Flashback Friday: Technology

My family was a curious blend of old and new.

I’ve written before about how our family didn’t really watch television when I was growing up–and only sporadically owned a TV, which was kept in a closet. We didn’t have TV, didn’t watch movies, didn’t play video games.

But we were by no means Luddites. In fact, my family was an early adopter of a few of the (now) most ubiquitous technologies.

Flashback Friday buttonToday Linda asks… What new inventions or technology came out when you were growing up that you remember being amazed at? Were your parents “early adopters”–did they get the “latest and greatest” pretty quickly or did they stick with the “tried and true”? What are some things that you remember being a big deal when your family got them?

My dad is a “techno-nerd”, has always been. His degrees are in physics math (my brother corrects my faulty memory) and computer science, and he’s worked in computers since graduating from college.

We had a computer, probably one of dad’s work computers, sitting at a desk in our basement, and I remember one time, when I was five or six (1990 or so), having Dad show us this neat little thing he was doing on his computer.

All I saw was bright green text scrolling across the screen–but Dad explained to me that this was the INTERNET. He was connecting to other computers, far away, sharing information with them and receiving information from them.

I didn’t know the significance of the internet at that time, could not have comprehended how much the internet would shape my life.

At that point, the World Wide Web, the application that would make the internet mainstream, was in beta stage.

The internet would not enter the vernacular until five years later, when free America Online CD-Roms started showing up in supermarket checkouts and elementary schools were routinely teaching “computer skills” rather than just typing.

We led the pack.

Another bit of technology we had before all the rest was Compact Discs. I’ve also written about this before.

Compact Discs were, from their inception, shortened down to “CDs”–but when we first started using “CDs”, the term more commonly referred to Certificates of Deposit.

I remember being quite young and asking a babysitter from down the street if we could listen to a CD.

She was rather confused.

“Don’t you know what a CD is? Don’t you have CDs?” I asked her.

“Yes, I have CDs at the bank, but…” (She was a smart teenager who invested wisely–I wish I’d have followed her example!)

Yep, that’s right. Compact Discs were as normal as breathing to me, but the rest of the world hadn’t a clue.

Oh, how times have changed!

Read more at Mocha with Linda’s Flashback Friday Meme

Flashback: With a stick

Once upon a time, there was a police officer who went to our church who had a nice tip for parents who believe in corporal punishment. “Use a ping-pong paddle. It hurts but it doesn’t leave a mark.”

Flashback Friday buttonToday Linda asks… Were your parents strict, permissive, or somewhere in-between when you were growing up? Did you tend to be compliant or rebellious? What did you tend to get in trouble for doing? How did your parents discipline/punish you…

My parents believed in corporal punishment. We were spanked when we disobeyed–sometimes with a hand, sometimes with a ping-pong paddle (yes, if that happened to be handy), but most often with a wooden spoon from the kitchen.

I don’t remember any specific instances of being spanked–although I know that I was probably spanked rather often, at least as a young child.

The one spanking memory that I do have actually turns the tables a bit.

I remember the time we kids spanked my dad.

Dad had gotten home from the store and was bringing in his purchases when something was discovered to be missing. I’m not sure what it was, but it must have been something that was pretty desirable to us kids. Maybe candy or something like that.

Anyway, Dad couldn’t find it anywhere, so he launched an investigation of us kids. I’m not sure what the investigation entailed–but I do know that Dad got pretty steamed. I don’t think he spanked anyone because of the incident, but I could be wrong.

At any rate, we kids were held responsible for this missing item, which Dad later found. When Dad found it, he realized that the fault was his.

So he gathered the kids together, took us outside and showed us what had happened. And then he put his hands on the top of the zucchini car (our station wagon), bent over, and invited us kids to spank him for punishing us (or yelling at us or whatever) for his own wrongdoing. And so we did, lining up for a chance to smack Dad’s butt (we used our hands.)

I don’t remember any form of punishment other than spanking being used until we were old enough for grounding from friend’s houses to be an option.

In this day and age, I think most people would consider that sort of scheme abusive. But really, even if our family might sometimes SOUND abusive, it certainly was not.

Two of our favorite games to play with Dad had names that sounded abusive. “Kicks in the Butt” and “Chasing around the yard with a stick.”

“Kicks in the Butt” were offered as inducement to do some small task. “I’ll give you a kick in the butt if you…fetch me a glass of water” for example. “Kicks in the Butt” involved Dad picking one or another of us up and lightly kicking our backsides with his knee, causing us to swing back and forth in his arms. We loved it.

