Record Collection

Recently, I started collecting my top ten favorite music albums…. on vinyl. In other words, instead of logging on to the Steve Jobs audio warehouse known as iTunes and picking out individual songs on mp3, I’m searching for 33’s. I do occasionally search for them, but I honestly try and find them first at the local record store (360 and Mayfield- if you’re familiar with Arlington). OK, some might be asking, “What’s a record?”  Well, back in the ancient days, songs were recorded in groups, called albums.  Often these albums had a meaning or a purpose all of their own, like a book or a story.  These songs were recorded on a record (like a CD but bigger and vinyl) and sold with pictures and notes on the inside pages of the packaging.

Now, before I get too pretentious about all of this, I must admit, I am a child of the 90’s.  The first piece of music I ever bought with my allowance money was digital- a CD. Over time, I garnered a giant CD collection and never once thought about buying vinyl.  But even with my generation’s neglect of vinyl, vinyl records never actually went away.  And unbeknownst to me and many of my peers, even current bands continued to release a small, limited number of their albums pressed on vinyl.

And so a couple of months ago, I stumbled upon this intriguing article about present day bands releasing albums on vinyl because of the quality of sound.  Without going into too much detail, basically, a song is recorded on vinyl in analog form.  It’s basically the original sound wave being written into the record.  When a CD is made, they are taking thousands of digital pictures of the sound wave.  So, while CD quality is incredibly good, and it’s a trustworthy replication, the record contains the exact sound wave in the most original form.  Thus, people actually have a basis for the often said, “Records just sound warmer and richer” or “I can’t explain it, but I just like listening to vinyl.”

So, I bought a second hand turn-table and receiver and bought my first record which was an album that I had owned on CD for years.  I put it on and listened. And I actually REALLY listened. Closely. In all honesty, I enjoyed the songs more than I ever had before.  I picked up on a few new things, and was very motivated to focus closely.

Of course, digital has its advantages.  For instance, I just recently downloaded an audio reading of the New Testament on mp3.  It’s great because I can listen to it anywhere, at anytime. I love reading Scripture, and I study and read as much as possible, but listening to it was a very challenging and fresh experience.  I focused in more closely.  I picked up on some things which I might gloss over when I read. I thought intensely about the weight of what it means that Jesus is the Word of God,[1] especially as I listened through the Gospel of John.

Certainly, the written Scripture is:

God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work;[2]

But Jesus spoke His message before it was written down by the Gospel writers, and listening to the Gospel of John has directed my focus towards hearing his words as the people following him and spending time with him would have heard it.  It has directed my focus to Jesus Christ, the eternal Word being in very form God, coming to speak good news to the world[3].  Also, the early church in the beginnings of Christianity did not have an efficient way of copying the Scriptures, and many people couldn’t read, so often in worship the Scriptures were read aloud as people listened.  The message was truly listened to, taken in, and absorbed. It’s been helpful to me to take in the Scripture this way.

I love reading Scripture.  It is a true blessing to read and study the inspired and true words and testimonies of the prophets, Gospel writers, and apostles. And most certainly the message can be “heard” by reading it. But listening to the words has challenged my focus and furthered my passion for the message it testifies to.  I can only imagine what was like to be there when Jesus said,

Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.[4]

[1] John 1.1-2,14

[2] 2 Timothy 3.16 (TNIV)

[3] Philippians 2.6-11

[4] John 5.24 (TNIV)

Guiding real people to embrace a life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