As much as I miss the summer I have to admit that I love evenings in the fall; particularly when everyone else in the house is asleep and I have my dog Reilly and writing partner Clos Du Bois to serve as inspiration. And, no, Clos Du Bois is not related to Benson Du Bois; at least not that I know of. Perhaps we should ask Clayton Endicott to settle this one.

I spend a lot of time with consumers asking them questions about products, brands, unmet needs etc. but I am convinced that I really only need the answer to one key question to gain insight into their inner selves; What was the first record you bought with your own money? Okay, so maybe it was not a record, but for most of you it was probably a cassette tape, for another group of you it was likely a CD and for a small minority of you it was likely a digital download. Think about it though, with a ton of options to choose from, what music motivated you so much that you spent your own money on it.

I remember my first album purchase vividly, mainly due to the reactions of my parents and siblings. It was Whodini’s Escape. I was about 9 years old and growing up in suburban Connecticut and was supposed to be buying Van Halen or Duran Duran but, much to the dismay of people around me, I started listening to rap music. Escape was closely followed by Run DMC’s Raising Hell; to this day I remember my twin brother and my sister referring to my newfound musical taste as “rap crap.”

For a little white boy in Stamford, CT to purchase “black music” was unconventional to say the least, but I did not let it bother me. I liked it. It was different. Yet, after a while, my musical taste began to change and I started getting into Heavy Metal. “From bad to worse,” my mother would tell you. I had a fondness for Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, and much of the “white bands” from the late 80s (White Lion, Whitesnake, Great White, etc.). Then, my parents all time nightmare came true, I started listening to Rap/Rock fusion which was made popular by the Beastie Boys and a thrash metal band known as Anthrax who would pave the way for later acts such as Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit. A brief aside, thank you Rob Salminen who lent me his copy of Among the Living – I am still convinced the “bad dude” from Poltergeist II was the inspiration for the cover of that album.

Recently, I started listening to a country act called Big and Rich who tends to blend hard rock, country music, and rap into their songwriting. For many of you that may sound like a symphony from hell, but to me it sounds pretty cool.

Why am I sharing all of this? Consider that our musical taste may be unconventional to those who don’t share the same feelings. Others may not understand it; they may not like it. Faith is similar. To those who grew up with different belief systems, or no belief systems at all, seeing us practice and live our faith may be a bit strange. They may think us silly. This, of course, does not mean we cannot get along; I am sure all those years ago my siblings still liked me even though our musical tastes were different.

Sometimes, though, our actions might influence others to question their belief systems and explore new avenues that they may not have otherwise considered. Just as my friend Rob turned me on to some new music that I would never have considered listening to, the same principle may hold true for our faith lives. Perhaps this is why it is so important for those of us who have faith to not be apathetic about it and to not take it for granted. We must not let our faith lives go dormant once our “Sunday Obligation” has been met. We must go out in the world and serve others. It is through our generosity, our selflessness, and our care for others that we can be a force for change in this world.

If you have a minute, leave a comment with what your first album was. I’d like to know…