The Plan of Salvation in a Pop Song?

By Quint Randle

Every once in a while religion and pop music collide in interesting and overt ways. For example, The Byrd’s “Turn, Turn, Turn” adaptation of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1966, making it the No. 1 hit with the oldest lyrics — King Solomon being born around 1011 B.C.

There have been other instances before and since then.

More than a decade ago I was pulling my car into the driveway, when as I often do, I parked in the garage and then ended up sitting solo in the car listening to the radio, finishing a song that wasn’t quite over yet.

This was a new song I hadn’t heard before and I liked it. Big, majestic guitars, big drums and more. “Who is this band and what song is this?” I thought to myself. Since this was a pop/rock station and not Christian radio, I was almost shocked when the lyrics of the bridge hit me. “Did that really say what I thought it said?”

Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where do you run to escape from yourself
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here

After the song ended I ran into the house and did a quick Google search with a few of the lyrics. The tune turned out to be “Dare You To Move” by a band named Switchfoot, a San Diego-based, Christian alt rock band in the midst of “crossing-over” and experiencing huge mainstream success with their album The Beautiful Letdown. (Which according to Wikipedia has gone on to sell about 3 million copies.)

In essence, the song is a commentary on The Plan of Salvation, where mankind comes to earth, then struggles and learns in a fallen state. Verse 1 and 2 lyrics compressed here:

Welcome to the planet
Welcome to existence …
Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be

The chorus then challenges the listener:

I dare you to move…
I dare you to pick yourself up off the floor …
Like today never happened …

And as shown earlier, the song’s bridge then completes the overall message of the song.

Many times since that first listen, “Dare You To Move” has given me unexpected moments of greater appreciation for the renewal we are given each and every Sunday. Salvation really is right there — wherever we’ve fallen. We don’t have to look far at all. So go ahead, “I dare you to move,” I dare you to grow — cause that’s exactly why we are here. And Jesus Christ provides the safety net. That’s the message this “pop sermon” has given to me.

The song has also made me wonder how lyrics with such an overtly positive Christian message attracted the attention and support of the radio programmers who are so good at feeding us all the banal and sexual trash so much of pop music is made of.

But that’s another topic for another post.

What unexpected pop sermons have you encountered listening to the radio?


2 thoughts on “The Plan of Salvation in a Pop Song?”

  1. I had a very special moment in high school listening to “November Rain.” It was a stressful day running from class to a practice AP test and then to work and the song came on just as I drove in the rain into downtown SLC. The chorus of “everybody needs some time on their own,” hit right as the sun broke through and lit up the raindrops on my windshield. Then, I saw the Salt Lake Temple right in front of me. It was a moment of “Be still” for me and one of the first times I recognized the peace and power of simple time spent alone.
    That said, I do not necessarily recommend Guns an’ Roses for spiritual experiences!


  2. I decided long ago, never to walk…, no, what I decided as a teenager was that many of the very good, sincere, clean love songs on the radio could be spoken as if they were between the Savior and myself. Creepy or awesome, you decide.


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