Resurrection City: A Theology of Improvisation on Amazon by Peter Goodwin Heltzel
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free through The Speakeasy and I was not required to write a positive review; the opinions in this review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR Part 255.
"Resurrection City offers a Christian prophetic vision for justice... in "the style of improvisation players of jazz offer." After all, "...traditional theology has most often been written in the style of Western classical music." ...the style of Western classical music? Despite the Christian scriptures not originating in the contemporary western world, until recently, most theologians have originated in the contemporary western hemisphere, so how else are they going to express themselves? Yet still I appreciate "classical music" in the sentence, since jazz also is a musical genre, and in this case, comparisons can be valid.
Resurrection City moves along at the approximate pace of the biblical book of Acts, and like Acts, brings us stories of discipleship, exploitation, inclusion, injustice, healing, conflict, resolution, and resurrection from death. Like Acts, Resurrection City tells us of the eschatological reign of the Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. According to the author, Resurrection City has [at least] a double meaning: new life for the poor, heaven in the biblical book of Revelation, "an ethical goal and future destination for world Christianity." Although the book title refers to many locations and ways of being, most specifically Resurrection City is the Beloved Community that gathered and grew in Washington, D.C., beginning in spring 1968 after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Out of a thoroughly orthodox Theological (Christological, Pneumatological) perspective, author Peter Goodwin Heltzel chronicles triumphs that have occurred because of faith-filled prayer, discernment, direct, and less-than-direct action. Heltzel outlines possibilities for a more inclusive, more justice-oriented future for the entire planet. You could describe much of Resurrection City as scripturally-based instructions and encouragements of ways to "practice resurrection" until the real, enduring experience of God doing a New Thing happens in the power of the Holy Spirit. The blues are a state of mind, blues often signal it's time to start reaching for change, sometimes a case of the blues is a place to rest and reflect for a while. In Peter Heltzel's Resurrection City, blues and jazz are all of the above. Very very highly recommend!
my amazon review: improvisation into resurrection