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Old 05-05-2002, 06:40 PM   #1
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Bono Launches Blast At Church

Sunday People
May 5, 2002

Bono Launches Blast at Church
By Brenda O'Neill

Rock legend Bono has put his name to a controversial new book lashing
organised religion. The U2 frontman has penned a foreword to a tome
that's set to get Irish clerics talking.

The book -- "They've Hi-jacked God" -- takes a swipe at the modern
Christian church. It's by well-known Northern Ireland Christian Adam
Harbinson. He's been in hot water in the past for his anti-Drumcree
stance. He has even had his life threatened by crazed loyalists.

Superstar Bono was happy to endorse the book, saying that the Church
was in a battle with God. "Sadly the Church is winning," says Bono.
"Adam Harbinson takes on the Church as mausoleum for the 'dead' Christ
and the Church as handcuffs and fire brigade for the risen Christ --
it's an interesting subject. I find solace in places I never could have
imagined...the quiet sprinkling of my child's head in Baptism, a gospel
choir drunk on the Holy Spirit in Memphis, or the back of a cathedral
in Rome watching the first cinematographers play with light and colour
in stainglass stories of the Passion. I am still amazed at how big, how
enormous a love and mystery God is -- and how small are the minds that
attempt to corral this life force into rules and taboos, cults and
sects. Mercifully God transcends the Church which is, I think, the
subject of this book."

Bono adds that he has taken comfort and peace in life from his little
boy's baptism. Little John Abraham Hewson was born on May 21, 2000
[sic], the youngest of Bono and his wife Ali's four children. When
Harbinson was asked how he managed to persuade Bono to write the
foreword, he answered modestly: "I just asked him. "You don't have to
go to church in order to be a good person...a Christian. That was
Bono's experience and that's why he wrote this piece." The book is due
for publication later this year.


Đ Sunday People, 2002.

I agree with Bono's stance on the church...but at the same time, we have to look at God position in all this, and just as important see God as a risktaker. He took a risk in putting into motion the fact that God would partner with His creation in setting up the Church. In Philippians 1:5-6, Paul say this, "because you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.

So we have to put on trust in God and not man, we have to learn to 'gaze' fully on God, and 'glance' at the foolishness of man, and the rules and regulations he sets up for his own sake, as opposed to God's glory. God will not be mocked, so therefore, each of us who call ourselves believers must realize that we have within us a God bigger than anything, or anyone who would try and put God in a box...live for Him, and His Church, He died for you...what I'm saying is, take a risk, because that is the type of God we serve.

Chris

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Old 05-05-2002, 07:21 PM   #2
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I read that article this afternoon after going to the mass, and I have to confess that Bonoīs words disturbed me a little. Iīm catholic, I have been catholic all my life. I know that catholic church, my church, is full of rules and taboos, exactly like he said. Despite all of that, and its flaws and faults I still think itīs a good thing. I have found comfort in my faith and my church whenever I needed, and mainly nowadays that Iīm so in need of some spiritual guiding. I donīt know, I might get what he said in a wrong context though. Thatīs what I hope.
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Old 05-05-2002, 09:47 PM   #3
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I have a *lot* of respect for Bono's faith and understand many of his frustrations with the church. I could even be persuaded to agree that in some ways he has a special vocation to be outside it.

However, I'm always *so* disappointed when he lashes out at Christian communities -- I keep hoping that he will have the same insight about the church that he has had about the politicians he so easily attacked when he was younger -- "they're not the antichrist, they're sincere and hardworking people, and woefully underpaid, and we have the same goal."

"Fire brigade for the risen Christ?" The church is rife with faults and sins, I know, but words like that really hurt my feelings, and demean a community where I have more than once been burned by the fire of Love. I think, in the end, it is like marriage, something Bono knows about: you stick in, in SPITE of all the crap, and you get wildly, unimaginably rewarded in the most ordinary things. I wish he could see that.