“Chasing around the yard with a stick” was a common cure for cabin fever, more often known as “You kids are driving me UP THE WALLS” (an exclamation occasionally heard from Mom after a long day homeschooling a half dozen squabbling children.) When Dad saw that Mom had had enough and needed the house to herself, he’d have us children bundle up and we’d go outside where he’d “chase us around the yard with a stick.” He took a pencil in hand, and off we all went, running and laughing that Dad couldn’t possibly catch us.

Those were games, not discipline. Dad’s kicks and sticks were fun, not fury.

Really, the primary form of discipline in our home was what my Grandma Menter (deep in the throughs of dementia) termed “beating religion into their heads.”

Again, the term is a complete misnomer. Religion wasn’t taught us by beatings–it was taught by modeling. We learned to obey, not because we were compelled by a stick, but because we were drawn by love–love for God, love for our parents, love for one another.

My story of spanking Dad is a metaphor for what “beating religion into their heads” looked like. It looked like my parents humbling themselves, even before their children, modeling Christ-likeness and urging us to follow after the same God they served.

And ultimately, it was not a stick but a carrot–the grace of God bestowed on sinners such as we–that taught us discipline.

Hear about how other people were punished/disciplined with Mocha with Linda’s Flashback Friday Meme

Trash (wo)man

Our family didn’t have a garbage collection service when I was growing up. Every Saturday, we loaded up our trash into the back of one of our trusty station wagons and drove it to the “dump” ourselves.

The “dump” (actually a transfer station) was only a mile or two away, but it closed at 3 on Saturdays.

Which was sometimes always a difficulty for our family.

Come 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon, Dad was running about the house hollering for us to get our trash together ’cause he had to get to the dump before it closed.

Nowadays, without kids around to do trash duty, Dad runs around collecting trash himself at 2:30 on Saturday afternoons.

I never intended to take my trash to the dump just moments before closing. I intended to get it done in plenty of time. So when I had a Tuesday off and intended to get trash taken to the transfer station in Columbus, I got started around 2:30 in the afternoon.

I knew the trash would take a while, since our recent investigation of the wooden bin-thing just off our driveway had revealed that it was stuffed full of trash (disgusting mildewy wallpaper and pop cans, gross!) I’d have to bag all that and take it with me.

My guess was absolutely right. It took me about an hour to dig out all that trash and get it bagged and into my car.

So come 3:20 or so, I came into the house, washed my hands VERY thoroughly, and ran upstairs to get the address for the transfer station.

What I discovered terrified me. The transfer station closed at…


By now, that was 15 minutes away.

But I couldn’t let that trash sit in my car overnight. I had meetings at work the next morning and couldn’t drop it off then. And if I let it sit until my lunch break, my car would absolutely REAK!

I hopped in the car and started driving, hoping that I could find the transfer station despite it being in a part of town I’d never visited before–and wasn’t even sure I could get to.

Thankfully, the “dump” (actually a transfer station) was only a mile or two away–so even though it closes at 3:45 on weekdays, I still made it on time.


Just like old times.

And the next morning when I opened my car, I remembered something I had forgotten from old times. Even if the garbage is only in your car for a half an hour…it’s still going to make your car reek! (Thankfully, it was *mostly* gone by the time I was done with a day of work.)

Flashback: New Year’s Eve Yawn

I’m late to participate in Linda’s Flashback because this week she’s asking us about New Year’s Eve–which isn’t exactly laden with memories for me. But I suppose I’ll give it a go anyway.

Flashback Friday buttonToday Linda asks… How did your family celebrate New Year’s when you were growing up? Was staying up on New Year’s Eve a big deal? Was it a date night for your parents or was it a family occasion? Did your family have any particular traditions for New Year’s? Were resolutions emphasized? Did you do fireworks? Watch parades or bowl games? Were there church activities you attended? Did Christmas activities extend into the new year? Was the Epiphany a focus?

In answer to all of the above: No, we didn’t do any of those things.

Dad was and is very uncomfortable with the often-slick roads and often-drunk drivers of New Year’s Eve, so we generally stayed in on New Year’s Eve. Mom and Dad generally put the kids to bed by nine as usual and went to bed themselves by ten or eleven.

So I never even noticed New Years during my elementary years–and I spent the New Years of my teen years reading old journals and writing out reflections on the previous year and goals for the upcoming year.

Which wasn’t really that bad, actually.

