Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bono on Christianity


As a teenager growing up in Toronto in the early 80's I like to pride myself on being one of the first North American U2 fans. I remember hearing songs from October playing on CFNY FM and thinking I had found a music that made sense to me. Back in the days when U2 played the El Mocambo, not the ACC. What really owned me though was going to a local youth meeting and somebody mentioning that Bono was a Christian.Later on, my buddy's Dad ended up traveling with U2 as their photographer. Wow. That was the cool of cool, checking out photos of the guys that nobody else would ever see!I was hooked.But things changed over the years.The evident spirituality of those early songs gave over to something else... and by conviction I stopped listening. Bono wasn't moving me to worship the Lord anymore.Over the years, I have always kept one eye on U2 - sort of secretly hoping for some kind of revival or genuine conversion. So, I read an excerpt online from Rollingstone.com this week from the Bono interview. I include a few quotes below, but you can read the whole thing for yourself here. The language is not pretty, so don't read it if that is going to bother you. (I have edited my quotes.)

What is your religious belief today? What is your concept of God?
If I could put it simply, I would say that I believe there's a force of love and logic in the world, a force of love and logic behind the universe. And I believe in the poetic genius of a creator who would choose to express such unfathomable power as a child born in "straw poverty"; i.e., the story of Christ makes sense to me.
How does it make sense?
As an artist, I see the poetry of it. It's so brilliant. That this scale of creation, and the unfathomable universe, should describe itself in such vulnerability, as a child. That is mind-blowing to me. I guess that would make me a Christian. Although I don't use the label, because it is so very hard to live up to. I feel like I'm the worst example of it, so I just kinda keep my mouth shut.
Do you pray or have any religious practices?
I try to take time out of every day, in prayer and meditation. I feel as at home in a Catholic cathedral as in a revival tent. I also have enormous respect for my friends who are atheists, most of whom are, and the courage it takes not to believe.
How big an influence is the Bible on your songwriting? How much do you draw on its imagery, its ideas?
It sustains me.
As a belief, or as a literary thing?
As a belief. These are hard subjects to talk about because you can sound like such a #######. I'm the sort of character who's got to have an anchor. I want to be around immovable objects. I want to build my house on a rock, because even if the waters are not high around the house, I'm going to bring back a storm. I have that in me. So it's sort of underpinning for me.
I don't read it as a historical book. I don't read it as, "Well, that's good advice." I let it speak to me in other ways. They call it the rhema. It's a hard word to translate from Greek, but it sort of means it changes in the moment you're in. It seems to do that for me.
You're saying it's a living thing?
It's a plumb line for me. In the Scriptures, it is self-described as a clear pool that you can see yourself in, to see where you're at, if you're still enough. I'm writing a poem at the moment called "The Pilgrim and His Lack of Progress." I'm not sure I'm the best advertisement for this stuff.

Two thoughts:
1. No wonder the emergent church loves U2.
2. I am going to keep praying for Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry.