Sunday, May 13, 2012

Jon Foreman - Word.

It's been a while since the last post.
Jon Foreman, lead singer of one of my favorite bands, Switchfoot, has quite a perspective on life, and one of the reasons why I love his band is his lyrics. They are always searching, questioning, thoughtful, and personal.

The following is a COPY from

(On being church in this hurting world) “This starts with the humility of knowing that we can do nothing on our own. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a camera pointed at you or a microphone – none of these things are the living embodiment of Christ on this planet. It’s the simple, humble who’s faithful and attentive to the Holy Spirit – that’s where it begins. All of us, myself included, have a tendency to be caught up in hype. But the Gospel is about being humble to the point where you’re willing to pick up your cross and daily pursue a communion with this gracious God who loves the world. He loves us so much that he gives of himself for us to consume.”
“For me, when I think about Christ, I think about this iconoclastic man who lived and died for the broken. And the paramount underdog, which is basically turning the world on it’s head. Blessed are the poor and blessed are the hungry, blessed are the broken, all these things that feel very backwards in our fame, power, beauty, riches hungry world. That’s who Christ is to me.”
“I feel like that’s something the church has done really badly… is actually confessing. We are sinners. We are broken, shattered people that do things selfishly, out of arrogance, pride, lust, greed. And all have fallen short. That doesn’t mean some… we’re definitely a part of that inclusive all.”
“Yeah, it’s gonna set you free. Oh, it’s gonna set you free. Yeah, it’s gonna set you free… My friends, the Father’s conditional love does not exist. Let me say that again – the Father’s conditional love does not exist. The imperfect Cross does not exist. The salvation that you’re working and striving and judging others for does not exist. It was finished at the Cross, and it is finished at the Cross. It is finished! I’m the kid of the corner. I’m the kid on the outside camp. I’m the kid who can’t fit in. I’m the broken. I’m the loser. I’m the outsider. Christ died for me.”
“I think it’s very easy to say the right things when there’s a lot of people watching, but it’s really hard to say and do the right things when there’s nobody watching, so with that in mind, would you guys back me on this, that there’s incredible people that are believers that are doing things all over the globe in different ways like Sufjan (Stevens) and a bunch of people that I think are upping the bar, (Dustin Kensrue) from Thrice.”
“The beauty of what I read in the gospel is the intimacy of what we’re called to, that there’s no middle man.”
“I’m very reluctant to put my words into God’s mouth.”
“It is such an amazing journey that we’re on, as individuals trying to follow a relation with God. To say we’ve got it all figured out and put ourselves up on a pedestal is not what we’ve ever wanted to do. I think certain people รข€¦ they want you to fly their flag. That”ss something we’ve always been very reluctant to do. To fly the flag of man is something that is not really interesting to me. I think hopefully it’s a matter of not caring what man thinks, but playing for an audience of one, rather than trying to impress a certain group of people that also believe in the same God.”
“If we truly believe in an all-powerful God, then there’s going to be beauty and truth to be found in all sorts of different places.”
“God uses us in spite of us”.
“For me, I think the american dream has gotten this small. It can fit on an advertisment on television. It can fit on a billboard. And there’s no dream that I have that you can sell me. So this, this here, this is about a bigger dream. Jesus is not my homeboy. He’s a figure that terrifies me and puts me in place. He’s someone who shocks me most of the time. And I feel like he’s gotten this small too.”
“Christ will never be cool. Terrifying, life-changing, shocking, and iconoclastic, but never cool. Jesus is not my homeboy. The Gospel will always be “relevant” but never trendy.”
“I think sometimes we can use spirituality as a vehicle to go closer to the things that frighten us and sometimes we can use it as a shield. I’m guilty of it too. I think spiritual words can do one or the other. Because when I hear people say, in a religion setting, ‘Glory,’ ‘Praise the Lord,’ ‘Hallelujah,’ but it doesn’t mean anything, those are actually words that distance us from God, ironically enough.”
