Tag Archives: Christian narrative

The Conversion of Switchfoot, and Myself

Narratives of Transformations

I thought to lighten up the conversation with a rare music post and a bit of good news.

When I first started at Brite, I would listen to one band and blast its music really really loud on my stereo: Switchfoot. I have seen them in concert several times. For my 24th birthday, besides having a 24 themed party; you guessed it–I played Switchfoot’s “24” all day, and all day the day before I turned 25. I would argue “Nothing Is Sound” was their best album to date up until I purchased “Hello Hurricane.”  The funny thing is, I thought I had out grown Switchfoot, since every song had some very vague metaphor for God or was about relationships between guys and girls.  My focus had changed; I was more into things like racial reconciliation, Christian justice, liberation, and empire studies. Their music for me was a thing of the past as part of a different stage of growth.  I really didn’t expect any change to happen from their brand of music (what I labelled as other-worldly).

However, I have learned my lesson. I should never doubt the possibility of anyone to change. One article pointed out that they had made a change in their music.  Inspired by civil rights activist John Perkins, I believe Switchfoot is working to change their image from just another Christian commodity to a group of human beings dedicated to justice. Shows me right for being cynical.


Sugi on Narrative Crticism

Recent trends on both the progressive and conservative side of Christian theology have pointed toward a tendency to time and again claim that Scripture is a grand story, and that should only be identified as such.  This claim tends be invoked uncritically with a Western gaze, and while I do not deny that much of the Christian canon has narrative elements in it, there are also laws, regulations, as well as real, historical persons who do not think and act like us.  The other day I came across a quote from R. S. Sugitharajah, a scholar of biblical studies who has retired in the U.K. in hisPostcolonial Reconfigurations: An Alternative Way of Reading the Bible and Doing Theology. From the essay, “Marketing the Testaments: Canongate and Their Pocket-sized Bibles”

“Is a literary approach really an important hermeneutical device or has it become a counterpart of the heritage industry,  an escapist activity which replaces an historical and praxilogical engagement with nostalgia? It may serve as a stimulus not for critical engagement but for luring readers into dreaming for a long lost imaginary idyllic past.”