If you follow me on social media, there’s a slight possibility that you may have noticed my love of collecting records. I’ve always been a big fan of music, and was very blessed to be have a great head start on my collection thanks to mi padre and his great musical tastes. Over the past year, I’ve been dedicating more time to collecting and listening to records, and have grown to appreciate all things vinyl.
Along with my increased love for vinyl has come a desire to spend more time in the Word. Here are a few similarities I’ve drawn from my vinyl collection as it pertains to reading my Bible.
A lot of vinyl fanatics will tell you that records sound much richer and fuller than listening to digital copies of music. I tend to agree, especially with older albums that were originally analog recordings. Likewise, there’s something very deep and rich about holding the Word of God in your hand. In no way am I opposed to digital. I listen to most of my music off of my phone, and teach from my iPad. But I find an increased desire to sit down and listen to my records, and read a hard copy of the Word. Digital is great for portability and easy access, a hard copy is great for depth and richness.
Another one of the benefits of vinyl is hearing the record how the artist intended it to be heard. If you’re like me, your iPod, car stereo etc have many different presets on an equalizer to change the tone of your music. When I had my truck stereo with a subwoofer, the bass was usually turned up to pump the low end. Currently with my Jeep, I’ve got the bass turned down so that I can listen to my music over the sound of the road without blowing my speakers. The biggest surprises I came across when I started listening to vinyl was how different familiar songs sounded. Likewise, there is something special about reading scripture for yourself, without the context of a a study guide, small group, lesson or sermon. With and understanding of the filter of original language and translation, I feel like reading scripture on your own can provide a little more insight into what the Spirit wants you hear being said.
Listening to records takes time and effort. Like many others, I’ve grown accustomed to having all of my music at my fingertips at any time. There’s an intentionality and a process to listening to records that’s hard to duplicate with digital music. You have to choose an album, remove it from it’s sleeve, open up the turntable, set the needle to the record and when the time comes, flip the album. That process may sound tedious to some, but to a record collector it becomes a ceremony that adds to the listening experience. Likewise, there’s a little bit of a ceremony that comes from opening up a hard copy of the Word. Flipping through pages of highlighted texts, reading through footnotes, turning pages all become part of a ceremony that enthusiasts of the Word can enjoy.
Lastly, one of the shortcomings of digital music is the decreased importance of the concept of an important album. Like many digital music users, I tend to live in ‘shuffle mode’. I enjoy skipping from Johnny Cash to Public Enemy to The Mighty Mighty Boston’s with a few 80’s one-hit-wonders thrown in for good measure. Putting on a record means that I’m going to be listening to that artist for a while, and it gives a deeper context to the song. Listening to the changing tones between songs over the course of an album typically provides greater insight into the statement the artist is trying to make. When it comes to scripture, I often fall into the trap of pulling verses together, failing to fully grasp the deeper context of what the Word has to say.
One love, one heart.