Jon Foreman when asked if Switchfoot is a “Christian” band.
“To be honest, this question grieves me because I feel that it represents a much bigger issue than simply a couple SF tunes. In true Socratic form, let me ask you a few questions: Does Lewis or Tolkien mention Christ in any of their fictional series? Are Bach’s sonata’s Christian? What is more Christ-like, feeding the poor, making furniture, cleaning bathrooms, or painting a sunset? There is a schism between the sacred and the secular in all of our modern minds.
The view that a pastor is more ‘Christian’ than a girls volleyball coach is flawed and heretical. The stance that a worship leader is more spiritual than a janitor is condescending and flawed. These different callings and purposes further demonstrate God’s sovereignty.
Many songs are worthy of being written. Switchfoot will write some, Keith Green, Bach, and perhaps yourself have written others. Some of these songs are about redemption, others about the sunrise, others about nothing in particular: written for the simple joy of music.
None of these songs has been born again, and to that end there is no such thing as Christian music. No. Christ didn’t come and die for my songs, he came for me. Yes. My songs are a part of my life. But judging from scripture I can only conclude that our God is much more interested in how I treat the poor and the broken and the hungry than the personal pronouns I use when I sing. I am a believer. Many of these songs talk about this belief. An obligation to say this or do that does not sound like the glorious freedom that Christ died to afford me.
I do have an obligation, however, a debt that cannot be settled by my lyrical decisions. My life will be judged by my obedience, not my ability to confine my lyrics to this box or that.
We all have a different calling; Switchfoot is trying to be obedient to who we are called to be. We’re not trying to be Audio A or U2 or POD or Bach: we’re trying to be Switchfoot. You see, a song that has the words: ‘Jesus Christ’ is no more or less ‘Christian’ than an instrumental piece. (I’ve heard lots of people say Jesus Christ and they weren’t talking about their redeemer.) You see, Jesus didn’t die for any of my tunes. So there is no hierarchy of life or songs or occupation only obedience. We have a call to take up our cross and follow. We can be sure that these roads will be different for all of us. Just as you have one body and every part has a different function, so in Christ we who are many form one body and each of us belongs to all the others. Please be slow to judge ‘brothers’ who have a different calling.”
Light of Dawn
“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day”
This verse is a beautiful metaphor for the Christian journey of transformation and shaping one’s character. It livens my heart, because usually statements about what the life of the righteous should look like bring a strange assumption related to being a better person, a better Christian, climbing the “levels of spirituality” (which I do not believe exist) and etc.
The metaphor we encounter in this verse does not have any legalistic connotations, but it is entirely missional in nature, and empowering - in the way it points to Christ.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Jesus mentions this idea of light and shining in the widely respected speech he gave, namely, the Sermon on the Mount. It is widely respected and received even by those who do not recognize Christ as the Messiah, because it seems that Jesus, whom they respect merely as a good teacher, offers in it beautiful and clear moral guidelines and directions.
Yet Jesus spoke there to his disciples, to those who already followed him. He was not offering a lesson on morality and the right behavior, he was describing the life a Christian is free to live - through Christ.
“You are the light of the world” - this statement is directed to those who have received, followed, and believed in the light of the world and now have true life.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
The first chapter of the Gospel of John also confirms this reality -
“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
The path of the righteous - the one who finds his righteousness in the light of the world - is to be like a light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter.
This does not mean, the righteous is to become better and better, but is to reflect the light of the world that dwells in him/her - letting Christ shine brighter and brighter.
In his book, After you believe, N.T. Wright challenges the reader to see the transformation of character and learning how to “behave,” how to live out the Christian life, from a different angle. He argues that transformation of character (conforming to Christ’s character) and learning what it means to be truly a human being overlaps.
“What we’re here for is to become genuine human beings, reflecting the God in whose image we’re made, and doing so in worship on the one hand and in mission, in its full and large sense, on the other; and that we do this not least by ‘following Jesus.’ The way it works out is that it produces, through the work of the Holy Spirit, a transformation of character.”
Being a genuine human being, according to Wright, and reflecting God is the same thing.
Thus the path of the righteous, shining brighter and brighter, is not about being a better Christian - it is about reflecting God and His light in the world, and ultimately, about being a genuine human being.
This process of learning how to shine brighter, will involve following the “rules” or guidelines, such as the ones Jesus spoke about in the Sermon on the Mount, but it is not to become righteous, but rather out of the character of the righteous.
We already “belong to the day” (1 Thess. 5:8), the day when He will be our light (Rev. 22:5) - therefore we shine now, with such secure confidence and sure identity, so that others may see Christ for who he is - the life, which is the light of the world.
covered up with flowers
Mubi.com is changing my life.
Watched a French film “Home” by Ursula Meier.
It was phenomenal, a simple story + simple characters = emotional complexity. This equation proves to be true again.
a walk around town. A glimpse with my 35mm sense. Charlotte and friends.