“I think that’s a challenge as believers – how do you demonstrate the gospel? How do you do that? I mean it’s easy to talk about it and say ‘Oh this is what we are supposed to be doing’ and this is the relevance. But how do you do that with your hands instead of your mouth? How do you do it every day, instead of just onstage, how is it enacted? And I feel like that is one of the ways that we can show what we believe, by how we treat people around the world.”
“A lot of people have asked us have we experience persecution as a Christian band and it’s one of those things where I say that’s a ridiculous word to use for what we’ve gone through compared to what my friends in India have gone through. What we go through is people making fun of us, and that’s the worse it gets, for what we believe in. I think that more and more, as the world gets smaller, we’re connected with people all over and it can be overwhelming where you feel like there is all this information that we are all responsible for. But I think on the positive side, you can actually really let people know what is going on. Like my friend in India, when I make a Myspace post, he says ‘Oh man it was so encouraging to all of us in India about this, that, or the other’. And that’s incredible to think that you guys especially in the press can do things that will impact people all over the world. That you are writing for everyone. I think that is the only way I can find solace in what is happening, as far as the church is concerned around the world.”
“In many ways, the faith that I come across when I go to India is of a different substance than what I find in the western world and in many cases, much stronger and more God breathed that anything that I could find in San Diego.”
“I think for us growing up we never saw anything that was outside of God’s vision. The idea that if he created this skin that I’m in, if He’s created this moment for us to share right here, if He’s created music and all these things, then suddenly every conversation becomes sacred instead of secular. Every time you go into the grocery store, every times you hop in your car… you’re not turning off and on your Christianity. You’re bringing the very temple of God with you. So suddenly playing shows down the street at the church becomes a sacred thing, just as much as playing down at the bar when we’d get kicked out because none of us were 21.”
“I’m really only responsible to make sure that one person is clapping at the end of my life. Because I feel like as a performer, a lot of times you live for everyone else’s applause. That’s a dangerous thing within the church or outside the church.”
“It is a really tough line to walk, trying to figure out ‘okay how do I represent this incredible man who lived and died for me 2000 years ago that was completely iconoclastic?’ I think a lot of times the Christianity we have today… the Christendom as Kierkegaard would call it… is not very reflective of Christ. So how do we do that? How do we represent who Christ was? It’s a great question.”
“The reason that I believe in God is not because I saw U2 in concert. It’s always because I know this person that loved me.”
“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 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.”
“To be honest, this question grieves me because I feel that it represents a much bigger issue than simply a couple SF 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 A 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. (I’ve heard lots of people say Jesus Christ and they weren’t talking about their redeemer.) 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 ‘brothers’ who have a different calling.”
“We’re all in this together. There is no weight that I have that you don’t also carry. We are image bearers of Christ.”
“I’m just more and more coming to the conclusion that we serve an incredibly large God who wants to do incredible things through this generation. I feel like there is a spirit that I get from many kids… it’s the attitude that it’s not impossible, things can happen… whether you are talking about Africa or even your own backyard. Wanting to actually interface with the world and not run away from it. That’s really exciting for me. I’m sick and tired of Christians that are just simply waiting for the rapture. I feel like we’ve been given an incredible job opportunity, we’ve been given the Holy Spirit; we’ve been given the spirit of the living God inside of us to change the world. That’s our calling. It’s not to sit around and wait. So when I see kids and the passion in their eyes to go out and actually interface with the world around them that inspires me.”
“If you can have a couple of tight friends that you can tell things to, that you can say, ‘Hey, this is what I’m struggling with,’ and then pray and talk about it, then that’s an incredible thing.”
“A few things are for sure: we’re going to be supporting each other in who we are; our friendships will be enact; our relationship with Christ will be at the head; and we’ll be playing music, whether in our bedroom or in Amsterdam.”
