7.10.2010

Church, you don’t know how beautiful you are

A father and son effort from the Duke Divinity Call & Response Blog suggests a reading of "Get On Your Boots" as addressed to the Body of Christ. While some of these particular speculations about lyrical references are a bit of a stretch (Resident Aliens?), I remember discussion about this at the time of the song's release as well. Though the reading requires bypassing some of the immediate references in the lyrics (I can't find a citation for this at the moment, but many of you have probably seen comments by Bono expressing bemusement at people who found the song's imagery obscure and describing it as referring very straightforwardly to a loving family attending a carnival in wartime), double and triple meanings in sections of U2 songs are nothing new....

4 comments:

Anthony said...

Wow, can't believe I finally made it onto u2sermons. I'm famous (this is Anthony)! But I would strongly defend the Resident Aliens part. One of the books' main thrusts is that Christians need to stop trying to better the world through government ("the man") and focus on becoming the beautiful bride of Christ. SHE will change the world by just being. We don't want to talk about submarines, gasoline, or the wars between the nations because we are busy building a colony, a holy community that will astound the world.

U2 Sermons said...

Hi Anthony! Thanks for your comment. I definitely see the lyrical connection you're making to Resident Aliens from that particular phrase, but I think a claim that GOYB is advancing that Hauerwasian idea only becomes possible if we set aside the larger context -- the song as a whole plus its (I think very deliberate) pairing with "Crazy Tonight" (and more widely, also choose to bracket the nearly full time lobbying/ coalition-building efforts to better the world through governments that Bono has chosen to spend the past ten years on). This isn't at all a critique of Resident Aliens, which certainly has its own, you know, *towering* integrity, or of using an apt phrase from art to illustrate an idea from Resident Aliens, of course.

rokpool said...

Interesting blog. We have a verse or two of our own on U2 at our website. Will be reading from here on in! :)

tom@rokpool.com
www.rokpool.com

Tim said...

I've been inclined since the first hearing to think that GOYB is a follow-up to City of Blinding Lights, but this time Bono protests, "You don't know how beautiful you are," instead of affirming, "You look so beautiful tonight." The former is an admonishment to remember who you are, the latter is a blessing. GOYB reminds me of a line from Bruce Cockburn: "What does it take for the heart to explode into stars? / One day we'll wake to remember how lovely we are" ("Wait No More").