[This message has been edited by mebythesea (edited 05-08-2002).]
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Old 05-06-2002, 12:47 AM   #4
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Boy, I wonder if Bono's really stuck his neck out this time...
and yet, in this article (since I've not read the foreword entire yet) I don't hear Bono slagging Christian communities... but rather the structure, the corporate structure, of the Church, that *institution* --
And of course, as an Irishman, he has every reason to find that institution lacking in the "God" department, because the Troubles took sides in the name of the Church(es)! I find the institution (any institution!) often lacking in the God department, too, but that doesn't imply the same of any given community under its auspices. I don't believe Bono's got it wrong... He acknowledges the communities and services that have moved him personally (the windows, the choir, the baptism). I'll get facts from the book and from his foreword; meanwhile, I don't see anything there that's critical of us as believers under a specific faith.
The church family can indeed be a source of solace, because it comprises genuinely good and earnest people. I hope I don't find Bono's actually taking a swipe at any of them.

looking forward to more on this...

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Old 05-06-2002, 12:52 AM   #5
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I think that in a way he does understand that. If he didn't he would never go to church, he wouldn't make a special point of mentioning he was comforted by his son's baptism. In fact, I would think he's grown fond of the church when it comes to the body of believers doing what they should be doing. When he lashes out against the church, he's lashing out at the abuses (as in Ireland), not the organism that was instituted as the body of all believers...

It may all make more sense when we can read this book though. Then we know exactly what he's supporting.
:-)
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Old 05-06-2002, 07:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by truecoloursfly:
I don't believe Bono's got it wrong... He acknowledges the communities and services that have moved him personally (the windows, the choir, the baptism).
Yeah, but you know, to return to my marriage analogy - first acknowledging that I, and none of us, have actually read the whole piece, OK....

I've heard several quotes by Bono like this -"I can slip into any church and feel at home." Well, fine. But that is, IMHO, in the long run an immature and self-serving way to engage with communities of Christians. (I don't mean while you're still seeking God, or shopping for the right place, or exploring -- I mean once you've chosen a path, which Bono obviously has.)

He says he found the Baptism moving. You know why that Baptism was able to happen? Because a lot of other people are committed enough not just to Christ, but to a local expression of Christ's body, to show up every week, and take care of the building, and go to Bible study with the same 10 old ladies who have been coming since 1955, and pledge enough to the church to pay Jack Heaslip's salary (I assume it had to be him who did it) and did all the work they do to set up for the other 30 Baptisms a year.

You know why that choir in Memphis was able to be drunk on the spirit that day? Because they go to rehearsals every Wednesday and 4 hours of church every Sunday and bring their kids to Sunday School and volunteer in the soup kitchen and tithe on the incomes they make as bus drivers and Walmart employees. They're there when Bono isn't, and if they weren't there all those other times, Bono wouldn't have gotten to have his nice experience.

I'm glad that Bono, and all the countless other people who do it, can drop in and get touched by God, and benefit from those hours and days and years of devotion that ordinary believers give to their churches. That's one of the gifts Christian communities give the world, to let casual others benefit for free from our years of labor. But for Bono to communicate, as I think he has more than once, that there is something more sophisticated or superior or spiritual about *only* dropping in when it suits you, to take a hit off the parts of church that move you, and spare yourself having to deal with the rest....

I just find it a real streak of immaturity in someone I admire very much, and again, similar to the way he used to attack politicians. Like with marriage, I believe it is harder, tougher, formative, soul-shaping, growing-up work to commit and hang around for all the boring, disillusioning parts, than it is to say "I'll drop in on relationships when I think I might get something out of them."

I am quite sure, or Bono wouldn't be where he is now, that he is able to make that kind of mature commitment in his relationship with *Christ*. And as I said earlier, I'd nearly buy that he has some kind of special vocation not to be in the church (altho I can't count how many times I've wondered how he lives without Communion. That "I'd break bread and wine if there was a church I could receive in" line just breaks my heart in two.) He's a huge inspiration to my faith.

But -- and whether this forward proves to say these things or not, he's said it elsewhere -- I truly think he's missing a big point about the Christian life in his refusal to engage realistically with its communal expression.


