Mary Lambert Teams Up With Nonprofit to Spark Dialogue, Find Support

A pair of out musicians were among the headliners for Heavy and Light, the annual flagship event of suicide and self-harm support network To Write Love on Her Arms.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

January 17 2014 8:00 AM ET

Jon Foreman of Switchfoot

On Heavy and Light: 

I feel like a forum for people to say that life is difficult, and yet worth pursuing, is really needed. Because I think there's a lot of places where you can go to find "winners" doing well. You see a lot of that on TV, and people that are winning. And I think a lot of people, like myself, I don't identify with the winners. And so to have an organization that says, "You might not be winning, but you still matter," and to have that growing up to a younger demographic that has a lot of things against them [is important and meaningful]. 

On performing Bill Withers's song "Lean on Me" as the night's encore with all artists onstage: 

[Withers] used to have a stutter. And in order to conquer that, he had to forgive the people that were judging him before they judged him. And that allowed him the freedom to speak clearly, because he was no longer bound by their judgment of himself. And so the forgiveness that he gave to them before they actually did anything to him, actually freed him to be himself in a way that he couldn't [before.] 

So I think there's something to that, the idea of the liberation of forgiving someone before they judge, in order to actually be liberated yourself.

On faith and the LGBT community: 

I feel like the Christian tradition, it means a lot of things to different people. And when you say I'm a Christian, I'm a believer, I'm this or that, a lot of times it can mean, I voted for George Bush. … Where for me, I tend to identify a little bit more with the Christ that I read about that says he came for the captives, the broken, the homeless, the hungry, the hurting, the poor, the underprivileged, the outcasts, and the folks that feel like they're sick and need a doctor. And so I can identify with that because I can identify with someone who's broken more than with someone who's got everything figured out. Because I don't have everything figured out. …

I think that when it comes to judgment, Christ is really clear saying judge not lest ye be judged. Like I said, I'm on the journey myself. I don't pretend to have some sort of theological degree or anything like that, but I feel like that's strong enough for me to say, you know what, my job on this planet is not to judge, but to love. And I feel like Christ, he hung out with the tax collectors, the prostitutes of his time, and the outcasts — the people that the temple would refuse. And I wonder if people that the temple would refuse of his time, that there might be a correlation with who would the church refuse at this time. Those would probably be the people that Christ would be hanging out with - loving, having dinner with them, talking, that excites me, to think that that's the kind of God that I serve. …

I've got a song in a side project of mine, it's called "Fiction Family," and it's a song that says, "Put your God badge down and love someone." I think that sometimes when people come to a form of faith, they feel that it's their duty to put a "God badge" on and then begin to be deputized, playing God on the planet. And I think that's a really dangerous thing to do. I  feel like our role here on the planet, as humans, is to love. And to be representations of the love that we've received, the grace, the compassion that we've received. And I would love to see the church rise to that calling.

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