Archive for the ‘U2’ Category

Yeah, still haven’t gotten the new U2 album.  One day, when we arrive in our new, as of now unknown, destination.  The new single is Magnificent.  I haven’t listened to it very much.  It is different from Get On Your Boots.  The lyrics are more overtly spiritual, however. It is a song of devotion, the mark that “love” leaves.  Bono seems nearly a Calvinist.

I found it an odd choice for a second single- but I’ve never been a multi-million album seller, or their manager.  I lack ‘pop’ sensibilities, so I  would prefer a more straight-forward hard rock song.  It has a less edgy sound.

And here is a live version from London.

Jars of Clay has also released a new record, which is on my “wish list” as well, The Long Fall Back to Earth.  It follows Good Monsters which is one of their best (with Jars of Clay and If I Left the Zoo), which I enjoyed on the way home from a preaching engagement.  Here they are talking about the new album:

Sadly, I missed their show at the House of Blues this weekend.  I very much wanted to be there.  Maybe next time.

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Window in the Skies is becoming one of my favorite U2 songs.  I don’t own the CD single.  But it pops up periodically on my Slacker Radio stations.  While working on other matters, the words seep into my soul.  That’s is what is getting to me.  Other songs of theirs are much better musically.  But the lyrics remind me of the hope I have.

The shackles are undone
The bullets quit the gun
The heat that’s in the sun
Will keep us when it’s done
The rule has been disproved
The stone, it has been moved
The grave is now a grove
All debts are removed

Bono rehearses the Gospel- Christ’s work for us.  Because of the empty tomb, our debts have been removed if we trust in Him.  We have freedom, the shackles of guilt, fear, shame and condemnation are done.

But Bono does not remain stuck in the vertical.  He brings this grace into our horizontal relationship.

Love makes strange enemies
Makes love where love may please
The soul and its striptease
Hate brought to its knees
The sky over our head
We can reach it from our bed
If you let me in your heart
And out of my head

The redemption purchased by Christ means the end of hate in those hearts captured by love.  Bono takes the voice of a man wanting to see reconciliation, admitting his failings.

Oh, can’t you see what love has done
What it’s doing to me

Oh, can’t you see what love has done
I know I hurt you and I made you cry
Oh, can’t you see what love has done
Did everything but murder you and I
Oh, can’t you see what love has done
But love left a window in the skies

This love (not that we loved God, but that He loved us and gave His Son as an atoning sacrifice- 1 John) is changing the man in the song.  He wants his lover see what love in doing in him.  He hurt her, nearly killing their relationship.  He wants to experience with her what he has experienced with God. 

I particularly like that line: love left a window in the skies.  God left a testimony of His love.  Faith opens the window that grace may blow like a breeze into this world and remove that funk that comes from a sealed home.  The time has come to air things out- repair & refresh the relationship with grace.

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U2 Album in the Can

@U2 reports that producer Daniel Lanois told Le Journal de Montreal that U2 has finished recording their newest album.

“It’s going to be different in several ways, but I think it’s similar from one point of view, namely that it’s going to push the known limits in the sound arena, the way Achtung Baby did in the past.”

This is what U2 does to keep it fresh, reinventing themselves.  It sounds like the Edge has been playing with some new toys.  Great guitar is always a plus for me.  I will probably be plunking down my cash shortly after this one is released.

If you haven’t been over there, here are some of the songs mentioned, though the ones near the end of the list are less likely to appear on this album.

