Christ, Faith, Love, Hope and a New Album

Its not our idea to suggest that God has a place within any music however U2 music has always had themes that create conversation about the beliefs of the band. One could say U2 has a strong Christian faith and yet Bono and the boys have denounced uniform concepts of church and one faith. During this interview Bono was asked the direct question do you pray and to whom. Bono said yes I pray to Christ to know the will of God during this interview in 2013. 

Challenging times for the boys as they try to complete their 13th album and find away to reach out and touch that magic that is U2.  Faith has always been centered around ideas that man has failures and if he is willing to raise above he too can experience greater joys in life.  Its a simpler process to create music and remove the concepts of faith its harder to instill them and kind a balance.  We all could use a little prayer so add U2 to your list and send some positive vibes their way 

Well the God I believe in isn’t short of’ cash, MISTER

Listening to some music a mix of U2 and well the 80’s and of course a mix in of current music. I began to think about how U2 has sifted through various images of religion, what does that mean to you and me? Our team posted the question this week. “U2 Music inspires you to do what?

Faithful U2 Fans

Faithful U2 Fans

Give us some ideas. What does U2 music mean to you?” Inspired by U2 or is it inspired by Bono? At this point the lines are blurred, Bono is the ultimate front man, and yea we heard that Laim was voted the best front man in the latest issue of RS.

Maybe its religion that inspires you, maybe the thought that you are part of something greater and that you have someone watching out over you could that be inspiring?  It’s not any big secret. Bono, the Edge, and Larry Mullen Jr. had their own Bible study group in the pre-U2 days.

Their second album, October, is loaded with Christian images, and during its recording, critics hailed U2 as a Christian band, something that U2 has always denied. Bono got to hang out with Pope John Paul II before his passing in 2005. They’re just a rock & roll band, right?

Interesting if you label them a Christian rock band you have people from the right screaming how you can even think of them in such a fashion however a few churches are turning to U2. USA Today reports that the U2 Eucharist is a “traditional Episcopal liturgy” that refers to some of U2’s best-selling songs such as “Beautiful Day” and “Pride (In the Name of Love)” as hymns.

We shared stories about this concept before it involves combining U2 songs with related religious montages. Reverend Paige Blair, a parish priest in York Harbor, Maine, incorporated some of U2’s lyrics during a sermon in July 2005. Since then, she’s gone on to assist 150 churches with their own U2 Eucharists, and the idea are spreading like wildfire across 15 states and seven countries.

They’re not worshiping Bono, but choosing to use him and the band’s work as an example of spreading the word.

I thought about the question myself and as the editor of U2TOURFANS I wondered if I should share my personal thoughts. The team all agreed that I should at least share something with you the reader.

So here goes. “Well the God I believe in isn’t short of’ cash, MISTER!!” Think about that line for second, Churches all around the world ask you for a donation. Ask you to put faith in…. Fill in the blank.

Faith and Hope

Faith and Hope

I put my faith in God, Inspired ? Sure I am inspired daily by lots of images, music, and words. I can say that U2 has created a place for me to express and share my views with like minded people.

The bottom line; you don’t have to like my views, agree or believe however you should respect one another. It’s really that simple.

U2

U2

U2’s music is a vessel to which we all could use to take a ride on. Bono has been blessed by the hand of God, he once said  “I just go where the life is, you know? Where I feel the Holy Spirit,” Bono told Christianity Today. “If it’s in the back of a Roman Catholic cathedral, in the quietness and the incense, which suggest the mystery of God, of God’s presence, or in the bright lights of the revival tent, I just go where I find life. I don’t see denomination. I generally think religion gets in the way of God.

“I am just trying to figure it out. Everybody wants to make an impact with their life, whether it’s small scale with friends or family—that’s really big, is the truth—or whether it’s on a grand scale, in changing their communities and beyond.

I just want to realize my potential.” He recalled one pastor’s recent advice: Stop asking God to bless what you’re doing. Find out what God’s doing. It’s already blessed. “That’s what I want,” Bono said. “I want to align my life with that.”

What do you want to align your life to?

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.”

U2’S SPIRITUAL PLAYLIST

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)

Fallen from Grace or Higher Calling

U2’s Bono Sings to the Heavens/ Dave Long/U2TOURFANSThese days bringing U2 into a conversation with a group of Christians can be a dangerous occupation. Once up held as the prime examples of Christians in the music business, many people now view the band as arrogant and egotistical, having long since abandoned their early religious fervor.

In fact, many churches will point to U2 as evidence of the fact that the music industry is too full of corruption and depravity for even the most committed believers to hold out against, almost as mothers used to frighten their children into good behavior with stories of the hobgoblins that awaited the ill-behaved child! Viewing U2 on the surface this can be understandable, but a deeper look at what the band is doing portrays a very different story.

