Last Friday afternoon, I decided it was time to tidy up my office here at our church facilities. I have been working out of this space for almost a year and a half now. So, things were a bit cluttered. Once I had talked myself into tackling this task, I decided I needed a bit of company to help offset the mundaneness of the job. I then pulled up Pandora from the web. Pandora is a website that enables you to request the type of music you want to listen to via creating channels. On this occasion, I created a new channel – a Keith Green channel – to go along with others I had created in the past. Green, who died in a plane crash with two of his small children in 1982, wrote and sung Christian music.
As an undergraduate student, I majored in communications studies – radio, television, and photography were my areas of concentration. For two summers, I worked at Windy Gap – a Young Life camp in Weaverville, NC. During my first summer I was the assistant video technician. This position served as an internship towards my degree. The second summer, I retuned as the head video technician.
Each week the video department produced a fifteen-minute video of the campers and the various activities they participated in during the week. Once we were done with filming and editing, we then made copies to sell in the camp store. We had the ability, in the editing bay, to make ten copies at a time. So, it took the better part of an afternoon to complete the job. While I was making copies, I would listen to Christian music that was popular at the time – artists such as Rich Mullins, Twila Paris, Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Keith Green, Susan Ashton and my favorite Margaret Becker (her song “The Hunger Stays” is spot-on). While listening to music, I would often reflect, pray, and write in my journal. These were holy times.
Of late, I’ve gone back to this practice of listening to once popular music and reflection while engaged in a task of some sort. I am not the same person I was in the early 1990s. I am more mature, wiser, and more knowledgeable about the Bible and the historical development of our faith. However, there is much I like about that guy, in his early twenties, hanging out in a dark video production suite. He had a passion for Christ and an enthusiasm for the church that, unfortunately, time often dulls. That guy had a strong desire to see people come to faith in Christ for the first time. All in all, he was an okay guy.
Sometimes it is good to go backwards. It is good to recreate a time in life when the flames of faith burned brightly. And then, while we are in the past, do our best to bring those flames back with us into the present.