Monday, April 29, 2019

Thanks, Amy.

There is a photo of me at the age of two or three, asleep on a cushion with big, black retro headphones over my ears connected to a record player by a rubbery, coiled audio cable.  Supposedly, it was the tunes of J.S. Bach that had put me to sleep.  According to research, that experience was likely very formative on my toddler brain and psyche, melding left and right brain functions, creating pathways and pegs in the squishy material of my mind.

Yesterday I was coming home from a long day installing draperies in Austin, riding shotgun with John, our company's most experienced employee.  I consider John a friend, a spiritual mentor and a brother in Christ and our occasional trips together usually include theological conversations (usually light debate between Calvin & Campbell) and old songs and hymns.  In passing, he mentioned an Amy Grant song I hadn't heard or thought about in years.  It led me to a series of long buried memories...

I can't remember if it was for Christmas or a Birthday, but my parents gave me this at the age of 10 or 11: a brand new, shiny, red Sony Walkman cassette player.

Shortly after, a young couple on my parents' team gave me this: Amy Grant's "scandalous" Unguarded on cassette.

I was mesmerized and hooked.  The ability to walk around with music that no one else could hear felt like Amy was singing directly to me.  A one-man concert.  Listening to that album again this week and sharing it with Heather, I was amazed at how many of the lyrics we still remembered, words that were written somewhere deep in us.  Memories and emotions returned with them and as I look back I can see how those songs, those words, that music shaped me, formed me.

I can look back now and see how this one album challenged my pre-teen self, how it strengthened my faith and made me think, made me imagine.

All of that makes me wonder how the music we listen to disciples us, one way or another.  I watch my kids learn to choose the music they listen to and I watch their friends.  Engaging my teenagers in conversation about the artists they follow, the lyrics they listen to, I'm trying to help them see how those lyrics form them and inform them.  They pass on values and a worldview.  They embed themselves in their minds and their spirits.

The more we become an ear bud culture where we walk around to the tune of our own one-person concerts, the more we put music on loops and have messages repeatedly blasted into the delicate combination of mind, body, soul and spirit.

How is the music you listen to discipling you?