"You say I took the Name in vain? Well, I don't even know the Name" Part the Second

OK, a lot of genuinely important things are going on in the world (like, say, Darfur?), but nevertheless, here is an update to my previous jokey post: NME's coverage of the new U2 album tracklisting (hilariously claiming to be "exclusive" while reprinting the same song title info that already appeared in Q), has the H.

{Additional edit later: And now, so does U2.com itself.
In more senses than one: Heh.}


"You say I took the Name in vain? Well, I don't even know the Name."

In continuing news on U2's new album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, or, you know, whatever... still no lyrics and no chance to listen, but U2 Log today has reprinted from Q these alleged official song titles from U2's new album due this fall:
Vertigo (the single)
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
City Of Burning Lights
Man & A Woman
Crumbs From Your Table

How likely what Q received back some months ago is still to be accurate, you can decide. They do all sound rather U2ey, and that last one would look to be headed straight for the U2 Bible references archive Drawing Their Fish In The Sand already. (By the way, if they work with the reference the way it is meant in context, it would make a great title for an AIDS in Africa song, wouldn't it?)

But gentlemen, please. Please tell us you are not going to misspell "Yahweh." Please let this be Q's typo. Whatever confusions there are about vowels and so on, it's absolutely got a heh in the middle. yodh heh waw heh. An entire universe of Christian education teachers, theologians, clergy, religious studies professors, hymn text composers, and authors of spirituality books will curse you unto the third and yea even the fourth generation if you misspell The NAME on a U2 album. Because once it appears as "Yaweh" on your tracklist, the entirety of Western culture will believe you and not us.

Disaffected Teen: Mrs. Johnson wrote "Yahweh" on the board today in Confirmation Class. She can't even get the name of her creepy ol' God right.
Disaffected Teen 2: [eyeroll] EVERYBODY knows it's YAWEH.
Disaffected Teen 3: Hey, look, even my BIBLE has it wrong.

On the other hand, it is nice to learn that Bono is still all about breaking taboos by pronouncing tetragrammatons.


Message of Unquenchable Hope

This Unforgettable Fire-era interview with which I wasn't familiar has some fine comments from the Edge, Bono, and even Adam about U2's spirituality. A nice reflection on John 8:1-11 flows from this comment: "I just distrust people who want to change the world, but who don't want to change themselves. All the social evils that we see around us, they're all in a microcosm form in each of us. Who can point the finger?"


Notes from a Truth Seeker: "Standing Around with Watering Cans --Cultivating People in a Postmodern Reality"

Rachelle, the marvelously creative pastor and blogger at Notes from a Truth Seeker posts a draft of the first part of her sermon for this weekend, which draws on Bono's recent speech in Berlin. Plenty of substance, along with a cute church & culture story early on:
I pastor a neo-monastic order which meets in my house, and my kids don't go to Sunday school, so left to their own devices, they come up with all sorts of things - like how Bono knew Jesus [personally and walked around with him writing songs]. I thought I should fix this a little so I signed them up for VBS, two weeks of it, hoping they'd learn "Jesus Loves Me" and "This little light of mine" and stuff. Well, one day, we were walking up to the VBS at this very nice, kindly Episcopalian church, and we were, as usual, late, so all the kids were in their classrooms, and the windows are of course wide open. Eden and Cate both decided this was a good time to sing, because, you know, singing is something you do at VBS. So they both start singing at the top of their lungs. "I'm a MOLE digging in a HOLE digging up my SOUL now going down Ex-Ca-Va-Tion." Catie even did the "woo hoo's."
While Rachelle begins by talking about AIDS and DATA, the sermon as a whole is to be about "how the church maybe got on the wrong side of history. And how we have to get back. And how we can use our watering cans to do that." Yeah.


U2 debates: How long must we sing this song?

