Miles Davis has taught me that speed isn’t everything. What can Miles and the Cool Jazz movement tell us as preachers about time?
Miles Davis and cool jazz also remind us to take our time as preachers. I am reminded of the often heard statement in the Black church to the minister when someone from the congregation yells “Take your time.” No one had to tell Miles Davis to take his time. He stayed with a theme until the theme was completed.
The world right now is about speed. I had to break up this article into 5 articles because people are not willing to read one 1500 word article. Instead they want to read 5 500 word ones. They want speed. They want to hit it get the information and go. Now there is a time for this. Sometimes we only have 5 minutes for a whole presentation. Some of our traditions will only allow us 20 minutes for the sermon and that is all. If that is true, then I would suggest that you preach 20 minutes. But in those 20 minutes I encourage you to take your time.
Instead of preaching 3 points in 20 minutes, take one point and really explore it as Davis encourages us to do. You may not be able to take your time with 8 moves, but what if you had 3 moves? You could take your time then. There may be times when you need to preach a “Bop-like” sermon, for example when you want to preach on the whole Bible in one sermon. There are times for that kind of preaching, but let us keep in mind that there are also times to really explore an idea before moving on.
Davis reminds us that if we can’t really explore 5 thoughts in a sermon, then cut the number of thoughts down to a smaller number. You have to be able to take your time.
See these Books:
- Free at Last?: The Gospel in African-American Experience by Carl Ellis
- Free Play by Stephen Nachmanovitch
- Kind of Blue by Miles Davis
- Jazz of Preaching by Kirk Byron Jones
- Preaching and Teaching with Imagination by Warren Wiersby
See these Websites