Nevertheless, I react to my austere New Year’s Eve memories by throwing parties on New Year’s Eve now.

The weather is still unpredictable (we got 3 or so inches of snow this morning here). And drunk driving is still a problem (especially in the rural Nebraska in which I now live).

I say, never mind all that. Stay the night if you’re worried, but come party with us for now.

This year, we’re hoping people will brave the snow and cold to pack the House of Dreams this evening. I’m spending the day cooking and baking; we’ve got the air mattresses out and ready to go for overnight guests; games are waiting to be played.

My parents have RSVP’d–and they haven’t called to cancel yet. So I’m still holding out hope that the spell will be broken and my family will become New Year’s Eve Party Animals yet! :-)

Hear other people’s New Year’s Memories with Mocha with Linda’s Flashback Friday Meme

Flashback: Christmas PresentsCh

It’s been an age since I’ve participated in a Flashback Friday. But now I’m back, and back just in time for the last Friday before Christmas. At least, for the last Friday before OUR Christmas.

Flashback Friday buttonToday Linda asks… When did you open Christmas presents when you were growing up? Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? If you traveled, did your parents take the gifts, or did you open them early or late? … Did you have stockings? What was generally in those? Were gifts simple and practical or more extravagant? Did you give presents to your parents and siblings? Were they homemade or purchased? If purchased, did you pay with your own money or did your parents pay? What are memories of special gifts you received?…

My family celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve–and we’d open our gifts after the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church.

I suppose we were a rather modest family–we certainly never received hundred-dollar gifts like some people might have. But still, we generally had a nice selection of gifts–a few practical gifts, a couple toys, and the little doo-dads we kids bought each other with the dollar Mom and Dad gave us to use to buy gifts for each sibling.

Nevertheless, my favorite Christmas present ever came the year Mom and Dad didn’t have money to buy any extras.

I’m not sure what the deal was that year–maybe a car or a large appliance broke down and needed to be replaced–but money was tight. I was just developing a money awareness, and for whatever reason, I remember peaking into Mom’s checkbook after she’d written her tithe check at the end of December. I was shocked to see that the balance in her and Daddy’s checking account was $7!

With little money to purchase presents, Mom used her ingenuity to make us gifts. A picture book for Danny made with fabric and fabric paints–a story about when we go to Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. Little teepees of doweling, fabric, and more fabric paint fit perfectly with Lincoln logs and cowboys and Indians.

But the best Christmas present of all was that year when there wasn’t any extra cash. That year, Mom made us a tent.

She made it out of fabric scraps in her favorite colors of rust and tan and pumpkin and mustard and olive green. Pieces leftover from skirts or dresses she’d made herself. Pieces she’d intended for outfits for herself but had sacrificed to make our tent. Pieces obtained from family or friends. She pieced the pieces together into an enormous tent that fit over the school room table. Windows on three sides had flaps that could be rolled up and tied. The fourth side had a door that could likewise be rolled and tied.

But the crowning glory was the flag. A Tinkertoy and dowel invention poked through a grommet in the top, holding taut the peaked top. And atop the dowel flew a flag.

We spent many a day in that tent. It was a pioneer’s covered wagon, a princess’s castle, an Indian’s teepee, an adventurer’s tent. It was a house, a store, a library.

As each of us children has grown and become more financially independent, our gifts have grown in size and cost. But none of the many gifts we’ve exchanged since that day have been able to match the enjoyment we gained from that one.

Just goes to show that money isn’t everything.

Hear other people’s Christmas memories at Mocha with Linda’s Flashback Friday Meme

Flashback: Bedtime Stories

Flashback Friday buttonPrompt: What was bedtime like when you were growing up? Were your parents strict in enforcing bedtimes? Were you a difficult one to get to bed? Did your parents share stories about getting you to sleep when you were a baby? When did your parents turn bedtime over to you?

It always gives me pause when parents nowadays can’t ever do anything in the evening because they have to get their kids home for a 7:30 or 8:00 bedtime. I don’t remember bedtime being a big deal in our home. There was never a magic hour. We just played in the living room or did our evening activities until dad said that it was time to go to sleep. It generally was around 9 or 9:30, but there was never a set time identified to us kids as “bedtime.”

I do remember wanting to stay up past when Dad gave the bedtime announcement. My sister and I shared a room, and we were both eager book-a-holics from a very young age. Mom and Dad left our bedroom door cracked to let the hall light shine into our room as a “night light”, and I remember Anna and I laying with our books in the stream of light that came through the crack. We moved our books up and down to read them if the light stream wasn’t wide enough to cover the whole book. That was when we were reading the “Little House” books, so we were probably in second or third grade.

