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Journal, Studio

Stories Behind The Songs:
The Day That I Found God

October 11, 2016 — Jon Foreman

I found out
The Day I Lost Myself
Was The Day That I Found God

There is a rage that burns like a fire inside. Like I’m fighting the fight of my life all on my own. And sometimes the walls are closing in, and the pain takes over, free falling into bitterness- anger cynicism and doubt. Like I’m bound to lose. Like I’ve already lost. And in these dark moments when I abandon the pretence.

I shake my fist at the heavens and say, why? Why this tension? Why this life? Why? And wordless, I hear the answer, “because I love you. Because you’re mine.” And when I let go of the fight for me and mine – I begin to enter into a bigger story.

When I come to the end of myself, I find that I’m standing on holy ground.

There is a tri-tone near the end of the song, (with a note called a flat 5 or an augmented 4th). It’s been called the devils interval, with rumors, (however unfounded) that this interval was actually banned by the Catholic Church because it’s so unsettling, so mysterious.

We felt like this interval would be the perfect musical statement to end a song about The Mystery Himself. The music is meant to be a bit uncomfortable, and disturbing. We wanted to echo the lyric of the song- I come face to face with a God who will not be defined when I come to the end of myself,  in the broken and uncomfortable places. Who are you, God? “Tell them , I am sent you.”

Categories: Journal, Studio

  • David Murphy

    “The Mystery Himself”- W O W. I love this brief on the song, and I love the song…I don’t know the end, I’m in the middle of this plot”. Makes me think of one of my favorite literary characters, Walter Mitty (including Ben Stiller’s underrated movie). On my dad’s headstone are engraved the words “Everything is wonderful”, 38 years later I’m still reminded of the 3 year old boy whose first superhero never came home. I feel like sometimes I know God better because he’s the only father I ever really knew. Sometimes, like now, the saltwater stings the eyes…I still believe my dad’s words, but sometimes it’s really hard.

  • Lane Wakefield

    Thanks for doing the blogs. I really enjoy them. However, you could edit them for grammar.
    ” And in these dark moments when I abandon the pretence” is missing something and “Because your mine” should be “Because you’re mine”. A few small things to make these posts even better!

  • Mike Knickerbocker

    Saw your show at the Fillmore in Detroit recently. I was bummed that this song wasn’t performed. I have been enjoying listening to it. Now, I know why. Your blog describes exactly where my wife and I have found ourselves, lately. Thank you for putting your heart and soul into your music it connects with others in powerful ways.

  • http://modernlifesurvivalist.com Mod Life Survivalist

    There are bands that use all tri-tones. That was an amazing choice, Jon. I noticed it right away, and the instrumentation and texture behind it was rich, complex, and disturbing. Good move! Keep doing stuff like that to keep Switchfoot the outfit it has always been. Not your standard Christian pop group, but a real musical experience every time (granted, with some great riffs, catchy melodies, and exciting energy). As you can tell, I’ve been a fan since the beginning (c. New Way to Be Human).

    Quickly, I’d like to say there’s nothing wrong with defending you and yours, and nothing wrong with my defending me and mine. If we don’t take care of our family, our community, our country, we are worse than the unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8

    • Neshrom

      I think he was talking about overcoming self-centeredness – going beyond the ego, to “enter into a bigger story.”

  • Nathan Solla

    At exactly which point in the song does that “tri-tone” occur because there’s one point in the song (2:56) that’s like 3 seconds long and I always crank the volume up really loud because I love it and my wife thinks I’m crazy but that’s ok… it’s amazing! Wondering if that’s the sound that was rumored to be banned by the Catholic church (and if so, seriously!? lol). (https://youtu.be/WfNQNC1aKiw?t=176

  • http://lindsayloves.com/ Lindsay Wilcox

    I’m a churchgoing Catholic. I’ve never heard that rumor, and we love mystery. That was a little rude.

