I know this post is going to disappoint some of my more trendy readers out there. It’s certainly going to disappoint my wife.
I’m boycotting U2. I’m done with ‘em. As a postmodern Christian, I must confess (to my own shame) that I have not purchased their latest album. That may rend the hearts of some of my generation’s most “missional” leaders. I’m sorry. I just can’t listen to them anymore. Don’t despise me; just listen to my plea for reason.
U2 is great band. Their music is great and I own about seven albums myself. I remember at age thirteen, when some CCM music mag did an article on them. I was enchanted for years to come. In U2, we find the subtle Christian overtones of “Where the Streets Have No Name” and the socially conscious lyrics of “Mothers of the Disappeared,” “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” and “Love and Peace or Else.” There’s the poetic beauty of “One” and the moral confidence of “Walk On.” And then, there’s “Grace.”
Ahhh….”Grace.” Rarely do you find such good theology in a song.
I started to get jaded about five years ago. Christian artists and worship leaders collectively released a “We Love U2″ tribute album. U2 became “trendy”…along with the other two members of the cultural Christian Trinity: coffee shops and drawing spiritual significance from The Matrix. Socially conscious and spiritually aware, Bono became Jesus. Or maybe Rauschenbusch came back as Bono…I can’t remember which…It could have been both. Besides, Bono is gonna single-handedly “make poverty history,” right? When not mingling with dignitaries, he evidently browses books on comparative religious studies and post-structuralist anthropology. All of this has allowed him to declare a new message to us (in 3-D, no less): we should all “co-exist.” I know that’s been said before…but now Bono has said it. And we should do it.
I heard a lot of “timely messages from God” a decade ago about the coming wave of Christianity that would no longer cater to superstars of the church. You know…the megachurch leaders and the personalities of Christian TV. God was going to advance his kingdom with a “faceless” generation. That’s a great idea. But for many in the postmodern Christian milieu, it’s empty rhetoric. We’ve ridiculed the shallow Christians who give their money to televangelists. We’ve also laughed at those who followed the fashion trends of Sex and the City. We’ve dismissed the former generations who have declined to participate in the “emerging conversation.” We have even snickered behind the backs of ministers who still find solace in a lectionary. Some people think Paris Hilton has something important to say…
…and we’ve got U2.