[Image: 'Squint' Front Cover]



One man's grinning from behind the net
Waits 'til the camera's adjusted
Don't you worry 'bout the flak you'll get?
Aren't you scared of getting busted?

The ball gets booted
It hits the crossbeam
Up goes the banner, "John 3:16"

He don't worry 'bout the critics
They tow the line
He don't worry 'bout the cynics
They live to whine
He ain't gonna change the world
But he knows who can

Prime time football in the Buffalo snow
Freezing his little epidermis
Lifts that banner at the first field goal
Drinks clam chowder from a thermos

He's never missed a game
He never spells it wrong
He never talks back when they tell him "move along"

He don't worry 'bout the critics
They'll howl for days
He don't worry 'bout the cynics
They navel-gaze
He ain't gonna change the world
But he knows who can

Sports fans everywhere dying for a drink
But they've gotta find the well first
One man's ready with a banner and a wink
A whole lotta souls are getting well-versed

Every time I see him
I smile a little more
I can't help praying for another high score

He don't worry 'bout the critics
They'll howl for days
He don't worry 'bout the cynics
They navel-gaze
He ain't gonna change the world
But he knows who can

He don't worry 'bout the critics
They've met their match
He don't worry 'bout the cynics
They sniff and scratch
He ain't gonna change the world
But he knows who can

Recorded Appearances



About The Song

From Squintlets, "The Lament..." promotional Squint CD, 1993:

Last year I was reading a newspaper article about these three guys that travel around the country, and actually, around the world, carrying these banners that say "John 3:16" and they hold them up at sporting events. Actually, I think they've gotten very sophisticated--they carry around walkie talkies and check to see where the cameras are and put up this banner. The fact of that matter is, I kinda dug the idea. It's like, you let the Bible speak for itself. You get people looking it up. Hopefully the Word doesn't return void. So, the song is like a tribute to these guys--no satire intended at all--I actually liked the idea. Somewhere along the line you can sort of get so sophisticated with your approach to the gospel you sort of lose the heart of it, and I just sort of liked the idea and the approach, and that's where the song came from.

From Steve Taylor Bio / Squint Press Release, September 1993:

It's meant to be a tribute. I read about these guys who go around holding up John 3:16 at sporting events and I sort of liked the idea; letting the Bible speak for itself, simple and direct. I'm sure some people get annoyed by that sort of thing, like when Greenpeace hangs banners off bridges. But, hey, I like listening to street corner preachers, too. They've got more nerve than I do.

From Steve Taylor, The Lighthouse, November 1993:

One of the songs that has received advance airplay, and crested some excitement is "Bannerman." Taylor explains the significance, "After the band experience, the idea of some, possibly goofy, guy, standing up at football games holding up a banner with 'John 3:16,' in many ways totally artless and very naive by contemporary standards--that idea really appealed to me. It made me remember that much of the reason I'm a Christian today is not because of cool artist guys who were Christians who really made me want to become like they are, but because of people preaching the Word, pointing people to the Bible, sort of the basics of the faith. I think there's a good place for that."

From InnerView: Steve Taylor, Visions Of Gray, November 1993:

DV: "Bannerman," I should say, that came as a real surprise to me as far as your take on it. I did not expect you at all to come down easy on the Banner Man.

ST: [laughs] Right.

DV: I expected the finger-wagging. And saying, you know, "This is not a good example of it."

ST: True. Well, you know what it is, is after the experience of the last five years, those sort of little expressions of faith actually seem kinda cool to me. [laugh laugh]

DV: Would you have had that take on one of these other discs if you were to do that?

ST: No. I don't think so. How do I put this? No, I probably wouldn't've. The impulse for the song just came... I was reading an article, probably a year ago, it was just talkin' about how there was like a group of people who do this. They've highly trained. They figure out where the cameras are and they figure out just the time... They've got a little monitor...

DV: [a good, full-bodied laugh] I'll bet.

