Maybe the Flobots can Preach?

One evening while enjoying a beer with my good friend and fellow pastor Justin Woodall, I heard a song come over the sound system at Beef O’ Brady’s. It was “Handlebars” by the Flobots. At the time I’d never heard of them, but I immediately liked the hard driving rap and, as I caught bits and pieces of the lyrical content, I felt that the song was saying something important. Later, Justin and I downloaded the song and “wow”. What a powerful message. We were blown away.

Just to be clear, Justin and I are pastors, on staff at Surfside Presbyterian Church. Not only do we love Surfside Pres, but more broadly, we love the Church of Jesus Christ. That is why we are in the ministry. That is why I personally have been in the ministry for 20 years and why Justin works as a Pastor of Student Ministry. We LOVE the church. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!! In fact, we love the church so much that we want her to be what Christ has called her to be – His body made manifest upon the earth. We long to see the Church operate, by the power of the Holy Spirit, as the hands and feet and mouth of Christ.

However, over the last several years of my ministry, I have seen the church digress away from Christ, away from the Gospel, and away from loving people. Why is it that they Flobots seem to understand somethings with a clarity that the church does not? Over the last several months I’ve tried to find some proof as to whether or not the Flobots are a Christian band. Nothing seems to indicate that they are. However, what we see in the Flobots is a secular rock band saying things and doing things that I think the Church should be doing and saying. Why is it that the Flobots seem to understand some Gospel principles better than most pastors do. Below are just a few thought that I have…

1. First Thought: Does the song “Handlebars” reveal a better understanding of Total Depravity than most Evangelical Churches. The song, “Handlebars” describes sin as something that originates in the heart of a child (original sin) and it discerns sin as something that grows from childlike pride (I can ride my bike with no handlebars) into a dangerous will to power with no regard for human life (I can end the world in Holocaust). Certainly the Flobots’ view does not take into account the essence of Sin – which is hatred of God, yet, in an age where sin is often viewed by the Church in the most simplistic and truncated way, (ie. – sin is forgetting to wear your WWJD bracelet), I find “Handlebars” to be a very theologically intelligent song. How is it that these guys understand Depravity better than most seminary trained pastors?

2. Second Thought: Is the Flobots’ work in the inner-city reflecting the love of Christ better than building bigger and better church steeples. When they are not performing, the Flobots work with inner-city kids in an effort to foster social change in Denver, Colorado. Justin and I make the point that their work looks more Christian, than ministries of most American Evangelical Churches. It looks and feels more like what Jesus said in Matthew 25:37-40…

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

When a young Christian sees work that looks like this, wouldn’t he draw the conclusion that this work is more “Christian” – more loving – than building bigger steeples. So may I raise the question, ‘Why is this band doing what we should be doing?’ In saying this I do not mean to discount any great ministries like “Samaritans’ Purse” or “Cross International” or “WorldVision”, but rather to admonish local evangelical churches across the country to involve themselves in their own community, on a personal level, in this kind of ministry.

3. Third Thought: Is Jesus using organizations (bands, movements, etc.) to shame the Church into action? In Luke 19:40, the Lord indicates that if we (the Church) becomes silent, the rocks will cry out. In the old testament a donkey preaches to a prophet. Maybe God is using secular organizations, such as the Flobots, as a subversive means – ‘as rocks crying out and donkeys preaching’ – to shame the Church; to show us what love looks like, to tutor us back to our Savior. I believe that the Flobots (among others) are doing “feebly” what the Church should do powerfully by the Spirit of Christ.

4. Fourth Thought: Is the American Evangelical Church allowing itself to be subverted by an American political agenda? I do not mean to communicate political hate here. I do not hate Republicans or Democrats. However, I do believe that the Church in America seems to be getting “highjacked” by both sides of the Liberal and Conservative political aisle. As a result, the Church is ceasing to preach the Gospel of Jesus and instead we have turned to preaching a perverted ‘Gospel of Politics’ or a ‘Gospel of Legalism’ or both. I feel that the enemy is using political agenda and rhetoric to split the American Church right down the middle. Liberals, motivated by fear and anger on one side. Conservatives, motivated by fear and anger on the other side. Red v. Blue. It seems that a new Civil War has developed and is using the Church as a pawn to legitimate their respective positions AND using the Church’s Pulpits to shout at one another. This is wrong and dangerous.

