Weekly @Switchfoot Song: New Way to Be Human

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After Switchfoot’s first album, there was more attention around this young band, and another album was going to be only the beginning for this talented group of guys. In 1999 they came out with their second album “New Way To Be Human.” Their first song was the one that gave more meaning to the album title. Check it out here:

Everyday it’s the same thing
Another trend has begun
Hey kids, this might be the one

It’s a race to be noticed
And it’s leaving us numb
Hey kids, we can’t be the ones

With all of our fashion
We’re still incomplete
The God of redemption
Could break our routine

There’s a new way to be human
It’s nothing we’ve ever been
There’s a new way to be human
New way to be human

And where is our inspiration?
When all the heroes are gone
Hey kids, could we be the ones?

‘Cause nobody’s famous
And nobody’s fine
We all need forgiveness
We’re longing inside

There’s a new way to be human
It’s nothing we’ve ever been
There’s a new way to be human
It’s spreading under my skin
There’s a new way to be human
Where divinity blends
With a new way to be human
New way to be human

You’re throwing your love across
my impossible space
You’ve created me
Take me out of me into…

A new way to be human
To a new way to be human

You’re a new way to be human
Where my humanity bends
To a new way to be human
Redemption begins

You’re a new way to be human
You’re the only way to be human

This is a reset song for humanity. When life seems to be out control in so many ways, we need songs like this to confront our lifestyles; the way we seek comfort, the way we show concern for injustices but end up being handcuffed by fear and lack of passion to do anything about it, the way we naturalize the supernatural by trusting in science, medicine, and professionals more than the divine. We need a new way to be human, a new way of rediscovering the supernatural in our lives.

Every day it’s the same thing, another trend has begun; a trend that will change your life forever! What’s the next fad that will come and convince us we need it or else life will be dull and not worth living. Google Play seems to have done a great job, with their advertising video at least, as they have captured the heart of humanity through story and adventure:

I have to admit… I love this ad. The video was written and put together so well, it tugged at my heart strings and dipped into my passions and made me want to join those little girls shooting arrows at injustice; it’s portraying a new way to be human; passion, courage, fearlessness, love, hate, cry, feel pain. This Google Play ad teaches us about our humanity in such a beautiful way, that we long to feel and remember the good and fight against the bad, to make life count, to be on the side of justice and joy.

This is indeed what we were created for: life, beauty, adventure, justice, sacrifice, generosity, love, but many of us just like to watch the movie, read the book, or play the game. Allowing that passion and courage to manifest into action… a radically changed life… well, that’s just to radical and weird for most of us.

The end of Google’s ad gives us a glimpse into their ‘profit-driven-answer’ as to how the new way to be human ought to be: Go to “Google Play, and play your heart out.” “Get more apps and games. Watch more movies and listen to more music. This is truly living!”

Now, I’m not against good music and movies, I love them, A LOT… but they are not the way to life, and beauty, and adventure, and a new way to be human. They ultimately leave us empty and void of life. Try it… Play games all day, or look at Facebook and watch everyone else’s life that is better and happier than yours, and see how you feel after wards… it feels like one big race to be noticed as being happy, socially connected, with the best kids, the best church, the best life. When we see advertisement like this in our household, Mike Goheen has led us to repeat a family liturgy that responds to these bids of the good life by saying, “Who are you kidding!”

The digital social world looks so good, buying the next thing that advertisement says you need is disappointing when the newer fad comes out after it… the fall from the “high” is a big let down. This type of numbing so that we can live a happy life looks even better when the way to real life, at least what history has shown us is found in sacrifice, suffering, and courage. It’s much easier to feel good by watching a movie or buying a new app, but Jesus’ answer is radically different.

Allow me to speak on behalf of God for a moment, because Jesus demands to be heard in this conversation, for many reasons, but one especially from the gospel of Mark. In the opening chapter of Mark’s letter, Jesus utters the most spectacular announcement of all time: the kingdom of God is here! (Mark 1:15). But what’s even more spectacular is what happens after Jesus announces this spectacular statement, He displays what this statement means and looks like.

If we read through Mark’s letter about Jesus, we would see that He lives and teaches like no other religious leader ever has. Each miracle, every sermon, and all of his movements toward the poor and marginalized is calculated to beat back evil and restore creation to its Maker. The blind see. The deaf hear. The lame walk. The sick are healed. The social outcasts are socially restored. The untouchable are touched. The oppressed are freed. The oppressors are condemned.

Then at the end of Mark’s letter, we see that Jesus’ plan all along was to take all that was broken in the world, and absorb into himself. This means sin done against us, and sin we’ve done against others (and ourselves) is consumed by Christ, but it came at a high cost for Jesus. He became cursed by our cursings, and was rejected because of our reputation. Thankfully, Jesus being God made into a man, died, but death was like sleeping for Jesus, so he woke up after a few days, and when He did, he put to death the death of death and has now offered us, through his sacrifice, suffering, and courage, the greatest gift of all… the “Way” to true life, true beauty, true adventure, true justice, true generosity, true love; he created a new way to be human!

The point isn’t to hate on Google play or apps or movies. Buy them, have fun with them, watch them, enjoy them with friends and family, “play your heart out”, but don’t run to them to answer questions about life, or look to them to define beauty and sacrifice, or allow them to create a new way to be human. The cyber world wasn’t meant to be more real than your neighbor next to you, or your wife or kids.

By Jesus’ words and works of power, He is bringing the kingdom, the ultimate and most satisfying app on the market! You can’t buy it though… you must believe Him and then share Him with others, because He’s the ultimate flesh-satisfying and soul-defining gift to the world. Don’t play without Him! He’s the one who makes you a winner through losing your life.

This post is best summed up by the words of Mother Teresa and Gandalf:

not-all-of-us-can-do-great-things_-but-we-can-do-small-things-with-great-love_-mother-teresa

And the words of Gandalf encourage the same as he responds in Rivendale to Lorien’s question, “Why the halfling?”

“Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I have found it is the small things… everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I’m afraid and he gives me courage.” (From The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)

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