“Bono's Thin Ecclesiology” ? Bono does not belong to a church. So ? - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > United Colours > The Goal Is Soul
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 02-22-2003, 10:06 AM   #1
War Child
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Ontario,Canada
Posts: 911
Local Time: 09:02 PM
“Bono's Thin Ecclesiology” ? Bono does not belong to a church. So ?

BONO'S THIN ECCLESIOLOGY - Christianity Today, February 21, 2003

Any person can stand outside the church and critique its obedience to the gospel.
A Christianity Today Editorial

During the Heart of America tour in late 2002, which he organized to raise awareness of aids in Africa, rock singer Bono of U2 took a radical step: He pleaded directly with his fellow Christians.
Between visiting truck stops, high schools, and daily newspapers, Bono also dropped in on a few megachurches and Wheaton College. Bono has declined to speak with American evangelicals' mass media for years, and we're thankful that the urgency of his cause has changed that-see this issue's cover story (page 38). But Bono's excursion into American evangelicalism was missing one crucial element: a sense that he felt much respect for the evangelical culture he was lecturing.
In the more purple of his prosaic moments, Bono claimed that the church:
1. Will be "made irrelevant" if it does not respond adequately to Africa's aids crisis.
2. Practices a "hierarchy of sin" that condemns people with aids as deserving the affliction because of sexual promiscuity.
3. Has "pervert[ed] the gospels and the Holy Scriptures since they were first written."
MacPhisto, a satirical onstage character that Bono adopted during U2's concerts in the early 1990s, claimed that Pope John Paul and the Archbishop of Canterbury were doing Satan's work. Bono has taken a kindlier view of the pope since they talked about mutual concerns on Third World debt. Perhaps he will lighten up on the Archbishop of Canterbury now that Rowan Williams, a man of the Left, has ascended the throne.
Bono's full-throated judgments on the church prompt this question: Just how would he know? He has, after all, avoided the church since breaking with Shalom, a Watchman Nee-inspired group in Ireland, in the early 1980s.
This arm's-length experience of churches leaves Bono with a paper-thin ecclesiology that measures the church's mission (or its "relevance") almost exclusively in geopolitical terms. Bono seems unaware of the aids relief work that has been done in Africa for years, both by missionaries and by indigenous Christians (CT, Feb. 7, 2000). Never mind that many Christians were bringing relief to suffering Africans in the same decade that U2 poured millions into its bloated Zoo TV and PopMart tours (keeping the latter on the road cost $1.3 million a week). If Americans fail to persuade the Bush administration to increase foreign aid to the percentage of gross domestic product that Bono finds acceptable, then Bono finds the church guilty of standing by, like Germans watching Jews being hauled away to the death camps.
Bono has shown a clear compassion for suffering people throughout his career. He has performed at global benefits like Live Aid and has made quieter efforts to relieve people's suffering (such as spending a month in an Ethiopian refugee camp in the 1980s). We understand why Bono feels angry when he believes the church is sitting by in complacency while thousands of Africans face a daily threat of death.
Bono has said repeatedly that Christianity without an element of social justice is empty. We agree. But a Christian's pleading for social justice without worshiping God regularly within the community of the church is little more than activism for its own sake. Any person can stand outside the church and critique its obedience to the gospel. Part of God's call on a Christian's life is to walk inside and die to self by relating to other human beings, both in their fallenness and in their redeemed glory.
God may very well be using Bono to challenge the conscience of American evangelicals. It is well within God's frequently evident sense of humor to use a brash rock star in the causes of justice and mercy. If that is so, we hope that God also uses this time to draw Bono into a deeper sense of what it means to be a Christian.© 2003 Christianity Today.

