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Old 11-04-2005, 08:00 AM   #1
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"U2 Concert What Church Should Be"

EthicsDaily.com: U2 Concert What Church Should Be

U2 Concert What Church Should Be
Tim Adams
11-03-05

U2 continued its sold out, worldwide "Vertigo Tour" in Dallas this past
Saturday. Once again the biggest band on the planet proved that its
unforgettable fire still has considerable heat, as well as light.

Frontman Bono, along with bandmates guitarist The Edge, drummer Larry
Mullen, Jr. and bassist Adam Clayton, showed that even though it's been
29 years since their first rehearsal in Mullen's kitchen they have yet
to discover autopilot. U2 is still the band with a head full of big
ideas and its heart on its sleeve, but—as they reminded the audience as
they closed the concert singing Psalm 40—their feet are on a rock and
their footsteps are firm.

Grammy-winning record producer T-Bone Burnett said it best back in
1987: "A U2 concert is what church should be." The passion, celebration
and thoughtful reflection that U2's live shows draw the audience toward
is certainly what a church service aspires to be. A friend recently
described a U2 concert as a "transcendent Holy Ghost-filled ring of
Jesus fire." When was the last time you hit the Sunday buffet line
feeling like that?

But Burnett's observation still rings true not only because of U2's
music, the message of hope it often communicates or Bono's occasional
impromptu sermons from the stage. A U2 concert is also what church
should be because of whom it attracts.

I attended my first U2 concert in Dallas in 1983 and learned, as a
young youth minister, how to pay attention to kids that wouldn't
normally darken the door of a church. The post-punk/new wave crowd that
wore Mohawks, had safety pins in their noses and were among the first
to discover U2's music has now grown up.

Looking around the American Airlines Center Saturday it was remarkable
to see how a U2 concert has become a multi-generational event. Many
parents were there with their teenage kids—not as chaperones, but as
fellow fans. Who would have ever thought a rock concert would become a
family outing?

A U2 concert is instructive to the church because it breaks down walls
between groups that otherwise are separated by age, culture and other
barriers that the church seems to have a hard time bringing together.

While talking to dozens of fellow concertgoers before, during and after
the show, there was a strong consensus that a U2 concert has a
spiritual quality but isn't in any way religious. As one 40-something
mom told me, "I don't go to church, and I don't have a very good
opinion of religion in general, but I can believe in the kind of God U2
believes in. In some ways this is my church." A U2 concert is what
church should be because it provides an encounter with the Holy for
people aware of God but not interested in religion.

Another dimension of a U2 show that should challenge the church is its
ability to talk about politics that matters, but in a way that brings
people from different sides of the aisle together.

Since the release of their third album, 1983's War, U2 has been known
as a political band. But their last two albums and tours have
demonstrated a level of maturity in terms of how political issues are
addressed. 2001's All That You Can't Leave Behind and their most recent
release, 2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, along with Bono's
activism on behalf of Third World debt relief and issues affecting
Africa, have brought together believers and unbelievers, conservatives
and liberals, evangelicals and mainliners to make a difference for the
least of these.

U2 has never fallen into the trap that plagues so many more explicitly
"Christian bands"—the need to explain the "one true meaning" of their
songs, just to make sure the audience gets it. Bono spoke to the
audience often during the show last Saturday, but no one felt preached
to.

A U2 show is what church should be because it challenges people to
think and act without talking down to them and without watering down
the message. It meets people where they are but doesn't leave them
there.

The lobbies of the American Airlines Center were filled with the
typical lines of people waiting to buy everything from hot dogs to
t-shirts. But there were also volunteers at tables passing out
literature and getting concertgoers to sign petitions for the ONE
Campaign, an umbrella organization so diverse that two of its principle
spokesmen, George Clooney and Pat Robertson, have appeared together
with Bono on ABC's "Nightline" to promote the cause.

One of the show's high points was when a fan threw what appeared to be
a white towel on stage. Bono wore it as a headband as the band
performed blistering renditions of "Love and Peace or Else," "Sunday
Bloody Sunday" and "Bullet the Blue Sky." Written in large black
letters on Bono's headband and clearly visible to the crowd of 20,000
was the word "CoeXisT." The "C" was in the shape of the crescent moon
of Islam, the "X" was the Star of David of Judaism and the "T" was in
the shape of the cross.