“There’s a certain amount of humility that is attached to wonder, and a certain amount of pride attached to knowledge and I think the moment you say ‘we know beyond a shadow of a doubt this exists’, you can’t have faith that it exists. Faith is no longer possible. So faith is only possible when doubt is possible. Faith is only possible when humility and wonder is possible. And I feel like the musical world of humility and wonder is a much wider door to enter into than the narrow confines of epistemology and things like knowledge and these really narrow boxes. That’s kind of where our songs are… [those are] the worlds our songs are trying to explore
“I’ve never used music to sell my faith and I’ve never used faith to sell my music. I think they are both intrinsic parts of who I am. We’ve always tried to define our music outside of genres…what is a genre? A genre’s a cage or a box and for us our music is best with fangs and some claws running free in the wild.”
“‘He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth so great is His love for us. This is the spiritual world that we have been called to and the kingdom of the heavens is here. We are learning to breathe in the atmosphere of grace.”
“Jesus Christ’s mercy and power indwells us and gives us the strength to make a positive difference.”
“Entropy is one of the laws of thermodynamics. It’s a physical law that says everything in nature is moving from order to disorder. In our lives this same principle is at work. As time moves on, things break down as we make mistakes. This is the ‘letdown’ every person experiences because of sin. For Christians this concept doesn’t end there because we realize God’s ‘beautiful’ mercy and grace restores the order in our lives.”
“I think the role of the prophet (not to say that I’m a prophet) is to say the eternal truths in a way that their generation can understand. That’s what we’re all called to do here on earth: to speak truth in relevant ways.”
“As we continue to seek the peace that passes all of our understanding, please have words with our Father about my band: that we would be a part of a revolution bigger than rock & roll.”
“What happens onstage is important. What happens offstage is a paramount. Call me a seeker of truth, a believer, a disciple, a follower, a leader… call the songs what you want, most of them come from a desire to see change in myself, to see change in our world, and see my Redeemer face to face.”
“Music is what I do; Christ is why I do it.”
“The tendency in today’s culture is to want to be a ‘star’, but I want to be a servant.”
(On defining Redemption) “Well, I go back to the bottle at the store getting redeemed for just five cents or whatever it is. It’s the ongoing eternal hand of God reaching down and recreating what was lost into something beautiful.”
“The only way to be sure that your actions will have any eternal worth is to ground yourself in the Holy Spirit. Otherwise we are fighting the wind and running aimlessly. Rather, we are called to train like a prizefighter, to make our punches count. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Rebellion is the torch passed from the youth of one generation to the next. There is much to rebel against, but this revolution has to start from the inside. So rebel, be set apart, change the world! But be careful when you talk about the church ‘of the living God, which is the pillar and support of the truth.’ For it is not you but the power of the holy spirit living in you that will ignite a fire that deserves to burn.”
“My dying planet needs to see what the body of Christ looks like.”
“The kingdom of heaven is comprised of the broken, the fatherless, the poor, the starving. Nothing that could create good ratings for NBC.”
“You have a human being who was created in the image of God, who will spit in the face of the same image, who will kill and murder and steal from that same image. I think it was Paschal who said, ‘If you look at the atrocity of man without also looking at the fact that he was created in the image of a deity, you will be depressed. If you look at the beautiful aspects of man and forget about the terrible atrocities and what it means to be human, then you have not looked at life realistically.’”
“The biggest questions in life are often times avoided… ‘What are you living for? What is your life worth? What have you spent it on? What is the meaning of life?’. The things that you think about at two in the morning when you can’t sleep, or I do at least. I think it’s sad that the God who is often times presented in contemporary Christianity, is a God who is not big enough to answer these questions. So we don’t ask them, because we’re afraid that the whole thing isn’t going to stand up. But I’ve always been encouraging people to ask the biggest questions, because that’s when our roots are going deep into reality… and there is no question that is bigger than the God that I believe in.”
“Sometimes it can be really hard in our fast paced society to slow ourselves down enough to begin to listen to God’s voice. The dilemma exists in my position as well. To be a follower of Christ is to emulate Him. When He went off alone into the desert to pray, He was teaching a valuable lesson.”
“I’m simply saying that if we are truly Christ-like, that means that our actions are going to speak louder than whatever we say from the stage. God looks at the heart and we’re all called to be accountable for our lives. That means we’re answering to Him, and not to someone else.”