The Church, should not allow itself to get politically high-jacked away from the Cross or the Gospel. Nor should we allow our pulpits to be used for preaching something other than the Gospel. Christ is the Messiah – not George Bush, not Hillary Clinton, not Barak Obama, not John McCain or Sarah Palin. Jesus is our Blessed Hope – not Bill O’reilly, not John Stewart, not Sean Hannity, not Al Franken, not the Pope, and not even Bono (ha-ha). Let’s keep Jesus as the Messiah – Jesus: Our Lord, Our Master, Our King. As the hymn so beautifully states, “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness…on Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” Our hope is not built upon the Democratic platform or the Republican platform or the Presidential nominee. Our hope is built upon Jesus. Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

In the meantime, please join me in praying that things change in the American church so that our understanding of sin, justice, and idolatry will at least be as good as the Flobots’.

Link: Lyrics to “Handlebars”

Link: Listen to “Handlebars”

61 thoughts on “Maybe the Flobots can Preach?

  1. isn’t that a little harsh? just because they are non-christian or “inner city rap group” doesn’t mean they are probably unintelligent.

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  2. I never said the Flobots were unintelligent. Actually, we said they and their song are “extremely intelligent”, especially in regard to the Christian doctrine of sin. Even though I find a good amount of intelligence among rappers (mos def, ice cube, eminem, kanye, etc.), one does not usually find such ‘nuanced’ vision as is expressed by the Flobots. These guys are making a giant leap forward. I just hope they continues to grow as U2, Coldplay, and Green Day. It seems that those in the rap genre get struck by a case of arrested development. It’s already happened to eminem. Kanye is a flake. Snoop is a sex addict. Jay-z is a total hedonist. And Ice Cube and mos def are doing movies.

    My hope is to see someone (or some group) in the rap genre step forward and grow as artists that say something meaningful, powerful, postitive, edgy and nuanced, AND continue to do that over a long period of time. So far, that hasn’t happened. Right now, the Flobots are the best bet.

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  3. im not downin what yall are sayin bro
    flobots are a motivational band their songs have lots of meaning
    they speak of what really goes on in our world
    why it is goin to pot and such forth
    they might not be a “christian band” but they do speak in the word of jesus and god.
    buy their cd fight with tools
    you will understand me

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  4. ok dude im a teen in high school so dont take notice of my lack of puncuation and misspellings , but i had to comment on this blog, i really stopped reading after i got past point one because i was so annoyed, ya maybe flobots had sin a little bit in mind when they wrote handle bars but sin and religion is totaly not what the flobots are puttin out music for listen to there song there is a war going on for your mind on youtube our something, after listneing to that you will actually see what the flobots are about and then if you are still realting there songs to sin you can go ahead sorry if i seam like a jerk but i cant let the amazing message flobots it being put out just be assiociated with sin btw im not dissing church and god hahah, one more thingg what the heck (for the use of a nicer word) did u mean by u though they were extremely inteligent for not being a christian band……. guys who get what flobots are about go to their site and join the insurgency =)

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  5. Austin, Dude you stopped reading? You got annoyed and stopped reading? That’s a big ‘no-no’ bro.

    I’m not hating on the Flobots. I’m a Pastor in a Presbyterian Church. I’ve listened to the Flobots, watched the videos, listened to album, checked out their website, etc. In my post I’m commenting on a Podcast that I had done previously where a friend and I made the point that Flobots were very insightful and had a particularly good understanding of the sinfulness of man, especially in regard to an unchecked will toward power. Their song ‘Handlebars’ shows a very insightful understanding of how this will to power starts in a kid riding a bicycle who says ‘look what I can do’. That theme develops throughout the song until eventually we have the ability to drop a nuclear bomb – ‘look what I can do’ – I can end the world in a holocaust.

