Bweinh! Soundtrack — Switchfoot

April 12, 2008, 10:00 am; posted by
Filed under Articles, Featured, Kaitlin, Music  | 1 Comment

This article is the latest in a Bweinh! series on inspiring songs or songwriters. You can access the first ten soundtrack entries here!

When my family moved to southern California, I scanned the radio stations in my new town for weeks, unable to find one that suited the late 90s adult contemporary tastes I had developed during a childhood in Cleveland. I thought I\’d have to give up music altogether, until my Sunday School teacher introduced me to the local contemporary Christian station.

My parents had never set definite parameters on what my sisters and I could listen to, but I was in sixth grade, and for me contemporary Christian music was pretty much the greatest thing that had ever happened. Now I could put a stamp of acceptability, a certificate of religious sanitation, a “fit for consumption” on something else.

The first CD I ever bought was Learning to Breathe, Switchfoot\’s third release. From the odd ceramic echo on “Dare You to Move” to the retreating footsteps at the end of “Living is Simple,” I adored it. I listened to it when I did homework, right before I went to bed, when I was reading, and of course, on the radio. I internalized it, memorized every word. That their Christianity wasn\’t glaringly obvious on every track bothered me at first. Unlike most of the CCM stuff my favorite station played, Switchfoot\’s lyrics were woefully low in Christianese. But then I noticed that they mentioned God on “Love is the Movement,” and decided that was acceptable enough.

I saw Switchfoot that summer, my first concert ever. It was at dusk, on the lawn of a Bible college, a venue that, I decided, cemented them as adequately Christian. When they played a stripped-down version of “Let That Be Enough,” I was captivated. The song became my personal anthem, the soundtrack to many of the difficult situations an earnest, shrinking middle school kid could get herself into:

Let me know that You hear me
Let me know Your touch
Let me know that You love me
And let that be enough

As I grew older, the “Truth” fish eating the “Darwin” fish bumper decal wasn\’t as funny to me; the “A bread crumb and fish” sweatshirt, styled like Abercrombie and Fitch\’s logo, moved to the back of my closet. It slowly dawned on me that the strict diet of CCM I\’d resigned myself to looked a lot like legalism. I tentatively began to listen to music that hadn\’t come from Christian labels. I got a little older, and soon considered the entire industry merely a phase of my awkward adolescence.

And then a few months ago, Jon Foreman came to my campus. I have to admit I almost didn\’t go to see him; I guess I didn’t expect him to be any more insightful than I was back when I sat in my bedroom alone, slightly scandalized at the band\’s references to St. Augustine and Julian of Norwich (aren\’t Christians just supposed to sing about the Bible?). I guess being so quick to judge just goes to show how much more insightful I\’ve become since then.

He played a few songs and answered a few questions, and there was that same voice. He spoke right to me, right where I was, just as he always has. “You go to church, you go to the bar on the corner ”” you find hurting people. I think sometimes there\’s this misperception that the Christian and the one at the bar are looking for different things.”

I got a picture with him afterwards, you know, for my middle school self. I still know every word on that CD.


1 Comment to “Bweinh! Soundtrack — Switchfoot”

  1. David on April 12th, 2008 11:09 am

    I was sitting in church ione night and the pastor silenced everything and challenged us to take the silence and think about what we could ask God for—anything—if we had the chance. I was felt lost and empty but I couldn’t think of one thing that could fix it all before the pastor ended the exercise, prayed over us, and sent us on our way. The next day, sitting in a small diner 50 miles from home waiting for yet another business meeting I pulled out my journal, looked at my notes from church the night before and found the question still lingering in the air. Those four lines from that song were what finally surfaced:

    Let me know that hear me,
    Let me know your touch,
    Let me know that you love me,
    Let that be enough…

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