Faith Follows Fans, Bono Follows the World

Right now news from around the tour maybe a bit slow, nothing really new to report. Great time to catch up on other stories,become  fan, follow the litle bird and await for the return.  We have been reading some interesting books about U2, Bono and Faith it seems that everyone wants to place a label on the band and yet know one really has an idea of where to place it. 

To call them a Christian band may cause a shift in the world reglion. Yet many churchs will tell you allowing U2 music to play within the church has returned some people to God.

The title track from the band’s latest album, No Line on the Horizon — an album as steeped in spirituality as any since U2’s earliest years — seems to speak to that. There’s the image itself, the absence of a line, a final destination. A character in the song also says two things worth noting: “Infinity is a great place to start,” and “Time is irrelevant, it’s not linear.”

Razim sees it as similar to the parting of the Red Sea. “To me, it’s about God making a way when there seems to be no way.”

It’s a vast vision of the cosmos and the beyond that doesn’t exactly jive with the idea of heaven as a victorious endgame.

So it is that Bono told Christianity Today, “I generally think religion gets in the way of God.”

Or in 2002, the Edge told Hot Press, “I still have a spiritual life, but I’m not really a fan of religion per se.”

Christianity Today referred to Bono’s tour of American churches on behalf of African aid as “an arm’s-length experience of churches (that) leaves Bono with a paper-thin ecclesiology that measures the church’s mission [or its “relevance”] almost exclusively in geopolitical terms.”

But Garrett sees progress in Bono’s nonmusical works. “I think we’re seeing more people believe in that sense of the church needing to be more responsive to the needs of the world and less fixated in individual salvation. Especially among younger Christians. I think they were on the front end of that.”

The band’s music has found its way into American churches in the form of U2charists, which have been taking place over the past five or six years.

Razim has overseen two of them at Palmer, New Year’s Eve 2008 and Juneteenth 2009, both of which filled the church to capacity. A third is planned for the coming New Year’s Eve. U2 music is sung and money is raised for the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, a stipulation by the band in exchange for allowing its music to be sung without royalties.

She says the U2charist is “true to who we are” and in keeping with the church’s outreach.

And despite a somewhat strained relationship between U2 and any particular organized religion, Razim, like Garrett, sees kinship in the band’s spirituality. “It’s about searching and seeking,” she says. “The first time I heard a U2 song I detected it. It’s a journey, with faith developing and asking hard questions.

“I think their music is affirming and empowering, and it’s a true expression of who we are in this place and time.”


Sometimes U2’s songs are fairly obvious in their religious reference points. 40 is just a modified version of Psalm 40. Then there’s Mysterious Ways, which could just as easily be about a woman as it could about some other spirit. Some songs are questioning (most of Pop),others reverent (much of Boy). Here are just a few of the band’s spiritual songs that represent just some of the breadth of U2’s spiritual journey. As to which spirit they’re summoning, that’s in the ear of the behearer.

Twilight (from Boy, 1980)

I Will Follow (from Boy, 1980)

Gloria (from October, 1981)

Rejoice (from October, 1981)

40 (from War, 1983)

The Unforgettable Fire (from The Unforgettable Fire, 1984)

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (from The Joshua Tree, 1987)

Bullet the Blue Sky (from The Joshua Tree, 1987)

Mysterious Ways (from Achtung Baby, 1991)

The Wanderer (from Zooropa, 1992)

Wake Up Dead Man (from Pop, 1997)

Grace (from All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

Elevation (from All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

Peace on Earth (from All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

Love and Peace or Else(fromHow to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own (fromHow to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb • , 2004)

Magnificent (from No Line on the Horizon, 2009)