    In regard to ‘extremely intelligent – especially for a non-Christian, inner-city rap group’ – I am complimenting their understanding of a Christian doctrine – Total Depravity – that surpasses the view that most evangelicals have. Basically, most Christians seem to think that people are ‘basically good’. The Flobots seem to understand that our nature is not basically good, but evil and dangerous. I think I spelled all that out. But again, you stopped reading dude. Don’t stop reading. Read the whole thing. And listen to the Podcast that this post is related to…

    Click here to listen to the Podcast https://sacrosanctgospel.wordpress.com/2008/05/08/gravesend-podcast-1-the-flobots-can-preach/

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  6. If you look at Flobot’s lyrics, you can see that they are a Christian band. They’re not signed with a Christian lable, and every song isn’t blatantly Christian. On a personal level, however, I think they are Christians and it does reflect somewhat in their music. For example, in the song “Stand Up” you will find the lyrics

    “…if you feel like I do about the Son of Man we will overcome…” and “We shall not be moved…except by a freedom fighter bleeding on a cross for you.”

    In the song “Anne Braden” they say, “From the color of the faces in Sunday songs To the hatred they raised all the youngsters on Once upon a time in this country, long ago She knew there was something wrong Because the song said ‘yellow, red, black, and white Every one precious in the path of Christ’ But what about the daughter Of the woman cleaning their house? Wasn’t she a child they were singin’ about? And if Jesus loves us, black and white skin Why didn’t her white mother invite them in?”

    If you actually listen to the lyrics throughout the whole album, it’s pretty easy to tell that God is at the root of their desire for social justice. It’s reflected in their lyrics.

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  7. My friend was listening to the Flobots and i overheard them and i knew i liked the way they “flowed.” The next thing i learned i liked about the Flobots were their lyrics, the sporadic allusions to Christ, Christ love or something of the sort.

    sure it is cool and all, but just because a band of any sort puts a few fragments of scriptures in their lyrics should not make us jump to the conclusion that they are Christian. It seems to me they are concerned with much more than the Lord… Yeah they are concerned with the welfare of people, but to what ends?

    I spent some time this summer talking with other Christians how a group in the limelights should be using their time… why, they should be confessing the Lord as Savior at any and every opportunity… what good is helping others if we do not share Christ?

    i just want to discuss this, no need to get antsy. I am willing to hear ya’ll out on what you think. thanks.

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    • In response to: “but just because a band of any sort puts a few fragments of scriptures in their lyrics should not make us jump to the conclusion that they are Christian.”
      Even though their not an “official” Christian band. One of the lead rappers, Johnny 5 had an album out before Flobots and in one the songs he raps, “So I guess I’ll be a communist christian for now and the meek shall inherit the earth.” Just thought I’d share. 😛

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      • A couple of the guys grew up Presbyterian and seem to exhibit faith in Christ. Jamie (Jonny 5) and Stephen (Brer Rabbit) grew up attending Capital Heights Presbyterian Church in Denver, Colorado. Erin, a good friend of the Flobots who also attended the church said, “It’s fair to say that church and their belief in God certainly influence Jamie and Stephen in the way they live their life and that does come through in their lyrics.”

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  8. @Christopher Miller

    I understand what you’re trying to say about confessing the Lord at every opportunity, but I think in some ways that can hurt more than it helps. It satisfies Christians, but it sometimes turns away people who already have a bad perception of Christianity. However, putting a few fragments of scripture as you say, could pull in some of those people and show them that there are Christians out there who are concerned with the welfare of people. I feel like we, as Christians, are too often concerned with what other Christians are doing, instead of being concerned with living as Christ wants us to live. Sort of the whole plank in the eye effect, of which I am just as guilty.

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  9. Hello Mr Booth,

    I guess i can say that i wrote what i wrote not to satisfy Christians. Why, i should seek to do the will of the Lord not to appease Christians or anyone else but the One who has commanded i do so. Christ makes it clear that confession of His gospel is a priority of His own and one we should make ours.

    So you are right in saying Christians are too concerned with that other christians are doing, but i would go a step further and say Christians are too concerned with what everyone else thinks they are doing when they should be concerned with living as Christ wants us to live. Then if we follow that route, being more concerned with Christ than Christians, we would make every effort to confess the Lord at every opportunity.

    Like Paul has written in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

    Who can believe if they have not heard? haha, oh man, we need to talk more of Christ and how wonderfully this Man has saved our souls, not try and sneak it in or around.

    thanks
    chris

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  10. Can i tell you something if you are so church like and love god you would know what the bible say. this song has actually nothing to do with god. And pastors should be amazed because if you liseten to the words and think of the bible its kinda sounding like the anti-christ. Word. You may think i am dumb, and thats fine. i believe in god, not faithfully by any means. Im saying that so you don’t think i am one of those phsyco people talkin about the anti- christ. But read the bible and listen to the song and you will see its scary

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  11. Caitlyn,
    This song is not talking about the anti-Christ. It’s talking about us. Me and you…and how dangerous we are, and how scary we are, and how bent toward power we are, and how confused we are, and sinful we are, and how dumb we are.