RESPECT, RIGHTEOUSNESS AND A MIRRORBALL LEMON - Beth Maynard - Thunderstruck.org, February 21, 2003

A response to Christianity Today's editorial on Bono

As a pastor whose congregation is having a special service on AIDS in Africa next week, I was delighted to see Christianity Today dedicate so much space to their "Bono's American Prayer" cover story. And as a writer who is hard at work co-editing a book of sermons based on U2's catalog, I was glad to see Bono's spiritual influence acknowledged. However, the accompanying editorial calling into question his qualifications to speak to Christians on this issue struck me as a tad defensive.
In some senses, I share CT's frustration that Bono's comments about what goes on in "the church" are often stereotypical and clearly not based on much direct personal experience. Along with the editors, I wonder how a man who talks about how doing the hard work of staying with Edge, Larry, and Adam in a 25-year friendship (not to mention with his wife Ali in a 20-year marriage) is a "sacrament" could fail to see the same sacramental power in the hard work of relating, for an equally long time, to a specific group of other local believers whom you did not select.
Nevertheless, so far, he doesn't see that. Christianity Today seems to think that fact undermines any arguments he addresses to his fellow Christians who do see it, and that Bono ought to show us all a little more respect. In my opinion, it's only by ignoring Bono's deferential Heart-Of-America remarks about Billy Graham and Bill Hybels that one could really claim he showed no respect for the evangelical subculture during his speaking tour. (By the way, insistence on being shown the proper respect: Jesus isn't much of a model for that value, is he?)
But even if Bono hadn't praised these two leaders (and Wheaton itself, and the congregations of most of the churches he visited), I wouldn't have blamed him much for having a chip on his shoulder. I'd struggle with the evangelical subculture too if I had spent two decades watching it personally attack me in print, dissecting and judging my every utterance. As someone who hangs out a fair amount with evangelicals, but is never quite sure if I am one, even the very low level of such scrutiny to which I've been subjected has hurt me enough. I can't imagine what Bono's been through, and I'm prepared to cut him miles of slack for any sarcasm.
The editorial cites three Heart of America remarks for which CT's editors think we shouldn't cut Bono slack. As to the first, it's not for me to say whether God will judge the church as irrelevant if it stands by on the AIDS issue, but as to the other two, surely CT doesn't actually mean to imply that the church has never "perverted the Scriptures" or promoted a "hierarchy of sin" that majors on sex? Come on: guilty, your honor. While we're at this, let's ask Bono if he's ever perverted the Scriptures. I'm betting he'd say yes; surely those of us who have cast our lot with institutional Christianity can show a little humility here.
The editorial claims that "a Christian's pleading for social justice without worshiping God regularly within the community of the church is little more than activism for its own sake." I'm a mainline Protestant, and we get to see a lot of activism for its own sake: reducing koinonia to achieving diversity, prayer to sloganeering, or the coming of the kingdom to the passage of legislation. When Bono, on the other hand, points out that the Scriptures are packed with verses on the poor, he often adds that an even more frequent Biblical preoccupation is "personal redemption." Activists for activism's sake? It's hard to participate in a U2 concert without realizing that this band are anything but. Whatever language they use to talk about it, U2 know a whole lot about prayer, about liturgy, about holy-community-building, about the Holy Spirit -- and to boot, clearly know more than most churchgoers about communicating these realities to people who don't speak the language of Christian subculture.
Bono may have a "paper-thin ecclesiology" -- and may I just pause to ask us all to imagine someone's finding it a propos and needful to direct the same criticism at Eminem or the Stones -- but its thinness doesn't come from kneejerk leftist political ideals. In my wild running leap of a guess, I'd wager that the believers in U2 have retained more or less the same ecclesiology they developed from Watchman Nee in the early 80s: a house-church, "let's have prayer meetings within the band," "only God knows your heart" ecclesiology. Do I think that's paper-thin? Of course I do. But it's not paper-thin because it expects Christians to take action for justice; it's paper-thin because it's individualistic and fails to value the whole Body of Christ on earth. And that's just the same old point: Bono doesn't belong to a church.
Finally, the editorial's slam at U2 for spending money on ZooTV and Popmart while people were dying in Africa is polemics of a level I hope not to see too frequently in CT. (This mirrorball lemon could have been sold and the money given to the poor, is that it?) Would CT say the same to those who spent proportionally, in their own age, to build other environments that offered people life-changing artistic encounters with the sacred? Chartres cathedral? The Sistine Chapel?
Or is this just evangelicalism's age-old fear of the power of art itself, dressed up as a political critique? They're a rock and roll band, not Oxfam. What's remarkable is not that they didn't choose charity work over art, but that they take so much time off from art to support causes they believe are just.
I wish Bono would join a church, too. As a matter of fact, I wish many, many others of my fellow Christians would see all kinds of things exactly the way I see them. But just because they don't, doesn't mean I'm not going to listen to them when they tell me the truth. And that's what Bono's doing.
The Rev. Beth Maynard Beth is a parish priest and the former president of Gathering The neXt Generation (the Episcopal Church's network for postmodern ministry). When she's not on the Net or in one of those churches Bono doesn't go to, she's co-editing the forthcoming collection Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog/a>© Thunderstruck.org/Maynard, 2003.
__________________