During our slightly older elementary years, problems arose with our shared bed situation. Anna liked to kick or poke or tickle–and I didn’t appreciate it when I was supposed to be trying to sleep. We tried a variety of solutions. One in particular involved making two separate “beds” on our double bed. We each folded a sheet and blanket in half for our half of the bed and slept in between the layers as if we were in a sleeping bag. I guess this wasn’t completely effective–or maybe Mom didn’t like it–because we ultimately ended up with a different solution.

I finally got fed up with the bed mess–so I moved into the closet.

Yes, you heard me. I moved into the closet.

We were responsible for our own laundry by that point, but that doesn’t mean that we were actually responsible about DOING our laundry–so we generally had a nice soft foot or more deep collection of dirty clothes in our closet. I took my blanket and my pillow and slept in the closet. I imagine if my parents had found out, they would’ve insisted that I go back to bed–but I slept in peace in the closet for months, at least, if not a year.

I remember being thrilled that we were homeschooled, because it meant we could actually have fun at night–unlike all the kids in the neighborhood whose parents insisted that they go to bed while the SUN was still shining. We had a couple of friends whose backyard adjoined our way-back yard, and I remember many a night when they’d come back to the privacy fence that separated our yards. They’d say their good-nights, and maybe offer us a bit of their “midnight snack” (I particularly remember some Laffy Taffy). Then they’d go to bed while we waited for the sun to go down. Once the sun was down, you see, we could play kick the can with Dad.

While the rest of the school-aged crowd slept in their beds, a Menter kid could be heard with a shout resounding through the neighborhood: “One, two, three on DAD!!!” And another would shimmy his way over a fence, slink through the grass, and hide behind the well house before finally breaking free to kick the can out from under an unsuspecting watcher while yelling “Ollie, ollie oxen free!”

Visit Linda for more bedtime stories.

Flashback: The Boob Tube

Flashback Friday buttonPrompt: Tell about TV when you were growing up. Did your family have a TV? Was it color or b&w? How many TVs did your family have? Did you have one in your room? Did your family leave the TV on most of the day or turn it on for specific programs? Was the TV on or off when you ate meals as a family? Were there rules about watching TV? What were your favorite shows? Are there any particular memories you have of TV in your younger years? …

I am a child of the eighties and nineties–but in many respects, my growing up experiences were from a generation before.

My earliest TV memories are of a small black and white television with bunny ears and dials. This TV was kept in the hall closet, and every night after dinner, Dad would pull it out so we could watch the news coverage of the Gulf War. At some point, the black and white television gave out and we were given a sports-radio-yellow television set. This too was a small set that was kept in the closet. When that television broke, we didn’t replace it.

When I went over to friends’ houses, their huge television sets were the central point of the living room–and were on almost constantly. I saw most of the Disney movies at friend’s houses and caught a few episodes of the favorite sitcoms of that day, mostly “Saved by the Bell”.

Grandma Menter had a television, but when we visited her in Bellevue, the three oldest Menter boys (my cousins) generally had control of the remote. This meant sports–which I was not interested in. Instead, the three Menter girls (me, my sister, and my cousin) found something else to do. The only exception to this rule was when the Winter Olympics were on and we could watch figure skating. Oh, did I love to watch figure skating!

Grandma and Grandpa Cook had a television too. We kids watched a lot of videos when we went up to the farm–“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (like I mentioned last week), The Sugar Creek Gang, and Quigley’s Village. So far as actual TV watching goes? Grandpa would urge us to join him to watch “Grandma’s old boyfriend” Steve Urkel every afternoon, and of course we had to get our weekly dose of culture with Lawrence Welk.

So television was certainly a part of my life–it just wasn’t a big part of my life. Television was something that I went away to do or pulled out for a special occasion–it wasn’t a daily routine.

In my late teenage years, my dad got a TV tuner for one of our family’s computers, so we could watch television if we wanted to. Some of my siblings did–but I never developed a taste for it.

I’ve never owned a television myself–and really would rather not.

It’s not that I’m against them, per se. I just don’t really see much use for them. I don’t like how they take over the focus of a room. I don’t like how they tend to take over any unallocated time. If I *had* to own a television (and I do admit that they can be handy for watching DVDs with a group!), I’d want it shut up in a closed cabinet, only to be gotten out at designated times.