  • The Cedars of Lebanon – Daniel Lanois revealed this track in an interview with the Montreal magazine, Voir. He said the song was inspired by Jimi Hendrix.
  • Moment of Surrender – Brian Eno reportedly told fans about this song outside Hanover Quay studios in early June, 2008. Eno called it “the best thing” he’s recorded with U2.
  • For Your Love – a song title seen on the band’s white board, as described in this article from the Fez recording sessions
  • One Bird – a song title seen on the band’s white board, as described in this article from the Fez recording sessions
  • No Line On The Horizon – Bono and Edge played this song for a USA Today writer during an in-the-car interview at the Sundance Film Festival. On hearing it, writer Anthony Breznican says “heavy distortion fills the car,” and later adds: “The song is rough, weaving between brutal guitar blasts underscoring the mellow title refrain.” Edge explains that the song “It came out of a new distortion box that my guitar tech got.”
  • Unknown Title – in the same interview with Anthony Breznican, Bono and Edge played a second song whose opening lyric is, “It’s six o’clock…”. Bono tells Breznican that numbers are significant in each of the new songs.
  • If I Could Live My Life Again – Bono says this song is “inspired by the great Argentinian poet Jorge Luis Borges.” Bono said he had just begun the song while speaking with author Michka Assayas in December, 2005. Their interview appears as the extra material in the paperback version of Bono in Conversation with Michka Assayas.
  • Love Is All We Have Left – a song Bono named during his May, 2006, trip to Africa as one that he had recently written. “It’s like an old Broadway tune. I thought it was a Frank Sinatra song,” Bono said.
  • North Star,” a song from the How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb sessions which included a guest organ appearance from Michael W. Smith. In this CCM article, Smith describes the song as a tribute to Johnny Cash.
  • Mercy“, one of the last songs to get cut from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, described in Blender magazine as “a six-and-a-half-minute outpouring of U2 at its most uninhibitedly U2-ish”
  • Lead Me In The Way I Should Go” — a contender for Atomic Bomb first mentioned in this February, 2003, interview with Bono in Grammy Magazine
  • You Can’t Give Away Your Heart” – a contender for Atomic Bomb first mentioned in SPIN magazine

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I have not played much guitar since the adoption.  Foolishly, I have kept it at home since I sometimes play at our Family Small Group.  But there just doesn’t seem to be much opportunity to play.  Can’t play when the kids are awake, and if they are asleep….

Well, last night I needed to play.  I needed some truth in my head, and that is a great time for me to ponder lyrics and try to draw near to God.  It’s been a long week, and I needed some of that time.  So I played after the kids went to bed, but before they usually drift off to sleep.  And I played this morning after they all went to Bible Study Fellowship.  Ah, if only my callouses weren’t so thin.  Then I would have played longer.  Here’s part of my “song list”:

Blessed Be Your Name, I Need Thee Every Hour (Jars of Clay version), O Worship the King (Passion verison), Here is Love, Beautiful, Scandalous Night, Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) [still learning this one], A Shield About Me, Guide Me, O Great Jehovah, Be Thou My Vision, From Depths of Woe I Raise to Thee.

Good for the soul.

In the quiet home this morning I read some more of In Christ Alone by Sinclair Ferguson.  Actually, I read some last night too.  I try to read 2 chapters a day and am moderately successful.  I finally finished Part V- A Life of Wisdom.  Great stuff in there about discernment and character.  The material I read this morning intersected with my sermon.  We focus on circumstances, but God focuses on character.  My choices flow out of my character so my choices have to be focused on how God transform my character (truth and trial).  The chapter in question was on contentment.  Character traits like this must be learned through experience, as we bring truth to bear on them.

“Christians must discover contentment the old-fashioned way: we must learn it. … It is commanded of us, but, paradoxically, it is created in us, not done by us.  It is not the product of a series of actions, but of a renewed and transformed character. … This seems a difficult principle  for Christians today to grasp.  Clear directives for Christian living are essential for us.  But, sadly, much of the heavily programmatic teaching in evangelicalism places such a premium on external doing and acheiving that character development is set at a discount.  We live in the most pragmatic society on earth (if anyone can ‘do it,’ we can).  It is painful to pride to discover that the Christian life is not rooted in what we can do, but in what we need done to us.” 


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Unforgettable Fire: The Past, Present and Future- the Definitive Biography of U2 has been sitting on my shelf for at least a decade.  I bought it on a discount shelf while I lived in Orlando.  I’ve been meaning to read it, and decided to finally invest the time to read Eamon Dunphy’s book.

Eamon spends plenty of time covering the childhood of the band members, and what Dublin was like in those days.  I’m someone who appreciates these things.  I like knowing the events that shape the soul of people.

The book essentially covers up to the release of The Joshua Tree when they finally hit the last measure of success in the music world- #1 singles.  You definitely get the sense of how difficult it was for them to make it out of Dublin.  They came an hour away from absolute failure.  They were on the last show of the “let’s get a contract tour” without a contract.  They were broke, and Paul McGuinness’ strategy seemed ready to fail.  It was at that concert that they won over Island records.  There were lots of people who were impressed by their presence, integrity and commitment.  These people were instrumental in helping them go from unknown band to being able to develop a reputation in the U.S.

One of the other big obstacles was their relationship with Shalom, a charismatic group in Dublin.  This Christian fellowship was instrumental in many ways.  It helped cultivate the desire for them to build community as how they did business.  But Shalom, in focusing on surrendering the ego, lost sight of vocation.  They wanted U2 to quit, fearing the role of ego in the music business.  They failed to consider what these young men were called to do with their lives.  They failed to learn from biblical characters like Daniel who lived out their faith in the midst of a corrupt community.  So their influence on the members of U2 was mixed.