U2Soar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2003, 01:30 PM   #2
Rock n' Roll Doggie
VIP PASS
 
Elvis Presley's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: eachnotesecure.com
Posts: 5,058
Local Time: 10:02 PM
I made this reply at another fine U2 forum....... thought it applied here as well..........
Interesting article. I get the feeling that Christianity Today is taking a defensive stand with this article. As if Bono is specifically talking to them and them only.
When Bono says the church will be "irrelevant" if they dont pay attention to the needs of Africa he is a bit overstating the situation. The church will not become irrelevant as a result of this but it would be a big mistake for them to ignore the issue. However, the christian culture seems to feel Bono is picking a fight here and strikes back with the mention of Macphisto (they still dont get it ) and how much money was spent on ZooTV, how ridiculous!!! What does it solve to call Bono out it in that fashion??
And while it is true that a follower of God should be involved in some sort of community that is seeking Him, whos to say what Bono's personal relationship is with God? Not me, I wont point that finger...........

So, I guess CT is missing the point as usual, cant say Im very shocked.......
__________________

Elvis Presley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2003, 03:01 PM   #3
The Fly
 
U2luv's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: in front of my computer :-)
Posts: 203
Local Time: 09:02 PM
I think Rev. Maynards rebuttal to CT's article was well on the mark. Granted, he does go a little over the top (so..when DOESN'T he LOL) in some of his remarks at times, but I think I (sort of) understand where he's coming from.
U2luv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2003, 05:15 PM   #4
Rock n' Roll Doggie
ALL ACCESS
 
sulawesigirl4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Virginia
Posts: 7,416
Local Time: 09:02 PM
I like the response paper, Beth.
__________________
"I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me." - Bono

sulawesigirl4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2003, 08:48 PM   #5
ONE<br>love, blood, life
 
hippy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Lookin' for the face I had before the world was made
Posts: 12,144
Local Time: 10:02 PM
yeah, I really like Rev Maynard's response to the article
__________________
Write for Interference!
Email or PM me (kim@interference.com) if you're interested.
hippy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2003, 08:49 PM   #6
Blue Crack Addict
 
verte76's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: hoping for changes
Posts: 23,331
Local Time: 02:02 AM
I like the rebuttal, too. It's excellent. Heck, I'm even a practicing Catholic, but I understand that not everyone belongs in a church. It's the truth. Churches are *not* for everyone and some people who are in churches are clueless as to why not.
verte76 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2003, 09:58 PM   #7
Rock n' Roll Doggie
VIP PASS
 
sue4u2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: hatching some plot, scheming some scheme
Posts: 6,628
Local Time: 09:02 PM
Who can they possibly be talking about here. "Bono seems unaware of the aids relief work that has been done in Africa for years, both by missionaries and by indigenous Christians" If you read and hear him talk about this issue, you know he's up on what is being done and it's just not enough.... That's the purpose of his speaking out. If this were happening in any developed country then we wouldn't be having this conversation because it wouldn't be an issue. Bono hit's right on when he says if it wasn't because it is a poor black nation and people will have to put their racial attitudes behind them to solve this. That's hard for alot of churches and well-to-do-white-people to do because they still feel it doesn't affect them. I just hope when Bono makes the statement " there are 20 more Afganistans in Africa if nothing is done to save and educate the people of this continent, more people will listen and understand..in some way I pray. Without healing there is no way to educate. I know this is difficult for him to really go around and talk to people about, because even when I bring up the subject to friends and co-workers the first response is why doesn't he throw some of his millions towards the problem. God, I get so fustrated because they just don't get the big picture. I can't imagine what Bono must deal with. Just don't doubt his faith or his motives. You don't have to be in a building designated by a certain group or religious affilliation to be walking the walk or talking the talk. You could actually call this forum a church. When two or more are gathered in My name.....
Sorry for the long post, but I really have a problem with people sittion in judgement of others.
sue4u2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2003, 12:22 AM   #8
Blue Crack Addict
 