“I’ve just been praying for humility, and I’ve been reading the book of Isaiah. That’s been really challenging for me to see how amazingly loving our God is. From that I can say, let’s go on. I want to be a vessel that God can use for his glory. That’s what I’ve been learning.”
“What do we really want to say to the world? Three main themes. The inability to find completion in our modern society, the inability to find completion within ourselves, and the new way to be human in what Christ offers us — His love and His perfect plan of redemption for us.”
“Your faith is what you do daily, you can’t separate your heart from your body and keep them both alive, they’re almost the same thing.”
“We’ve always been happy where we are. We’ve never tried to be bigger or smaller. It’s always been, ‘Hey, let’s be thankful for where we’re at.’ Because I think that, ultimately, the moment you start looking toward tomorrow, toward fulfillment, you’re no longer trusting in the God of today. And God is certainly the God of tomorrow, but He is desiring to be your All-in-All today more than that.”
“Your weakness is your strength and your strength is your weakness. You know, a kid grows up in a family with a lot of cash, and suddenly that becomes his curse as well as his blessing. Another kid, maybe across the boarder in Tijuana, has nothing and he has everything. [Some of those kids] have a hope and a joy that a spoiled rich kid north of the boarder can’t possess, you know? That analogy plays out in other ways – a girl who’s incredibly good-looking will be cursed with that all her life unless she learns there’s more to her life.
When I look at culture, I see we have so many gifts given to us that allow us to be lazy. I’ve heard it said that makes ease its goals has already begun its demise – I can’t think of any nation where this would be more relevent than my own. The United States has become the culture of comfort – growth, strength, and beauty are not things that come from comfort. They are refined qualities that are brought to the surface often by pain or trial.”
“I think despair and cynicism are two different things. On the flip side of hope is despair. Belief and doubt are the same thing, in that to believe something you have to actively doubt the opposite. And from my perspective, that’s the deep end. You’re dealing with the unknown; you’re dealing with mystery.”
“I think to be discontent with a world that is wrong is actually the appropriate response – to feel uncomfortable with the way that the poor are treated or with the racism that still exists in our country or with your own spiritual hunger. These are discomforts that can move you toward the truth. You know, ‘Blessing are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.’ I think the Beatitudes, especially the early ones, speak of a restlessness and yearning for a world we’ve never known.”
(On increased awareness in social justice) “We’re so interconnected on our planet that it’s impossible to ignore what’s going on around the world. And we begin to feel like we can do something to change things, you know? Now is the time to really refine what we’re doing and make sure that we’re not just stroking our own sense of responsibility or obligation – which is really just stroking our ego. I’m talking about actually loving people and not throwing money at problems; instead, it’s about throwing our arms around people and meeting the needs that they actually have.”
“I think that we’re a culture that runs away from death, for good reason. Nobody really wants to think about the fact that we’re going to be lifeless food for worms in a coffin someday. But at the same time, I feel like knowing that you’re going to die can be an incredibly rewarding, powerful knowledge. It inspires us to live in ways that we wouldn’t if we were ignorant. I feel like that has inspired me to care about every breath. For me it’s not a morbid curiosity, it’s just wanting to make sure that every moment I have here on the Earth while I am breathing is accounted for.”
(On his Huffington post, Making a Living) “I’m always trying to understand the world we live in and make sense of it because there is a lot of crazy stuff going on, and making sure I am living it right because I only got one chance at it.”
“My challenge is, do not run away from the hard questions. Truly ask yourself what’s worth living for in this life.”
“The truth will set you free, but it’s only slightly less scary than hell and a whole lot harder to get there.”
“I think that’s the beauty of live music – creating from the destruction.”
“Hope is not something you can just place in your back pocket or put your fingers around – it’s the belief in a world that has yet to exist.”
“You wake up, you wake up, another day, you wake up, you wake up, traffic still moving at the same speed, our eyes looking at the same speed, our minds thinking at the same speed, I wanna see movement, I wanna see change. I wanna wake up for real. I wanna wake up. I wanna wake up. We were meant to live.”
