The Rock (music) upon which the Church is Built: Celebrating the U2charist (cont.)

For all those that took interest in the previous post on the U2charist I have added another video. This one is an advertisement for a U2charist celebration that took place in Chicago. I’m still trying to be fair and not too quickly dismissive of this whole ordeal, but this ad seems to confirm some of my difficulties.

I find movements like this, ones which seems to latch onto some cultural icon and baptize it as a Christian icon in a desire for relevancy to the surrounding world, to be very frustrating, to be quite honest. I am all for seeking to be all things to all people, to be engaged enough in the community you live in to speak to those around on the level of their day-to-day concerns. However, as Christians, our greatest relevancy to those around us comes not in knowing this or that band, having seen this or that movie, or wearing this or that brand, but in being faithful to Christ and growing closer to him, and others, as members of his body. Only in doing this are we, as the body of Christ, able to embody an alternative lifestyle as part of a (forgive the term) counter-cultural community (maybe better put, a counter-political community), one that operates on a whole different set of values and allegiances. Only in this are we able to offer a new way of being human, a way that exists in Christ, as his body, empowered by the Spirit, to the praise and Glory of our Father; not in simply showing the world that we have found Jesus in the music that they listen to and therefore listen to it as well. Yes, Bono has values that overlap with that of the Church, and yes U2 has lyrics that are vaguely Christian, but I think that we would be far better off seeking to get Bono connected to a church than trying to connect the Church to Bono. True relevancy is not giving those who don’t know Christ what we think they want but offering to them what we know they need, which is not Bono, but Jesus – incarnated in the self-giving life of the church (his body) as it follows him in his call to radical discipleship on a path that doesn’t lead up, onstage with the cultural elites of our day, but down in a life of self-dispossession.


3 Responses to “The Rock (music) upon which the Church is Built: Celebrating the U2charist (cont.)”

  1. 1 rihannsu June 16, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    I posted a link in the comments on your first post to give you more info on the U2charists but let me just add that Bono is much more than just vaguely christian and their songs are much more than just vaguely christian. A couple of books that would clarify this for you are:

    Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2 By Steve Stockman
    Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 catalogue edited by Beth Maynard and Raelynn Whitney (blog at
    One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God by Christopher Scharen
    and Bono himself in Bono In Conversation by Michka Assayas

    Even if Bono was to be convinced by someone to formally join a particular church it would be impossible due to his fame. His children go to church regularly but they are pretty quiet about where and Bono does go to various churches but always as quietly as possible. He’s said he can’t become a member of any church in Ireland because it would instantly be the biggest church in the country for all the wrong reasons. That doesn’t mean that he is without christian fellowship. They have a very large extended community of friends and the priest who married Bono and Ali goes on tour with the band to serve as a chaplain for everyone, crew included. Bono also has always sought ought christian leaders all over the world. I would say he is probably more spiritually studied than 75% of American christians. You can also find on Youtube the interview that he did with Bill Hybels for the leadership summit in 2006. Bono is definitely not your average rock star.

  2. 2 ericroorback June 18, 2008 at 1:04 am

    Fair enough. I will look into the resources you recommended and get back to you. I noticed your email address (, just out of curiosity what is your affiliation with Bono and/or U2?

  3. 3 rihannsu June 18, 2008 at 2:22 am

    No affiliation, just a fan who is a member on the official U2 website which is where you get the email. I’ve always been aware of U2 and liked their music and the Live Aid performance was very significant for me but in 2005 I saw the band on Conan O’Brien where they had the whole hour devoted to U2 and the four guys really impressed me as people. That’s when I started to read up on them and I’ve since read just about every book out there about them along with lots of online stuff. The more I read the more respect I have for these guys.

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