Reading The Liner Notes
In his excellent book, "Life's Too Short To Pretend You're Not Religious," author and theologian David Dark asks the following pointed questions:
What happens when almost everything appears to be one google away and yours for nothing save the willingness to sit still for it? Do hungry hearts still research the names in the liner notes, tracking down the source material of the things they love?Thirty-plus years ago, I worked in an actual record store that almost exclusive sold vinyl albums. I mostly worked there for the employee discount, which was substantial.
There was a time all the way back then when I did an inventory of my vinyl albums and counted over 600 of them. Now I've only got a couple of dozen, but the collection is growing.
One of the many beautiful things that I've always loved about vinyl records is reading the liner notes, which are placed there by the artist, and serve essentially as footnotes or endnotes for the tracks on the record.
It was in the liner notes of an Iron Maiden album that I became more acquainted with the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and became an admirer of Winston Churchill. I also became a fan of Judge Dredd comics, learned about philosopher Alan Watts, and discovered artists and music I would have never been exposed to if they had not been referenced by my favorite bands in their liner notes.
That kind of discovery is too easy now, isn't it? I don't have to pore over the inside cover of an album to find those kinds of things. All I have to do is speak into the air of my house, "Alexa..." or into my phone "Hey Siri..." and then ask whatever I want to find the answer.
I got to thinking about all of this in relation to the season of Lent, and how so many of us want to simply "get through" the business of Lent, to make everything right in our lives, move on ahead in the journey of following Jesus and get right to Easter.
But if we are truly desirous of change that will last, of transformation that will enable us to be transforming, then we need to take the time to read through the liner notes, so to speak, and slow our roll a bit.
As your journey through this season of Lent, push back against the need to be so urgent with your desire for betterment. Know that it takes time and patience to journey with Jesus. There are stops and starts, and discoveries to make. May it be true for you today and every day of this blessed season.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.