In 1950’/60s USA, a band of secular writers, artists and poets emerged with a zest for life, and a dissatisfaction with the ‘status quo’. The so-called ‘Beat Generation’, through Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the road’, Alan Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’, and others, captured the cry of a generation. Their influence spread across music, arts & culture – from Dylan to Cobain, Billie Holiday to the BEATles, calling out for a different way.
Looking back now, we might critique it from a moral/religious/philosophical perspective, but whether we ‘like’ or approve of it would be to miss the point that the ‘Beat Generation’ tapped into a longing, a ‘human ache’ of their times. And right now, around the world, isn’t there a longing inside for something more, a better way to be human? Maybe it is time for a ‘New Beat Generation’ of holy seekers to rise up, where the ‘beats’ are the NINE BEATS of the beatitudes.
These words, spoken by Jesus, offer a nine-statement manifesto for a new world order, a radical alternative to the broken systems we’ve created. In them we hear the whispers of another world. ‘Blessed are the poor, those who mourn, the meek…”, and so on (see Matthew ch5 in the Bible) speak to us as a welcome not a weapon; tender not toxic, inviting not divisive – no less than a call for a tribe of people to live life ‘nine beats to the bar’.
NINE BEATS Collective – an international group of troubadours, poets, rebels, provocateurs, sages & activists – aims to inspire people to do just that!
“What if there really is a call for a counter-cultural move for the world? I really believe the beatitudes are that,”
says Eric Wilson;
“this message is so profound, so impactful, that it can tap into whoever you are, wherever you are.”
As well as a double album, there’s a range of ‘Ninefold Path’ resources / online conversations that invite, individuals, groups, churches, faith communities to explore the wisdom of the beatitudes – and to put it in to practice. Join the New Beat Generation and take a step on the way of the beatitudes, the way of the nine beats – the Way of Jesus.
Steve Bassett – Creator, Nine Beats