    This is why we need Jesus. I find my “self” to be much scarier than anything I can imagine in a supposed Anti-Christ.

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  12. Hello Tim,

    I am a UK catholic and agree with your views on the Flobots. If you listen to their song “Stand Up”, there are lots of Christian references. With or without though they’re a great band.

    May

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  13. Tim,

    Thanks for this post. Just got into the Flobots last weekend, and have had them in pretty constant rotation all week. They are coming to Indy this weekend, and we are planning on going to see their show. I really enjoyed your insight into their music, and your thoughts on the theology behind it (whether planned or unplanned).

    Richard

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  14. Tim,
    I am a parent of a teenager who told me to listen to “Handlebars”, and my reaction was the same as yours! He said he liked it because of their social awareness and that he thought they might be Christian. The guys in Switchfoot are Christians, but their music sometimes covers the themes without boldly saying the name of Jesus. I came from a world of darkness as a teenager, and I am thankful that there are bands like this speaking out and acting out for God’s kingdom. Having switched from a protestant to an evangelical church, I have personally encountered some very hurtful legalism from other Christians. That happens among all humans and in all churches, really, but people can be especially critical of musicians and some of the choices teens make regarding what they are listening to. I am just thankful that God is working in this generation, and I am sad that no one told me about our Lord, Jesus Christ. I knew many kids who died from causes such as suicide or drunken driving accidents, and if I had KNOWN about Jesus, I would have talked about Him. One guy was listening to a Black Sabbath song when he took his own life….I wish so much he could have been listening to Switchfoot or Skillet…someone with a positive message. Although the ideal would be that Jesus’ name always be mentioned, I do believe that God can use a song like “Handlebars” to get the attention of a teen who is “waking up” to some of the problems in our world today.

    I really appreciate your article and think you make some good points! I am also grateful for your faithfulness to Jesus and your obedience to speak to young people about the Gospel. A great youth pastor I know told our congregation a few years ago that if we really wanted to reach young people for Jesus Christ, we had to accept the fact that we might arrive at church one day and find some wild looking kids smoking cigarettes on the front porch! That would have been me, and would have invited my friends!!

    God bless you.
    K

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  15. I’d just like to say that as a Christian I have been blessed by the Flobots lyrics more than any other Christian band out there. They stand up for what we, as Christians, should be standing up for. Just take a look at Mattew Ch5, we are supposed to stand up for justice, peace, the poor, the widow and the orphane. These are all prominent themes in the Flobots’ songs. Christian or not, they are preaching the word of God.

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  16. You know, I think a lot of people missed the point of your blog post. Personally I think it’s fantastic that someone in your position has taken the time to actually pay attention and dissect something meaningful, rather than dismissing it out of hand based on the fact that it’s “just rap” or some such. I’ll admit to not being a religious guy, but I am very interested in theology, and I think your points hold a lot of water.

    The one point I would add is that, unlike a lot of musicians and celebrities who strictly supported a candidate or party, the Flobots also lent their support to the non-partisan Rock The Vote campaign…the point they were trying to make is that people needed to get out and vote, regardless their political affiliation. Within the context of your post I think this is another interesting message, in that they are supporting the process of democracy over and above the worldly concerns that envelop political platforms.

    It’s the process — the exercise of freedom — and the responsibility that comes with it — that is important, from this perspective. I think the lack of divisive language and the distinct maturity this shows is a beacon for the rest of us, especially those of us of a religious persuasion, who all too often get bogged down in the issues and therefore forget that we’re all in this together.

    I wish I could include some kind of biblical quote to shore up this suggestion, but that’s just not my bag, I’m afraid. But this kind of unilateral support in the cause of freedom really does sound like something Jesus would have been into, in my opinion.

    If you’re interested, here’s a link to the Flobots’ Rock the Vote PSA. Maybe that will help explicate what I mean.

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  17. What Gives,
    Thanks for the love man and props for reading through the whole post. As you said, many of the readers (not all) failed to understand the overall point I was attempting to make. I certainly value the opinions of all and would welcome any further dialogue. Just in case you’re interested in talking further – my e-mail is tunamelton@gmail.com. God Bless!

