Jonas Ellison writes about wanting to attend a vinyl church, and I’m here for it. What does he mean by a vinyl church? He is using vinyl as a reference for older traditions that are slower and more thought out. Vinyl churches don’t try so hard to be accessible to the younger generation.
But the sooner we stop watering things down and trying to make church ‘hip’ or ‘relevant’, the more we can get closer to authenticity. Dust off that old turntable, dear church. Leave the skinny jeans in the drawer and put those vestments back on. Take the projectors, strobe lights, and fog machines down and bring in the thuribles and incense (the more the better). Tell your praise band to save the rock and roll for real rock and roll and bring in old hymns (maybe comb through the toxic theology), the organ, and/or a choir. Contemporary music is excusable in elevators and shopping malls, but not vinyl church.
I’m happy to be a member of what he describes as a vinyl church. We sing the old hymns, and though some of the less popular ones are pretty hard to sing, it’s nice to feel like a part of a tradition. When I see blog posts with titles like, “What We Lost When We Lost Our Hymnals,” I can’t relate.
This piece reminds me of something Rachel Held Evans wrote a few years ago, that I responded to in this post. I love the vinyl metaphor, though, especially in light of the recent surge in vinyl sales, which have eclipsed CD sales for the first time in decades. The metaphor brings with it a focus on the intentional. It also works well with the conversation about the imperfections in vinyl. Churches bear those same imperfections. Someone once tried to tell John Peel that CD’s were better than vinyl because they don’t have surface noise. He responded, “Listen mate, life has surface noise.” The same can be said of the church.