Lend an Ear to a Love Song

By

Maybe I’ve found a good reason to justify my pack rat inclination. For years I have maintained three dresser drawers, a suit case, and an old trunk–full of so-called memorabilia–spanning over thirty years now. I rarely venture in there. These archives contain an old autograph book, boxes of letters from old camp friends, many of which have antiquated eight cent stamps on the envelope, pictures of people I haven’t seen in years, essays from college, journals, greeting cards, Bible study notes, awards, some dirt in a jar from Camp Merrill, home-spun novels, and a partridge in a pear tree.

I’ve always held these items back, avoiding the intermittent temptation to dredge up the past. Collecting life’s “treasures” has usually seemed more relevant than reviewing them. Still, deep in the recesses of my cranium, I’ve always known that someday I would dive into the pool of my past. So I’ve held this stuff back, like a miser might hoard Benjamins for a rainy day. But now, as the years zip by, like a dark tunnel around a fast moving train—and I find myself closing in on the big 5-0 milestone—increasingly, this thought flashes before my eyes: “If not now, when?”

So one recent late night, I decided to take the plunge. With a sense of adventure, I opened one of the drawers, reached deep into the middle of a pile of papers, and pulled the first item my fingers locked on to. Supressing a sneeze, I blew the dust away from the April, 1974 version of a publication called Truth Magazine. Truth was published out of Spokane, WA by The Voice of Elijah, Inc., a non-profit corporation. Carl A. Parks was the Editor and Publisher. It was published bi-monthly and a subscription cost $2.00 for 12 issues. Seriously.

This is the epitome of a Jesus Movement publication from that era. There were many of these publications, often handed out on street corners of downtown metro areas. The articles in this particular issue include the conversion story of Charles Colson, a man who was part of the Richard Nixon administration, who found Jesus after the Watergate debacle. Another feature is about The Ferris High School “Revival.” There’s a story about UFO’s and an article pondering whether we are really living in the last days (apparently not, since all living Christians are still attached to the earth some thirty years later). The regular features include a page for pen pals, letters to the editor, a women’s page and several others. I had a pen pal, a girl who’s name I’ve long forgotten, which I may have found in the pen pal section.

The print ads feature bumper stickers and buttons that say things like, “One Way, Jesus,” “Not Religion … a Relationship with Jesus,” “Read Your Bible, It’ll Scare the Hell Out of You,” “God Loves You,” “Truckin’ With Jesus,” and “One Way.”

The entire back page is an ad for The Wilson McKinley Record Albums, a Jesus Music band that was part of early Jesus Music movement. Jesus Music was the precurser to CCM and all of the tree limb off-shoots of contemporary music written and produced by Christians today. For a tax deductable donation of $4.95, you get The Wilson McKinley album of your choice, “On Stage,” “Spirit of Elijah,” or “Heaven’s Gonna be a Blast.” For a tax deductable donation of $10.00, you get all three!

As I turned the pages, the memories came flooding back. As captured by Time Magazine and other national publications, in 1974, The Jesus Movement was in full swing. It was fueled by Jesus Music and the deep passion of young people that caught the wave. Emanating from within the hippie counterculture, the Jesus Movement began on the West Coast, and found it’s way into the nooks and crannies of mainstream youth groups, one of which was the Baptist-Presbyterian Church in Valley, Nebraska, my home church.

I was an unhip small town Nebraska boy, but the emerging cultural revolution insidiously wrapped its tenticles around me. I ordered me some of those neat stickers. I didn’t grow long hair, but I hung out with many that did. I frequented the outdoor Jesus Music festivals. I learned to play guitar and wrote some bad songs. I carried a living Bible, called “The Way,” with notes written in the margins, and a rainbow of color-coded colors to highlight passages that were “far out.” I felt rebelliously cool when I pasted a bunch of those cool stickers all over my Bible.  Relationships were filled with passion and joy. A giddy, unrestrained joy permeated the stream of consiousness conversations that free-flowed among my friends. Inhibitions were few. Peace that passes human understanding softened and strengthened every new day. Warm hugs and honest, sincere smiles were shared indiscriminately.

The music we sang and heard then is an anchor which tethers memories of those days to the emotion that was generated. I still remember discovering the band Love Song, one of my first musical discoveries of the the era. As I looked at the rustic artistic album cover at Zondervan Bookstore in the Westroads, I intuitively knew that I would love the music contained inside. Love Song was the right band at the right time. New believers themselves, they wrote simply, sincerely, and convincingly of their love for Jesus. It’s hard to overstate how intensely Love Song’s music resonated with those of us that experienced it at that time and place. To those that were there, it still resonates today, like an old star fueled by the combustion of time and the collective memories of those of us that were there. The debut, Love Song, and to a lesser extent, the follow up Final Touch, are as close to perfect records as I’ve ever heard. The music was part of the soundtrack of my young life.

