touch with the very thing that can lead to creativity and life.

Jesus knows what to do with tension…

These two opposing truths provided a whole new option for those present that day — a third way (in Latin, tertium quid), a new, creative way.  This happens when we move beyod either/or to both/and. This is the gateway to improvisation.  Jazz is the willingness to live between freedom and unfreedom and see where it leads.

I love how Robert challenges us even to rethink, or reframe, our understanding of what it means to be in a rut.  So much of life is lived somewhere in-between, in the ordinary and everyday.  And yet, as we embrace this third way thinking:

When we are in a rut with God, we can stop and realize that a rut only exists becaus there are two opposing, competing, and equally strong forces that create sides.  Those sides create a groove.  Creative tension helps us find that groove.

May the paradox of loving and following Jesus lead us into the endless groove of wonder, possibility and love!