Switchfoot as a Missionary Band

Why Switchfoot won't sing Christian songs
Switchfoot is going secular. Sort of.

I have to be honest, this is something I have struggled with for ages. As a musician, I have gone back-and-forth between wanting to only do Christian songs and to do no Christian songs at all. On the one hand I see the positive influence that Christian musicians could have but on the other I see the excesses of the Christian music industry and it really turns me off. Sometimes Christian music comes off as little more than a method to sell music to Christians.  Somehow calling it Christian is equivalent to calling it kosher.  All the lyrics have been inspected and are uplifting, written in the code language of Christianese, therefore it is good for Christian consumption.

Please don’t misunderstand me, there is a place for truly Christian music in worship and as edification for Christian people. It’s a wonderful thing to encourage believers and that’s part of spiritual gifting for some people. Edification is just as good as teaching or preaching or any other spiritual gift.  We are encouraged to “speak to each other with psalms hymns and spiritual songs”. But let’s not forget that one person’s spiritual gift is not the same as the spiritual gift for every other person. Some people are called to be evangelists, and evangelism doesn’t have to be undertaken with the same music and tools as you are using in the church. The truth is people that aren’t in the church simply don’t understand that language any more.

The thing that I see with Switchfoot is that although they aren’t openly Christian in their branding, they preach Christ in a way that perhaps someone who doesn’t know Christ might understand. To me it’s kind of like translating Scriptures into a different language so that someone else can understand them. If you only use the King James to communicate with a nonbeliever they’re never going to understand you. In the same way if you come at a nonbeliever and just shout “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” at them they’re not going to hear you anymore than they would hear the Westborough Baptist Church.  Kind of goes back to the last post I made about disagreeing with your neighbors; are we trying to win an argument or are we trying to actually introduce someone to Jesus?

If we are truly called to “go into all the world” why should we be apprehensive to sing songs in a nightclub, or bar or anywhere else where the lost can be found?  Jesus dined with sinners in the sinner’s house, will we find the courage to do the same?  He did so without being conformed to the world, and through the power of the Holy Spirit alive in us, we can too.

This article titled “Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs” contains a great quote by lead singer Jon Foreman.  I also contains a ton of depressing comments by well meaning Christian people who just don’t seem to remember what it was like to be unsaved.  If they could only hear and understand the freedom of Christ perhaps they would be willing to “become all things to all people in order to reach some.”  There are some lights in the comment soup however.

Doug Pierce, a worship pastor quoted the following…

Derek Webb said, “The word Christian, when it applied to anything other than a human being, is a marketing term.”

I think, almost always, that calling your art “Christian” is a way to sell your art to “Christian” people. It says, “buy my music because I love Jesus.” It’s one of the reasons Jesus went ballistic on the money-changers.

The lead singer for Rascal Flatts once tweeted a scripture…in that one small moment he reached more people for Christ than almost all the CCM Industry combined. Most of America has tuned “Christian Music” and “Christians” out. I’m on a plane and someone asks me what I do for a living. I say, “I’m a pastor”. The conversation is over. He picks up his magazine and buries his head. If I say, “I’m a musician”, the conversation continues. A relationship can form and possibly one day he’ll be ready to HEAR my thoughts about Faith. Until he’s ready…it’s nothing more than white noise pushing him further down the path of apathy toward God.

Bravo Doug.

Here’s another good perspective on Jon Foreman and Switchfoot from Jeff Goins on his Pilgrimage of the Heart blog.

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Seven ways for Christians to love their neighbors even when we disagree – Pastor Mark Driscoll

What does it look like to remain faithful to God while loving neighbors who passionately disagree with Christian convictions?

Can we love our neighbors even when we disagree?

Being relevant to our culture while still being true to our faith is something modern Christianity, or at least our caricature in the media, seems to have lost.  Finding it again is imperative to reaching people with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  If we want our message to be more than just a clanging gong we need to learn to speak with love, not concerned about winning the argument.  Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington shares a great perspective that is right down the middle, avoiding the “ditch on the left – where we don’t call sin a sin — as well as the ditch on the right — where we are angry culture warriors battling unbelievers instead of evangelizing them.”

I have come to the conclusion that we cannot reasonably expect human beings who are dead in their sins to act like they are alive in Christ.  Their actions reflect their values and beliefs, and without a fundamental change in the depths of their heart there will be no real meaningful change in their lives.  If we can just introduce them to Jesus, then Jesus will finish the work that He starts in their life, bringing it through to completion.

Enjoy the article:

From Pastor Mark Driscoll

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Podcast 43 – Ephesians 4

Today Rich and I talk through Ephesians 4.  This is a passage that is far easier to read than it is to actually put into practice.  It is, however, a way of living out the Christian life that is revolutionary and quite possibly world changing.  Were every professing Christian to put this passage into practice there would be absolute harmony in the Body of Christ.  If we could just subordinate our personal preferences for the good of the body, there is no telling how effective we could be in sharing the Gospel with a lost and dying world.