ST: And then they put up the, uh, the banner. And actually... I certainly wouldn't argue with anybody who says this is stupid: what good does this do? Well, actually, we'd probably get into a big argument about it. But it's like, the same thing with Greenpeace. You know, they go out and hang their banners from bridges and stuff like that. Nobody goes howlin' about that.

I mean, I guess it just depends, again, on what side you're falling on. Ah, I just like the idea of this sort of, these, sort of, guerrilla tactics. And you know, those tactics may have, in another year, lost their purpose and it's time to move on to something else.

At its core, it's the same sort of thing that, ah, I think, that fires people to preach on street corners. Um, it's just like an honest desire to let people know about their faith. And man, I think that's great. And it's like, if it wouldn't've been for people like that when I was a kid, when I was impressionable, somethin' like that, I don't know if I would've ended up bein' a Christian or not.

Ah, hard to say. So that sort of, whatever you want to call it, simple- minded approach, or whatever, it seems like a good thing to me. Unfortunately, I would have to admit that those people have more nerve than I do.

From Steve Taylor on Staring into the Sun: Squint or You'll Miss It, True Tunes News, Winter 1993:

Bannerman seems to be a pretty complex song as well. I know that I mentioned in the review that it seemed like a typical Steve Taylor poke at the guy, but I guess I was wrong.

When I read the review I thought it was pretty accurate as to how many people will react to it. When you're a new artist, you have no history to live down. In some ways, Chagall was an attempt to start something that would not be interpreted in light of past albums, but of course there was no way to do that in the Gospel field because we had all done work there. Now I can't do a song like Bannerman without people hearing it and assuming there must be some kind of satire there somewhere. Fair enough, I would expect that.

I wondered then about Bannerman, what with the main guy going to jail for taking hostages at some point and basically flipping out. At what point did you decide to write about that guy?

(laughs) Well, you know that it can't be just about that guy, or the lyric would've had to say "He seldom shoots back when they tell him 'move along,'" instead of "He seldom talks back..."

The impetus for the song was when I came across an article about these three guys. I didn't know if they were independent, or kind of a loosely affiliated federation. When I read the article, it kind of caught me. I guess I just sort of dug the idea, although I'm sure it's quite irritating if you happen to be sitting behind him. One guy was in Seoul during the Olympics. He had this little portable TV and he would figure out where the cameras would be. He was very compliant with the officials and had a cool attitude about it all.

I definitely think being in Chagall affected my view of the whole thing. Maybe it was the Bannerman's combination of artlessness, and his belief that holding up a sign that read John 3:16 would actually help people. I got the feeling, with the band playing in clubs, and I think this is common for other bands that are trying to make a difference in the club scene, that maybe we're deceiving ourselves into thinking that we're making a difference. To contrast that, you've got this guy that holds up a banner at a football game, and I'm sure there's some self deception there too, but it reminded me more of a street preacher or something like that.

I don't know how effective those guys are, but a lot of us became Christians from pastors or others who may not have been great theologians, but fervently believed in Jesus as the answer for the world. They were more concerned with saving souls than in making sure they were artsy or clever. There's something to that heart attitude that I would not want to put down. For one thing, those guys have a lot more nerve than I do. I admire them for that. I don't admire the guys that are out trying to make a buck, but these guys certainly aren't in it for the money. You have to really believe in your message to do that.

Of course this one guy went wacky about a month after I wrote the song. A friend (Phil Madeira) that worked on the demo with me told me that this guy went nuts and took hostages. I thought he was joking, but he was dead serious. I was totally depressed for two days. I'd written this song, with no malice in mind, and then wondered if God was playing a joke on me. I decided to release it anyway, as a tribute to the idea. In the video we create this super-hero in a cape who kind of runs around with a banner.

How long did it take you to come up with the rhyme of "Freezing his little epidermis" and "Drinks clam chowder from a thermos?"

It makes it all worthwhile when people pick that stuff up. It took about a day and a half for that one. Those things come quicker the more you do it. It's a good thing too because it took me about two months (in 1982) to write "Whatever Happened To Sin?" The longer you write, the sooner you realize that well, nothing rhymes with orange so let's get off the subject. There's a list of words to avoid. Don't even bother with "world" or "self" cuz you know you'll use "girl" and "shelf" and that's already been used a few million times.