Hmmm…This sounds familiar.

Wasn’t that the way…

Yes, that’s the way we did it when I was growing up

Visit Linda for more Flashback Friday posts!

Flashback: Music Memories

Flashback Friday buttonPrompt: What role did music play in your growing up years? What, if any, music do you associate with early childhood? What music style or songs were popular when you were in high school? How did you listen to music – on the radio, albums, etc. Did you have a stereo in your room? …

My family was early adopters of the Compact Disc. It was the late ’80s and the only way you could get a CD player was as a stereo component–you had to hook it to a stereo and speakers in order to make it work. This was before you could get boomboxes and walkmans and cars that played CDs.

Our CD collection had two components: classical music and Hosanna! worship music.

The most frequently listened to album was “All Hail King Jesus”–but we all called it “Rister Rise” after the second song on the album “Let Your Spirit Rise within Me”. Joshua, no more than three at the time we acquired the album, loved that song, but couldn’t quite pronounce the words.

The Hosanna! songs were simple choruses, easy for us children to learn, infinitely danceable (to a preschooler’s mind). They were new songs when we learned them, of course–although now many contemporary churches would find them desperately outdated.

Most have been forgotten and I don’t miss them much. Others, I take the time to remember and continue to sing. If you flip through the book of Psalms in my Bible, you’ll see little music notes drawn in here and there. When I see that note, I know that there’s a song, somewhere in the recesses of my mind, that goes along with the nearby verse. And most of those songs were Hosanna! songs.

  • Psalm 2:3-4 “My Glory and the Lifter of My Head” from HM27 We Have Overcome
  • Psalm 18:46 “The Lord Lives” from HM27 We Have Overcome
    “I will call upon the Lord” from HM18 Forever Grateful
  • Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is My Light” from HM24 Bless the Lord
  • Psalm 34:1 “I will bless the Lord” from HM07 Give Thanks
  • Psalm 42:1 “As the deer” from HM10 Praise and Honor
  • Psalm 42:5 “Why so downcast?” from HM 18 Forever Grateful

The list could go on and on. Yes, some of the songs were trite, most of the melodies simple. But so many were Scripture, set to music a child could easily sing. They were beautiful.

Of course, we kids weren’t allowed to touch the CDs. Our grubby paws would undoubtedly have ruined them quickly (as it is, my parent’s collection is still in good shape twenty years later. The music we kids started acquiring for ourselves in our teens has not fared so well–apparently our grubby hands and bad habits were indeed harmful to CDs!)

We could, however, put in tapes. We listened to Psalty the Singing Songbook, Jungle Jam, Big Steps Little Feet–and a tape we called “Syrup Lady” after the incredibly syruppy-voiced narrator.

But our real favorites, which Mom started letting us handle once we got into our elementary years, were her old records. She had some of the best records from the early days of Contemporary Christian Music–Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, LAMB, Evie, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Chuck Girard. We listened to some of the same songs over and over and over again. Oh, how we loved that music!

Once Anna and I entered our teen years, CDs were commonplace and we had numerous CD playing boomboxes about the house–and CD players in our computers. Music went from being a household event with everyone singing and dancing along to being a primarily individual event, listened to by one person for their own enjoyment. Now, of course, everyone has their iPods and no one can hear another’s music–everyone just dances to their own, isolated from the rest of the world.

It’s nice not to have to listen to the more obnoxious music some people :-) find pleasant these days–but I do occasionally miss the old days where we all gathered in the living room to sing and dance and enjoy our music together.

Visit Linda for more Flashback Friday posts.

Easter dresses

Today, I sat down beside my pastor’s young daughter and struck up a conversation. We got to talking about my new watch–and how it has interchangeable wristbands (black, white, tan, and pink). Ashley asked that I wear the pink wristband next week.

“I’ll have to figure out something to wear to match it.” I said. And then I realized my mistake: “But chances are I’ll have no problem, next week being Easter.”

Because Easter is the time for fancy pastel dresses and big hats.

[Click on the picture for a slide show of some of our Easter outfits through the years.]
Easter outfits

My grandma always bought the girls Easter dresses and the boys Easter suits. Oftentimes, they were the only truly NEW clothing that we got all year (well, except for the Christmas outfits that she bought us.) Everything else was hand-me-downs or used store garb. Not that we complained about the rest of our clothes–but it sure was fun to have some new clothes.

