Two of the recent comments are quite long and written by someone who apparently goes around commenting about U2 in other places as well – she mentions that she has been banned from some other U2 sites. This is a topic that obviously gets some people pretty excited. I disagree with most of what a recent commenter writes for a number of reasons but I don’t want to do a point by point response to her. I’m not sure it would accomplish much anyway.
I will admit that I was puzzled by the symbols of Christianity, Islam and Judaism on the curtain during the song “Yahweh” when I saw U2 in Chicago last September. I thought about it for quite a while and talked to some friends about what they thought the band was trying to accomplish. I get into that a bit more in my previous post about it and don’t want to repeat it here. Truth be told, I wish they had chosen some other way to make the point – I would not have done it this way. Then again, I don’t have nearly as many people paying attention to me so maybe my way isn’t the best way either. I continue to think that Bono is generally on the right track, though. Here are a couple of reasons why:
- The book Bono in Conversation with Michka Assayas is a remarkable book. Even a cursory reading of it shows pretty clearly that Bono is a Christian. Not mostly a Christian or even a wacko Christian but a Christian who believes in and reads the Bible. What’s more, his theology is usually pretty good. I found some of his statements to be outstanding expressions of a Reformed world and life view informed by a deep study of scripture. Not bad for a rock and roll star.
- Bono is an artist and, as such, says things in a way that can often be taken in many different ways. Part of this is just who he is but part of it is something he does carefully. By exploring the different interpretations of art more shades of meaning can be seen, some of which are intended by the artist and some are not. So we need to always interpret artistic statements carefully, realizing that our interpretation is just that – our interpretation.
- I, and many other Christians, can easily find ourselves thinking that believing in Jesus means that you have to buy into certain cultural things as well. (For example, wearing “dress up clothes” to go to church – this is not scriptural but yet for some people this is an important part of what it means to treat God with the kind of respect he deserves.) Bono doesn’t follow many of those cultural norms of what it means to be a US Evangelical Christian. He has forced me to ask if some of the things he does are not right based on scripture or just based on my idea of what a Christian ought to be like. I appreciate the opportunity he gives me to think about my faith in a new way.
I’m not suggesting that Bono is above reproach or that he does everything correctly – his choice of language sometimes bothers me, for example. But he has a pretty big megaphone right now and he consistently uses it to talk about helping the poor and the hungry. He, like Queen Esther, is being a voice for those who have no voice of their own. He is using his celebrity to try to accomplish a great thing in the name of God. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt – something that Jesus did often during his ministry and something that I think Christians are called to do as well.