Bono, Blake, and biblical utopianism

Anu at u2opian wrote recently to share a post he made about the new version of "Where the Streets Have No Name." The connection with Blake is interesting, although I don't know enough about Blake to assess how unique or significant such a connection might be. However, I like the Hobson quote a lot.

One semi-tangential thing I will comment on, because I was discussing it with a friend already.... It's bothering me a bit that people these days tend to say "Streets" is about "heaven," in the popular-piety sense of an idealized afterlife. I don't remember the song being so exclusively associated with that notion before the heavily Christian reading of it, inserting "new Jerusalem" Biblical quotes and a Eucharistic introduction, that U2 gave on the Elevation tour. I think (and here I agree, I suspect, with Anu) that to say "Streets" is about "heaven" in that very limited and popular-piety sense sells a spacious song way short. But it's a very different matter to view that song as expounding Jesus' much richer, more complex, and more paradoxical proclamation of the Kingdom of God. That has room for both what people loved about the song on the Elevation tour (the manifestation/ecstatic experience of the Kingdom now), and for what concertgoers are wrestling with about the Africa version (the not-yet demand that the Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.)

BTW, while I recommend taking a look at Anu's reading of it, speaking from my personal perspective as a believer, "Streets" is the opposite of "utopian"; it's reality therapy. Which is why I cringe to see its vision relegated to pie in the sky when you die.

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