From Interviews: Steve Taylor, Cornerstone Magazine, Q1(?) 1994:

Let's talk about the new single "Bannerman." Steve Taylor comes along and notices the little guy out in the crowd with the "John 3:16" sign and decides there might be something worth saying about it that isn't just cynical or jaded. As someone who's so concerned with the state of the arts in Christendom, why write a song about that guy?

Well, I have to be careful how I say this. Chagall Guevara ended up playing in a lot of dark places, and in retrospect I wonder if there is a tendency to think you get a lot more accomplished than you actually do in those situations. I would probably be lying to myself if I said I really believed that now.

Frankly, when I was doing straight Gospel music, if I had seen a guy holding up a banner that said "John 3:16" in the middle of a football game, that might have seemed a little stupid, but because of Chagall I saw it in a new light. It's not very artful, and who knows ultimately what kind of fruit it produces, but I think the idea of a guy standing up and holding this banner that lets the Bible speak for itself is kind of cool.

It reminded me, most of us that come to Christ often come because of very unartistic methods. I don't really have the nerve that these guys do. I don't think I'd have written "Bannerman" five years ago, but it was actually the first song I wrote for this album. In fact, it was the first song I had written on my own in five years.

From Steve Taylor: Living Life in the Open, CCM Magazine, February 1994:

Something important--that pretty much describes what Taylor has to say on Squint with songs like "Bannerman," which mounts heroic praise on the guys who hold aloft those "John 3:16" placards at sporting events. It's a song that would have been too obvious in its faith context for the mainstream ambitions of Chagall. "Part of this is a reaction to the band," suggests Taylor. "If I had written 'Bannerman' five years ago, it would have been a completely different song. It was the same thing about street corner preachers, the boldness and the artlessness of it, that 'I don't care what anybody else things, this is important enough to me that I'm going to hold this banner up and I don't care if it embarrasses me or anybody else.'

"I'm not sure whether the guy is effective or not, I'm not sure that it matters. But there's something about the motive of a guy like that that I don't necessarily get, but I admire. Partly, it's because I don't have the nerve to do it. It's that passion of the simple message that 'God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son...' It's the same sort of experience I had growing up as a kid, my Dad would take me with him to missions and I'd meet these people, and some of them weren't very sophisticated but they sure knew that Jesus was the answer for the world. That part of it is easy to lose. Whoever these guys were, there was something about them that I liked."

From The Flying Chicken, The Monkey Temple, The Cotton Castle, Campus Life, March 1994:

A tribute to those guys at televised sporting events who hold up John 3:16 banners to help get the Word out.

From Creation '94 Press Conference, Andrew D. Taylor, June 29th(?), 1994:

One of the first songs I wrote [for Squint] was "Bannerman," which, those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a song that's a tribute to that guy that holds up John 3:16 banners in sporting events, like at the Buffalo Bills games. I think maybe part of the reason for writing a song--I was reading an article about these guys and how they do it. The sort of artlessness of holding up a banner that says "John 3:16" in front of a television camera I think really appealed to me especially after being in [Chagall Guevara] where all of the guys in the band were Christians, but we had no specific agenda as far as Christianity or anything like that. I guess we sort of hoped that some light would sort of leak out in the places that we played and in the music that we did.

But I would have to say that, as far as that part of [Chagall Guevara] goes, it probably wasn't very satisfying, and that coming off an experience like that, the thought of a guy that just holds up a banner, telling people "for God so loved the world," seemed like a really good thing. Probably the same reason I still like seeing street preachers is they have more nerve than I do, for one, and probably a lot more of us are Christians because of preachers boldly proclaiming the gospel than getting so cooled-out at a rock concert in a club where some of the members are Christians that we decided we had to find Jesus.

From Cornerstone 1994, July 1994:

Many of you know what this next song is about. It's just simply a tribute to the brave men and women who risk their lives, risk hypothermia, out there at sporting events, holding up those banners, telling people that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. This song is a tribute to them.