Is Switchfoot a Christian Band?
Is Switchfoot a Christian band?
Here are some quotes straight from the band.
"For us, it's a faith, not a genre. We've always been very open and honest about where the songs are coming from. For us, these songs are for everyone. Calling us Christian rock tends to be a box that closes some people out and excludes them. And that's not what we're trying to do. Music has always opened my mind and that's what we want."
"My faith, I mean, that's such a personal aspect that a lot of times, of course it's going to come out through the song. But at the same time, I'm not a religious salesman. I feel like god doesn't really need a salesman, and what these songs are simply my interactions with this life and learning. I guess the bottom line is the songs are really honest, you know what I mean. That faith is going to come through. If the listener is looking for it, that's definitely a part of it."
Jon Foreman said this about the song The Loser. “The song itself is about the upside down aspect of the kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven. How the last will be first, and the first will be last. Blessed are the people who are on the bottom because they’re gonna be on top. That’s what The Loser is about.”
Switchfoot is a band of all Christians. They started out being signed to an independent record label called Re:think Records they wanted to be signed to a label that did not have a Christian background so they could reach a wider range of people with their music. Re:think Records was bought out by the Christian record label Sparrow Records. This gave them the label of a Christian Band early on in their careers. They did not get mainstream success until they had four of their songs included in the movie A Walk To Remember, a clearly Christian influenced movie. They were then signed to Columbia Records they felt they were able to bring their music to a broader audience, which is what they had intended in the first place. Here is what the lead singer had to say on all this.
"(Signing to Columbia was) a realization of something that we'd wanted to be from the beginning," Foreman explains. "When we were signed to re:think Records, the goal was to get the music out to everybody. When Sparrow bought re:think Records, it was evident that our music wasn't going to be in the hands of everybody. As a Christian, I have a lot to say within the walls of the church. But also, as a Christian, I've got a lot to say just about life in general. So to be able to be on Columbia and on Sparrow felt like the realization of the two sides of what we had to say. It's a dream come true to be able to have songs that are outside of the box."
For a hand full of years they kept away from the Christian music scene because they thought that all the speculation of whether or not they were a Christian band took away from their music. They didn't play Christian music festivals or do interviews with Christian magazines. They have since dropped this and started playing Christian music festivals again and have been featured in Christian publications. They have also been nominated for and won numerous Dove awards, a Christian entertainment awards show.
To finish of I would like to add a lengthy response to this question from the lead singer Jon Foreman, I enjoyed it hope you do too.
"To be honest, this question grieves me because I feel that it represents a much bigger issue than simply a couple Switchfoot 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 Adrenalin 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. 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 others who have a different calling."
Lyrics pointing to Switchfoot being a Christian band
"I look to find you. Down on my knees. Oh God, I believe, please help me believe….. I'm a believer, help me believe." Album – New Way To Be Human, Song – Sooner Or Later
"And I lay my head back down. And I lift my hands and pray to be only yours. I pray to be only yours. I know now you're my only hope." Album – New Way To Be Human, Song – Only Hope
"As the heavens are caving in. Mysterious ways. Why God gave His life. To put motion inside my soul. Album – Learning To Breathe, Song – Love is the Movement
"I don't belong here. I'm gonna set sight and set sail for the kingdom come. I will carry a cross and a song where I don't belong. But i don't belong, I don't belong here. Kingdom come, Your kingdom come." Album – The Beautiful Letdown, Song – Beautiful Letdown
So Is Switchfoot a Christian Band? Yes, they just don't like labels because that can make people feel excluded. The label "Christian Band" may exclude someone that they could have otherwise touched with their music.