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 

Why do we want another U2 album ?

Before we all get up into a fight about what we should talk about and write about when it comes to U2. Lets all remember we are fans and that our love for the music really has created a community.

Lots of emotions are flowing around the future of U2. We all feel the same way. 

I thought about my personal views on the idea and while I was never really one to share my thoughts on the future of U2 and wondered why not.

Why not share what I thought about the whole matter. 

However before we venture down that path here's the comments that have been flying around about the band and their future.

A source commented that: “They never wanted to be the kind of band who just toured over and over again without new material.

“Bono would rather pack it in if it got to that stage.

“At the earliest they will hit the road at the end of this year and after that it’s hard to see how they could carry on.

“Bono is always getting offers to go solo and write his own album. That’s looking like a very likely option in the coming years.”

Earlier this year Bono admitted the band were living in fear of becoming irrelevant.

He said: “We were trying to figure out why would anyone want another U2 album?

“And then we said ‘Why would we want one?’ There was some unfinished business.

“We felt like we were on the verge of irrelevance a lot in our lives.”

The idea of irrelevance really bugs the crap out of me. I think that I have a voice and that sometimes U2 music speaks well for me. I think that the future does belong to be as much as it belongs to that snot nosed little pisser of a kid that comes up behind me.

The music is more about beliefs in something greater than me. A higher place, a freedom from what holds me back. Yet I know that in order to grow I must let go of yesterday and look towards the future.

U2 has give us a great collection of music that can stand the test of time. The themes still hold true today. While some say that God has no place in music others delight in the idea that that you can be a bad boy or girl and be saved daily by grace.

Sure I would love for U2 to grow older with me and carry me into those remaining years.  U2 does not owe me the fan anything, the music was made for me to enjoy.

The shows  allowed me to breathe life into a community of friends. I am not mad nor upset if this really is the end. I know others will not agree. However that's what makes the whole idea of being a U2 fan beautiful.

And love, it's not the easy thing
The only baggage, that you can bring
Not the easy thing, the only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can't leave behind

Maybe hidden in those words was the message that you can't leave U2 behind that that U2 will forever be within your hearts and isn't that the place you would want them to be most often. So ask yourself why do you want another U2 album ? How would another U2 album change the course of your musical experience ? Why could we not just let U2 drift off into the summer afternoon with the thought that we have all been apart of musical history. 

 

 

Oscar ? Tour ? New Album ? Yes, Maybe, Sure

The Edge /U2 /  @Walker

The Edge /U2 /  @Walker

2014 Academy Awards to perform their Oscar-nominated song “Ordinary Love” from the movie  Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

We all thought by now U2 would have released their next album. We all thought we knew the name of the album fan based sites all claiming the insider scoop on names and dates and yet  March has arrived and what do we have to show for all that noise.

Nothing ! Yup I said it Nothing U2 is not any closer to announcing dates for a massive tour, not any closer to announcing a release date. The fact is that the only news we have is that "Ordinary Love" is set to be performed on Sunday night and that the fact that this very song caused the delay from the release and expected tour.  

Pretty solid chance that U2 takes home an Oscar for best original song “Ordinary Love,” a song written for and featured in the biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”   Some long term fans hope that latter. They hope the boys do not win the honor. They claim its not deserved and that it (the win) will surly push the band into mediocrity and redundancy.

Jeff writes from the Buffalo News:  “Ordinary Love” is, despite the poignancy of its Mandela-themed lyric, an ordinary song. It sounds like a Coldplay B-side. We, the Academy included, should not offer U2 the impression that this is acceptable. We should and must demand more from them.

As the peak moments from the band’s last studio album, “No Line On the Horizon,” made abundantly clear, U2 has not run out of creative steam. Rather, the band’s apparent desire for worldwide mega-stardom is stripping the U2 sound of its full potential. For the first time in its career, U2 seems desperate, as if purposely chasing a hit.

Bono / U2 / U2TOURFANS

Bono / U2 / U2TOURFANS

Lets face it NOL was not a massive hit as hoped yet the music did grow upon those fans that allowed U2 to change course head towards a new direction to find some hidden golden that they had lost within the yester years of U2 hits. Under the covers the band has a sense that the writing is on the wall.

To be able to create music today that is meaningful to a whole new generation of fans may mean that you have to create a sound that is fresh beyond what has already been discovered.  Could this be the reason that Burton ( Danger Mouse) was called upon to help find that new sound?  Why bring in members of Coldplay ?

Could they be the answer to that new sound?  U2 has to look within and understand that their music appears to an audience that has growth and longs for yesterday and while it moves towards the future some of the past can be dragged along for good measure. 

U2 machine will start with a fresh new connection to their audience with the hopes of staying current.  Fans just ask that they play their music and be one with their identity.

 

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?

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.

Walk On, Hallelujah !

On its 2001 Elevation Tour, U2 sold out arenas and stadiums around the world, using in the process a surprising amount of religious imagery. The band usually closed with “Walk On,” a song from, All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Toward the end of the song, Bono would shout “Unto the Almighty, thank you!” and lead the crowd in a chorus of hallelujahs.

And kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall
— October

U2 does not seem to care whether churches accept the band. Over the years, U2 has grown uncomfortable with organized religion, calling church life “claustrophobic” and blaming Christianity, at least in part, for dividing Ireland. “I have this hunger in me…. Everywhere I look, I see evidence of a Creator,” Bono has said. “But I don’t see it as religion, which has cut my people in two.”

The question of U2’s religious beliefs, and the ways band members have expressed them, is the subject of a 2001 book, Walk On—The Spiritual Journey of U2 (Relevant Books), by Steve Stockman, a Presbyterian minister in Ireland. Stockman mines U2 interviews and books about the band and its music to write a spiritual companion to the band’s career.

Stockman wrote that in U2’s early days in Dublin, Bono, The Edge and Mullen embraced a charismatic evangelical form of Christianity unusual then for Ireland. They found like-minded believers in a small group called the Shalom Fellowship. In the early 1980s, one of Shalom’s leaders declared that U2 would have to give up rock `n’ roll to please God.

It was a crossroads for the band, and after deciding that God would rather have them play rock music than stay in the fellowship, Bono, The Edge and Mullen left. Never again would any members of U2 be formally aligned with a religious group.

“For Bono, The Edge and Larry, the God that they met and have pilgrimaged with down the amazing road is a God who is bigger than church or religious boundaries,”(STOCKMAN)

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.

U2 a Christian Band, Rubbish !

Transient

One of our early readers sent in some comments that should create some conversation today.  Bringing U2 into a conversation with a group of Christians can be challenging or even dangerous for the relationship. 

The boys held up as prime examples of good Christians that happen to be in the music business, years later most view the boys as arrogant and egotistical abandoning their early religious views.

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 are 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.

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