As Bono pulled a 9-year-old boy out of the crowd and on stage, he
reminded the audience that, "We are all sons of Abraham. This little
boy will only have a future if we remember that."

A U2 standard that's played toward the end of each show (at the end of
the first of three encores this past Saturday) is the anthemic song
"One." The last verse of the song says it best:

One love, one blood, one life, you got to do what you should.
One life with each other: sisters, brothers.
One life, but we're not the same.
We get to carry each other, carry each other.
One, one.

The third encore and last three songs of the night were "All Because of
You (I AM)," "Yahweh" and "40." And with that closing benediction, the
band left the stage … and the congregation went forth to serve.
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Old 11-04-2005, 09:15 AM   #2
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Old 11-04-2005, 09:56 AM   #3
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Incredible Article. Amen brotha!
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Old 11-04-2005, 10:19 AM   #4
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1000% spot on. I've always felt that a U2 show was a spiritual experience - nice to know I'm not alone in that.
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Old 11-04-2005, 04:45 PM   #5
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Do you all (of course you do) just feel this amazing gratitude to have this band in your life?
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Old 11-05-2005, 11:24 AM   #6
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More than I ever thought I would
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Old 11-12-2005, 01:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sherry Darling
Do you all (of course you do) just feel this amazing gratitude to have this band in your life?
YESSS!! more than i can put in words! when i first meet someone who also likes U2, i don't know if they feel the same way that I feel, you know? cuz it's hard to put into words all that they make you feel. some of my friends say that U2 is "overrated", and that just sets me off because they can't appreciate U2's music and lyrics for a deeper meaning than "a punk band that turned pop". -____-

but GREAT article, btw. i like it a lot. ;] thanks!
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Old 11-21-2005, 09:16 PM   #8
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Well said, Mr. Adams
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Old 12-09-2005, 09:14 AM   #9
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:53 AM   #10
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I think a U2 concert surpasses any church service I've attended in terms of the emotions and feeling of praise and joy, but it's not the complete package like a good church service should be. It's missing a few important elements and I don't think U2 concerts should ultimately be substitutes for church, but they are very moving experiences (especially in terms of social justice) and that is a great article.
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Old 01-29-2006, 10:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic
I think a U2 concert surpasses any church service I've attended in terms of the emotions and feeling of praise and joy, but it's not the complete package like a good church service should be. It's missing a few important elements and I don't think U2 concerts should ultimately be substitutes for church, but they are very moving experiences (especially in terms of social justice) and that is a great article.
Both shows I've attended were very moving. If it weren't for the beer and scantily clad worshippers, it would be a lot like church.
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Old 02-01-2006, 07:24 AM   #12
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I'm sorry but I'm going to have to disagree with the thread title. Yes, U2 concerts are amazing spiritual events, and some of the songs, if not most are really great worship songs (e.g. Pride, 40, Yahweh, All because of you). Luckily I have been to a U2 gig last Summer and did find it spiritually uplifting. However, it is not totally what church should be. Yes their concerts can bring everyone together in a certain coexistence, which the church finds hard to bring together. Yet there is no gospel in the concerts, little references to the bible, no communal prayers of repentence, thanks to God etc. Bono is not a minister, which is essential to church. Also not all songs are about God, Jesus and the Christian religion. I'm not saying that I enjoy church more than U2 gigs, but I would rather go to church every week and miss out on U2 gigs than go to a U2 gig everyweek and never go to church. I hope u understand.

Maybe my point of view seems a bit obvious, and that I missed the meaning of the thread title, but I have just read it literally.
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Old 02-01-2006, 07:33 AM   #13
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Old 02-02-2006, 02:26 PM   #14
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I do feel the spritual movement in the U2 shows. I understand it is not like actual "church". But you can feel the spirt of love and togetherness and that is a good thing.
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Old 02-03-2006, 03:16 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by fly so high!
Picky,picky
Yeah O.k. but its church dude. When it comes to one of the most central things in a Chritians life it has to be just right doesn't it?
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