Monday, October 25, 2010

In memorium to Poorboy Records

In my younger days, I was a metalhead. (still am, but I've branched out considerably) I used to pick up roughly half a dozen magazines off the grocery store newsstand every month, and peruse the interviews, reviews, and the ads for new and exiting stuff coming out.  Then, every few months, when we made our trips to Hutchinson and my mom shopped the teacher's supply store, I headed down a couple of blocks to Poorboy Records, a little new/used record store that had lots of those tapes by bands I only knew by the logos and album covers that were advertised in the aforementioned piles of magazines.  Some times the albums were really good, sometimes the cover was the most impressive thing about it.  But there was that thrill of the hunt, the "hey, cool, I finally found that one I've been looking for" which helped break up the patterns of life.
Now as adults, we have a tendency to fall into patterns.  Go to work, come home, have dinner, do chores, go to bed, rinse, lather, repeat.  If you have kids, slip get children ready for school there before go to work, and add get kids to bed between chores and going to bed yourself.  Even our entertainment can get monotonous.  How often do we stare at the TV, even though we're not that interested in what's on?  Anyone else out there teetering on the edge of a vicious Farmville addiction?  Even though you're not really excited about harvesting all that stuff, but the new XYZ collection is coming up, and you need that coin, so you sit there every day? 
We can run into the same issues with our faith.  It can become easy to fall into a rut, to just start going through the motions every Sunday morning, every day with our devotional and prayer life, even on special occasions and holidays.  It's safe to say that most of us, if not all of us have seen it, and I'll bet a nice chunk of change that most of us have hit those bumps in the spiritual road.  So if we are familiar with the problem, then what do we need to do to solve it?  What do we suggest to others when they tell us they feel bored with God?
Think back to when you were first saved.  There was a fire, an enthusiasm, a hunger wasn't there?  Think back to time that tried your faith.  There was a longing, a need, another hunger there as well wasn't there?  What did you feed those hunger pangs with?  For me, a major part of my early Christianity was finding replacement music for all that old, not so nice stuff I had collected from dear old Poorboy Records, and other places over the years.  Lucky for me, several of the bands and record labels I found then are still running, still putting out Spirit filled metal, punk, hardcore, techno, rap, et al.  Also lucky for me, I've got a pretty sizable music folder on the computer with several of those albums, samplers, and various free tracks saved from those initial ravenous days, and throwing them into the playlist often helps fan the flames. 
What about books and authors?  Of course, if one's Bible reading is slipping off the regular things to do list, getting it back on should be a priority if the Christian life is looking the same day in and day out.  Were there any books you read in your own infant days as a new believer that really motivated you?  Any preachers who you heard on the radio that inspired your faith life?  Find them again.  Dust off those old tomes, see if the writer has written any more.  Search your radio dial and the internet to see if that old preacher is still on the air.  Lack of reading and listening material is certainly not an issue in this day and age, even if you have to vet it more carefully due to that massive amount of media available.  Researching new to you authors and speakers can certainly help stoke the hearth as well.
The band No Innocent Victim had an album named "To Burn Again".  (I can't seem to find a good full size image of it to show you, google the band, you'll find it) The image on the cover is of a man on fire, and the city around him is burning.  You even see burning footprints where he has trod.  That is why maintaining our own fire is so important.  Everywhere a Christian walks, they should be leaving those burning footprints, setting fire to others.  If we aren't then how are showing the world the way to Jesus?  Was Jesus complacent with His faith?  Were the disciples?  Were any of the people we now call the fathers of the Church?  How about the people who led the Reformation or the Great Awakening?  Did they get fall into a spiritual rut or did they keep the fire alive with pray, fellowship and study?
Need more evidence of the importance of keeping your faith fire and passion going?  Look at the word's answer to loss of passion.  What is it?  Simple, quit and find something new.  How many marriages end just because "we weren't passionate about each other any more"?  How many people quit jobs and careers because they just don't have that same fire any more? Relationships, jobs, hobbies, schooling, families, churches, religions, politics, whole worldviews, the world says if you're bored, drop them all, no big deal.  If you're bored, why bother putting effort into something you're not automatically excited about?  If that attitude and the results we see of it all around us doesn't convince us that passion is not an automatic response and sometimes it needs a little gasoline thrown on it, I don't know what will. 
Feeling like everyday is just the same old same old?  Before you sell everything you own and try to hitchhike your way around the world, look back to your own passionate and hard times.  What can you bring to the present to fuel your current flame?

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