Lush, intricate harmonies, home-spun lyrics, and acoustic guitars fill the grooves of the vinyl. The debut Love Song is innovative, enchanting, and in its own way, profound. It’s not unusual to hear former Jesus People describe he album as “pure” and “inspired.” According to the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music, written by Mark Allan Powell, Love Song is considered the most important Christian rock band of all time. Some refer to this album as “anointed.” The band connected with its audience in a way which is rarely seen. The mainstream equivalent may be The Grateful Dead and its Deadheads in terms of the loyal connection it found with its fans in a concert setting.

I think the word is “passion.” We were inspired by a convergence of life, love, music, and revival, a truly unique period in recent history. It was a curious time in which God orchestrated surprise after surprise, using–as He always has–unlikely earthen vessels: Lonnie Frisbee, Chuck Smith, Chuck Girard, Larry Norman, Duane Pederson, Barry McGuire, Second Chapter of Acts, Petra, Scott Ross, Larry Black, Resurrection Band, Phil Keaggy, Randy Stonehill, Randy Matthews, Mark Heard, Andraé Crouch and the Disciples, and the late Keith Green and Larry Norman. To those that were there, these names evoke vivid memories and deep emotion.

It’s odd that one such memento from my past would inspire such a vast flood of thoughts and emotion. I wonder what other jewels await me in the hinterland of my past, covered with dust, waiting to be stirred. Like carefully constructed words inside an old book sitting on the shelf waiting to be read, will all the relics of my life come rushing forth with such vim and vigor when I mine the depths of my drawers again? And why do I care?

A good friend once ask me, “Why do you hang on to all this stuff?” He meant no harm, asking the question quite dispassionately, but I somehow felt a little naked, like he suspected something about me that wasn’t especially flattering. Why indeed do I hold such inanimate objects in such high esteem? Why do I discuss the past with such a sense of romance? Why can’t I bring myself to cast these items off, like an empty milk jug on trash day?

As I cling to my past, like a bus driver’s hands cling to the steering wheel as he navigates an icy winter road, I want my life to matter. I want your life to matter. My earnest hope, indeed my wavering, yet firm belief, is that our lives matter more than we can imagine. It’s what I believe. It’s the way I want to live. But if my wife ever throws that stuff away, I’ll kill her.

“Everything matters if anything matters at all,
Everything matters, no matter how big, no matter how small.”

–Pierce Pettis from “God Believes in You”


26 Comments

  1. Sharon

    Curt ~
    Thanks for this excellent article on packrat-itis. This also describes me. But one time, after having read books or hearing talks about de-cluttering your life, I threw away some precious mementos and I have always regretted it.

    In the early 80s, when Rich Mullins lived in Cincinnati, I saw him with his group Zion several times at the Salt Shaker Coffeehouse. At their table, they had a newsletter called (something like) “Pretty Feet Publications.” As I remember, most of the articles were written by Rich, and they resonated with me. That was my first drawing towards Rich Mullins’ writing and it hooked me forever after. I think I collected 3 issues. But years later in a fit of relentless de-cluttering, I threw them away. Oh how I wish I could undo that. I’ve searched the internet to see if there is any way to get copies, but I haven’t had any luck.

    So believe me when I say I totally identify with you, and I have my folders and files and drawers of precious keepsakes. I want to keep them for me, but also so that my kids can someday go through them and see what I was about, what moved me. They know some of that now, of course.

    Fellow packrats, unite!

  2. Linda Walters

    I also hold onto a lot of things from my past….mostly letters from friends and journals and a few postcards from places I’ve been. I also love to keep books and pamphlets or flyers for events or concerts I’ve gone to. For me, it reminds me of where I’ve been and shows me in some ways how I’ve gotten to the place I am now. Sometimes the things remind me of things I can’t believe I was stupid enough to do. Some of the other things make me marvel at God and how He works in mysterious ways thru a letter a friend wrote me or a concert I attended or a retreat I went to in college. I love holding onto things from my past. It’s my own personal history and I learn and remember so much from it each time I look at it.

