Pastor’s Corner 9/15/2019

Pastor’s Corner

Hello again, everyone!
                We’re about to enter a sermon series that I’m extremely excited about. For the next several weeks, we’ll be discussing world religions. You see, my undergraduate degree is in religious studies. I remember when my Islamic traditions professor told us about a concept in Islam called the jahilyyah, the name given to the period of time before Islam came to be. Jahala means ignorance, but not only ignorance…willful ignorance. Bold ignorance. To give us a modern day example, my professor told us about a bumper sticker he saw, reading “Everything I Need to Know About Islam I Learned On 9/11.” That, he said, was jahala: willful, vicious ignorance.
                 We humans have a startling capacity for ignorance, which leads to a startling capacity for hatred. I have to think, however, that we also have a startling capacity for curiosity and knowledge, and a startling capacity for kindness. If we can be willfully ignorant, maybe we can be willfully and powerfully curious about others, about their faiths, their ways or life, and how we can relate to and respect each other as members of one big, beautiful human family. My prayer is that through this sermon series, we can begin to do just that.
Stay curious, friends.


About Blackie Nelson

                The Jazz Sunday musicians for today would like to dedicate our performance to our friend, mentor, and father, Blackie Nelson.
                Blackie was a consummate musician. Most folks in Helena remember him as a superb guitarist but he was also excellent on piano or bass. He played music (mostly Jazz) around Montana for many decades. When he passed away in August, he had been a member of the Musician’s Union for 66 years. When luminaries like singers Nancy King and Julie London came through Helena, Blackie was the one they wanted to back them in their performances.

                The selections chosen for today are all songs that Blackie loved to play and would suggest whenever he was put on the spot to choose the next tune for a band. But Blackie didn’t particularly like to call tunes. He preferred that other musicians decide on the music to be played. No matter what song was picked, Blackie always seemed to know it and would provide graceful and solid accompaniment with never a need to look at any music. He may have chosen not to be the “head” of the band but was always the “heart” of every group he played with. He will be greatly missed. Blackie’s guitar will be heard once again this morning in the capable hands of his son Ken Nelson as we play some of Blackie Nelson’s favorites.