In my last post I talked about the perception that NLOTH deals with "subjects [many people] wouldn't bother to consider," and I commented that I am very interested both in these subjects that U2 are considering and in the way they are considering them. But let me clarify (in case the focus of this blog might contribute to any confusion on this point) that by this I do NOT mean I've been hoping to hear U2 sing about God more, or that I like NLOTH because it has many Christian references. That doesn't seem like a very reliable criterion for assessing art to me. As far as I can see, the band have brought the same basic worldview to all their work over the past three decades, whether or not recognizably Christian language was being used or identifiably "religious" topics were being addressed.

Now, naturally I am touched to hear any fellow believer giving wholehearted love to Someone I also love -- but I personally don't feel any special excitement purely upon discovering that U2 have chosen to record a song with that focus. ("Magnificent," for example, did little for me on my first several hearings, and I still don't really enjoy "Yahweh.") I don't much care how many times the texts directly quote the Bible along the way, either (although being able to recognize such allusions when they come is guaranteed to increase your appreciation of U2 songs). But what I do care about, and what so far seems to me to be near the heart of NLOTH, is seeing them (to paraphrase a former homiletics professor of mine) take the issue/moment/situation they want to present and integrate it with everything they have so far learned as Christians about the universe.

It seems to me that what U2 have to give at this point is not "We can be cooler than the Killers" or "We consider Fordham students our contemporaries" (which made me cringe on Friday). What they have to give in their chosen genre is a much larger than usual pool of resources for that integration.

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