Without a doubt U2 have changed a lot since their early albums. Many believe that U2 no longer possess the Christian beliefs which so obviously underpinned these albums, and in many respects amidst the images which U2 have created their beliefs can be difficult to unearth.

Often such use of artistic subterfuge is deeply frowned upon by Christian fundamentalists who argue that the gospel message should be perfectly clear; however, this is ignoring the fact that much of the Bible is itself written in artistic prose, rich in hidden meanings and multi-faceted nuances, whilst several books merely contain poetry - the most artistic of all writing forms.

Jesus himself taught in parables, using the images of the day to bring across truths about God, and most of the time leaving the people scratching their heads and wondering what he meant.

The Edge /U2TOURFANSWe cannot know exactly what U2 dreamed of during their two year break, but anyone who knows something of the very early days of U2’s career may have some ideas. Before they recorded their first album U2’s live gigs were characterized by the two personas which Bono would play - the Boy and the Fool. When it came to recording, however, the Boy became the primary character, and the Fool faded into insignificance.

Over the next ten years the Boy grew into a Man, and U2’s punk beginnings became everything punk had rebelled against. U2 were the epitome of stadium rock giants, spearheading the social conscience in Rock music. They had taken this path as far as they could, reached the biggest audiences imaginable and needed to totally rethink what they were attempting to achieve as a band. With the realization that Stadium Rock could never be personal or subtle, U2 were faced with a choice - return to playing smaller intimate venues, or redefine the framework entirely. Their popularity made the first total

Whilst many other stars have burnt themselves out with the ‘rock-and-roll life-style’, U2 have managed to cope with the pressures of success fairly well. The band has talked of how the pressure of their lifestyle was getting to them, and, if they had kept on the way they were going, they may indeed have burnt out. However, the realization of the absurdity of rock ‘n’ roll has deflated this. The band had been so intense that the only way out was to go totally over the top. Whereas they had previously spent so long avoiding the paraphernalia of being rock ‘n’ roll stars, now they are having fun playing with it, exploding all the clichés.

U2 and Church The Church has never coped well with its artists and U2 are no exception. They have refused to play by anyone else’s rules, and have frequently overstepped the tight boundaries of ‘permissible behavior’ drawn up by the church.

As a result the church has often viewed them with suspicion. Even one of their most explicit songs of Christian faith and longing for a better world, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” was taken by many Christians as evidence that U2 had lost their faith.

The tendency for the Church to look for perfection in its heroes has placed an overwhelming pressure on U2.

They are expected to have all the answers with no sign of doubt, and the church embraces them warmly when they express their faith clearly. However when they have expressed doubts or confusion the church has been just as quick to point the finger and disown them.

The offspring of a mixed marriage, Bono has claimed that he feels equally at home in both Catholic and Protestant churches. However the way in which the Church has often treated U2 has meant that he has come to feel equally not at home in either.

As he sings in Acrobat, “I’d break bread and wine, if there was a church I could receive in.” In his experience the church is too constricting and stifling. It has constructed a set of rules and beliefs to which he is expected to adhere.

However Bono describes his faith in terms of John 3:8 - no-one knows where it’s coming from or where it’s going to, it’s like the wind. “I’ve always felt that way about my faith. That’s why on the new album I say ‘I’ve got no religion’, because I believe that religion is the enemy of God, because it denies the spontaneity and the almost anarchistic nature of the Spirit.”

He sees no reason why all of his songs have to be full of happiness and joy and is fascinated by the connection between the Blues and Gospel Music. He describes the Psalms as the Blues of the Bible, with David giving off to God, “where were you when I needed you?”

The church has often failed to understand art or rock music, and often looks with suspicion on anything which it does not understand.

Everyone’s faith and spirituality must be worked out in the context in which they find themselves, and although few within the church have any idea of where U2 “are”, many are quick to point out where they think they should be.

We need to stop looking for perfection from those in a position of power. They are as much real people as the rest of us - open to doubts, depression, confusion and fear. We must not expect people to hide these emotions, but must allow people the freedom to be honest in their art.

To do otherwise is a denial of the realities of life. God does not solve or remove all our problems, but can help us through them. U2 has never merely painted a black picture of the world, but have stressed a salvation encompassing this.

I thought today would be a great day to bring back a song that really sets the tone for yesterday, today and tomorrow only if we agree to act upon it and return to mankind the respect that each of them deserve. I was only 11 years old when I first had a chance to read the speech by Dr King to my class. It was powerful and moving at that age and today its inspiring.

The First Major City Welcomes in 2009

A stunning firework display in Auckland, New Zealand, marked the first passing of midnight in a major city at 11am British time.

It was preceded by Kiritimati, or Christmas Island, in the Pacific Ocean, the first inhabited place on Earth to celebrate the new year, which passed midnight at 10am British time.

"I sincerely hope that 2009 will be a year of peace and progress."