I’ve finished reading the book about U2’s spiritual walk. It was quite interesting. There is definitely a strong thread of faith that runs throughout U2’s music and it becomes more apparent when you read what they say and do outside of their music. Much of the book focuses on the faith of Bono, which is probably because he is the visible face of U2. I would have liked to have heard more from the other guys but they may not have as much in print as Bono does.
There are times the book seems too quick to justify certain things about the band. It’s obviously written by a fan and fellow European.
There are several clashes woven throughout the book. The first is the clash between modern and postmodern. The author definitely puts U2 in the postmodern mold and explains some of the band’s relationship with Christianity as a clash between modern Christianity and postmodern U2. What isn’t mentioned is the growing postmodern/emerging church models that are gaining traction and are likely very receptive to U2’s art.
The other clash seems to be between European (particularly Irish) ways of experiencing church and the American experience. The author seems to hold a low view of American Christianity, at times referring to it as the “Christian ghetto.” As is common, there is a tendency to lump everyone under one banner … unfortunately, the banner chosen is the most convenient one. Not everyone in American Christianity is represented by Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, or the Southern Baptist Convention. What the author overlooks is that not every American church or Christian experience is like that.
On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it made me go back and listen again to a few songs — and to head over to iTunes for ones I didn’t have. It almost convinced me to be a subscriber at U2.com.
As a pastor working in the emerging church context, it only added to my belief that art needs to be missional and the church needs to embrace whatever advances the kingdom of God. Which raises the question: if the church had embraced U2 and U2 embraced the church, would their music have gone a different direction? Possibly. Likely. But that’s for another blog …