The faith of Bono, Edge and Larry was also a problem on their early tours.  It built a barrier in their relationship with Adam and Paul.  At the time, Adam didn’t share their faith.  As they huddled in the back of the bus to read the Bible, pray, sing and talk, Adam was left out.  He feared being kicked out of the band for a few years.  And the band was all he had.  As the 3 men matured in their faith, they realized they had an obligation to Adam (Paul helped them see how many people they were responsible for), to love him and accept him.  When it would have made sense of Bono to ask Edge or Larry to be his best man, he asked Adam in an attempt to bridge the gap he had helped build.

As the book moves on, and new people are brought into the U2 family, he also gives their brief biography as well.  And this is one of the things that sets U2 apart from the vast majority of rock bands.  They built a community of people invested in their vision and values.  I guess I summarized their values as: Respect the Fans, Respect the Crew, and Respect One Another.

The only “flaw” in the book would be the prevelant use of the F-word.  In their culture, Eamon is also from Dublin, this is common (as it was where I grew up).  As the book crosses cultures, it may not be as accepted particularly as fodder for teens.  If this is the worst you can get on U2, that is great.  There are no groupie stories or drunken/drug binges.  They sought to integrate their faith with their music, not by singing hymns but by how they treated people.  Eamon is certainly a fan, but doesn’t cover all their blemishes.  You see some of their immaturity, their weaknesses of character as well as their strengths.  He just doesn’t dwell on them, which is a good thing.

All in all, this makes good reading for someone wanting to learn more about the band members’ childhood, and their early years together.


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I decided to drop the music review page to simplify the blog some.  So here are some older reviews of albums.  They were from my first foray into blogging.  Shortly after starting this blog, I changed my approach.  So here they are.

Redemption Songs by Jars of Clay.  This CD was inevitable.  In their work with the City on a Hill projects they reworked some hymns such as The Comforter Has Come & Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.  Artists and worship leaders are creating new arraignments or music to accompany these time-tested words.  This comes from the desire of the Emerging Church to treasure our tradition even as we live in touch with the world around us.

This CD is unique.  Jars of Clay has put their own unique sound over these words from our common heritage as followers of Jesus.  Some of the songs like God Be Merciful to Me (Psalm 51), and On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand come from the music ministry of Reformed University Fellowship.  Others, like It is Well with My Soul and I Need Thee Every Hour, have music, and sometimes refrains, written by Jars of Clay.  The overwhelming focus of this disc is Redemption.  This is music for sinners who need to be reminded of God’s overwhelming love expressed in Jesus.  It is remarkably focused on the weight of our sin, and therefore the glory of our redemption.  This is something grotesquely missing in most ‘worship’ music today (well, the last 100 years or so).

The songs tend to be sad, yet hopeful as a result.  They carry the signature Jars of Clay folksy rock sound.  They give a new life to these grand old songs, and a new audience.   As such it is a valuable resource.  It is useful for reminding this sinner of my new life in Christ.  It gives words to the longings and frustrations of my heart.  This is not pop fluff.  The arraignments help the impact of the words instead of detracting from the meaning of the words.  In their desire to move into the future without forsaking our heritage, Jars of Clay has done us a great service.  They offer the church a more substantial form of Christianity than is typically found on our bookshelves and CD racks.

Nothing is Sound by Switchfoot.  This is a great follow-up to their double platinum smash.  Lyrically it continues in a similar vein.  They talk about the lie of materialism (Lonely Nation), the things we substitute for love (Easier than Love) and our tendency to dig cisterns instead of going to the spring of living water (Happy is a Yuppy Word).  They also talk about how we are woefully bent and wounded (The Setting Sun, The Fatal Wound).  As such, it has a dark feel to it.

But there is hope in the mix in songs like Stars, and The Shadow Proves the Sunshine.

This sounds a bit like John Owen’s take on resisting temptation.  “The pouring of contempt upon the great men and great things of the world, with all the enjoyments of it.  He hath discovered the nakedness of all earthly things, in overturning, overturning, overturning, both men and things, to make way for the things that cannot be shaken.”

Musically the overall feel to me is more aggressive.  I do miss the prominence of the bass (though Lonely Nation has a great bass line).  Or maybe I need to hook up the subwoofer.

Kickin’ music- YES!

