Christians Still Looking

Christians Still Looking

The Best of: 1980-1990, that contains Christian connotations, is the song, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For ” While there are some Christians who maintain that Bono is renouncing his faith in this song, others maintain that Bono is simply expressing personal struggles with his faith and with temptation. Still others maintain that Bono is expressing his struggle with the current world.

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Taken U2 to Church

A minister will be swapping traditional hymns for tracks by rock band U2 at a communion service with a difference this weekend.

The Rev Nick Cook will perform as Bono for Leicestershire’s first U2charist, at St Hugh’s Church, Market Harborough, on Saturday.

The band – with Dick Callan as guitarist The Edge, Trevor Roach as bass player Adam Clayton and Alex Ulyett as drummer Larry Mullen Jr – will be performing seven of U2’s biggest hits, including One, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Pride (In The Name Of Love) and Where The Streets Have No Name.

Nick, who is minister of Harborough Baptist Church, said it was a first for the county.

“Well, I’ve never done anything like this before,” he said.

“It will be a fairly normal communion service, but whereas we’d normally have hymns, this will be interspersed with some classic U2 songs.

“I’ll be doing my Bono impression, although I’m not like him as a singer. He can sing slightly higher, so we’ve had to take a couple of songs down a notch.

“We haven’t talked about how we’re going to dress yet.

“I think we’ll be fairly casual but I’m not going to go out and buy the big shades.”

The first U2charist service took place in the United States, where a minister inspired by the spiritual content of some of U2’s hits got permission from the band to use their songs for worship without copyright charges.

The idea is to make the traditional service more appealing to a wider audience, particularly younger people.

The service in Market Harborough is expected to attract more than 100 people. Money raised will go to Christian Aid.

The event also aims to raise awareness of the Millennium Development Goals – eight objectives set by world leaders at the start of the millennium with the aim of halving the number of people living in poverty across the world by 2015.

The service has been organised by Nick and the Rev Andrew Quigley, from Harborough Anglican team, along with Christian Aid.

Andrew said: “There’s a lot of spiritual content in U2’s music and Bono is known for speaking out on issues such as poverty and raising funds.

“We thought bringing in the live music would make it appealing to younger people and maybe, for people who already support the service, it will perhaps help them see it in a fresh way.

“We want people to come because they like the music, we want people to come because they care about the issues, we want people to hear the church speak about values in different and perhaps challenging words.”

Christian Aid spokeswoman Sue Richardson said: “The service is at the end of our annual Christian Aid Week, when we ask volunteers to collect door to door in their communities to fund our work with the poor overseas.”

The U2charist takes place at St Hugh’s Church, in Northampton Road, Market Harborough, at 8pm on Saturday.

Calling All Christians

Many believers criticize Bono for claiming to be Christian and failing to live in accordance with Evangelical standards and norms.  Steve Stockman summarizes the cynicism of Christians as, “they drink and smoke and swear, how can you believe that they are still Christians?

Likewise Mark Joseph explains many believe U2 is successful in the entertainment industry because “they [are] willing to submerge strong and devout statements of faith and devotion, and instead write songs that [are] vague at best, avoiding whenever possible direct references to God” Despite criticisms, it is clear that Bono’s personal spiritual journey deeply impacts his music.  He boldly quotes Psalms, chants Hallelujah, and openly worships God in front of stadiums of secular audiences.

His lifestyle reflects a strong relationship with his wife Alison Stewart and commitment to his four children.  The humanitarian causes he advocates resonate from a Christian point of view with Biblical imperatives declaring the necessity of faith’s alignment with social justice.

Ultimately, the extent to which Bono lives between Christ and culture is debated.

Todays suggested reading One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God

God is in the House

Where the Streets Have No Name.Beautiful Day.I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.Yahweh. For fans of the Irish band U2, these are familiar rock songs. But to a growing number of Christians, they’re becoming tunes for worship, and for the Eucharist.

Services using U2’s music, commonly called U2charist, were begun by Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation. The services combine the music of the rock band with traditional communion. They focus on a message of global reconciliation, justice, and care for neighbors as advocated by Bono, the lead singer of U2. Bono, a dedicated Christian, is also a global ambassador for Millennium Development Goals, a movement by the United Nations to eradicate poverty and disease by the year 2015.

U2charist first took hold in the U.S. at St. George’s Episcopal Church in York Harbor, Maine, drawing 130 people. Many of those in attendance were in a younger demographic and did not usually attend the church. Since then, dozens of the services have been held worldwide in churches of many denominations.

In a U2charist service, the liturgy remains the same, although the music is markedly different. U2 songs are repurposed as the opening hymn, song of praise, sermon response, and offertory. Most of the songs are seen as metaphors, with lyrics that are layered with meaning.

“In church, you hear [the music] in a different way. It’s like new,” said Natalie Williams, a 17-year-old who attended a U2charist at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Briarcliff Manor, New York.

Eric Johnson, who attended the service at Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Lakeland, Florida, had no doubt about the effectiveness of the music.

“The crowd, the enthusiasm, the energy—I felt like the Holy Spirit was in the room. The message was getting through, and we were worshiping together,” he said.

The offerings that are collected at U2charists go to charities fighting extreme poverty and AIDS, as worked out in an agreement with the band’s publishing company. Paige Blair, rector of St. George’s, estimates that more than $36,000 has been raised from the U2charist services for the cause.

“People are learning there is something they can do to change the world,” she said. “And they leave feeling that they really can.”

At St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Encinitas, California, the U2charist service was well-received by young and old alike. Teens connected to the “hip factor,” while adults found deeper meaning in the music.

At St. Andrew’s, the service drew a crowd that compares to normal Christmas or Easter attendance. St. George’s is beginning a U2charist team to help others implement the service. And this year, a U2charist service will be broadcast in Great Britain on Easter Sunday.

“It spread like wildfire,” Blair said. “We’re giving people a way to engage their faith in a meaningful way.”

And letting them rock out at the same time.

This week we will start a three part or four part series on U2, God and Faith.