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Old 05-06-2002, 07:36 PM   #7
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I absolutely agree with him - he hit it right on the head with the "corral[ing] of this life forece into the rules, taboos, cults and sects." I really don't think that going to church makes you any more Christian than an non-church goer. I haven't gone to church in over two years, and while it's not something that I'm exactly proud of, I don't feel like I'm missing anything. In fact, I feel closer to God right now than I have at any other point in my life.

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Old 05-08-2002, 02:19 AM   #8
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Who is Adam Harbinson? Do any of you know anything about him or his theology? Just interested...sounds like it could be a very thought-provoking book.
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Old 05-09-2002, 06:19 PM   #9
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Here's what my dad had to say after I e-mailed him that article:

Whether you agree or disagree with Bono, he sure gives a
damn
and you have to respect him for that.


I feel the same way. I've been kind of leary of organized religion for quite some time now...I just don't know if I trust it.
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Old 05-09-2002, 11:12 PM   #10
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My church is not perfect. No church is perfect. But guess what? No office is perfect, and no home is perfect. Anywhere you go, it's gonna be - guess what? Not perfect.

There have been times that I felt distance form church. I could never go to church again, and I would still be a Christian. But if I'm not saved, going to church 8 times a week doesn't make me a Christian.

However, I feel that church is important in that it is very beneficial to the body of Christ to be together, and to worship together. I personally have gleaned much strength from being with the Christians in my church.
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Old 05-10-2002, 05:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by follower:
I have been catholic all my life. I know that catholic church, my church, is full of rules and taboos, exactly like he said. Despite all of that, and its flaws and faults I still think itīs a good thing.
Quote:
Originally posted by mebythesea:
They're there when Bono isn't, and if they weren't there all those other times, Bono wouldn't have gotten to have his nice experience.
Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest:
My church is not perfect. No church is perfect. But guess what? No office is perfect, and no home is perfect. Anywhere you go, it's gonna be - guess what? Not perfect.
my own brother is a priest (roman catholic) and I can't express enough how much I agree with above statements

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Old 05-10-2002, 07:31 AM   #12
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(said ironically) The problem with the church is that it is made up of sinners. That is the whole point and the pity of it.

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Old 05-11-2002, 06:45 AM   #13
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I think what we all need to do is pray for Bono and pray for the church. Insight is often God's way of calling us to prayer. Maybe Bono needs to pray more -particularly for the types that irritate him - and talk less.

We're all God's children! And God loves us all.
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Old 05-11-2002, 04:31 PM   #14
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But organization is the key to everything.
Everything in little boxes, on little shelves.
Nothing should ever stray from it's place.

I think I'll wander out of my box.

Seriously now, do you really think that one must have an organized religion to be able to have morals and ethics? If so, that's a crutch. Is the church needed for comfort and guidance? What about friends and family? I know people that find those same qualities from just watching the ocean, being in the woods, and helping those that need help. (Enter Bono) Why do you feel Bono is pushing so hard to fight 3rd world debt and HIV/AIDS? Such morally noble goals, and yet he isn't a believer in the 'church', yet he does believe in god. Why criticize the man for believing in god, yet not believing in the concept of organized religion. Since when are 'you' commanded to believe in, or worship, the church, before 'your' belief in god?

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Old 05-11-2002, 05:35 PM   #15
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well elvis, i personally try not to lean on to my own understanding of things, but rather on someone elses - particularly the one who i know made everything that exists.

even the rules and taboos, tough. so you dont like them, i feel its necessary.

for myself that is.

and the bottom line, really, when all is said and done, for me, is that were on earth for 80-100 years if were lucky. if you believe in eternity, i really feel like i should throw away anything thats hinduring me and just live life the way i think would be best.

personal thoughts, not thoughts to be imposed on anyone else.

