I believe in God Do you U2

The minute you throw U2 into a conversation that includes faith and God folks come up with all types of reasons to either agree or hate the idea.  This holiday season we have a series that surely create conversation. Sarah Hinlicky wrote an article sometime ago “I believe in God Do you U2” The article will be the back drop for the series and we will share some excerpts from that article.   

So, what does make Christian music? Does it have to be written specifically for church, for liturgical or devotional purposes, to fall into that category? Should it refer to Scripture, quoting directly or alluding by imagery? Should it explicit purpose be to evangelized? Where do you think U2 should fits into all of this ? This series will give you some insights to a different view. Your comments and views are welcome within this page or on our facebook site. Of course you can always jump on our forum page.

U2 is a Christian band ?

Every once and awhile we get emails that ask the question is U2 definitely a Christian band or are they definitely not.  Well for sure we would all agree its one or the other.  Christians look at the behavior of the band and question the whole idea that they would be in fact Christians because “they should not act that way” What way? Maybe its time to just let them be a band. A band that is faith in humanity and a “higher power” (We would say God) allows them to share views that all you the listener to decide for yourself.  However, for those of you that will not let go of it here is a repost of an article that will have you re-thinking and once again coming up with the same answer. Maybe or maybe not; either way we have had a life time of music that provides us a foundation to make a difference if we choose do so.

Christians argue whether Bono and U2 are in fact Christian. And I’ll use the 5 stages of grief, a favorite of mine, to put it all together.

Stage 1: Denial

U2 is a Christian band:

Are you kidding me? They love the Lord! Of course they’re Christian! Have you heard the song “Magnificent?” That thing is practically a hymn. Here are some of the lyrics: “I was born, I was born to sing for you. I didn’t have a choice but to lift you up and sing whatever song you wanted me to. I give you back my voice. From the womb my first cry, it was a joyful noise…” That’s like an Irish version of John Newton.

U2 is not a Christian band:

Remember that time Bono swore during that awards ceremony? Was that part of the gospel? I mean it wasn’t even a safe Christian swear, it was one of the real ones. Was that a Bible verse? Does the Message swear? It’s been so long since I read it.

Stage 2: Anger

U2 is a Christian band:

I didn’t want to do this, but I’m afraid you forced my hand. You literally forced my hand. Watch the video of Bono and Bill Hybels, the pastor of one of the biggest churches on

the planet. Then try to tell me he isn’t a Christian. Just try!

U2 is not a Christian band:

Has Bono or Edge or the other guys who have the names we forget, have any of them ever come out and said, “I’m a born again Christian?” Have they? Have they? Until that happens, in that exact way and in those exact words, I don’t even want to have this conversation.

Stage 3: Bargaining

U2 is a Christian band:

Here’s the thing. I don’t know the drummer’s name, so I am more than willing to believe he’s not a Christian. But you’ve got to give me Bono. Come on, you give me Bono and I’ll stop saying “U2 is a Christian band” and will instead just say, “Bono is a Christian.”

U2 is not a Christian band:

OK, I’ve listened to a bunch of their music, I am willing to admit that in some ways they write “Christian music.” Their melodies are very “Christian like.” I’m not sure what that means but I value our friendship so I don’t want to fight over this.

Stage 4: Depression

U2 is a Christian band:

Oh man, what if they’re not? Do I have to throw out all my albums? I’m probably going to buy them again, but should I throw them out in some sort of post retreat guilt-induced panic? I’ll do it, I swear I’ll do it.

U2 is not a Christian band:

Oh man, what if they are a Christian band? I’ve been listening to “I still haven’t found what I’ve been looking for” and those lyrics make a pretty compelling argument. I mean look at this, “You broke the bonds and you loosed the chains, carried the cross of my shame, of my shame, you know I believed it.” Bono literally says, you “carried the cross of my shame,” and he “believed it.” Jeez, am I a jerk for doubting his faith? If one of my friends told me, Christ “carried the cross of my shame” and that he “believed it,” would I doubt him? No, I wouldn’t, so why am I so crazy about Bono’s faith?

Stage 5: Acceptance

U2 is a Christian band:

OK, I still like their music. I’m not getting rid of my music. I don’t care if they’re Christian. I’m going to let that go and focus on other things. Like I don’t know, loving my neighbor.

U2 is not a Christian band:

If Christians cover a U2 song and Christian radio will then play them, that’s good enough for me. I give in. I’m willing to believe that U2 is a Christian band.

Wow, we really took a journey today, didn’t we? From denial to acceptance, a thrill ride of theological significance. And now we’re done. We’re all 100% on the same page.

U2 is definitely a Christian band. Or definitely not. It’s one of those two.

Believers Believe in U2

Joshua Tree - U2

Joshua Tree - U2

 U2 has been provoking audiences including Christians since they began playing in the 70’s. They made it pretty clear their influences early on, taking on social justice concerns and explored the depths of pop culture in the 90’s.

U2 has been a staple in sermons across the country, across denominations, and across generations. Get Up Off Your Knees is a collection of sermons from the U2 catalog written by several authors. Co-editor Beth Maynard is the pastor of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

If you walk away I will follow
— Song Lyrics "I will follow"

U2 is not a “Christian band,” but some of its members are Christians with significant fluency in the vocabulary of the Christian traditin. Thus, throughout their work U2 naturally raises and wrestles with spiritual questions using that vocabulary. Like all art, the results have many levels of meaning and considered from diverse perspectives, especially when you consider that U2’s catalog.

Preachers are always looking for effective cultural connections that help people grasp the meaning of biblical text. One of the points that Raewynne makes is that not only do we take the biblical text out into the world, we bring our life experience and our experience of the world with us when we read biblical text.

If you're a fan of U2, when you come to a situation of discouragement, when you need to be encouraged to persevere, you may come to that situation with "Walk On" in your head. There's just a natural connection that you make of these different texts and these different ways of telling the story of the world that we're in.

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

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