Jonathan Blundell shares a list of 10 spiritual lessons he has learned from U2, drawing on songs as far back as "Rejoice" and as recent as "Breathe." He asks his readers for additions, and I thought I'd make a few, focusing mostly on things it seems to me are especially characteristic of the band's message (i.e. not generic spiritual truths). Here's a quick list of some prominent U2 Lessons off the cuff (more input welcome):

-- "When I was three, I thought the world revolved around me. I was wrong." Or, to quote Rick Warren, "it's not about you." The de-centering of the ego, of the presuppositions, of the self-drama, is lifelong work. One of the good, tedious and therefore useful ways to work towards this is fidelity in community. "If I want to live, I've got to die to myself one day." Another is a sense of proportion in a world in which, say, your icemaker breaking one afternoon is not on a scale with 6000 people dying the same day of malaria. (Also cf the recent interview in which Bono talks about being allergic to people who have one painful thing happen to them and walk with a limp for the rest of their lives.)

-- You could cite so many songs for this one: Surrender is exquisite. Do not be confused by this fact and conclude that surrendering in and of itself is good. Who or what you surrender to is all-important. And yet you must surrender.

-- Listen to what you want. Speak it out until you get to a true statement. When you do, God will be there. "What do you want?" from ZooTV. "I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside." "I want... I want you... I want you to be back tomorrow." "You want heaven, heaven in your heart." "Looking for to fill that God-shaped hole." And then, the mature "I want the lot of what You've got and I want nothing that You're not."

-- "I wanted to meet God and you sold me religion," "love is big... but love is not what you're thinking of," and again, a zillion other lyrics and interviews: Religion is to be distinguished from God. The former is probably about as likely to be an idol and a force for division and hatred as not. Confusing the two can be lethal.

-- "We eat and drink while tomorrow they die," (which I still think is the most brilliant Bible allusion in the entire U2 oeuvre) "with the real battle yet begun: to claim the victory Jesus won." Also related is Bono's: "If you are not committed to the poor, what is religion? It's a black hole." Being a follower of Jesus entails implementing Jesus' victory in the real world. (See next point)

-- KINGDOM NOW! Let's have a little bit of the age to come NOW! Inaugurated eschatology NOW!

-- And finally, a point of personal privilege: When agony comes to you, process it in a mode as similar to "One Tree Hill" as you can muster. Don't give up until you've seen its resolution all the way out at the outer ring. (See above point)


Jonathan Blundell said...

Thanks for the link and the added conversation!
Great list and great points. You touched on several things that Greg mentions in his book, "We Get to Carry Each Other - The Gospel According to U2."
He really touches on three major/key subjects with the band, belief, communion and justice.
I think yall picked up on many of the same things.
Thanks again!

U2 Sermons said...

Thanks for visiting, Jonathan.

Angela said...

Some of my pics:

"Love is hard and love is tough"--goes with your comment on how fidelity in community is tedious. This principle keeps at bay the notion that the Christian call to love one another will be some sort of cakewalk, and if it's not easy we must be doing something wrong.

"I'll cross the sky for your love," "If you twist and turn away," "You've got to get yourself together"--Being in relationship is not the same thing as being someone's savior. Sometimes you'll reach out and the other person won't reach back. Keep reaching. Just keep in mind what you can and can't do.

"A vampire or a victim, it depends on who's around," "God's got his phone off the hook, babe," "You never felt wanted till you had someone slap your face"--Practice empathy.