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Old 05-11-2002, 05:56 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by follower:
I read that article this afternoon after going to the mass, and I have to confess that Bonoīs words disturbed me a little. Iīm catholic, I have been catholic all my life. I know that catholic church, my church, is full of rules and taboos, exactly like he said. Despite all of that, and its flaws and faults I still think itīs a good thing. I have found comfort in my faith and my church whenever I needed, and mainly nowadays that Iīm so in need of some spiritual guiding. I donīt know, I might get what he said in a wrong context though. Thatīs what I hope.
I believe Bono is all about inclusionism. If you find comfort in it, then I sincerely doubt that Bono will hate you for it. Unfortunately, there are many who feel excluded from the current Christian models (intellectuals, liberals, gays, women, etc.). Ultimately, I believe that Bono's message is one of inclusionism, not much different from St. Paul's own messages of Gentile inclusionism into a very Jewish church 2000 years ago.

Melon

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Old 05-11-2002, 06:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zoomerang96:
and the bottom line, really, when all is said and done, for me, is that were on earth for 80-100 years if were lucky. if you believe in eternity, i really feel like i should throw away anything thats hinduring me and just live life the way i think would be best.
"Organized" religion, contrary to folklore, is a very variable institution. I can guarantee that the church of 80-100 years ago would likely condemn even the most right-wing of Christians of today as too immodest.

The Bible is certainly no different. It is filled with human fears and longings applicable to the times they were written. It is only understandable that the New Testament, for instance, is fully in-keeping with popular Greek philosophy of the day.

We must be on guard against romanticizing the past, along with being wary of the changing whims of the present-day. For instance, ever since the cloning debate, the uber-Christians have been telling us that clones will have no souls, with most taking it at face value. Not that I'm for cloning whatsoever, but where does it say anywhere that clones will not have souls? This is the changing nature of theology, so I ultimately think that we must trust our consciences over what religion tries to thrust upon us.

Melon

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Old 05-12-2002, 06:52 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon:
Unfortunately, there are many who feel excluded from the current Christian models (intellectuals, liberals, gays, women, etc.).
...But hang on, there are also current Christian models which are deeply attractive to, and therefore full of, exactly those folks. I really think overgeneralizing -- whether it's Bono assuming people committed to living their faith in the community of the church are "small minds," or what i thought i heard in this post, melon assuming that people with certain characteristics will feel excluded by contemporary expressions of Christianity -- is almost always unable to capture the real diversity of life.
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Old 05-12-2002, 11:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by mebythesea:
...But hang on, there are also current Christian models which are deeply attractive to, and therefore full of, exactly those folks. I really think overgeneralizing -- whether it's Bono assuming people committed to living their faith in the community of the church are "small minds," or what i thought i heard in this post, melon assuming that people with certain characteristics will feel excluded by contemporary expressions of Christianity -- is almost always unable to capture the real diversity of life.
It's all about balance really, which we don't have. Mind you, we do have these separate schools of thought, but they certainly aren't unified. In fact, the right is busy condemning the left to eternal hell, while the left is off in uncharted territory.

I certainly understand the potential diversity within Christianity--I'm example of that myself--but, within organized religion, it is incredibly slanted to the right currently.

I guess I find myself disheartened over the fact that most of my leftist peers have abandoned religion out of feeling excluded, whereas I don't feel at home at all with the right, whose religion I equate with the faith of the Pharisees. If I just pretended that everything was okay in the Christian world, as you see it, then I'd be blind.

Melon

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Old 05-12-2002, 12:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon:
I certainly understand the potential diversity within Christianity--I'm example of that myself--but, within organized religion, it is incredibly slanted to the right currently. ....If I just pretended that everything was okay in the Christian world, as you see it, then I'd be blind.
I'm not sure where you got the idea that I think "everything is OK," since I certainly agree with you that anyone who would say that would pretty much have to be blind. Why else do we all confess our sins <g>?

But as for "organized religion" being incredibly slanted to the right... well, that depends where you look, though, doesn't it? For example, I'm not sure any of the mainline churches (for example the Episcopal Church's lobbying group whom Bono is working with on Drop the Debt, or the Methodist church he loves in San Francisco), could really be described that way. And from the outside, there seems to me to be huge political diversity in the ranks of practicing Roman Catholics.

...Again, I'm just cautious about overgeneralizing.

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