"a cautious and sometimes somber band that also remains very hopeful and spiritually focused"

And here's a second Christianity Today review from the Music: Glimpses of God section. It's also a good piece, but unlike Scott Calhoun's which I posted yesterday, this one feels the need to end with the traditional CT caveat about the band's, well, maybe not being quite Christian enough. And indeed, there's a poll about how we'd classify U2 on the sidebar, and none of the options is appropriate (are they "a Christian band, a band with Christian leanings, sometimes spiritual but nothing more," or do they have "nothing to do with Christianity?") Can no one even imagine the option given in about a hundred U2 interviews, "Christians, in a band?" Would a poll occasioned by your plumber's latest refitting job ask if he is a "Christian plumber" or merely "sometimes spiritual?" And anyway, hasn't Switchfoot closed the door on this debate with their "Christian by faith, not by genre" description?

However, one very a propos comment: "Note that many of the songs use key phrases that point to the gospel to define them." I'm more and more aware of that fact. It's not so much on this album that you can indicate one particular line as a Bible quote, or one particular song as referring to a Christian idea, but that the surrounding context required for the whole artwork to make any sense is the Gospel. Many people will miss this, of course -- for example, I've been interested to watch in the U2 fandom how often people seem baffled by quotes indicating that the band sees the mood of "Vertigo" as "fear." Read the lyrics from a Christian perspective and that makes all the sense in the world, of course. But if you don't know why "all of this can be yours" is a terrifying suggestion, or what would motivate the desire to flee, rather than plunge into, the environment the song depicts... well, no wonder the notion that it's about "fear" would seem strange. Same with most of the songs on HTDAAB: what will people make of them, who don't know at least the broad outlines of the Story?

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