A magnificent column on U2 over at GetReligion. It does a wonderful job of showing how much U2 have come full circle, and Mattingly would know having met them in 1982. He concludes with connections about Bono's on-the-mike compositional technique which it is long since time someone made, and which fit nicely with GetReligion's fascination with the "ghosts" that often lurk behind stories written by people who can't quite recognize God-stuff for what it is.


In the MTV world but not of it

Today in @U2 Scott Calhoun tackles an interesting question: What's with all these recent books on U2's faith? Includes comments by Raewynne, Cameron Strang of Relevant Books, Steve Beard of Thunderstruck, and yours truly.

New U2 single, new U2 album

OK, a special treat for those of you who come around and ask me to post information about the new U2 album, and whom I keep telling just to go to @U2 or to U2Log. Here is why I say that: New U2 single on the radio, Sept 22, "Vertigo." And another reason: New U2 album, November 23 and lots more information.


Hey - Blogger's new navbar ate my title! Working on it.
[5 minutes later: That was easy. It's amazing what a couple br's will do.]


New Hope Church "U2 review"

First time I've had anything like this to share. Here, from New Hope Church in Calgary, is a full audio sermon on U2. Dating back to 2001 but archived in the church's "Classics" audio section, it's about 40 minutes long. {Edit: I dropped the pastor a line about linking it, and he wanted to make sure you all knew he also has one on Metallica. Um, OK. Find that link, plus a few other pop culture related sermons, here if you like.}

Somehow I never found the U2 one, even after all my hours of Googling to try and locate preachers who might submit work to Get Up Off Your Knees. (However, this sermon actually wouldn't have been eligible anyway, since much of it is about U2 as a band and as people; it speculates on their beliefs and motives at times, rather than simply interacting with their art.) The preacher takes quotes from or information about U2 and links them with Scriptures or theological truths they evoke; the sermon is interspersed with live solo acoustic performances of U2 songs. (The tech problems with the first effort to perform a song clear up, by the way.)

Pastor John Van Sloten (scroll down) says he basically missed the whole U2 thing for the past 20 years, but slaved over his research for the service. Such is the preacher's lot, isn't it? I spent some of last week learning about Lance Armstrong to use with Hebrews 12. But John did a better job than I; honestly, he could have fooled me. He mentions having read every U2 lyric available on the web ("And I was going: well, this is like a Psalm, this is like a Psalm, this is like a Psalm...."); he clearly also watched Rattle and Hum and perused a whole lot of interviews, along with Faith, Hope & U2: The Spirit of Love in U2's Music, by our contributor Henry VanderSpek, and advance material from our contributor Steve Stockman's book Walk On, which wasn't yet available at that time.

An especially charming moment in the sermon is when he is giving some early band history and puts on a character who says, all hangdog, "Yeah, I was part of the leadership team of the church that told U2 that they shouldn't be doing music..." That gets a good laugh from the congregation.

Regular readers of a specialist blog like this one will likely not learn anything new from this audio file, but it would work well as an introduction for others. And it's always interesting to see which of the band's various themes a particular theologically-trained individual will highlight.


Arts and Faith -> U2 Live!

The folks over at the Arts and Faith.Com board (the ones who did the Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films list that was posted absolutely everywhere) had an interesting conversation a few weeks ago about experiences of seeing U2 live.


Greet Machine: The First Time

A while back, I found a post by Shane Nackerud, a Minnesota blogger which listed U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" as one of the songs that he would want to have with him if he were stranded on a desert island. I left a comment on the post, and Shane and I traded a few emails about theologically profound songs that weren't covered in Get Up Off Your Knees. Well, a few weeks later, lo and behold, Shane has decided to preach on one of them himself. It's a perfect candidate: The First Time. I especially like the very last sentence.


Washington Times: Pop Psalmists

Welcome to all who have found us from Jen Waters' Washington Times article "Pop Psalmists" today. She talks not just about our book, but also interviews authors of books on the spirituality of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. This may be the first time someone has set Get Up Off Your Knees in that kind of broader context, which I was glad to see. Thanks also to our contributor Steve Garber for mentioning the book to Jen in the first place.


