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Old 10-16-2006, 10:43 PM   #1
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What are your most spiritually significant U2 songs?

Warning..this is a pretty good sized post.. if you don't feel like reading the whole thing...my answers to the question are- Surrender, Gone, Pride, 40, WOWY and Walk On.

I'm a regular lurker on the u2 sermons blog and while I was on that site, I checked out a link for a college course focused on u2 and spirituality. The site has been posting the class assignments, and one of the more interesting assignments was to identify the u2 songs that have been the most spiritually significant in your life. I thought it was an interesting question and I wondered how u2 fans would respond.

Personally, u2 and their music have played an important walk in my spiritual journey. In some ways, I believe their music put me back on the road to start with and has been used to widen my understanding of what it means to see the world with spiritual lenses. Anyway, the six songs that are the most significant to me are Surrender, Gone, Pride, 40, and Walk On

I still remember the first time I spiritually connected with a U2 song. It was a night after I had experienced one of the most shameful events in my lfe. Although I had believed in God in my childhood and early-middle teenage years, I was, at the time, seriously questioning whether God even existed. I had just about come to the point of identifying myself as an agnostic, and I can remember going to a worship service during the time and feeling absolutely nothing. That is why it shocked me when I started crying while listening to songs on the two u2 CD's I had brought with me that night as a soundtrack for a due next day English paper.

"Surrender and Gone"

Those two albums that I had with me were Pop and War. That night, "Surrender" from War and "Gone" from Pop made me cry and gave me chills. I recognized myself as Sadie. I had given up on hope and was metaphorically standing on the ledge of a 50 foot building, seriously thinking about jumping. The exhortation and reminder that if I wanted to live I needed to die to myself made me realize that I still cared about God and faith and love and miracles.

If "Surrender" gave me a mirror, "Gone" helped me see how I had gotten on the ledge in the first place. The lines "what you thought was freedom was just greed" rang true for me. In my greed for experience at all cost, I had abused my freedom in Christ. I had played with fire and had gotten burnt. Thankfully though, that night I realized I had a second chance. The chorus "I'll be up with the sun, are you still holding on" seemed to confirm that there was a way off of that ledge.

"Pride" and "40"

If "Surrender" and "Gone" were songs that played a part on getting back on the road, "Pride" and "40" are songs that have shown me that the journey isn't an individualistic path. Having grown up in a church that emphasized personal piety, I really had very little understanding of what it meant to be a Christian in my world. "Pride" helped me explore what it truly means to actively love and how to challenge man's injustice. "Pride" helped me see a church outside of the stain glass windows, a church universal empowered to bring drops of heaven to earth.

Though "Pride" was a song that directly influenced my exploration of justice in Christianity, an exploration that included becoming an Anti-Death Penalty advocate and an active Amnesty International member, "40" weaved its way through a more personal spiritual learning experience, one when I experienced first hand what true poverty was. This is because I met a person who would soon become homeless through that song.

I suppose it was because I had, at the time, stopped coming to college worship that fall; but I had never heard the worship band sing "40". Thus, when the sending forth song began with "I waited patiently..." I was suprised. The young man sitting behind me must have noticed, because he asked me if I was a u2 fan after the service. That conversation sparked a friendship and when he lost his home, I became a constant companion. Not wanting to break dorm rules, he only stayed with me about two nights a week, but on the other nights I would drive him to a relatively safe place he could camp out. Thankfully he did find a place to stay, and I can still remember the night he announced to the congregation that he wasn't homeless anymore. Strangely enough that night, we sang "40" during the service, and as the 150 Methodist students sang they will sing a new song, I remember reflecting on what my new song could be.

Moving through the shadows into the light- "WOWY and Walk On"

The previous songs I've discussed have focused on redemption and active love, but WOWY and Walk On seem to focus on how hard it can be for me to walk in the light. Sometimes the things I can taste, see and touch seem more attractive than the deeper but less obvious spiritual things. Also, as Walk On echoes, it can be hard to remember that the sun is shining when you seem trapped in a jungle of fear, guilt and mourning.

