Carrying Music In Paper Cups

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Guest post by Mark Pittman

I like to think of myself as a fairly forward thinking person — especially concerning technology.  I seek out new gadgets and new ways to do things and revel a bit in my own latest-and-greatest superiority. But I have to admit, this playful puppy turned into an old dog when my daughter showed me how my thinking was still stuck in the 90’s.

New Tunes
Being an interlinc member, there is always a fresh stack of CDs on my desk. My daughter, armed with this knowledge and her love for Family Force 5, has an eagle-eye for the arrival of a new Youth Leaders Only box. She is rewarded for her watchfulness (how can I resist those big eyes and her smiling face asking me if she can have the latest CD from her favorite group?!) She is very polite and thoughtful, but the urgency of wanting to hear the new music recently made her ask “in motion” — disc already in hand, on the way to her computer and speakers in her room (knowing I would, of course, say yes). It took just a few seconds for me to hear the song “Chainsaw” (at full volume) from her room. I smiled, happy again to help get some great music into her hands, head, and heart.

About a week later, the kids and I were having a dad-induced clean-the-house session. My daughter was working downstairs folding laundry, so I took it upon myself to grab the upstairs trash. As I reached to pick up the can from her room, I gasped, and then bellowed out a loaded-lungs-yell that brought her bounding up the stairs. “Yeah, Dad?” she said, thinking I had another cleaning chore to add to her list. All I could do was point to the Family Force 5 CD in her trash can, so shiny in the midst of her other trash. “What is this doing in here?!” was all I could muster, still frozen in disbelief. How could my daughter throw this disk away? My daughter cocked her head, trying to process why I was so upset. Still not fully grasping the gravity of the situation, she simply said, “Um, Dad … I already uploaded it to my computer.”

That’s when it hit me.  To her, the bright, shiny disc was simply a paper cup—a vessel to carry music from the dispenser to her device. Once that was done, she didn’t see a need to keep it. I had to adjust my thinking.

Time to Clear the Shelves
For many of us who grew up displaying our music collection for all to see and admire, CDs are to be encased in notebooks or lined up on bookshelves for people to see. But in that split second, my daughter helped me make a complete shift in how I view CDs.

What’s YOUR “Paper Cup”?
Music that resides in our earbuds won’t do our students any good. Since CDs are now a thing of the past, we need to find a new “Paper Cup” to get music into our students’ ears. I know that interlinc’s working on developing that new delivery method. When the music is streamed to your students’ earbuds, it will flow, like water, into their heads and hearts.

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2 Responses to Carrying Music In Paper Cups

  1. Wayne Brown says:

    Wouldnt it be cool if our kids could log into our accounts with their own username and password and hear all the music that we have received from interlinc, then they would be linc’ed to us via music.
    …See what I did there?

    In His service,
    Wayne Brown

  2. Matthew Synnott says:

    It’s a fascinating time to be alive. To see the kinds of shifts in thinking becoming more a matter of years than decades is incredible! We often define our youth now as “Millenials/Generation Y.” And I believe I technically fall into the “millenial” category (born in 1984), but I see myself as more of a neither/nor category. Neither generation x nor generation y; more of a transitional era. My parents are almost 70, and yet alot of people my age have parents in their early 60’s.

    So that in mind, I find myself “stuck” between the fading of one and the arriving of the other. I love the increase in access to music we now have: I use Spotify, I use youtube, I use iTunes, I own a smart phone. And yet at the same time, there is still something I value in a CD. And believe me, I get poked fun of all the time. Still, I really don’t disagree with the “throw-away-the-disc” mindset, and even more, how this directly effects a ministry like Interlinc. You are probably feeling this culture shift financially. Still though, when I listen to an album I see it as an investment. An opportunity to invest in the whole creative body of work that the CD entails. I don’t want to just consume a song and move on to the next one. I want to wrestle: I hold the booklet in my hand, I follow along with the lyrics, I ponder the photography. I just don’t think you get that kind of depth by looking at a screen. And studies are proving that when you read from a screen you don’t absorb information well. So here are my broad questions: Are we too quick to throw away our cds? Are we too quick to embrace change? or are we too slow to pitch something that is a paper cup? I believe everyone brings something of value to the table, and yet, everyone also brings something worth challenging. Interlinc you have to do what is best to shift to the need and thrive. But from a body of Christ perspective, I think we need to be slow to change everything for any type of generation. As far as God is concerned there is only one generation that matters to Him, it’s the generation that seeks Him. Thanks for all you do!

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