Memorable lines- YES!  (”We are slaves of what we want”, “I’ve got a wound that does not heal”)

Buy it- YES! 


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Her hair points to the sky, the place she wants to be.

Sorry, ripped that off from a lyric on Daniel Amos’ Vox Humana album.  A fine mid-80’s piece of work that was. 

It was a long weekend, made longer by a stomach bug.  CavDaughter suffered with it most of last week.  CavSon seems to be immune thus far.  I started symptoms on Saturday.  By God’s sheer grace, I had a remission while fufilling my pulpit supply duties making me think it was done.

I filled the pulpit at the congregation where we currently worship.  They let me have an office, so I have a key.  This was their Family Camp weekend, so a large portion of the congregation was enduring the odd weather this weekend (tons of rain & a tornado warning Friday night, very breezy & cool Saturday, and downright chilly Sunday morning) as well as the ever-glorious time change.  I don’t sleep well camping, and that would have thrown me over the edge.  As it was I slept horribly this weekend.  But I digress.

So… the pulpit supply was the guy who essentially opened the facility.  The guy who runs the Power Point was sick, so I quickly figured it out and trained one of the elders to use it.  I discovered they wanted me to do the pastoral prayer just before the worship service.  As the opening song began, the people were looking quite sparse- lots of empty room.  By the time the song was done, the sanctuary filled up nicely.  The service went pretty well (here’s the sermon).  Next thing I know, I’m the guy who is locking up too. 

About an hour after heading home, I knew I was in trouble.  CavWife went to Blockbuster to get some “chick flicks” and we ended up watching Rush Hour 3.  Don’t waste your time or money on that dog.  If I went back to see the credits it must have had either a 12 year-old or 4 Alzheimer patients writing it because it was uneven and only sparsely funny.  Not enjoyable at all.

So after the kids went to bed we sat on the couch and watched some of The King of Queens, season 3.  Sometimes you just have to laugh.  And there were more laughs per episode than in the entire RH 3.

Over the weekend I started reading Revival and Revivalism by Iain Murray (so far very interesting) and an early biography of U2 called The Unforgettable Fire.  That has some interesting background on Dublin for us Yanks.  Hopefully I’ll be good enough to go fishin’ with the bros-in-law Tuesday, stupid picture or 2 sure to follow.

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Seems that My Name is Earl is making a big impression on America.  The pop Bhuddist show is all about karma- thru the eyes of poor white trash.  And I am weary of hearing bloggers and reporters toss out the term.

I do believe in the God of providence.  There is a connection between reaping and sowing, though it is imperfect.  It is not impersonal forces that bring about what comes to pass, but God who works all things out according to His purpose.  Some might say, who cares about basketball.  A friend once asked that just before Kevin McHale improbably hit a 3 pointer to win a game.  McHale took about 3 in his career.

If not a sparrow falls apart from his will, neither does a ping-pong ball drop.  Where these men will live, and whom they will meet etc. are important matters.  They depend upon the drop of a ping-pong ball.

Karma is driven by a sense of justice.  Providence certainly includes justice.  But God determines what shall come to pass based on His wisdom, love, mercy, etc. as well. 

For fun, here is Bono on Karma vs. Grace:

Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “as you reap, so you will sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.

Assayas: I’d be interested to hear that.

Bono: That’s between me and God. But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep s—. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.

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This picture from the Boston Globe is from an Episcopal Church in Framingham, MA.  It is one of the churches in the U2charist movement.   Here is a summary of what it is like:

“Sometimes, Blair and company remove a few pews to make room for “people to cut loose and dance. We call it our mosh pit.” At this service, congregants grooved in pews or poured into the aisles.

“Each song takes the place of a hymn. Between prayers, the breaking of bread, and the exchange of the peace, Blair talked about the Millennium Development Goals that were adopted by the United Nations in 2000 to eradicate poverty and global AIDS by 2015. Bono is ambassador of the international campaign.

“Throughout the service, a slide presentation displayed statistics and photos of children and families suffering from HIV and lack of drinking water. Blair dashed up and down the center aisle, dancing and encouraging people to make a difference — by helping to sponsor a children’s playground in Africa that has rides that pump water to the community, for example.”

I am a U2 fan- and appreciate their Christian witness.  But… I’m not excited about this.  First, most of their songs are not worship songs.  They are from a Christian worldview, but that does not make them appropriate for worship (exceptions would include ’40’).   If we are singing songs about social justice, disconneted from the Gospel, we lapse into moralism (which is not U2’s intention, I’m sure).  Churches do need to address issues of social justice and compassion.  But we need to do this in a way that is built upon and furthers the Gospel.  We need more preaching that does this very thing (and Tim Keller is a model for us all in this regard).