    T

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  18. I actually know the Flobots, and no, they aren’t a christian band, but several of their songs were written for and originally perfomed at the church that Jamie (Jonny 5) and Stephen (Brer Rabbit) grew up attending. The church is a presbyterian church in Denver, and actually, after meeting Jamie, I began going there, and I have to say that it is the most amazing church I have ever been to. I don’t live in Denver anymore, but when I go back, I always head over to Capital Heights Presbyterian Church (if you listen to their song, “One Love”, there is a line about a “sort of biggish building with the littles billboard”, and that is CHPC). It’s fair to say that church and their belief in God certainly influence Jamie and Stephen in the way they live their life and that does come through in their lyrics.

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  19. ello,
    just thought id put in my opinion on things.
    yes flobots do have songs were they speak of the lord, but the band its self is not christian.
    maybe the members are christian i dont know but i do know they are not a christian band cause i have heard cursing in their music which i dont think should be there if they were a christian band, but i do think they have good music and messages in their music. also i would rather have people listen to them than some of the garbage out there.

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  20. hi 🙂 my brother found this site and i totally see what your getting at with reading into their music…
    i can see some people who commented on this dont really get how you can connect sin into what the song is about, but as a fellow Christian i think life is a lot about interpretation and i know God works throught that… and their songs ahve really touched me too…i did a little video on youtube to their song ‘stand up’ which u might find interesting?

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=gR1gFuDeaPU

    God bless 🙂
    xxx

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  21. wow you’re not a good researcher

    no evidence they’re Christian?

    look at the lyrics for ‘stand up’ and for ‘one love’

    then tell me there’s no evidence they’re Christian 😉

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  22. Let me start by saying that I am so amazed at what God is doing in these end times. The revelation upon revelation being revealed of who God is!

    I agree with everything you said Tim. We have to remember that God’s number one goal is the Gospel. The saving of souls for eternity. He loves each of us sooo dearly! That means you reading this too! Time is short and he will use whatever methods he can and/or wills to reach individuals. I know this first hand just from listening to secular songs before I was a Christian and getting a Christian message from those songs. That’s just proof that the Holy Spirit can use anything to impress a message across to them.

    I heard Flobots song Handlebars and pretty much followed the same pattern you did Tim… I haven’t listened to all their songs and I don’t know if their a Christians or not but if they are… thats just dope!

    To lostinnaria, Just because a person uses a certain word that society has deemed bad doesn’t make them not a Christian. The real issue is a heart issue. Not a speech issue. Think of it, the word bitch is really a word that is not wrong, its a female dog. Before it had any bad meaning it was a normal word. Society has taken that word and used it to degrade women (female dogs) and then since as a degrading mean word towards any individual. Think about it and maybe do a study of scripture.

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    • I agree with you about the words Joe. In fact, has society not turned “Christian” into a negative word? People say it with such disdain, I know because I used to be one of those people, not so long ago. Perhaps that’s why so many people are reluctant to refer to a mainstream group as Christian? Just my thoughts, and I’m just one person 🙂 .

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  23. I would echo what Sam said. There’s a good amount of evidence of them being Christians:

    “Underfunded but we still don’t understand
    Under God but we kill like the son of Sam
    But if you feel like I feel like about the son of man
    We will overcome”

    “So if youre feeling like a Pimp take a moment just to hold it off
    My role model will not only brush ya shoulders off
    But wash your feet, give his life as the soldiers watch
    And forgive his torturers below the cross”

    “If you believe in redemption
    I’m calling to you from another dimension”

    I don’t think the band, or the songs are meant to be “Christian” but when something is redeemed it’s pretty obvious.

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  24. and @Aye about the language issue: I agree, but also add that sometimes strong language is necessary, and in the Flobot’s songs, the usage of strong language is certainly appropriate.

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  25. Ok, after listening to all their latest album I can say I am a little bit confused about the “being a Christian or not” issue. I would say all the evidence is saying yes for the most part but they also say things that don’t quite agree with Christian beliefs Biblically. Understandably, that of course, doesn’t make them not Christians. I say that because no one on Earth is perfect in all areas nor able to understand God completely or have perfect theology or doctrine. For instance in their song “Same Thing” they have these views which I’m not saying are wrong entirely maybe, but I do at least for sure have some problems with a few things.