“Darkness cannot cast out darkness. You need a light for that. Fear cannot cast out fear. You’re gonna need hope for that… death warrants more death. But I believe life wants more life and I’m convinced that the greatest weapon we’ve got is LOVE! And maybe, in a world full of fighters, in a world imploding with hate, maybe to be a lover, you gotta be a fighter. Maybe that’s the biggest fight, the only fight worth fighting, the fight you’re gonna be in for the rest of your life.”
“I love stories too. That’s all we got.”
“There’s nothing that you can sell me that can make me happy”
“I’m dead sure, that both of grandparents who fought overseas for this country fought for huge things. giant ideas, breathtaking in scope. I’m convinced, that the American dream has gotten about this big. that we shrunk it to the size of something you can buy on the internet, or an infomercial on TV. This is a song about a bigger dream than any of that. A bigger dream than anything you can sell me. You see, I’m proud to be an American, and I believe in an America that’s bigger than racism, that’s bigger than materialism, that’s bigger than me! Alright, let’s play.”
“The easiest thing to do is throw a rock. It’s a lot harder to create a stained glass window. I used to get upset at the people who threw rocks but now I’d rather spend my time building the stained glass windows.”
“I’m continually wrestling with the idea that there are certain things in this world that simply don’t fit. The idea that I have this longing for beauty and truth, and yet I’m also attracted to things that are very dark… the lies that exist within me and outside of me.”
“Sometimes the things that hurt are worth the pain.”
“I did not come halfway around the world to stand still.”
“To talk about the things that you are trying to get off your chest all the time isn’t healthy.”
“I remember I was at this weird place in life, in college… I mean college is a weird time. It’s that transition, and there’s always a girl involved, and there’s always the whole life story, of what am I going to do with the rest my life involved. And I’m driving down this mountain late at night and the moon is pretty much the only other light, other than the headlights, and it’s this windy road and I’m coming back down to San Diego and I’m listening to James Taylor… and that one moment, for me, was a defining moment. Because I mean, I’ve been to a James Taylor concert and I felt super out of place, so it wasn’t so much the idea that these are songs I’ve heard on the radio and everyone knows them. Sometimes that song that you’ve heard a lot of times it just somehow grabs you, and that was kind of a moment for me.”
“It’s a great thing to see the strength of simplicity.”
“What’s it going to take to wake all of us up? To change the way we’re living?”
“How do you reach the person who isn’t going to reach out for help?”
“Why is it that everything is collapsing if gravity is pulling us together?”
“So the new year has arrived in her traditional fashion: with a kiss, a yell, and a sip from a disposable plastic glass. We throw in a mumbled verse about auld acquaintances and swallow the old year down. dead. done. gone. over. That’s really all there is to it. And yet, when the sun rises on the suburban sprawl of driveways and shopping malls he finds them much like he does on every other sunday. Yes, and we reluctantly wake to find that the bedroom ceiling looks eerily familiar. Yes, and aside from the telltale beer bottle on the lawn next door it might as well be any day of last year or of the next. So you rub your eyes and roll away from the window, hoping to get back to sleep. Your thoughts drift back to last night. And then, in that brief, tender moment of thought between reality and a dream you smirk at the ridiculous concept of celebrating the passing of time. Why are we so excited to announce that we are yet one year closer to the inevitable graves that await us all?
Perhaps we are inthralled by The New. I know I am. The thought of a second shot; a clean slate; the american dream; the fairy tale; the ‘anything can happen’… could we call it a longing for redemption? Maybe. For me, redemption is collection a bittersweet stories stories that haunt the present tense. You see the past I have has much that has been forgiven.
Mistakes, piled on top of mistakes.
And every year I add to the list of injustices that betray the selfish, arrogant bastard that I truly am. And yet, today I am not despondent. No, you see I have far too much to be thankful for. I wake up with the new sun knowing that I am not forced to be enslaved to myself. The chains of my appetite and of my lust are not my destiny. Truly, I have been given a second start: a new, abundant life that begins this side of the grave. No, I do not have all the answers but every breath that I have been given points to a grace that I cannot fully comprehend. Thanks to the community around me who has shown me the face of God as they demonstrate his abundant grace. Happy new year, mi amigos, have a graceful 365.25.”