    • Caleb Browning

      It’s not rude, it was an actual belief of the catholics in the 1800s, the banned the tri-tone because they believed it to be the Devils chord.

      • http://lindsayloves.com/ Lindsay Wilcox

        As an actual Catholic believer, I was surprised and mildly offended by that comment in the post.

      • Andy

        Actually, despite the rumours, as far as I can tell the Church never banned the tri-tone. Check out this article; http://www.catholic.com/blog/jon-sorensen/did-the-vatican-outlaw-the-devil-in-music

      • John Henry

        It is rude to spread unflattering, false rumors about faith communities.

  • shannon Nelson

    Beautiful song! No one writes music like you! I can feel the energy and the spiritual presence. Music has a way to go around the logical mind and touch the heart. Thank you for following your calling and shining light on the world!!!

  • Kirk Albrecht

    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14) … No one has seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known (John 1:18) … Whoever has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:9) … For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell (Colossians 1:19) … “I AM” has been revealed … and he has a Name …

    • Neshrom

      And his name is called The Word of God. (Revelation 19:13)

  • Ron Dunbar

    fantastic!!. i LOVE how the explanation of the power of music and certain notes do what they can do to the human psyche. i have done “Christian” radio for the past 15 years and got to do a short meet and greet with jon. we had a very short discussion on EXACTLY what he touches on here with the “devils” interval, although it wasn’t couched that way. MY take on it, and i said as much to jon, is that we have to be very careful with music BECAUSE of it’s inherent power. we have to remember, music has been around for way longer than the human race. satan, BEFORE the fall, as part of the angelic realm, used some form of music to worship the one true God. don’t you think he can deceive us and gifted musicians into thinking we are glorifying God when we may not be with certain notes arranged in the way it’s described here?. this is just MY take on it. would love for discussion on this. don’t misunderstand, i’m not accusing Switchfoot of purposely tricking us. however, there are musicians in the mainstream world that can and probably do. I love the guys and have had the honor of working the stage with them in the festival world for the past 16 years. let’s pray for them as they continue the journey of spreading the good news of Jesus through music, amen?.

    • Neshrom

      Jesus said it’s not what goes into you that corrupts you but what comes out of you. If we watch our thoughts, and “take captive every thought and bring it into obedience to Christ”, then we’re safe. “For out of the human mind proceeds all kinds of evil…”

      • Ron Dunbar

        for sure my friend!. i firmly believe that. for over ten years i was on a spiritual warfare team at our church and did discuss such things as the power of music and how EVERYTHING can be used for either good or evl. just need to be VERY careful that’s all. sad thing is that a lot of believers do not believe that the demonic world even exists. i had a pastor tell me that he did not believe that Satan was real!!. good luck with that. spend a week in Haiti and tell me that!.

        • Neshrom

          My point was that we need not be so paranoid about music (or the demonic world) if we are constantly purifying our mind and motives. The heavenly man won’t be attracted to what is unedifying to him, so the change has to come from the inside-out, not outside-in. And the devil is not something that’s “out there” so much as something that’s within human beings. It’s a spirit of falsehood – the false ego. The “kingdom of God is within you” Jesus said … spiritual realities are psychological!

          Colossians 2
          20If you have died with Christ to the spiritual forces of the world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its regulations: 21“Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”? 22These will all perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23Such restrictions indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-prescribed worship, their false humility, and their harsh treatment of the body; but they are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

          • Neshrom

            Are lies real? No, they are illusions. The devil is a lie and the father of all lies (prime cause of lies). From God’s perspective, God is all there is – God is the only reality. All else is illusory. That’s something to understand on a philosophical level – but it doesn’t change the fact that we’re in a spiritual war against the illusions that oppress us, against the archetypal Liar (who is incarnate) that deceives us and condemns us.

          • Ron Dunbar

            agree my friend. trust me, i’m not afraid or paranoid just VERY aware. the full armor is on!!!. shalom!

          • Ron Dunbar

            Jesus DID say that “the kingdom of God is within you” but, He DID NOT say that spiritual realities are psychological. let us not add to scripture.

          • Neshrom

            Consider Luke 17:20. I’ve quoted 3 of the better translations of this verse below. Note that the word observe shares the same root with the word optics – it relates to eyesight. If the kingdom of God is not something that meets the eye, it’s a thing of the mind, isn’t it? More accurately, spiritual realities are ACCESSED and PERCEIVED psychologically. You don’t think so? Jesus Christ himself – the incarnate wisdom of God – is called the word of God. Word implies language, language implies thought, and thought is of the psyche.

            International Standard Version:
            Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come. He answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with a visible display.

            GOD’S WORD® Translation:
            The Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. He answered them, “People can’t observe the coming of the kingdom of God.

            King James 2000 Bible:
            And when he was demanded by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God comes not with outward observation:

          • Ron Dunbar

            we need not to get into theological banter here. we are on the same side bro. the kingdom of God was standing in front of them(the pharisees) when He(Jesus) made the statement. shalom!. enjoy Switchfoot’s music!. on the same note(no pun intended here), several years ago i had the pleasure of doing sound for a very gifted female percussionist. total mainstream and not a Christian as far as i know. while in NYC, she had the opportunity of taking conga lessons from someone who had ventured into the south american jungles to learn beats from the natives. the very FIRST thing he taught her were the beats NOT to play as they would summon evil unseen forces. don’t tell me we don’t need to be careful with arrangements of such. shalom!

  • Andy

    Hey Switchfoot, I’m a big fan of your music, including this song, but as a Catholic I did find the comment a bit offensive. As far as I can find, the Church never banned the tri-tone (this article discusses it) http://www.catholic.com/blog/jon-sorensen/did-the-vatican-outlaw-the-devil-in-music . As such, I would really appreciate it (as a fan) if you removed the comment from the above post (I saw you edited the Looking For America one at a fan’s request) as it passes on false information (though I of course I’m sure you were unaware). Otherwise keep up the good work!

    • EmilySH

      Jon says it was a Rumor, as exactly quoted above… “with rumours that this interval was actually banned by the Catholic Church”… So he’s not saying he knows its true.

      • Andy

        Yeah I’m sorry I failed to properly consider his side of the comment. That it was something he’d heard. I probably should have just mentioned that as far as I know the rumour was not true. I was just more concerned that people would hear read it and just assume it was true. I guess that’s why it’s a good idea not to type things and post them in the heat of the moment hey.

  • Jhennyfer Emanuelle

    Jon, “The Day Tha I Found God” is my favorite song in this new album. You said all the words that I’ve always wanted to say but couldn’t. I’d like to thank you for that. I found out, the day that I lost myself was, the day that I found GOD!

  • Camila Macancela

    Gracias!!!! era justo lo que necesitaba…”Romanos 8:28 Y sabemos que a los que aman a Dios todas las cosas les ayudan a bien”…Hoy no me fue muy bien, tuve algunas dificultades y me preguntaba ¿porque Dios me hace esto? ¿no me ama?…todo eso pasaba por mi cabeza y no me sentía bien, pero leí esto y mi confianza volvió nuevamente…..supongo que Dios quería que lo lea, quería enseñarme algo y lo hizo por medio de esta canción….gracias por dejarse usar por Dios para escribir esta canción….Bendiciones!!!

  • John Henry

    Worth noting the claim that the Catholic Church banned the tri-tone – I remember coming across it twenty years ago when I first learned the intro to “Purple Haze” – are total nonsense. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritone

  • Andy

    Thanks for clarifying that (the unfounded rumor) part, I really appreciate it!

  • Helen

    This song is musically brilliant, but also really meaningful to me just now. Thank you for such powerful words – and know I’m praying you through the darkness too.

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