    We need money for healthcare and public welfare

    Thats understandable, But at what cost? That’s not the real root cause. Why don’t we as a stop letting pharmaceutical companies managing diseases to get rich off someones life and instead cure it. Why don’t we also find alternative ways to process food, etc. Lets get rid of things in our food that are making us sick. Things that other countries have banned and outlawed that we still find IN OUR FOOD and WATER! Drugs that actually addict people to food and have proof to cause diseases, etc. God is about dealing with root causes and I think we should be too. Everything in today’s age is not about real problem solving its about layering band aids until nothing works and the whole system breaks down. BAM one world government. All based in one way or another on the love of money. Can you see it? I can.

    Lyric: Free Mumia and Leonard Peltier

    My response: No idea who they are I’d have to google them.

    Lyric: Human needs, not corporate greed

    My Response: Of course, love your neighbor as yourself Jesus said.

    Lyric: Drop the debt and legalize weed

    My Response: Of course debt is bad. God said so. But debt can also be a tool used to aid Christians as well… ie. buying a house etc. However of course its best to avoid at all possible costs. The weed thing… well, I believe all somewhat mature Christians are in agreement that drugs are bad in terms of using them to distort our reality and just “get by” to avoid life. etc. Helping us cope. Now this can get in depth and I’m not about to debate. I think certain views of the discussion can change with certain factors in dealing with right and wrong etc. For the non-Christian verses the Christian. For the Christian, God calls us to himself. Why do we need drugs if God is real? If we feel we need drugs we need to seek God sincerely. Cry out, seeek Him… Never give up. He will show us the way. He is GOD!

    And then they go on to say:

    We say ‘yes’ to grassroots organization
    ‘No’ to neoliberal globalization
    Bring the troops back to the USA
    And shut down Guantanamo Bay

    Who let ‘em overthrow Jacobo Arbenz
    Who let ‘em overthrow Mohammad Mosaddeq
    Who let ‘em assassinate Salvador Allende
    I didn’t let ‘em but they did it anyway
    Who let ‘em overthrow Kwame Nkrumah
    Who let ‘em overthrow Aristide
    Who let ‘em assassinate Oscar Romero
    I didn’t let ‘em but they did indeed!

    Don’t let them assassinate Hugo Chavez
    Don’t let them assassinate Evo Morales
    And bring back Martin, Malcolm, Medgar,
    Hampton, Schwerner, Goodman, Chaney

    I dont think anyone should be FOR war, killing is so bad. Murder is so bad. Hurting people is SO bad! However, if you had to choose them or me and my family everyone would mostly choose them. So when we hear of “Dont let them Assassinate Hugo Chavez”. Of course! I’m not for killing at all. But what are they saying and why Hugo? Last I heard he hates The US and even has Russia supplying him with weapons and even nukes. Remember all the stuff in the news where Russia was landing Nuclear capable jets on his islands or something of the such in attempts to show us hes serious etc. He doesn’t like us, supposedly funds terrorists in some shape or form knowingly (I say knowingly because so do we when we buy gas at some stations and I guess he also owns Citgo etc.) So what is the agenda here? Protect America and our families or protect a dictator? Here’s a link to a news story CBN did titled (Link >>>) America vs. Hugo Chavez

    Lastly, Sorry for typing so much I type really really fast. And correct errors later. Much to ponder I look forward to any thoughts back.

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  26. I should say about Hugo “Possibly nukes”… I dont know that for sure or not of course. I’ve heard it reported as a possibility though. The more I think of it I think its more unlikely because if nukes were that easy to get Iran would have them already.

    You’ll have to read my previous comment to understand this comment. Sorry.

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  27. Joe,
    My perception is that the Flobots fail to admit the most integral idea idea in understanding the Gospel: That we human beings are all depraved to the core. We are more than simply broken. We are evil in our core being. Now, to be sure, some people and some nations express that evil on a more grand scale than others. For example, I express my evil by yelling at people in traffic, Jeffrey Dahmer expressed his evil by eating people. Certainly one expression is worse than another. But in our hearts, in our core being, there is no difference between myself and Jeffrey Dahmer. The Flobots seem to think that their particular brand of “socialism” would work all this stuff out, and it would, if it weren’t for all those dang “capitalists” who go around killing all the great socialist leaders. Thats wrong. Socialists are evil. Capitalists are evil. White people are evil. Black people are evil. We are all evil in the core. That admission is the fundamental idea that forms a proper response to the gospel. If we aren’t drowning; if we aren’t imploding upon ourselves; if we are not flesh eating zombies and real life vampires; then why do we need a Savior. Unfortunately, the Flobots believe we can save ourselves.