“I’ve got a lot of hope.”
“I don’t want to preach with words. The thing that speaks the loudest are your actions. On stage, I try to let the music speak for itself.”
“I think that the American culture and views on importance are completely screwed up. The sooner you can discover what is true and what’s a mirage, the better, because I think that diving deep into truth when you’re young is an incredible gift. I feel like when I was in college, I look back on things that I found that are true that have lasted me my whole life, and then there are other things I wish I would have discovered sooner that I’ve chased my whole life that don’t matter at all.”
“It’s a strange book and I’m inside it. So I’m trying to pin down the details about the the plot in this book. The one where I’m the protagonist in a plot much larger than I am. A book that I can’t simply put down when I’m frustrated. With no bookmark, no remote control. The pages write themselves with very little effort of my own. And yet I’m in there. I’m written into the book.”
“There’s a lot going on in India. It’s a social justice issue that I would say is far greater than anything that we’ve experience in America, even with slavery, because it’s a social justice issue that actually goes deeper than human rights, on the spiritual level. It’s basically saying that these folks don’t have a soul and out of that they are deprived of their rights.”
“Just as drowning cannot be equated with swimming, mere existence is not the same as abundant life. We have been offered a new way to live – a new way to be human.”
“I wanna be a part of the generation that throws out money, throws out time, throws out all that we are against something bigger than ourselves.”
“I’m sick and tired of seeing the days, the weeks, the years grow by and nothing happens. Nothing happens.”
“Within, without. Within, without. It’s gonna change in here first, and then it’s gonna change out there.”
“Without honesty, art is dead.”
“All music is worship. It just depends on what you’re worshipping.”
“Every day you wake up, you change the world. Every day you wake up, you change the world!”
“Anything worth doing in this world is incredibly difficult to do.”
“I used to think that great art happened without argument, and maybe that’s not the case. Maybe the things that are most important in this life, you have to fight for.”
“I’m in therapy and I write songs. It’s all an attempt to try to come to terms with reality.”
“I feel like I get born-again a lot. I feel like I can easily drift into being dead as well. There’s a crusty shell we get as we get older that shuts us off from being blissfully oblivious. We’ve all been hurt. It’s a way of portraying the thing we often try to protect and hide our innocence as a strength.”
(Talking about South Africa) “There are just so many incredible people who are just SO rich of heart. We might richness up here, with cash and houses and things… but they are so rich of heart. And the moment you look into a child’s eyes down in South Africa and you think about what he’s been through, he’ll give you the shirt off his back just to say hello… and that to me is proof that there is something much brighter then any shadow these horrible things can cast.”
“When our world falls apart and we have no more faces to wear that’s when it’s beautiful and that’s when we change.”
“If we spend our time obsessing with the future or regretting the past, then we will never live. Tomorrow will always be tomorrow and yesterday cannot be changed.”
“Information has become king, whereas wisdom should be king and there is a big difference between the two.”
“Live rather than talk. Talk is cheap and the tabloids scream about it every day.”
“I think ‘big’ is such a strange word. Fame, success, big. These are words that I am not too fond of.”
“Life is a battlefield. I don’t have enough time on the planet to play games.”
“I always say, ‘life is short, live it well.” Our days here are so quick. Like a gunshot and it’s over.”
“There are some dark things in my world that I want to see lit up. That’s the challenge we’ve made to ourselves.”
“Our world spins upside down and sometimes we have to lose our grip on the things we value in this life in order to grab on to true life.”
“I believe every person goes through a defining moment in high school where the direction of his life can be significantly affected by one decision. Time slips away so easily, but the decisions you make will have consequences. One of the assets teens have is a confidence that they can help change the world for the better. I never want to become so jaded and grown-up that I lose the joy and peace teens have of knowing their choices can make a difference.”
