I like U2, I have three of their albums on my MP3 Walkman here. I remember partying to the Joshua tree after it was released. All my Christian friends loved it, but I wondered how come they were singing that he had “held the hand of the devil” and he said it wasn’t goo… but now he’s with Jesus and looking forward to being in heaven… but he still hasn’t yet found what he was looking for? It was odd to me, but no one around me was bothered about the details of the words in the song. I can exactly remember the room I was in when I was wondering about this.
How ironic that I too would one day say that I also had not found what I was looking for and would go on a long journey that would bring me back to Jesus and to His central message: love. As I read about Bono’s faith, I see him (Bono) stating over and again that we must love one another.
Bono confesses his faith
What a fabulous interview: For those still telling me Bono isn’t a Christian…
He gets it that Jesus died for our sins…
The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled… It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven.
He gets the nature of this world and the key critical difference between our Christian religion and all the others – the key differences are grace, love, Jesus and forgiveness…
And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “as you reap, so will you 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.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.
He gets who Jesus is…
Christ says, No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying: “I’m the Messiah.” I’m saying: “I am God incarnate.”
And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet we can take. You’re a bit eccentric. We’ve had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don’t mention the “M” word! Because, you know, we’re gonna have to crucify you.
And he goes: No, no, I know you’re expecting me to come back with an army and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah.
At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he gonna keep saying this.
So what you’re left with is either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase.
So that’s it. His language is very “down to earth”, but Bono is probably clearer on the value of the gospel than many Christians are!
But then why is there so much more to my post on this? Why don’t I just wrap it up here? Because it is *US* who are missing Bono’s point!
This interview with Eugene Peterson about Bono (author: The Message Bible) is an eye opener!
I’ve been a part of the institution of religion all my life and have been quite happy doing it. I felt that’s what I was called to do. But I depend for a lot of my insights and language on people who are outside the Church. That doesn’t mean they are outside of Christ, but they are outside of the conventional expectations. I need that. If I’m just around people who talk the way I do, I lose perceptive accuracy, sharpness. And I think Bono is doing that for many.
I think they started out pretty confused and were kind of just messing around. I think they must be as surprised about this — that people like me are calling them prophets — as maybe as I am. But doesn’t that happen a lot? When we’re living with any kind of authenticity, we don’t know what we are doing until, suddenly, moments come of clarification — catalytic moments — and we see suddenly this is what I am, this is what I’m doing. But in the spiritual life, calculation doesn’t work. - Eugene Peterson
Listen to Bono’s heart and hope
Bono believes in the church more than the church believes in the church! Read on and tell me if I am wrong or not.
At first I read John’s post Bono on Christian Music. John then gave me a heads up on this interview Bono Interview by Bill Hybels (available as an MP3 audio download on that page). (Who is Bill Hybels?)
Not content with the MP3, I went in search of some blog posts and found lots of excellent excerpts here U2’s Bono On Celebrity, Jesus, Africa and More.
You might not like his style or his language, but in the end we’re all in a personal relationship with our Lord and it’s just that, personal. No one else can judge my relationship with Jesus and I promise not to judge yours (you… the reader). Can we give Bono the same respect? And another thing, Jesus said that if someone is not against you, then they are for you.
Bill Hybels has convinced me of the importance of the church as the moral force and practical infrastructure for solving the worlds problems. Open the doors of your church and make them an AIDS clinic. Your charity is important, but your passion for justice is needed. I’m asking for your voice and for you to give permission to fix these problems that are fixable. It’s not a burden, it’s an opportunity…it’s an adventure!”
Bono has had issues with aspects of the church in the past – specifically that the church is so rich and so insular, where the gospel demands we help the poor!
“There are 2003 verses in scripture about the poor, second only to personal salvation.
Jesus speaks of judgment only once and that is the passage in Matthew where we are asked: ‘who clothed the naked?’ and ‘who fed the poor?’ and ‘who visited those in prison?’ That defines whether you are a part of the Kingdom or not.”
“The reason the church has been slow to respond is that the church has historically always been behind the curve: civil rights, apartheid…the church is afraid of politics.
The second reason the church has been so slow is less palatable..the church has been very judgmental about the AIDS virus…it believes that it is about people living irresponsibly.
Only 6% of evangelicals felt like they were to act in response to the AIDS epidemic. But the Christ will not let the church walk away from the AIDS emergency…it is like a car crash, we have to act. AIDS is the leprosy of our age.
But then something tragic happened…the church woke up and began to act…and they ruined it for me…I couldn’t hate the church anymore.”
Hallelujah… the church began to act. I think he is referring to the Jubilee project.
On a personal note, I think his glasses are funny… but I’m probably just jealous. hehehe. I think it would be tough to be a public figure and live in the spotlight – but I admire that he has decided to USE his status, not shy away from it!
“What else are you going to do with thing called ‘celebrity’…it’s absolutely ridiculous that it is valued more than being a teacher or more than being a mother…
but it is currency and I decided that I was going to spend mine.”
The media loves to mis-portray public figures… and they would even more enjoy mis-portraying a Christian. Look at what they tried to do to Mel Gibson’s film!
He recalled one pastor’s recent advice: Stop asking God to bless what you’re doing. Find out what God’s doing. It’s already blessed.
“That’s what I want,” Bono said. “I want to align my life with that.”
So is Bono perfect? Is Mel? No, everyone is broken, fallen and human. No one is perfect and everyone needs grace from God and grace from each other.
“Love your neighbor is not advice… it’s a command.”
Let’s just pray for one another and lift each other up.
I also found some more good links:
- Bono’s American Prayer (Christianity Today ** recommended)
- Ambushed by Africa: How Lynne and Bill Hybels joined the effort to combat the AIDS pandemic (** recommended)
- BONO’S REMARKS TO THE NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST
- Psalm Like It Hot (Bono talks about the Psalms and David)
- Drawing Their Fish in the Sand (bible references in their lyrics)
- Good biblical blog called U2Sermons
- Leadership Summit [Bono]
- Bono’s chat with Willow Creek’s Bill Hybels
- Flickr Bono-Bill Hybels pics
- My Top
1012 Spiritually Significant U2 Songs
Respect and honor
Hybels told Christianity Today about his impression of the rock star: “After a two-hour private meeting in my office, I came away convinced that Bono’s faith is genuine, his vision to relieve the tragic suffering in Africa is God-honoring, and his prophetic challenge to the U.S. church must be taken seriously.” – Bill Hybels
I respect and honor Bono for the work he is doing to awaken the rich countries to the plight of the poor. His style might be jarring, his language is “down to earth”, but I hope and pray that he will succeed in awakening the church to it’s potential as God’s body on this earth which can alleviate much of the poverty and sickness in this world – if we will just set our minds to it.