  3. Aaron Roughton

    Wow…I haven’t thought about some of that stuff in years. I am a Methodist preacher’s kid, and during my early days my dad was the youth pastor at our church. So your people (Curt) would show up at my house for bible studies with their long hair and numbered half length sleeve jersey shirts, and my brother and I would hide behind a piece of furniture to try and see what was going on during the meetings. I wondered why all these kids that I thought were so cool thought my dad was so cool. Was I missing something? My dad would get out his Martin D-35 and my mom would play piano from some song books that I think were associated with The Way bible…they had pictures of Jesus People on the front…”It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing. That’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it…you’ve got to pass it on.”

    Thanks for hanging on to that stuff Curt. You’ve reminded me that I used to have high hopes for my life mattering. I think I’ve let go of that to some extent. I want it back.

  4. Tony Heringer

    Thanks Curt. It was fun walking down memory lane with you. Be careful though, this is a post that could have a lot of sequels. Stories like these have to be shared.

    “Pass it On.” I hadn’t thought of that song in a long time. I remember singing it in youth group. I’m 45, so I was a little too young to take in the full impact of the Jesus Movement, but greatly appreciated the impact it has had on the Church in America — in particular in the area of music.

    I’ve pack rat tendencies, but have de-cluttered most of my stuff as we’ve moved over the years. During those times I’m forced to pick and choose keepsakes — its one thing to store it; its another to keep lugging it around.

    I think it is important to have keepsakes, whether they be news articles, old business cards and of course pictures (which digital photography allows pack rates to seem less cluttered than before). Like the stones the Israelites used to pile up, these keepsakes serve as reminders of our own history. That is most certainly important to God given that He’s given us a great deal of the Bible in historical form.

    The question is how are we remembering and reflecting on the past? Appreciative of the life experiences both good and bad? Or just longing for “the good old days”? I can waver between these two points of view and all points in between.

  5. Tony Heringer

    Okay, this is too weird. My mom just handed me an envelope she received in a letter from my aunt. It’s addressed (hand typed) to my grandmother. The contents of the envelope are a letter and a response envelope (with a 3 cent stamp). The letter, also handtyped and signed by W.K. Stillman, is essentially a solicitation for payment on some commemorative photographs related to his naval service – dated 10/28/1953. It is about the most impersonal letter that I’d think anyone would keep, but she (my aunt) had it, passed it on to my mom who then handed it off to me.

    I know I’ll be the one to finally put this “rat packed” item out of its misery, but its odd that this task falls to me so close to the time of my responding to this post. God has a great sense of humor, eh?

    Wonder if the 3 cent stamp is worth anything? 🙂

  6. Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    Sharon, thanks for your thoughts. Yeah, I figure I can always throw things away, but once the stuff is gone, it’s gone. My wife would tell you that I even grieve over throwing away vegetables from the crisper. Once the veggies start sprouting mold, my wife says it must go in the trash. Does that seem fair? 🙂 It was interesting and fun to read your Rich Mullins memories. That’s the first I’ve heard of those publications.

    Linda, you summarized in far fewer words why I keep all that stuff. I identify with everything you wrote. This sentence struck a humorous, yet meaningful chord:

    Sometimes the things remind me of things I can’t believe I was stupid enough to do.

    Me too. As a full-fledged adult—at least in appearance—I’m not so inclined to behave randomly, irrationally, or innocently. Reviewing the old stuff reminds me that I never want to completely leave all the residue of those days behind. Dare I say it? There’s some value to be found in immaturity! 🙂

    Aaron, wow, those “Pass It On” lyrics really brought back some memories, all of them good. I probably played and sang that song as much as any other. It was THE campfire song back in the day. Well, that and “Everything to Me.” I encourage you Aaron—in the strongest way possible—to cling tightly to the truism that your life matters. Because it does.

    As an aside, I have found your website a couple of times and really like your music (shades of Chris Rice?). In particular, “What I Want” is a great song. Did you write it? Whether it’s music or anything else, it really does matter. Don’t give up on the idea, Rabbit Room brother.

    Tony wrote:

    It’s another to keep lugging it around.

    What? That’s what they make U-Haul’s for, man. 🙂

    Yeah, I was on the fringe of the Jesus Movement too (though I have a few years on you), slightly too young to fit in ideally with the demographics, but I borrowed enough of the influence to really enrich my life with some of the most attractive features of that era.

    Let me know how you come out on the value of that stamp. I have a fantasy that I will be able to pay off my mortgage with the cancelled stamps in my old letter box. 🙂

    AP – Nice picture. That’s hilarious as heck.