“I love the Beatles and [Led] Zeppelin as much as the next guy, but we all know that everything dies eventually. I mean what is rock & roll? If you define it as ‘the voice of the restless, searching, discontented youth,’ then rock will be around for quite a while. I guess this definition would explain why I’ve never seen a hard distinction between rock and hip-hop. I’ve got a Digable Planets record on right now who, for me, represented everything that was great about hip-hop when I was a kid, thinking, creative, passionate and gripping. And if people are making music like that with turntables instead of guitars, more power to ‘em. However, as long as kids continue to reinvent what it means to be a band, then the freshness and vitality of rock & roll, whatever that is, will remain intact.”
“Think deeply about life, it’s worth it!”
“It’s very easy to lose focus in our modern society. I believe that our minds need to be frequently reacquainted with the truly meaningful aspects of life. To do this, I like to pray and read and think and be alone. This is definitely the most important part of my ‘spare time’ everyday.”
“I’m learning how much I have to learn, how little I know, how fragile my understanding is. I’m learning to be thankful and patient; today is all that we will ever have in this life. If we spend our time obsessing with the future or regretting the past then we will never live. Tomorrow will always be tomorrow and yesterday cannot be changed. The wise man seeks God in the now and brings both his regrets and fears before Him. The freedom that we are offered is truly amazing: to live, today, free from even our own fallen desires. This is where I want to be.”
“I just had a thought: punctuation marks exist in the written word and in life. commas, periods… exclamation points! They divide our existence into discrete moments, allowing us to catch our breath before we begin the next sentence, helping us better understand our time here on earth. In life, the question marks are sometimes the hardest to understand, the most frightening. They leave so much to the imagination, what happens next? Yet, question marks are good for the soul. They reveal where our hopes are, what we fear, who or what we trust. So much of what we hold on to in this life is a mirage. Job security, financial stability, prestige, power, relationships: these are as unsure as our lives themselves. Sometimes the best thing to do during a time of questioning is to let the questions dig deep into our soul. Who are we? What are we living for? I’m a hopeful questioner myself.”
“The biggest problem facing our world today is a lack of hope and a lack of meaning. [It's] basically just a postmodern world in which there is no right or wrong, no better or worse.”
“Well, the funny thing is, you are never the same person that you were the day before.”
“[I have come to] a realization that the letdowns in life we experience are beautiful when we view them as letdowns, realizing that our hope is deeper than the two-dimensional TV screen in front of us.”
“I look around and I know there’s a lot in the world that I want to see changed — and I want to be a part of something bigger than myself. I want to see things change, in myself as much as in the world around me.”
“I yearn to live and love and burn, and yet so much of my time is spent faking and forgetting, faking and forgetting… I carry out my disbelief with uninspired hands, my eyes shut, my emotions dulled, my spirit numb. In times like these I am in desperate need of truth to come to me like a blinding light, like a splinter in my soul, reminding me of the brevity of my time here on earth.”
“There are tears that shine like a smile, sobbing like a sunrise for the truth.”
“You walk along Sunset and you can feel the energy… something intangible in the air. All that motion and no real change. We’re all thirsty for it: thirsty for life, true love, meaning, the kingdom of the heavens for the water that breathes new life inside.”
“Inside all of us, we know the truth of life… that there’s something more than the next new cell phone or gadget or relationship… and that our heart beats in time with the sunset.”
“4 AM is a great time of night. The day before is long dead but the morning is yet to come. All the commotion from the night before has died down and every sane upstanding citizen is asleep. It’s a great time to go for a walk. You’ve got the planet to yourself for an hour or so, so peaceful… even the stars look different: waiting dawn. I feel the same way that the stars do sometimes. Anticipating…the night is nearly over, the day is almost here.”
