"The spiritual message in U2's work is often subtle."

A press release from across the pond. (I think the posters in the office are a nice touch.) Derek emails that in the one day since this came out, he's already been interviewed by BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Online, Pulse (Yorkshire Independent Radio) and The Church Times.

A vicar from the Bradford Diocese is the only UK contributor to an American book of sermons based on the songs of U2. The Revd Derek Walmsley, vicar of St Mark's, Utley, near Keighley, says, "I'm a big fan of U2 (my study wall is covered with their posters - which is a bit of a surprise for the couples who come in to arrange their weddings), so I was delighted to have the opportunity to express my thoughts on the spiritual content of some of their lyrics".

Entitled "Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalogue", the book includes chapters on "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "Pride" and "Peace on Earth." Derek says, "I chose to write on the song 'Playboy Mansion'. It's a clever comparison of the way people might seek success in the secular world with the way we get into heaven, particularly in the words, 'it's who you know who gets you through'."

The publishers, Cowley Publications, say, "This book highlights how preachers of all ages, from all theological traditions, are reflecting on U2's work. It's not seeking to prove anything about U2 themselves, but it shows how religious leaders are integrating spiritually informed pop culture into their proclamation of the Gospel".

Derek adds, "The spiritual message in U2's work is often subtle. Their lead singer Bono is reluctant to be labelled a Christian and has said 'I don't talk about God very much because I'm not a very good advertisement for it', but nevertheless, U2's lyrics are soaked in spiritual imagery and Bono often quotes from the Psalms in live concerts".

The book, "Get Up off Your Knees," will be available in the UK on 4 January
{update: apparently the new date is 9 February} and all royalties will go to TASO, an African AIDS charity.

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