verte76's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: hoping for changes
Posts: 23,331
Local Time: 02:02 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by sue4u2
Who can they possibly be talking about here. "Bono seems unaware of the aids relief work that has been done in Africa for years, both by missionaries and by indigenous Christians" If you read and hear him talk about this issue, you know he's up on what is being done and it's just not enough.... (snip)
when I bring up the subject to friends and co-workers the first response is why doesn't he throw some of his millions towards the problem. God, I get so fustrated because they just don't get the big picture. I can't imagine what Bono must deal with. Just don't doubt his faith or his motives. You don't have to be in a building designated by a certain group or religious affilliation to be walking the walk or talking the talk. You could actually call this forum a church. When two or more are gathered in My name.....
Sorry for the long post, but I really have a problem with people sittion in judgement of others.

I know what you mean. The statement about Bono being unaware of Christians doing AIDS relief work is downright nonsensical. He knows some of these people, for crying out loud. It's not enough. You can't argue with the numbers. Also, I'm really tired of this "throw his millions at them" stuff. That's short-sighted. They don't understand that the problem is structural, that it's based on nonsensical debt propositions and the like. It's complete ignorance and makes me really frustrated that people are wallowing in this ignorance. They're fiddling while Rome burns.
verte76 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2003, 05:09 PM   #9
Acrobat
 
Blacksword's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 389
Local Time: 02:02 AM
Big suprise that the Church gives a knee jerk response. That's all it's been doing with Bono since the start. Is there any wonder among other things why Bono isn't a member of a church. I can list several reasons why Bono isn't a memeber of an institutional church.

1) He's from the Republic of Ireland: if it weren't for Mount Temple it's dubious he'd be a CHristian at all in the atmospher created by the old Catholic social control. Hell look at Quebec as a parallel situation, good luck finding people who go to church after all the years the Catholic Church controlled people's lives. Then there's the fact that organized religion is a big source for the sectariansim that has torrn Ireland apart.

2) Getting burned by Shalom: As someone whose family has been badly burned by the Church I can fully uinderstand a wariness toward institutionized Christianity. Heck when Ministers get burned the number who stay in the church is pretty small so don't expect some huys in their twneties who already have some reason to suspect institutionalized Christianity to come back after getting told by some crack pot that God wants them to give up thier music.

3) Being in a band: good luck being a part of any permanent Christian Community when you're on the road most of the year as they were in their early days. Once they became more settled due to success they couldn't go to a church because as Bono has said people would copme to that church not for the gospel but to see Bono. he doesn't want to distract from any churches mission.

And it's not like Bono wouldn't like to be part of a church. He's said it right in the music. If anyone happened to listen to Acrobat they'd hear this line: "Yeah, I'd break bread and wine if there wasa church to receive in. Cause I need it now. To take the cup to fill it up to drink it slow..." DUH!

I really wish my fellow Christians wouldn't ghettoize themselves so, but when is that ever going to change.
Blacksword is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2003, 06:02 PM   #10
Blue Crack Addict
 
verte76's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: hoping for changes
Posts: 23,331
Local Time: 02:02 AM
I am *amazed* that the Church people don't understand that a big part of Bono's problems with the institutional church is his Irish heritage. It seems like they don't know anything about the Church's rigid control of life in Ireland, or the sectarian problems that have torn the country apart. The people who don't know anything about it blow their credibility to bits, fast.
verte76 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2003, 06:37 PM   #11
Blue Crack Addict
 
nbcrusader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,071
Local Time: 06:02 PM
I read the article as suggesting that Bono should engage in more regular, corporate worship - not that he choose between Catholic or Protestant. This is an essential part of any Christian's life, no matter where you live. I doubt the author missed the Irish heritage element - Bono's statements that he is half Catholic/half Protestant from his parents would stand out.