Servant Magazine mention

Servant Magazine, a ministry of Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada, includes Get Up Off Your Knees in a book recommendation column in their newest issue. The only thing they have online is a huge PDF of the whole issue, so I've uploaded a JPG of just their comments on the book here for anyone who's interested. Thanks to our contributor Leslie Reinke for facilitating this!


Iconoculture: "Bono Fide Worship"

Hey, look, we're featured on Iconoculture! If you don't know who they are, they say of themselves: "Iconoculture is the leader in consumer trend research and advisory services, harnessing cultural trend information about consumers and their lifestyles in order to get you even closer to your consumer. Iconoculture builds a springboard to understand what consumers will do next. We scan American culture from every angle, getting in up to our necks to decode the wants, needs, and desires driving consumer culture."

They see Get Up Off Your Knees as a useful example of what they call a "Macrotrend: Soul Searching." Most of the info they have about the book is accurate enough, although they haven't noticed the blog and they unfortuntately claim in error that there are no Roman Catholics among the authors.

And of course, being who they are, they have some applications for advertisers: "Product/Brand: Join forces with a cool icon of popular culture on a cause you both support (human rights, the environment, healthy living) and bundle your joint wisdom in a book or CD to raise awareness. Promotion/Event: Connect with teens on a deeper, more spiritual level by using words, themes, and imagery from popular culture and music in your advertising."

I suppose I should add this: I'm not at all into changing the Gospel to please listeners, but I am very much into Incarnation, being authentically part of your location and culture. And although I never did get around to reading The Future Ain't What It Used to Be by two of Iconoculture's principals (tho I did read the similarly named Truth Is Stranger Than It Used to Be by one of our sermon writers Brian Walsh, with J. Richard Middleton), I used to have Iconoculture in my bookmarks back in maybe 1998 or 99 when I was first trying to learn how to preach and lead in a way that connected with the culture. Like most of my peers, I had been thoroughly trained to maintain a "learned" distance from culture and to present the Gospel in a way that answered questions people weren't asking. I'd invested a decade of my life in removing myself from the real world, and Iconoculture was a help in teaching myself to notice it again. So seeing Get Up Off Your Knees cited there is pretty nice for me.

Prodigal Kiwi Blog: Woo Me, Sister; Move Me, Brother!

Since I only found it through Prodigal Kiwi, I'll give him credit: Raewynne's lecture from last May at Trinity Melbourne, "Woo Me, Sister; Move Me, Brother! What Does Pop Culture Have To Do With Preaching?" is now on the web as a PDF. It draws on, but is not identical to, her essay of the same title in Get Up Off Your Knees. And I like the same quote Prodigal Kiwi excerpted, so I'll excerpt it too:
"One of my earliest memories of U2 is walking past my brother in our living room at home in Ferny Creek, back in the mid 1980s, and overhearing the sound of a band coming from his headphones. If anyone had told me then that I would be standing here today talking about how I�ve used U2's music in preaching, I would have told them they were crazy. That wasn't my type of music, and anyway, it wasn't Christian; why would I ever think of preaching on it? And surely that would take away from Scripture?"


TASO Uganda mailbag

Got a nice letter today from the Executive Director of TASO, Dr. Alex Coutinho, whom you can see in a picture here along with a celebrity you may recognize. Royalties for Get Up Off Your Knees benefit TASO, and we had sent him a signed copy of the book, along with a donation representing copies Raewynne had sold herself, earlier this year. His letter, signed "yours in the struggle," said he hoped our royalties would "go a long way in the fight against HIV/AIDS." I fear they may only go a short way, but on the other hand, in a country where a lot of people live on a dollar a day they may go further than I imagine.


ONE Campaign update

If you were at Soulfest it would have been hard to miss the fact that DATA's goal was to collect, as the ad in the program put it, "2500 soul-connected signatures" for the ONE Campaign. I was happy to hear today that they got 3200!