  7. Aaron Roughton

    Curt, thanks for the reminder, and the kind words. I did write What I Want. It was one of those songs I wrote right here at my desk (where I am writing this post) in one of my “why am I sitting at this desk” moments. It took about 5 minutes to pound out into Microsoft Word, and I like that song better than any of the songs I spend years on.

    If you want to email me offline…er…online…uh…I mean…so you don’t have to post your address in the Rabbit Room, I’d love to put a copy of the cd in the mail to you. My email is aaronroughton (at) gmail .com.

  8. Lewis Moore

    Last Sunday I went to a Bible study re-union that I was involved in back in the 1970’s. We sang Pass It On and several of the songs that were popular during that time. Seeing all those people who had a great influence on my life was a real uplifting experience. When Explo 72 was mentioned, I gladly raised my hand and said ” That was when I gave my heart to Jesus” Things have never been the same since.

  9. easton crow

    Curt- Your post was a lot of fun to read. As a history person (I work for a living history museum) I have to say that we love you people who never throw anything away. How else would we know all of the mundane details of our historic past? They just aren’t going to talk about the Jesus Movement in Nebraska in any of the classroom histories of our era.
    One of my great joys as a researcher (and this has a certain morbid curiosity to it) ,is stumbling on the occasional home where the last of the family just passed on leaving behind a dense warren of stuff that hasn’t been rifled through in 50 years. A few years ago we had the privilege of going into a home where the 100 year old occupant had passed away. He had been born in the house and had changed nothing since about 1920- the furniture, rugs, curtains, all of it were untouched. Even his prohibition era still and whiskey in the coal cellar were there.
    The post also made me rather wistful as well. The Great Flood here in Iowa this summer washed away just about every piece of the past that I had held. Several dear friends spent a couple of weeks just washing flood mud off of the photographs that we managed to save. I still wish they hadn’t managed to save the 7th grade swim team picture.
    The physical ties to the memories are gone, but the stories remain. It is the stories that I tell to my boys, and that they will tell their kids one day. The stuff, as a co-worker said looking over the remains of our museum, the stuff is only a prop for the story. it is the story that motivates us. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  10. Christopher Hopper

    Curt,

    This was a very cool post. I’m not as “mature an American” as you, meaning I was a product of the 70’s–rather than a contributor–when my parents got married in a place called Love Inn in Freeville, NY. But I’m old enough to have many fond memories of falling asleep under my dad’s mixing console as he tracked Uncle Phil (Keaggy) or produced Uncle Scott’s (Ross) radio show. Larry Black even lived in the house across the street from us on Rt. 13 once upon a time.

    All that to say that these ties to the past are very strong. There is something intrinsically cathartic about holding physical representations of past experiences in your hands. I know where I’ve come from. I know what my spiritual lineage is, what price my parents paid to be branded “spiritual wackos” by their parents. But it gave me life in the Lord. I have never known church without a drum set or a dance ministry. God was always exciting and new. My parents purchased that for me and I pass it on to my beautiful children…

    …in the hopes that one day they will remember touring Europe with us, falling asleep on stage right, holding my books or CDs in their hands recognizing the legacy that they are a part of. Recognizing their heritage from vinyl to plastic to whatever lays up ahead for us all.

    Thanks for stirring up so many timeless images for me tonight. I needed that.

    Blessings,

    CH

  11. becky

    Hey Curt, I like this post. Just a few months ago I finally got rid of my Second Chapter of Acts, Phil Keaggy, Andraé Crouch and the Disciples, and Keith Green albums, along with my collection of John Denver, Chicago, etc. They were all scratched and warped, hadn’t been listened to in probably 20 years, and were never going to be listened to again. I had been carrying them around in plastic milk crates in the trunk of my car, cause I don’t have room for them in my apartment. Finally, I had to make the painful break and reclaim my trunk space. I had a lot of good memories wrapped up in those lps. I’m glad I’m not the only one who clings to these things.

  12. Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    Aaron – That songwriting phenomenon in which songs that end up with the most intuitive, viseral impact, end up being ones that were written quickly, almost as if the songwriter were taking dictation instead of writing. I remember reading that AP wrote at least one song that way. If I recall correctly, it may have been “Faith to be Strong.” I’ll be in touch. It’s nice to have you around here.

    Lewis – Another “Pass It On” reference. Isn’t that something? When I wrote this post, I secretly hoped, but didn’t expect to have a fellow Jesus Movement participant or two show up to the discussion. I would LOVE to have the opportunity you had to reunion with some of my fellow believers from camps, Bible studies, and concerts. I know there were a lot of young people at Explo 72′. How cool is it that not only were you there, but that you found Christ there too. Thanks for jumping into the discussion, my long time Christian Acoustic Board friend.

