Live Out God’s Purposes Outside The Box of Religion


In 2007 the NAACP awarded Bono from U2 with an award. Here is the presentation and acceptance speech.

For many Evangelical Christians Bono has been an enigma, a person who cannot be contained or defined by narrow predetermined constraints or categories. As conflicted as some Evangelicals are about him there is no undermining that Bono, as well as The Edge and Larry Mullen are radical Christians, followers and disciples of Christ, whereas Adam Clayton has never expressed what Evangelicals would label saving faith in Jesus Christ. The fact that Clayton has not become a Christian has not deterred Bono and the others from having a deep friendship with him, and Bono expressed his affection for Clayton by having him be his best man at his wedding. The four of them have since their teen years been the closest of friends, which the band, U2 has become a missional vehicle for their values, beliefs, and their social activism.

One of the agonizing things for most Evangelicals is the inability to put U2 in a box, a definable and easily identifiable, quantifiable category of belief and “type” of Christian. This happens so much in the Christian sub-culture, that many do not even notice that even after meeting someone, the next questions are, “What church do you belong to?” and “What do you believe about… (fit in anything you want here)?” U2 has from the onset, over thirty years now, refused to be boxed in, especially by Evangelicalism. Evangelicalism appears to be very tribal, and by tribal, I mean, seeks to have it’s own identifiable cultural icons they can claim as their own. For the Christian members of U2, being Christian implies an evangelicalism that is radical in nature, following hard along the lines of the life of Jesus in the scriptures, and radical in wanting to see the Kingdom of God impact the people of the earth, especially in issues such as poverty, preventable disease, issues of social justice, civil and human rights. All these issues have throughout history been articulated and acted upon by Christians, but rarely have they been tackled in the passion and the means done by U2.

I well remember the debates in the 1980’s as to whether U2 was a Christian band or not. Like other pioneers before them, they wanted and demanded that they not have their voice muted or ignored by Christian tribalism. Their identity was and is as followers of Christ and the Kingdom of God, and that they would proclaim themes and issues that they believed mattered in society and mattered to God, in a way that this generation would pay attention to and understand. Here is the first segment of a Bill Hybels interview with Bono. Be sure to view each segment. You will find a passionate man, who loves God and who wants to serve Him by impacting the world with the Kingdom of God.

This is something that any missional Christian today knows and appreciates, but it still to this day takes a great deal to cut a path through the Christian sub cultural jungle. Larry Norman, and all the early CCM pioneers understood that in the 1970’s, and then CCM became a musical ghetto of sorts for musical artists who became Christians. Most of them ended up being marginalized to the fringes simply because of the influence of the Christian sub-culture. When there was a new Christian convert from the Rock and Roll scene, they were given a Christian record deal, and just as quickly as the ink dried on the contract, their influence in mainstream culture was gone. Not so with U2, and some other radical musical acts.

Through the friendship of Bono and fellow Irishman, Bob Geldof and other world renowned musicians, Live Aid 1985 started a more radical platform for issues like famine, poverty, aparthied and social justice. Bono was forever changed through his visit to Africa, and for the past two decades he has championed the cause of eradicating poverty, famine, disease, AIDS/HIV, social and economic justice, civil and human rights around the world, but particularly in the continent of Africa. The awareness of peoples around the world now more than ever to these issues, and the reality that these can be confronted and people can truly be helped has championed the theme of everyone can make a difference, no matter who you are, or how much you have, or where you live, you can make a difference. This is at the heart of the One Campaign.

So, for inspiration on living out the Kingdom of God, perhaps Bono can inspire Christians, to live out God’s purposes outside the box of their religion, outside the parameters of what others want to label their “faith”. I know he inspires me to do that. God cares about the poor and the oppressed, and if they matter to Him, they should matter to us. Here is U2’s latest hit which is an incredible worship song.

Lyrics: Magnificent – U2
Songwriters: Clayton, Adam; Eno, Brian; Evans, David; Hewson, Paul; Lanois, Daniel Roland; Mullen, Laurence;

Magnificent
Oh, oh, magnificent

I was born, I was born
To be with you in this space and time
After that and ever after
I haven’t had a clue only to break rhyme
This foolishness can leave a heart black and blue, oh, oh

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar

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, oh, oh

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar
Justified, till we die you and I will magnify, oh, oh
Magnificent, magnificent, oh, oh

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love unites our hearts
Justified, till we die you and I will magnify, oh, oh
Magnificent, magnificent, magnificent

© POLYGRAM INT. MUSIC PUBL. B.V.; UNIVERSAL MUSIC CORP.

LINKS:
U2 Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U2
U2 site: www.u2.com
The One Campaign: http://www.one.org

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About Sam Buick

A lover and disciple of Jesus Christ. Married to my best friend, Lori-Anne. Father to 3 incredible daughters, Carragh, Caitlin and Erinn, and sons-in-law Alex, and Stephen Davis. An avid reader, a Droid user, a Mac addict, a lover of footy ball and football (there is a difference), and hockey. Once a soldier. Once a youth worker. Once an ordained minister. Once a claims adjuster. Once a charismatic, now a cessationist. Once a just war advocate, now a pacifist. A disciple of Christ, 5 point classical Calvinist. There is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus Christ alone.
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