    The point of my article however, was that as idealistic as the Flobots are, at this point they seem to be doing a better job of preaching the Gospel than the evangelical church. What I mean by this is I prefer the message of the Flobots to the message of Joel Osteen. The Flobots at least admit that that “some” people are evil, even if they forget to include themselves. Osteen isn’t prepared to admit that anyone is evil, especially himself. Osteen is quintessential Christian Capitalism taken to the extreme. The Flobots, like Mother Teresa and Bono, are quintessential Christian Socialism taken to the extreme. Sadly, neither direction is the answer. We need not look to the right nor to the left for our answers, but up. Up to Christ, up to the Cross. The answer to our self implosion is not better politics, the answer is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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  28. I think they may be sort of Christian, but not clued up on Theology. Some of their lyrics… well.

    Just read the lyrics to “Same Thing” where they claim that certain dictators are good and had legitimate views. Now, while the CIA and like may not have had freedom of the populace in mind when they overthrew them, it was a side effect.

    As to their politics… they’re 1st type anarcho-liberals. They have liberal views, but are unwilling to recognise the need to defend the rights of others with force.

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  29. First I want to know why a church leader is drinking a beer? and their song “The Rhythm Method” has the “S” word in it. Christians shouldn’t being doin any of this.

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    • Pat, really you don’t know any church leaders who drank beer or wine? How about Tim Keller, C.S. Lewis, Martin Luther, J.R.R. Tolkien, G.K. Chesterton, Charles Spurgeon, John Calvin, etc.

      In a sermon by John Calvin on Deuteronomy 14:26, which is arguably the classic Old Testament text with regard to drinking alcoholic beverages, the command reads:

      ‘And you shall bestow that money for whatsoever your soul lusts after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever your soul desires: and you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, and your household.’

      Calvin’s exposition of this verse is interesting. He accentuates not only the glory of God but eating and drinking in the presence of the God of glory. When we drink wine or strong drink, we drink in the audience of the heavenly Vinedresser and Winemaker who expects us to enjoy his gifts.

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      • Not to mention the direct parallel/symbolism with the Eucharist and regular bread and wine…

        For He has given us bread to strengthen our hearts… (Christ is the new manna sent from heaven)

        For He has given us wine to gladden our hearts (Christ is the new wine)

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  30. Stumbled upon this and have to say I totally agree with Tim’s original blog (sorry for being late to the party).

    What frustrates me is this idea in the comments section that because they are liberal in their politics and associate with dictators that they might not be Christians. Oh, they cuss, they must not know the Lord.

    I could go on, and I will if people are still reading this and would like to engage, but this blog is really old.

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  31. So, my brother-in-law was just playing flobots for me, and I immediately said, “Are they a Christian group?” They have such a good message, and many references to Christ. They may not be labeled as such, but I have to believe they are a Christian group. I can’t for the life of me imagine why so many people seem to have a problem with that. As if to say that the fact they sing of social injustice would indicate they can’t possibly be Christian. PLEASE! Who do they think lead the Civil Rights Movement? Vietnam War Protests? Was it atheists? NO, it was CHRISTIANS, and other RELIGIOUS GROUPS. Thanks for your blog, it was interesting and informative.

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  32. Are they Christian? What is a Christian? What is an Evangelical? These terms have been hijacked by those with no love for Christ. Does it matter? As long as they spreading God’s message, that is what God cares about and that is the Gospel Truth.
    Is their message good or bad fruit. Sounds like good fruit to me.
    Matthew 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
    John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” The Flobots are worshipers in “spirit and truth” as far as I can tell and the Holy Spirit informs me. They say what the mainstream is afraid to say. They are pacifists guerillas. They are the insurgency. Jesus was the insurgency too. So stand up for justice, truth and mercy or your just a pharisee seeking to protect his seat of power. Don’t know what I’m talking about try reading the Bible instead of having it read to you and you might be surprised what you find.