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Another U2 DVD

@U2 reports that Pop Mart: Live in Mexico City, previously available on VHS, will be released on DVD.  There will be the single disc, concert only version, and the 2-disc special edition.  It should be released in late June.  Since they don’t play many of these songs live anymore, I’m interested.

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Awaiting the U2 Experience

I have not seen U2 live and in person since 1985 on the second leg of the Unforgettable Fire Tour.  Frankly, I couldn’t/can’t afford to.  I guess it is about priorities for available funds.  But, I’ve got some DVDs which you can occasionally hear if you drive by my home.

With the release of U23D this fall, I suspect I’ll be able to enter the experience by watching it with a bunch of other ‘cheap’ U2 fans.  Here is the trailer if you missed it.

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Like me, Anthony Bradley loves U2’s music and heart for the poor and oppressed.  Like me, he believes Bono needs to study economics.  I’ve mentioned this sort of thing before regarding Bono.  Sadly, he is not alone.  Most Congressmen and Senators would benefit from an actual economics class or two because they seem utterly clueless about basic economic principles.  Yes, I was an Economics major at Boston University.

I haven’t read much in that field recently, though Thomas Sowell’s book Basic Economics intrigues me.  I may have to pick it up.  At the school where I teach church history, they use Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science.  My very brief glance at the book got my interest (yes, I’m struggling to stay focused instead of plunging into the obvious fodder for fun).

Stupid rabbit trail: I once worked for a Christian organization in Boston (yes, sounds rather odd).  We were having a meeting and getting ready to pray.  Across the alley was a hotel.  At that precise moment the window shade opened to reveal a topless (at least) woman.  I’ve heard the hotel was often used by prostitutes.  I had to fight with everything within me not to burst out loud with laughter.  I was distracted from prayer, but from laughter, not lust.

Anyway…. Anthony directs us to his friend Ryan’s article on the problem(s) with the One Campaign.  It is sort of like a sin tax, indulgences or carbon offsets.  You and Oprah can feel better about your crass materialism because some of the proceeds go to a good cause.

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I guess I’m on a U2 streak.  This is the 2nd book this year on the band, that I have read.  This is Christian Scharen’s One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God.  Scharen is a Lutheran minister who is associate director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture.  So, this would be his area of interest and expertise.  I would probably agree with him on the big picture items, and disagree (at times strongly) on some of the non-essentials of the faith.

Scharen is among those, like me, who accepts their professions of faith on face value.  He sides with U2 and many who ‘get’ U2 don’t find the church comfortable.  He does not point the finger only at U2, but also at those in the church who are self-righteous, legalistic and reactionary.  As a pastor, I know how mean “Christians” can be.  To the book!


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Gerald Green aka G-Money will be competing in the dunk competition this year at All-Star Weekend.  He has a growing reputation as an exciting player with some monstrous dunks.  Here is some of what he can do.  The Cheif has put together a Top 10 to U2’s Elevation.  Now, if he can just get the defensive rotations down…

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See What Love Has Done

Finally found time to learn how to embed video.  So I figured I’d start this off with U2’s Window in the Sky.

Now we see if this works…

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U2 Metamorphasizing Again

Word has it that Rick Rubin is producing the next U2 album.  atu2blog summarizes the BBC1 interview with Bono from just before Christmas.  He says that they “at a very important juncture now.”

What does he mean?  “We’re gonna continue to be a band, but maybe the rock will have to go; maybe the rock has to get a lot harder. But whatever it is, it’s not gonna stay where it is.”

And he continues: 

“Something happened on the tour with Adam Clayton, that’s for sure. I think you might call it… rediscovering your mojo. [laughs] I don’t what it was, but he is really on fire. And that’s very interesting because Adam’s the sort who — it’s like catching lightning. He’s the one that decides the pace we move at, and I don’t know how that is or why that is, but if he’s on fire it bodes very well. Edge is determined to reinvent the electric guitar and find his place in the pantheon of guitar players that have inspired him. So that’s good. ”

(HT: Matthew Smith)

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The 90’s ended with U2 singing about looking for truth in trash, and longing for the resurrection of Jesus to resurrect this “f-ed up world”.  And then something happened.  Actually, a few things must have happened.

