Reflections: Rev Richard Baxter

The Rev Richard Baxter
The Rev Richard Baxter

HOW do you listen to music?

Your answer to the question will depend on what generation you come from.

For my parents’ generation, music was what they listened to on the wireless until, at some point, it turned into a radio.

People of my age – 50 something – mostly started listening to music on records. (For the benefit of younger readers, a record is a circular piece of vinyl with grooves and, when played on a turntable with a stylus or needle, sounds are produced.)

I was slightly too young for the big old eight-track cassettes which were mostly used in cars, but increasingly listened to cassette tapes in my teens.

Later, my records and cassettes were made obsolete when CDs came along.

Now I have a collection of records, but no record player; cassettes, but no cassette player; and CDs which are never played because I have loaded them all on to computer and iPod, as my current music source.

No doubt that still leaves me one technological generation behind those who listen to their music through online sources.

The pace of change can leave some people nostalgic for the days when music was to be heard on the radio, or played on a gramophone the size of a sideboard.

However, although the technology has changed, the music I listen to hasn’t changed that much.

I still listen to folk music, rock music, and a bit of classical.

I still avoid jazz, dance music, opera and easy listening as much as possible.

The technology has changed, but music is still music.

As a Christian minister, I find the means of communication change, but the message stays the same. Gone are the days of two-hour services and 40-minute sermons.

Many of the hymns I grew up with have died a well-deserved death (while those which truly stand the test of time remain).

The ways in which we communicate are often more visual, the language more direct, the style less academic and more rooted in everyday experience than in my youth.

But the message is still the same.

At its heart is a God who loves us and wants us to know and love Him too, a God who gave His only son to make that possible, and a God who is interested in our everyday lives.

Rev Richard Baxter writes in the East Fife Mail