“I’ve been learning a lot about suffering lately too. I overheard a man talking in a bookstore the other day: a wizened, old sage who had seen much and had a lot of wisdom stored up. I couldn’t help but hear what he was saying and I was amazed at the wealth of insight he was sharing about suffering. “Ask a weightlifter how he got his incredible strength and he will tell you, ‘I suffered.’ Ask my people,” (the man was African-American), “Ask my people where we got our amazing resilience and they will tell you, ‘Through suffering.’ Yes this life is hard for a purpose. Many times people forget that every temptation is an opportunity to fail or succeed, to rise or fall. Suffering is the vehicle for greater purposes.” keep your chin up, my friends; those who suffer for what is true are in good company.”
“I read somewhere that mistakes are the privilege of souls this side of the grave. That is to say, a choice is an amazing gift. I am more aware than ever of my own weaknesses, mistakes that I make often. I’m also very aware of my inability to satisfy everybody all the time. Sometimes these failures can be very discouraging. So thank you for your encouragement and for your prayers, they are very appreciated. Here’s to the revolution!”
“I used to think that great art happened without argument, and maybe that’s not the case. Maybe the things that are most important in this life, you have to fight for.”
“Jekyll and Hyde had it far too easy. The reality is that many more faces confront me; there are many more voices inside my head. An angel on my right, the devil on my left, and a host of others dressed in fancier garb than these – all proclaiming their virtue, all decrying the wisdom of another’s opinions.”
“Physics tells us that everything on this planet will fail us eventually. Trust someone, fall in love: your scars will tell the same story. Entropy, pain, beauty, love, hope… mix them together and call it living. The choice that remains is where we go to find meaning and truth. The biggest failures and disappointments in my life have led me to look beyond what money or power or friends can buy. When you’re face down at the very bottom of who you are, and there is no formality or pretence to cling to, all your masks fall off. In this broken place, our lives can be seen for what they are, no more no less; we are ourselves. The question is this: What happens after the twin towers in our lives fall? Do we become bitter and hateful or does redemption come into focus? I’ve been on both sides… only one is beautiful.”
“Neither Death nor Hope know any boundaries in this life. However, one of them will not pass beyond into the next. We all try to block it out: breath is a fragile thing: a gift not an obligation.”
“Don’t be discouraged, but know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance brings character, and character brings hope, and this is a hope which will not disappoint us.”
“People are like rockets and right now you’re setting your trajectory. None of us live in a vacuum; rather, we are influenced by everything around us. Do not despair. Set your mind on things above. Do not conform to the patterns of this world but rather be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
“Go change your world!”
“I don’t think we can solve the outside problems until we solve the ones within.”
“In my opinion, the best way of showing someone the best way to live life is by living it. That’s the stance I take. Certainly my views are going to come out in the songs but maybe in a different way.”
“If you approach life and forget about the atrocities that we commit, then you’re not being honest. And if you approach life and simply look at the terrible things and forget about the amazing aspects of what it means to be alive, then you’re going to be suicidal. So, somewhere in the middle is honesty and embracing all of life.”
“Eventually everything fails me, but when I look at the sunset or the sky, I’m reminded what it’s like to be alive.”
“There’s something inside of us that’s burning and fighting, and a lot of times we find a release from that in destroying each other. How ridiculous is that?”
“Nothing stays together without a fight.”
(On purity) “A big part of it is staying out of places where you’re going to be tempted. Give yourself an opportunity, and you’re opening a door. If you don’t give yourself an opportunity, nothing’s going to go down.”
“For me it’s not a matter of saying no to drugs, it’s a matter of saying yes to all the other alternatives… because I don’t think they correlate.”
“Every breath you take, you breathe out a little bit of life, and with every heartbeat, you die a little bit.”
“Hope is not a substitute for pain. Hope is in spite of pain.”
“Every day of your life, you change the world. Absolutely, yes, we’re out to change the world. I mean, you change it whether you like it or not. You wake up and you talk to the grocer. You either kick your dog or you pet him. There’s a million decisions you have every day where you change the world.”
“Well, as far as the timing of positivity or hope… hope is always relevant. I think the problem with hope is that oftentimes, we get sold a hope that is only skin-deep; it’s kind of like a band-aid. Things will get better and you kiss it and hope it feels better — but the problems still remain and the wars are still going on.”

Part 2:

Part 3:

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