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  33. Boy, this post just stays alive. I wrote it almost two years ago and I still get comments on it. Thanks for your good word Jorge from the ATL.

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  34. Hey I agree with you I don’t know why the church isn’t doing this and personally I’m getting sick of it…. It’s time to take Jesus’s teachings into hand and take action

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  35. I didn’t have to read all of the comments, so sorry if this has been said already, but the Flobots may be more Christian than some realize, and I believe they don’t profess or say they are Christian because of how badly that name has become viewed as over the years. This kind of goes with Tim Melton’s last point about how the Church has been changed by politics for the worse.
    We all know what kind of bias’s I am talking about that has turned the word Christian into a word for people who “push” their relgion on everyone, are hypocrites and so on. So, for this reason mayb the Flobots don’t want everyone to know they are in fact Christian…only theory though.
    Here are some lyrics from the Flobots song “stand up” that makes it more apparent that they may be more Christian than some think….they are talking about America in the first line…listen to the song if you’d like.

    Under God but we kill like the son of Sam
    But if you feel like I feel like about the son of man
    We will overcome

    So Stand up
    We shall not be moved
    Except By a child with no socks and shoes

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  36. they may be Christian. In their song “one love” they mention that their role model is the one who forgave his enemies on the cross ..

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  37. I just want to point out one of my favorite quotes which comes from the Flobots:

    “My rolemodel will not only brush your sholders off.
    He’ll wash your feet, give His life as the soldiers watch,
    And forgive His torturers bellow the cross”
    -Flobots, “One Love”

    I certainly know that even if they don’t say the words “we are Christian” publicly (for whatever reason), they deffinatly have a great respect for God and what he’s done for us. If you haven’t already, deffinatly take a look at their lyrics and notice the Christian references and tones in their music; Albumbs: “Platypus”, “Fight with Tools”, “Survival Story”

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  38. I havent read all of this but u read that you havent found reasons that flobots are christian but check out the song stand up by them. There are a few christian referrences and although it isnt proof it still leaves that window open

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  40. Hello… Well, the Flobots seem like a pretty good band to me. The song White Flag Warriors is kind of about turning the other cheek, like Jesus said.

    Like anything not straight from God, there’s probably going to be things that one can’t completely agree with, and then also things that seem complete truth… There are many many many secular bands out there that have “Christian” themes… Paramore, Mumford & Sons, and Linkin Park to name a few I’ve found… But really, I mean it’s possible to find spiritual relevance in almost anything, I do it all the time.

    God doesn’t come in a box. We often try to stuff him in a box, but it just won’t work. Our “Spiritual life” and our ACTUAL LIFE have to be one in the same or both will suck…. I think that means carrying everything in the Spirit into real life. That means music, art, culture, everything.

    Artists are influenced by their life and their experiences. If the Flobots believe in and take part of the wonder of the Maker, then of course, that will come through in their music, along with everything else they believe in. Same goes for any other musician/band out there. Whether they label themselves Christian or not I don’t think matters much. I know people who call themselves Christian and don’t bear the fruit, and people who don’t call themselves anything and are running over with good fruit… Faith without works is dead. ANYWAY, I don’t say this to bash you Tim or anything, I agree with what you’re saying above; just my thoughts from that. 🙂

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    • Thanks Audrey. I loved your thoughts. I do think that you made an excellent point in saying that “Our spiritual life and our actual life have to be one in the same or both will suck.” Amen to that. I think the Flobots are also saying and doing some good things – that’s what I mean by saying the Flobots can preach. However, at the end of the day, I would not say that they are a “Christian” band in the strictest sense because they do not really have a lot to say about the Gospel or the redemptive work of Christ (sin, salvation, repentance, the Cross, etc.).

      Thanks for checking in!

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      • This is old I know, haha. but FYI, I kind of got that eloquent way of putting that about spiritual life from a YouTuber called Blimey Cow. They talk about some great stuff, dig deep in a funny, sarcastic kind of manner. you should check them out!

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  41. but how exactly do u explain the swearing in their songs? i think that they see beyond the typical christian but dont label themselves as 1

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  42. The flobots dont claim to b a christian band ,however members of the band are christian steven “brer rabbit ” is a devote christian and i believe jamie “johnny 5” has also mentioned being christian . I love this blog , if your church was in michigan id b there every sunday!!!

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