    Easton – I suppose it wouldn’t surprise you to know that I am a museum fanatic. I could spend days in even one museum. I’ve been to D.C., but yet to make it to the Smithsonian. I don’t think I would leave. I didn’t realize that you were a fellow Midwesterner. Your co-workers comment about the artifacts being the prop for the story is perfect. He’s absolutely right. Without the story, the stuff is just stuff–more matter. (By the way, Jonathan has an absolutey great article on the power of Story which I think is coming down the pike). What metro area are you from, Easton? My buddy Ed, who lives in Coralville, Iowa, lost his business and home in the flood.

    Christopher – Reading your post was exciting. How casually you wrote of “a place called Freeville.” Ha. Scott Ross and later, Larry Black were great influences on me, spurring my emerging interest in radio as a career. The only Christian radio I did was in college because there really wasn’t many Christian radio stations back then, but I listened and learned from both of these men regularly and wanted to be like them. How stunning that you were raised in the hotbed of one of the most amazing Jesus Music communities. Wow. I hope I get to met you someday. I’d love to hear more about your growing up experiences. I think it’s awesome that you understand and appreciate your heritage. I hesitated to even write an article like this. In the secular world, musical pioneers are esteemed and revered. In Christian music, not particularly so. Thanks for the stories, man.

    Becky – More Jesus Music mentions! I am a little shocked. It’s always good to hear from you , Becky. By the way, don’t you think you could have made room for those albums by getting rid of your spare tire? After all, what are the odds of getting a flat? 🙂

  13. Christopher Hopper

    Curt,

    How cool! Then you heard my daddy’s finger-tips on the nobs, Peter Hopper; those were his productions.

    A pleasure to have connected with you here on RR…what a fantastic place. And I look forward to meeting you one day, as well.

    CH

  14. Christopher Hopper

    PS – As I was in the shower, I had another thought inspired by your last statement:

    “I hesitated to even write an article like this. In the secular world, musical pioneers are esteemed and revered. In Christian music, not particularly so.”

    The early Christian music of the 70’s has every right to be lauded, I believe. Think of it. Pre-CCM (need I say more?). Authentic. And they were honestly being raw…obedient to the Holy Spirit. Today much of the art is hampered by the “industry standard” and conforms to pop-culture. Granted, there are some definite forces for good out there. But think back…

    Two examples:

    Phil Keaggy. Wasn’t interested in being the “next anybody.” And he wasn’t looking to make a “Christian version” of his own music. He was just out there to express his heart with excellence and made music that put the world on its ear. Arguably one of the greatest guitar players of all time…a David that played skillfully before the greatest king of his day…

    Keith Green. On a completely opposite spectrum, but of the same era, Keith was saying things to the Church that needed to be said. Challenging them to be real disciples. A kiss and a slap all at the same time. He was giving his albums away. Ruffling feathers. A real John the Baptist…

    If anything, we are indebted to their vision and foresight. My hope with guys like Eric and Ben and Andrew, and more, is that we’ll return to the authentic roots of those who went before us, and then keep going.

    Thanks for letting me use your blog space to write. Sorry for the long PS.

    C.

  15. Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    Christopher wrote:

    The early Christian music of the 70’s has every right to be lauded, I believe. Think of it. Pre-CCM (need I say more?). Authentic. And they were honestly being raw…obedient to the Holy Spirit. Today much of the art is hampered by the “industry standard” and conforms to pop-culture. Granted, there are some definite forces for good out there. But think back…

    Well stated Christopher, and I agree with you 100%. I’ve often drawn parallels—publically and in my own mind—between pre-CCM and today’s indie world. And your word “authentic” sums up much of the reason why the comparison is appropriate. Purity of purpose means the music was/is undiluted and as such, by definition is more powerful.

  16. becky

    Curt, if you saw my rusty old car, it would be immediately apparent that spare tires–and any other emergency breakdown supplies–are top priority!

  17. Aaron Roughton

    As a note of trivia, one of the guys from my Jesus Music “lineage” is a guy named Ron Moore. He was a college buddy of my dad’s, along with guys like Kent and Ed Kilbourne…also Jesus Music dudes…at Asbury College in Wilmore Kentucky. Ron is actually credited with coining the phrase Contemporary Christian Music, or CCM in 1976.