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Podcast 42 – Damian Kyle – Grieving The Holy Spirit

This podcast is very different from what we normally do.  It is a rebroadcast of a sermon by Calvary Chapel Pastor Damian Kyle from the late 80’s.  Rich was lucky enough to be in attendance when this sermon was preached.  It was and continues to be a formative event in his life, a constant admonition to live the life we are called to live.  Rich’s hope, and mine, is that you would be as impacted by these words as he has been.

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Happy Easter from Don’t Blame Jesus

I was watching a European soccer match featuring Manchester United and the head announcer says something like, “and they won’t be playing next weekend because the skipper wants to get his Easter eggs.”  Eggs?!  I guess some people really don’t pay attention to what Easter is all about.  I am certain that it is our mission at DontBlameJesus.com to help explain what is so different about Christianity and why we make a big fuss about Easter in the first place… it is Jesus.  It was the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah that has saved us from sin and Hell and has reopened our fellowship with God.

Our friends over at GodStuffExplained have made a great video explaining the basic message of Easter and why it really is ‘Good News.’  Happy Easter!

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Podcast 39 – To Ojo Taylor, with love.

Over the course of the last two podcasts we have talked about the music that inspired us as young believers. Bands such as Undercover, the Seventy Sevens, Petra, Andy McCarroll & Moral Support, One Bad Pig and Altar Boys were pivotal in the development of our faith and our world view. But as all things in life, change is inevitable. Times change, people change, circumstances change… only God stays the same.
We discuss the revelation that one of our heroes, Ojo Taylor, founding member of our favorite band Undercover, has renounced his faith. Honestly, I halfway wish this was a video podcast so you could have seen what I saw as we recorded and discussed. The hurt and disappointment on Rich’s face was apparent, but even more so his sincere love for Ojo. Ojo Taylor and Undercover were like spiritual big brothers to both Rich and I, an anchor through our turbulent Junior High School years. Now we are faced with the horrible realization that, for Ojo at least, that anchor didn’t hold. We don’t despair completely, for no one is truly beyond the reach of our loving Savior.

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Podcast 38 – More Music of Our Lives

We had such a good time last podcast that we just had to do another music show. Plus Steven really wanted us to. :) So Steven, here is our Christian Punk episode. And the good news is that there are actually 7 tracks instead of the 6 we thought we had done. Time flies when you are having fun and this episode went by so quickly for us that we miscounted.

1. Andy McCarroll & Moral Support – Sin
2. Andy McCarroll & Moral Support – I Am Human
3. Andy McCarroll & Moral Support – King Man
4. One Bad Pig – I’m Not Getting Any Older
5. One Bad Pig – Isaiah 6
6. Altar Boys – Where’s The New World
7. Altar Boys – World Burning

And the Don’t Blame Jesus Official Ringtone™ is also available for download. You’ll probably have to right click on the link and choose Save Linked File As” or your platform version of that. If you need us to text it to you just send us an email containing your cell number and a request to show at dont blame jesus dot com, no spaces using the appropriate punctuation.


One Bad Pig on Amazon —

Andy McCarroll and Moral Support ranked 33rd —

Altar Boys — Against the Grain (Where’s the New World?)

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Podcast 37 – The music of our lives

This week we talk all about the music that shaped and influenced our time as young believers. We play and discuss 11 songs during the podcast with one bonus track after the close.

Seventy Sevens – Do It For Love
Seventy Sevens – I Can’t Get Over It
Seventy Sevens – Another Nail
Seventy Sevens – Renaissance Man
Petra – Chameleon
Petra – Clean
Petra – It Is Finished
Petra – Disciple
Undercover – I Love God
Undercover – I’m Just A Man
Undercover – Darkest Hour

Here is a photo of the turntable that we mention in the podcast. Now of course it is clad with a super awesome Squire slip mat Rich brought me from Scotland, but other than that it is totally original.

Then after the podcast we play
Undercover – God Rules
God Rules is just a bit longer than 1 minute but was very powerful. I still remember seeing them live at the old Calvary Chapel on Indiana. That concert was pivotal for me.

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Podcast 30 – The Struggleicious™ Episode

Today Rich and I finally launch another podcast.  After missing all of January we are finally back.  So sorry for the long delay.

Today Rich gives us a look into the book of Mark, chapter 2.  We discuss the healing of the paralyzed man, Jesus’ call of Levi (Matthew) the tax collector, fasting and the sabbath.  I think he coins a new term, struggleicious.  Hmmmm… I like it.

We hope you enjoy this episode.  Please feel free to post your comments or questions.

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A whole new year needs a whole new look.

As you can see the new year has brought us a brand new look.  I hope you like it.

With Winter comes a slow down in projects and a little more free time.  Although it isn’t always fun to be involuntarily idle, this break proved to be just enough time to do what I have always wished I could have done with the site.  It got me thinking about how often I miss opportunities because I am just too busy with other things.  I have a tendency to just keep doing what is right in front of me instead of looking up and seeing what else could be more beneficial.  I am praying that God will change my heart and mind to see the opportunities He has put in front of me and give me the courage to act upon them.  I hope this New Year brings a similar renewal in your life as well.

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