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Found magic inside the dusty jacket of an LP

The words blasted into the air in my still kitchen, vinyl scratching as the LP spun around on my new record player enveloping the air in a nostalgia straight out of the 80s: “Love will find a way. Love will find a way. I know it’s hard to see the past and still believe. Love will surely find a way.”

Amy Grant’s lyrics drew me up in a warm blanket, and though she wasn’t my favorite artist back then, hearing it took me right back to the controversy she had stirred up with the song. The song’s lyrics are relatively mild and pop-like, compulsively singable, but she had only been known as a Christian artist before. This song, as the legend (legend?) goes, was the first secular song she penned. It sounds funny now, such a light-hearted song, but I remember people talking about it compulsively.

“Is she even a Christian anymore?”

“I can’t believe she’s crossing over into mainstream radio.”

“I won’t listen to her anymore.”

Certain snippets of time and space stay with me, forever making an indelible impact. This was one such time. As I took in the conversation about her, fingers pointing as if she had broken a cardinal rule of her faith, I shuffled my massive collection of LPs and 45s as varied as Donna Summer, AC/DC, Michael Jackson and Madonna. I was very fond of heavy favorites like Bon Jovi and Metallica as well as the sound track to “Saturday Night Fever.” If I was a Top 40 lover, then so be it. I make no excuses.

I was never told I couldn’t listen to various types of music growing up. We sang hymns Sunday morning, watched Hee Haw with Buck Owens and twangy country on Saturday night, and blasted the radio 24/7 while making mixtapes on our stereo systems. We sang along with Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand,” and after that aired, we took in the cool grooves of “Soul Train,” where my love of funk music was honed.

When I was small, I would heartily push fat 8-Tracks into our system by the likes of Floyd Cramer and his instrumental music, followed by southern gospel and Olivia Newton-John. I can still see the artwork, small and detailed, on the covers of those now-defunct 8-tracks and recall the intricate dance routines my 5-year-old self performed in the living room to their soothing sounds.

What is in a song itself? When Amy Grant was berated for a basic pop song, one with bubble gum lyrics of hope and love, I knew that I would never give in to a system that told me what was right and wrong, what is best to listen to. I would never listen to those who sought to tell me I’m not a Christian if I listen, read or watch certain things; I know who I am.

I found God amongst the aisles of records and cassettes, the turntables that spun countless songs and words that flung love and angst amongst the stars. I found him, and still do, in the vibrating chords of techno music. I find him in a warm car on a long drive, a distant song from the annals of time that plays on FM waves, its lyrics piercing your heart and reckoning your troubles.

I am sentient to where he may find me and I him, never once thinking I could pen in something so ethereal or say he couldn’t flow from a secular pen. I’m sure Amy didn’t believe that either.

Published: January 12, 2017
New Article ID: 2017701129988