Overall, I thought the article was a great message for the church-bound Christian as to what it means to exercise one's faith - especially the target audience for Christianity Today.
nbcrusader is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2003, 07:12 PM   #12
Blue Crack Addict
 
verte76's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: hoping for changes
Posts: 23,331
Local Time: 02:02 AM
Perhaps. But you've got a heck of a problem engaging in corporate worship when you can't find a group that suits you. I struggled with this same problem for years, and it's a toughie. It's very frustrating. Ultimately I solved the problem by converting to Catholicism. But it was really hard. Trust me, my conversion was really tough and actually lasted years.
verte76 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2003, 10:22 AM   #13
Rock n' Roll Doggie
ALL ACCESS
 
sulawesigirl4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Virginia
Posts: 7,416
Local Time: 09:02 PM
Just to throw another thought in the mix. Last term here at L'Abri one of the speakers who works at the English branch came and one of his lectures was about U2. He mentioned that they have had Irish students at English L'Abri who live in Dublin and participate in a Bible study that Bono and sometimes Edge do attend. So I think that they are quite likely active in their own way.
__________________
"I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me." - Bono

sulawesigirl4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2003, 11:43 AM   #14
The Fly
 
mebythesea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 173
Local Time: 10:02 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
....they have had Irish students at English L'Abri who live in Dublin and participate in a Bible study that Bono and sometimes Edge do attend.
Ha! Why does this not surprise me one bit....?
mebythesea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2003, 11:49 AM   #15
Acrobat
 
Blacksword's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 389
Local Time: 02:02 AM
Exactly. Bono and teh band in gereal have never been ones to point out what they're doing right from the start. They keep their private lives private. Does anyone need to know where or how Bono, Edge or Larry practice communal worship? No. Bono has a good reason not to mention it because if he does you can bet you'll have a bunch of idiots crashing his group's nexst meeting just on teh off chance of meeting him. Corperate worship doesn't neccessarily mean teh institutuional church. The early Church met in small groups in houses. As long as there's some corperate form of worship your okay. And like I said in my last post it's not like Bono is avoiding a church like the plauge. From what I've sensed from his music he would go if he could. There is something you get froma good church worship service that you can't get anywhere else. Heck my one great spiritual experience happened the one time I attended a Catholic Mass - The Easter Vigil where my Poppa was reconfirmed a Catholic. So yes you do miss out on something and to my interpretation Bono knows that very well.
Blacksword is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2003, 11:56 AM   #16
Blue Crack Addict
 
verte76's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: hoping for changes
Posts: 23,331
Local Time: 02:02 AM
I read someplace about a U2 fan who went to mass at a Catholic church in Dublin, and just by chance Bono was there with Ali and the kids! I don't know why Bono has to mouth off every time he goes to a mass or whatever--he doesn't. It's his business and none of mine.
verte76 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2003, 03:45 PM   #17
Refugee
 
forbonou2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Richmond, Kentucky
Posts: 1,846
Local Time: 02:02 AM
i agree with alot of you-just didn't know the right words to use. It's amazing to me how much bono is still missunderstood! And judged! Who has the right?
forbonou2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2003, 10:34 PM   #18
Registered User
 
filledeperle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 203
Local Time: 09:02 PM
Quote:
Verte76:
It seems like they don't know anything about the Church's rigid control of life in Ireland,
I don't know too much about this, but to what extent was the Catholic Church's control over Ireland? I know until recently they forbid divorce and birth control, but what else made the Church so dominant in Ireland?
filledeperle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2003, 05:59 PM   #19
Blue Crack Addict
 
verte76's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: hoping for changes
Posts: 23,331
Local Time: 02:02 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by filledeperle


I don't know too much about this, but to what extent was the Catholic Church's control over Ireland? I know until recently they forbid divorce and birth control, but what else made the Church so dominant in Ireland?
I don't know if I can answer this question in this forum! Since I'm not from Ireland I'm not comfortable discussing the details of Irish politics. I do know that they had a priest in alot of the schools, banned authors who wrote things the Church didn't like, etc, etc. Read a history of Ireland in the twentieth century. They can do it far more justice.
verte76 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2003, 08:07 PM   #20
ONE
love, blood, life
 
melon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 11,781
Local Time: 09:02 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by verte76


I don't know if I can answer this question in this forum! Since I'm not from Ireland I'm not comfortable discussing the details of Irish politics. I do know that they had a priest in alot of the schools, banned authors who wrote things the Church didn't like, etc, etc. Read a history of Ireland in the twentieth century. They can do it far more justice.
Reason enough why strong separation of church and state is a necessity to prevent religion abuse.

Melon
__________________

melon is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:02 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com
×