    He would show up at my dad’s church once every few years as he toured the country in the 70’s and 80’s, and I would watch in awe as he performed with his acoustic guitar. I located Ron recently on MySpace and actually sent him a copy of my album. I’m happy to say he liked it…in fact, he liked it enough to throw a couple of my songs onto the Greek Orthodox Internet Christian Music Network. I actually tuned in one day as my song was playing. I nearly wet myself.

    Needless to say, I’ve since bought a solid gold house and a rocket car with the proceeds. Seriously, it was huge to have someone influential to me as part of my past musical and faith history affirm something that I had created. I also noticed that Ron was virtual friends with some of the Square Peggers. It’s all coming full circle…

  18. easton crow

    Russ- I’m in Cedar Rapids. Oh, and we were good Baptist children who wouldn’t go near anything with a drum playing on it. But we did sing “It Only Takes a Spark” and “I Wish They’d All Been Ready” all the time. Didn’t actually hear the real version of All Been Ready until I was an adult.

  19. Tony Heringer

    Curt,

    My post disappeared so, I’ll try this again. So, there is a real animal called a pack rat? I did not know that. Here’s the link Barliman used:

    http://www.nps.gov/grba/parknews/midden.htm

    I hope none of you human pack rats behave like these rodents do with their stuff…ewwww!

    “What is a midden?
    A midden is a fancy name for a pile of trash, often left by pack rats. Pack rats leave middens near their nests, which may be continuously occupied for hundreds, or even thousands, of years. Each layer of trash contains twigs, seeds, animal bones and other material, which is cemented together by urine. Over time, the midden becomes a treasure trove of information for plant ecologists, climate change scientists and others who want to learn about past climatic conditions and vegetation patterns dating back as far as 25,000 years. Great Basin National Park contains numerous middens.”

    Which begs the question do any of you human pack rats live near the land of pack rats — Baker, NV?

  20. Tony Heringer

    Uh oh! Me thinks I posted twice. Sorry for cluttering up the post with information about pack rats.

  21. becky

    Probably my favorite musician from that era was James Ward. He had–and has– some great music. Awesome lyrics and melodies. His tune for “Rock of Ages” completely changed my perception of that song. Got me past the tune to really listen to what the words were saying. Which is a lot. I think that a bunch of the music I am drawn to now has a sound that is similar to his.

    I also had an Evie (not Coates) album that I listened to all the time in high school. I can still see her blond, Dorothy Hamill haircut. Ahhhh. Nostalgia.

  22. Melanie Johnson

    Curt,
    I read often and rarely respond but I had to say that I loved this post! I am the daughter of a “Jesus Freak” from the 70’s Jesus movement. My mom grew up in California and was led to Christ by her high school teacher who took her on retreats each weekend (this could never happen today!). She was baptized in the Pacific Ocean and began attending Calvary Chapel and learned about the Gospel from her youth pastor, Lonnie Frisbee (who became an influential leader in the Jesus Movement). My mom has a huge trunk full of memorabila from that era (with the exact bumper stickers you referred to in your post plastered all over it). I LOVED going through that trunk when I was younger to get a sense of what her life was like back then. Thanks for this great post!

    Reflective,
    Melanie Johnson

  23. Christopher Hopper

    “Purity of purpose means the music was/is undiluted and as such, by definition is more powerful.”

    Me thinks you’re getting some worthy one-liners out of this post, Sir McLey. When next I’m in Nashville (assuming that’s where you are), I’ll be sure to give you advance warning. A few pints of stout might be in order.

    CH

  24. Christopher Hopper

    PS (the final one):

    I’m sorry, but your post has really provoked a lot of things in me over the last 48 hours.

    I preside over a discipleship school here in northern NY and Thursday mornings are reserved for “the President’s Heart.” Rather than study some passage of scripture or talk about advancing the Kingdom, I felt the school needed to hear about my story…the whole thing. And the most amazing revelation came to me as I was speaking…

    I was born and raised in a Christian community full of people who were dedicated to being disciples of Jesus; two decades later I’m leading a Christian community full of people who are dedicated to being disciples of Jesus.

    Just another amazing point of how powerful heritage can be. Praise Jesus. And rock on!

    CH

  25. Mark L.

    I really enjoyed reading this entry. I actually just quoted the same lyrics in that same song in a post on my blog a few days ago (before reading this).

    Because we are important to God, I think God cares about what is important to us. I also think it is a good thing to look back at where we’ve come from and what God has brought us through. Even though memories can bring up sadness for things and people we miss, there is almost something healing about reconnecting with our past.

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