Flatfoot 56, City on a Hill
December 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!  Yeah, I’m 28 today and honestly,  I never could have guessed that I am where I am today.  A beautiful wife almost married 7 years, one amazing son and a daughter on the way.  I’ve had 14 jobs (not kidding) since college and I fell as though I’ve tried to keep life interesting.  Well, let’s be honest, it’s been interesting whether I’ve tried to make it that way or not.  That is neither here nor there, so on with the music!

Today I indulge in one of my all time favorite Celtic punk bands, Flatfoot 56.  I highly recommend them for anyone who likes fun music with plenty of surprises.  Mandolins, bagpipes, accordions and whatever else it seems they can find is added into a very fun and enjoyable punk band.  I personally like the album “Jungle of the Midwest Sea” the best, but anything they do is good.  I cannot wait to purchase their new album with the iTunes gift cards I got for my birthday (thanks Jonathan!)

If you had to listen to one song, because like me you are strapped for time, I suggest “City on a Hill.”  It pretty much sums them up for me.  I might also add that they do a fun and possibly irreverent version of Amazing Grace that was a crowd favorite at Shoutfest several years back.  I had the opportunity to see them on a small side stage and have had that brief forty-five minutes implanted firmly in my mind since.

“City on a Hill” in addition to being a riot and causing me to drive way too fast also reminds me of a precious passage of scripture.  In the greatest sermon of all time, The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6 and 7), Jesus lays out the life of the Christian.  I recommend these chapters for in depth study.  I was led to memorize this in high school and it has been a frequent guide in my life since.  We are to be light in a desperately dark world.  We are supposed to stand out, like a city on a hill.  It is a great image.  I can still remember driving home to San Antonio while I was in college.  Coming into town on 281 in the dark, there seems to be nothing except the distant glow of the city.  Then, you pass over one hill and see all those lights.  It always made me feel great after eight hours of driving stick with no cruise control.

The song is a strongly worded rebuke to Christians who don’t live like Christians.  You are supposed to be light, but is there a “blackout in effect”?  I’ll end on the question the song asks, “Will you make your decision are you chaff or are you wheat? /

Will you rise or will you fall, will you stand or will you crawl?  /

Will you be the ones He’s called you to be or turn away and run,  /

I say No / No more on the fence”