The post 9/11 Elevation Tour shows

Two years ago today I was anticipating heading over to Providence to see U2 the first of two nights at the Dunkin Donuts Center. In the wake of Dave's comment on my post about All Saints, I was thinking about a subsequent discussion on a clergy-only listserv -- someone raised a strong objection when a few of us who had seen U2 on the 3rd leg of the Elevation Tour used the word "liturgy" about that experience. The concern was (like the person) thoughtful, and boiled down to the fear that we were legitimizing a consumerist mentality in which professionals serve up prefabricated experiences to a passive audience.

I went back through that list's archives today and reread the discussion, and since I now have the opportunity to be really self-serving and narcissistic by posting things I write here [;-)], here's something I said which I still stand by.

I would be stunned if those in attendance who are not "churched" didn't experience themselves as much more empowered and less an audience at a U2 concert than they would in a standard Sunday Eucharist. And a large part of my passion about what they did with the 3rd leg of the Elevation tour is precisely that --- not just that people had religious emotions and mystical experiences and grieved together and so on (altho that's great) but that they got to be on board, empowered, and part of creating a spiritual event.

If you want to fault it, fault away -- I can certainly think of criticisms, and there are things about it I would hate to see the church emulate -- but faulting U2 on being "served to people" or non-participatory is, IMHO, a significant misreading of what's going on.

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