Switchfoot's Politicians

The new Switchfoot album is fast becoming a favorite of mine, especially the song, Politicians. The album overall is less pop and more grunge, which seems to suit Foreman's group just fine. Of course, some will take Politicians as an anti-political rant. Which it may well be. You decide:

I pledge allegiance to a country without borders,
without politicians
Watching for my sky to get torn apart.
We are broken, we are bitter,
we're the problem, we're the politicians
Watching for my sky to get torn apart

The "torn apart" sky is the only answer; the coming of the Son of Man when the heavens are rent.

Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up
Revelation 6:14
...and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Matt. 24:30

Long ago, I abandoned the hope that politics would change the world. A necessary evil? Yes. Scripture teaches that government is designed and empowered by God. Freedom demands restraint. A world without government is anarchy, and even those who prescribe to anarchy want the freedom to state their views. Nevertheless, as long as government is run by sinful men -- we're the problems, we're the politicians -- it will be deeply flawed.

I have problems with the notion that Christians can change the world through a political apparatus. While we cannot bail on the process, we also cannot bank on it. It is the human heart which needs changed, and no amount of laws and legislation can transform the inner man. My Savior is not a politician; His district is not of this world and His constituency are "strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (Heb. 11:13).

I appreciate that the song Politicians does not degenerate into conservative / Bush bashing which all too many Christian artists seem willing to do these days. We're all part of the mess, after all "we are broken, we are bitter, we're the problem..." But, like the boys in the band, I pledge allegiance to a country without borders, without politicians -- a "heavenly country" (Heb. 11:6) that will only be realized when the sky gets torn apart.


Gina Holmes said...

Amen. Great post as always Mike. That band sounds like a group I'd like. I'll have to check them out.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I'm a Switchfoot fan, but have yet to get the album. Already, I've been in Christian circles where this CD was being criticized for its supposeded lean towards secular. Christian singeres and writers seem to be in the same boat, don't they?
Janet Rubin

Wayne Scott said...

You tackle some deep topics, Mike. Bravo.

I don't have their "Nothing is Sound" album, but I love "The Beautiful Letdown." I think you'd like them, Gina.

Ryan said...

Switchfoot is an amazingly gifted band with a great message. Great post.

As to the comment about "leaning secular," Switchfoot has always tried to get their message out the best way they can. They were part of the CCM scene but were very excited when they signed with a big record label for Beautiful Letdown, and had a chance to get beyond the devout Christian crowd. Jon Foreman has talked in numerouse interviews about how labeling themselves as a quote unquote "Christian Band" puts them in a box that some people won't ever open. By "writing lyrics for those who think" like Foreman has said, and getting people to examine themselves deeply, they get a deeper, more meaningful message than preachy worship songs. They are able to identify their relationship with God by emotion rather than thought; heart, rather than theory.

Switchfoot sings from their heads and their hearts, about the emotions that come with life, what they mean and how to overcome them, as opposed to the songs that sing about Jesus sacrifice. It's a great way to reach out to people who don't know about His sacrifice, and something I hope Switchfoot will keep at for some time.