Bono, Christ and Culture

Bono / Dave Long / U2TOURFANS Bono, is an example of an individual striving to live between Christ and culture.  As a world-renowned rock-icon, the lead singer of U2, Bono has earned a myriad of labels. 

Among them are: singer, songwriter, opportunist, Christian, humanitarian activist, egoist, political advocate, rock-star, father and husband. 

Bono’s multifaceted life makes it difficult to understand exactly what it is that defines his success. 

Arguably the most celebrated secular rock star of the modern era, intriguingly, Bono openly professes faith in Jesus Christ. 

Despite his testimony, many Christians refuse to recognize this secular icon as a genuine follower of God.  In regards to his lifestyle and lyrics, many consider his faith nebulous and even questionable

His humanitarian pursuits – devoid of fellowship with the Church – are sometimes heralded as activism for its own sake.  As an artist, Bono typically refuses to overtly espouse familiar Christian lyrical content expressing themes of peace, joy, praise, and love.  It is often only when one delves deep into his art, that Bono’s beliefs become evident.   The following paper will examine the way Bono lives between Christ and culture.

We Get to Carry Each Other: The Gospel according to U2 (Gospel According to) Garrett, an English professor at Baylor University, plumbs the U2 catalogue to reveal the group’s theological worldview. This is not a far stretch—three of the four band members were involved with a charismatic Christian community in Ireland as the group was starting out.

U2 is not the only rock band to address spiritual themes in its music, but as the author adeptly illustrates, it has certainly been one of the most consistent and outspoken. Garrett rightly posits in a chapter about social justice that U2’s message encourages listeners to put their faith into action for the sake of the poor and marginalized.

The author is clearly a music fan, and his excitement about U2 is contagious. Rock music fans who have ever wondered if their faith and musical taste could ever be paired will be intrigued by U2’s story and Garrett’s theological analysis of the band’s music.

Over the next few days we will take a closer look at how U2 and Bono weave Christian values into the songs that have been moving to those that seek a different path.