Bill Hybels of Willow Creek visits U2 in Dublin

If you were one of the most famous Christian megachurch pastors in the USA, you would have already heard part of the new U2 album by now. Bill Hybels writes in his current e-news for parishioners at Willow Creek that he visited the band in the studio in Dublin recently after speaking at the "Christianity Engaging" conference which launched something called the "Evangelical Alliance Ireland" on May 8. (You can hear a tiny snippet of one of his presentations here [Quick Time])

You can read the entire email on the @U2 forum. Highlight:

Just before we left Dublin to come home, we had the opportunity to visit with Bono again. The conversation was mostly about Aids and how we can all do more to rid the world of this savage disease. But this time we met at his recording studio on a shipping canal in a remote part of Dublin. We had the opportunity to get to know the other members of U2. Great guys! They played us several cuts from their upcoming CD ...could be a very cool record, but then what do I know about rock and roll? It was touching however to have the whole group request a time of prayer for them, their families and the CD project. They made a verbal commitment to visit us at Willow when they do Chicago on their upcoming tour.

For those of you readers who aren't up on evangelical celebrity pastors, Bill Hybels should be familiar as one of the Christian leaders with whom Bono met on the Heart of America tour. (Incidentally, a documentary on Heart of America has just come out.) Hybels was then quoted in Christianity Today as saying "After a two-hour private meeting in my office, I came away convinced that Bono's faith is genuine, his vision to relieve the tragic suffering in Africa is God-honoring, and his prophetic challenge to the U.S. church must be taken seriously." Bono has returned the favor by spreading around Hybels' advice on living your faith, though often uncredited: "Don't ask God to bless what you're doing. Find out what God's doing; it's already blessed."

Hybels is also a prolific author, and his wife Lynne recently visited Africa in connection with the congregation's commitment to fight AIDS there.

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