Musically, it may have been a stripped down rehearsal on the PopMart tour.  It is rumored that Howie B. who put together their technological loops and sounds stumbled in and was stunned.  The sheer power and beauty of the music was evident.

Personally, it was death.  Bono’s father was dying.  Friend Michael Hutchence (INXS) had taken his own life.

Personally, it may have been rebirth.  Steve Stockman cits interviews that lead one to believe that Adam Clayton may have joined the rest of the band on its journey of faith.

Personally, it may have been parenthood as well. 

The reasons are largely speculative to fans, but U2 returned to a simplier musical style, stopped playing parts and created one of their best albums to kick off the new millennium.  All that You Can’t Leave Behind was largely a mediation on life in light of the many changes going on in their lives.  Their faith came out of the closet, so to speak.  They were more vocal about it.  While not seeking legitimacy from evangelicalism, they sought to build bridges to it, particularly Bono.  Bono wanted the church to ‘get up off its knees’ and begin to live out its faith in the context of social justice.  “It’s lukewarm believers that drive me out of the church.”


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U2 Wore Masks

I was in my first year of seminary when Achtung Baby was released.  That meant no cable to catch the new video.  The first few times I heard The Fly on the radio, I was not quite sure.  Since ‘poverty’ had not set in yet, I bought the CD upon release.  The first song was… shocking.  It was NOTHING like The Joshua Tree or Rattle and Hum.  This was yet another shift in sound, but more radical than ever before (check my earlier posts on their Missional Beginnings and their Struggle with the Church).  You can buy Walk On here.

Bono and the boys were feeling the weight of superstardom, and they were not liking it one bit.  Personal attacks were coming from numerous directions now.  More than that, they could feel their own self-identity slipping away.  Bono, in particular, felt the need to do something.  That this coincided with a deep felt need for a musical reinvention made everything even more shocking for many fans.


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I was introduced to U2 by Eric Racitti.  He was my best friend for much of middle school, but we had already drifted apart.  He still went to Mass, but I had lapsed.  He mentioned this cool new group that sung about Jesus.  The album was War, and I began to watch their videos on MTV.

I saw them on the second leg of the Unforgettable Fire Tour.  Back in the days before the internet was created by a certain former vice president, we didn’t know as much about what went through a band’s head.  But I caught a wiff of it here in America thru the reaction to The Joshua Tree by some Christians.

Coming to America was a big shock to Bono and the Boys.  Back in Ireland, they had a falling out with the Christian group that had been instrumental in the conversion of Bono, Edge & Larry.  Leadership was becoming increasingly legalistic.  There was a prophecy that the boys were supposed to leave the band.  They had a choice- to hide the gifts God gave them or step out in faith though their community of faith rejected them.  They choose to continue to make art.

That was there, but here they encountered a form of Christianity that made them VERY uncomfortable- televangelism.  I can understand that.  Shortly after my own conversion Jim Bakker made huge headlines that trumped Ted Haggard.  It included an affair with a secretary who would then ‘grace’ the pages of Playboy, a rumored homosexual affair, and the financial fraud that sent him to prison.  Bono was afraid that people would think that THIS was what he was like.


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While on vacation I began reading Walk On: the Spiritual Journey of U2.  In talking about Dublin at the time, it created a missional attitude that would mark their music throughout their career (thus far- 25 years and counting).

They grew up in a place where it was radical to be a Christian.  They viewed this a the ultimate rebelliousness- living by faith- while others played around with sex & drugs.  There was no Christian ghetto to suck them in to the idea of catering to a Christian audience, playing churches and being predictable.  Once there, a band has a hard time getting out (think of Michael Corleone’s angst at being sucked back into the mafia life each time he tries to break free).  Switchfoot is one of the few bands able to do this, and maintain integrity (others did it, but became so disillusioned and rebellious in the process that one wonders if they left more than the Christian ghetto).

Rather, they were lived the Pauline Principle of 1 Corinthians 9 without anyone really telling them to.  They contextualized their faith, which may be why many evangelicals in America (who don’t get the whole contextualization thing) have been quite skeptical of the faith held by Bono, the Edge & Larry.

Steve Stockman calls this a “skillful disguise” which would be a trademark of their work.  In this way they adapted musical styles, and subverted the world views of those around them (for instance the Zoo TV and Pop Mart tours).

While I don’t agree with all of the positions Bono takes on some issues of social justice, he is living how Christians are supposed to live in culture.  Like all of us, they will wrestle with temptations and failings.  But they don’t live like they are from another time or place.  They live out their faith in the context of the world around them.

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