We would take our semi-annual trips to the mall with Grandma and gasp as she urged us to try on dresses that cost 30, 40, 50, and even 80 dollars. In our minds, that was a simply preposterous sum for one article of clothing. (In my mind, it still is!)

But we ended up with quite a collection of Easter dresses.

Now that I’m a “grown-up”, I miss the fancy dresses of my youth. We don’t dress up like we used to, not even for church. Little girls could still pull off what I wore–if they could find it–but grown women certainly don’t wear pretty springtime dresses at Easter like they used to when I was a girl.

LPs. Records. Memories.

I was born in the 80s, a child of the 90s, coming of age in the millennium. But my heart belongs to an earlier day–or more like many earlier days.

Nothing takes me back to my childhood (and beyond) like the sound of the earliest Christian rock, 70s rock–the likes of Larry Norman and Randy Stonehill.

My mom and dad’s LPs that we listened to endlessly.

Larry Norman’s “In Another Land” (1975):

Turning back the table once again to enjoy our favorites.

“He’s a rock that doesn’t roll
He’s a rock that doesn’t roll
Well He’s good for the body
and great for the soul
He’s a rock that doesn’t roll!”

“He’s an unidentified flyin’ object
You will see Him in the air…
And if there’s life on other planets
Then I’m sure that He must know
and He’s been there once already
and has died to save their souls.”

And of course, trying our hand at the glorious harmonies of “Righteous Rocker #3” while Mom tells us stories of her college buddies who would break out into harmony while walking through campus.

“You can be a righteous rocker
Or a holy roller
You can be most anything
You could be a child of a slum
Or a skidrow bum
You can be an earthly king
But without love
you ain’t nothing
Without love
Without love you ain’t nothin’
Without love.”

Chuck Girard’s “Chuck Girard” (1975):

Crying for the girl from Tinagera. Crying in worship to “Sometimes Alleluia”. Walkin’ by the Sea, the Sea of Galilee. Rockin’ out to “Rock’n’Roll Preacher.”

Randy Stonehill’s “Welcome to Paradise” (1976):

Already a budding health activist, belting out the lyrics to “Lung Cancer”.

“She went down to the corner store
And bought a pack of filter kings
Don’t you know tomorrow she’ll be back for more
Cause she really likes to smoke those things
And every time that she inhales a cloud of that cigarette smoke
She’s just one step closer to the man in black
And 60 cents closer to broke
She’s been working on lung cancer,
Emphysema, a cardiac arrest…
She’s been smokin’ that C-I-G-A-R-E-T-T-E”

Meanwhile, Anna and Josh enjoyed the much more beautiful and poetic “Puppet Strings”.

“We are all foolish puppets
Who, desiring to be king,
Now lie pitifully crippled
after cutting all our strings.
But God said I’ll forgive you
and face you man to man
And win your love again.
O how can there be possibly
a greater gift of love
Than dying for a friend?”

2nd Chapter of Acts’ “Mansion Builder” (1978):

Joshua singing Matthew to Anna’s Annie, harmonizing beautifully to “Mansion Builder”.

“So why should I worry?
Why should I fret?
‘Cause I’ve got a mansion-builder
Who ain’t through with me yet.”

Lamb’s “Lamb I” (1972):

Joshua singing along with his favorite band, his child’s voice mingling with Joel Chernoff’s tenor:

“The sacrifice lamb has been slain
His blood on the altar a stain
To wipe away guilt and pain,
To bring hope eternal.
Salvation has come to the world;
God’s only Son to the world;
Jesus the One for the world–
Yeshua is He.”

The songs that take me back, that make me remember the wholehearted enthusiasm of three little children digging through Mom and Dad’s records. The songs that remind me of the days when we spent hours luxuriating in melody and harmony and rhythm. When we pored over the record sleeves, enjoying the long-haired hippyness of the Jesus-music, enjoying the poetry and occasional childishness of the lyrics and tunes.

These artists created Christian music as we know it today. They were decried as singing “devil music” because the music was syncopated–a Gothard anathema. They started their own labels to create a niche for themselves, unwilling to “let the devil have all the good music” (in the words of Larry Norman). And so began Christian rock.

But we have forgotten them along the way, now in our world where Christian music is ordinary, mundane, (in my opinion) boring. It wasn’t always this way. Once upon a day, the idea of Christian rock and roll was revolutionary. These were the pioneers. They dared to think that modern music could be a medium for the Christian artist. And they created true art. The art that fed my child soul.