Thursday, January 12, 2012

Theology and Music

[disclaimer: I in no way, shape, or form intend to offend any with the music references that are thrown in this sort-of-spiritual post. I’m not trying to be callous or blasé, just entertaining myself.]

I like U2.

I don’t looove them, but I like them. As a music lover, I’d be crazy not to have a lot of respect for the band. On top of that, I have always liked Bono. Despite being the world renowned front man, he seems to be a good guy, he does a lot of good things, he seems to have a good understanding of the human condition, and he says a lot of smart things – I dig that.

Bono is one of those people that in Christian circles, is sort of quietly adopted. Some Christians would agree with me that Bono is a good man who does a lot of good things, but they might believe that a rock star such as he could not be a Christian himself because Christians just aren’t rock stars. Others happily welcome Bono into the Family of God and utilize him as an excuse for saying curse words and spending a lot of money on sunglasses [I’m not condemning, just sayin’].


I don’t know how you can listen to this and believe that Bono doesn’t get it. 

I read an article earlier this week that was a spliced interview with Bono.  If I didn’t have respect and admiration for the man prior to reading this article, I certainly do now.  With great insight, he explains the gospel – and the transforming Truth that Christianity is founded on [and unfortunately, poorly exhibiting these days]. The article had so many wonderful quotes from Bono, I was tempted to blow up my twitter feed with them [darn 140 characters]. Overall, there were a few key points that I will never, ever forget [and I fully intend to steal these points and incorporate them into my own poorly stated credo. The Theology of Bono, right?].

Bono points out that the belief in karma exists in pretty much every major world religion. To the same extent, Christianity holds the belief that what you receive in your life is directly tied to what you put in to it [you reap what you sow].

“There’s nothing hippie about my picture of Christ.” [I love that.] Whether the Old or New Testament, God reveals Himself as the Almighty, and there is nothing passive about that. It’s in His ferocious nature (whether through demonstrations (God in OT) or in love (Jesus in NT)) that He pursues us. As Bono simply pointed out, it’s there that we see the juxtaposition of the Cross.

The simplicity of Scripture – of God Himself – is made known to us through Jesus. There wasn’t anything complicated or convoluted about Jesus. He did [does] what he said he would, he meant [means] what he said, and he didn’t [doesn’t] play mind games. And that example is for us, the basis of how we live. We study God > we see that He is love > we are transformed by that love > we act in that love. [duh.]

This is the part that rocked me. When looking at the world’s view of karma, and therefore, ultimately, the world’s view of forgiveness – Jesus was the most rogue of rogue-ers. And, the loving grace that is given through the Cross is so transcendent & powerful that reaping what I sow doesn’t even stand a chance! Here’s what I mean: [Bono said it best] “Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions… I’d be in big trouble if karma was going to finally be my judge... it doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.”

Having grown up in the church, and mostly big, southern churches, I really appreciated Bono’s insight on Pharisee-like living – following all the right rules without heart transformation. He credits that mentality to a lack of God in the church: “A list of instruction where there was once conviction; dogma where once people just did it; a congregation led by a man where once they were led by the Holy Spirit. Discipline replacing discipleship.” Sounds familiar to ya, huh? What I appreciated most about Bono’s perspective is that he maintains respect for the Church by pointing out, again, the simplicity of her beauty.  “…the older I get, the more comfort I find there. The physical experience of being in a crowd of largely humble people, heads bowed, murmuring prayers, stories told in stained glass windows…”

I’m not entirely sure why this article struck such a chord in me. Maybe because such theological depth was surprising from Bono [I know, I know. that was not a fair assumption. lesson learned]. Maybe it’s because this world has convinced me that it’s nearly impossible to be a musician of depth as well as a person of depth. Regardless, I haven’t been able to shake the feelings of pure impression. And while none of the points above are new facets of my beliefs, it’s nice to know that someone way more cool and far more articulate than I, holds the same to be true.

Rock on, friends.  


Khart said...

loved your thoughts on Bono and concur. I went to a U2 concert in 2009 and was overwhelmed at how much it pointed lost people and Christians alike to the cross. It was almost like a worship service. you should read "Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2". so great.

ruminations of a redhead said...

I've been really wanting to read that! Thanks for the recommendation!

Jen..The Butterfly Effect said...

Woah! I'm a fan of Bono too and more of U2 :)
Loved reading all your posts. And thoroghly enjoyed this post particularly! :)

Do visit my blog sometime!

Love & Light to you! :)