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 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.

Challies Dot Com : New Site Design

The New Look!
Our friend Tim Challies has given his site a whole new look. I liked the old one just fine, but this new design is even better. Easier to navigate, lots of info right up front... and the same great content!
Check it out!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Memo to Worshipping Church Class!!!

To: All students in The Worshipping Church class

From: Pastor Paul Martin

Date: November 1, 2005

RE: Assignment due on Friday, November 4, 2005

Please forgive me for not getting this information to you at the end of our last class. I forgot to give you your question for the November 4 Class Report. I did leave a question by the door of the classroom where you were having your worship practicum... but not everyone saw that note.

Therefore, if you did not see that note, please answer the following question. If you have already completed the assignment with the first question that is great too.


Please comment on the benefits and the problems associated with “sameness” in worship. (i.e. what is good and what is bad about liturgy). Use the Scripture to defend your thoughts.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Reformation Day! - Some Thoughts on Calvin...

We took a look at the life of Jean Cauvin (John Calvin) last night. Here is a sample from that message with a link to the full article at the bottom of this post. What an amazing life these Reformers lived! Would that we had half their courage and even a fourth of their passion for God and His glory!

Not long after the first edition [of the Institutes], Calvin determined to move to Strasbourg, a steady, safe and secure Protestant city. Military efforts at the time made the trip from Basel to Strasbourg a tricky trip and he was forced to take the long road there, through Geneva. Ah, providence!

Geneva was a city in a bit of turmoil – not Calvin’s style! Reformers from Bern had come to Geneva to evangelize and seen some success. The political leaders of the city were fed up with Rome and ready to find a way to break from the Mother Church. This led to them declaring themselves to be a Protestant city, even though most of the leaders and residents were not Protestant, nor had they a full understanding of what that meant! William Farel, the leader of the Bern missionaries, now found himself “at the helm of the religious life of the city and sorely lacking in personnel!”[1]

When Calvin arrived in Geneva for a “one night stay” word leaked to Farel that the author of the Institutes was in town. Farel immediately arranged a meeting and begged Calvin to stay and help lead the work – but Calvin wanted nothing to do with it. The city was in confusion, loyalties were not trustworthy, massive political change was in order, and the local church was in disarray. Calvin wanted to study and write and this was not, in his estimation, the proper setting for such a ministry.

Farel continued to plead with Calvin but to no avail. Finally, he left Calvin with this famous threat:

“May God condemn your repose, and the calm you seek for study, if before such a great need you withdraw and refuse your succor and help!”[2]

Calvin was cut to the quick! He wrote, “These words shocked and broke me and I desisted from the journey I had begun.” History would never be the same.

[1] Justo Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, Volume II: The Reformation to the Present Day (San Francisco, CA: Harper and Row, 1985), 65.

[2] ibid.

For the entire article, go here...