Jon Foreman is a really nice guy. And I mean, a nice guy among nice guys. Jon is the singer/songwriter/guitarist for a band called Switchfoot. He and drummer Chad Butler (and a stray cellist named Keith) came by our Staff Conference one night to do a concert of some really cool ‘unplugged’ arrangements of their songs for us. For free.
Switchfoot is one of the more popular bands on the mainstream airwaves and has a huge following. So for them to ‘drop-in’ for free is a pretty big deal. The guys in Switchfoot are Christ-followers, and their songs have mainstream appeal because they connect with feelings of spiritual significance and the human experience, without coming off as ‘pat-answer poetry’ (as another songwriter friend refers to it…).
They did an acoustic set, and then did about 30 minutes of Q&A with the audience of about 3000. They were very open and honest and gracious and entertaining and insightful and, well, just plain fun.
When asked what it was like to be popular in the ‘mainstream’ market and live out their faith while enduring criticism from Christians who didn’t understand why their songs weren’t more overt, he said: “Yeah, what we do is sort of dodge traffic in the intersection of art, faith and commerce”.
That was one of my favorite quotes of the conference – because, absent the commerce part, that’s a good synopsis of our work with Keynote – dodging traffic in the intersection of art and mission.