Switchfoot and Ecclesiastes

Sorry I’ve been gone for so long. Life was crazy for a little while. Also my Discover Weekly playlist hasn’t been as good.

But even so, today we’re not looking at any new discovery. In fact, we’re looking to something that’s old news, or in my opinion, “classic.”

I got a new job that allows me to listen to music while on shift. Which is super rad. But in addition to music, I’ve also been listening to teachings through the book of Ecclesiastes. Also, this job allows me much time to think. You can probably see where I’m going with this.

For some reason I’ve gravitated towards Switchfoot in recent weeks. I’ve always loved Switchfoot since being a kid. Their songs always seemed so fun and upbeat, and interesting. But now as an adult, I finally see their lyrical depth. I guess that’s what good songwriting is: something that’s appealing for the more shallow reasons while also carrying lyrical depth. Good job, Jon Foreman.

With all these things together, I see how much Switchfoot lyrics intertwine and accentuate the themes of Ecclesiastes. Common themes are purpose and worth, and vanity. The irony of chasing after something and losing sight of real life.

Here are a few examples:

From “New Way To Be Human”:

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

From “The Beautiful Letdown” (actually all the lyrics in the song are pretty applicable. Check them out.)

We’re still chasing our tails in the rising sun
In our dark water planet still spinning
In a direction no one wins, no one’s won

From “Company Car” (a personal favorite.):

Mike was right, hey Mike, We’re one and the same
We’re the faceless combatants in the loneliest game

From “Sooner or Later”:

Come back and haunt me, Follow me home
Give me a motiveSwallow me whole
They say I’ve lost it, What could I know
When I’m but a mockery? I’m so alone

And now for Ecclesiastes:

Ecc. 1:3, 14 – What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun?
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Ecc. 4:8 – There is one alone, without companion:
He has neither son nor brother.
Yet there is no end to all his labors,
Nor is his eye satisfied with riches.
But he never asks,
“For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?”
This also is vanity and a grave misfortune.

Ecc. 6:3 – If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with goodness, or indeed he has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better than he—

Also the entire chapter 12 of Ecclesiastes is amazing.

This saturation in philosophy has definitely challenged my worldview. Not necessarily my view in itself, but rather how it manifests itself (or doesn’t) in my daily life.

  1. What is the purpose of my dreams? Is it okay to not even have dreams? Do I give even these up for Christ?
  2. What about relationships? Even these come to their end.
  3. How do I place worth in daily mundane activities?
  4. What am I willing to give up to life the life of simplicity of following Christ?
  5. What if life ends up looking entirely different than I had imagined? What if there is no outward success or progression, and am I okay with that if it’s where God wants me to be?

Just a few things to think about. Anyway, listen on,