"With or Without You" has always had spiriitual meaning for me. When I sing it, I feel I am openly admitting just how hard it is for me to die to myself. "She" is quick, "She" is easy pleasure, but I know deep in my heart that I can not spiritually be alive with "her" ruling my life. Still, the part of me that wants to live without consequence and play with fire knows that I won't be able to do these things without the "you" that I sing this song to. It's a song that puts my struggle into view which is why the transcendental conclusion to the song helps me fight that battle. Although the songs lyrics say that "I can't live with or without you", the utter joy of the song reflects the joy I experience when I choose my eternal lover over the mistress who, as the song puts it, "She's got me with nothing to win and nothing left to lose."

Finally, to end this essay, I want to reflect on "Walk On". "Walk On" is for me a song of encouragement and endurance. Singing along with this song during the Elevation tour shows I saw often put me in tears. It reminded me that I too am packing suitcase for a place that "has to be Believed to be Seen", and that I only need to pursue the things that will have eternal value. One live performance of it that I've been recently listening to ends with a exhortation of praise to "Almighty God" and a half sung/spoken "40". It's an incredible performance that has served for me as a reminder of the glory and power of God and how he empowers all who believe with the ability to walk..or even run on in the faith.
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Old 10-16-2006, 11:39 PM   #2
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Wow, what a beautiful post! And awesome idea for a thread

Lets see...mine are:
i still haven't found...
beautiful day
stay

ISHFWILF
You know, I'm approached by many Christians, and usually asked "have you been saved?" Honestly, I can't say that I am. My response is always "I'm workin on it." This song best expresses that for me. With this song, I feel affirmed in my belief that my relationship with God is constantly evolving, and is more of a journey than it is one defined moment in time. I feel like I keep going, and I still haven't found what I'm looking for because I'm not quite there yet...and I still have a long way to go. That isn't to say it hasn't been a frustrating journey. I feel like every large transition in my life is a step closer to God.

Beautiful Day
This song reminded me that I am surrounded by gifts from God. That when I am feeling my lowest, that I shouldn't forget that I am loved. This song has this special lift that no other song does for me. Heh, I tell people who squeal whenever that "Bad Day" song comes on the radio "I liked it when it was called Beautiful Day", because its essentially the same message. Stuff is going wrong, but theres also so much that is going right. And wherever I am in life is exactly where I need to be. And what I don't have, I don't need it now. But my favorite line is "what you don't know you can feel it somehow." That to me describes the mystery of God's love for me. I may not be fully aware of it, and many times that constant love makes no sense to me. But I can't deny that I still feel it. I think the best ending to the song is when Bono added "the goal is soul." That is like my favorite U2 line ever. That reminds me to forget about the material, and my expectations, anxieties, fears, etc. The goal is soul. Everything I do is aimed at something that transcends these things. My soul is my nouse which is connected directly to God. THAT is what is important. Nothing else.

And Stay...I know a bizarre one. But I listen to this one in tough times too. I feel like it is God's song to me. God sees my pain, and how I hurt myself with my negative thoughts and feelings and actions. But God wants to remind me that God is with me always, and I am never alone. I thought it was interesting that the video that came out of this video is similar to that frame of thinking...perhaps that is the message behind it.

Actually, I forgot to add Bad...probably for the same reasons as stated in Stay. It is another song where the singer sees the suffering, and offers some positive love and encouragement.
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Old 10-16-2006, 11:48 PM   #3
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Wow!! If I gave explanations for all the songs that have helped my faith....I'd be here all night! LOL. Nearly every song has helped my faith, but I'll simply list my Top 20 or so....maybe we can discuss from there.
1. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (my personal anthem, my fav. song of all time)
2. Walk On
3. Yahweh
4. All Because of You
5. Surrender
6. Last Night on Earth
7. A Sort of Homecoming
8. Red Hill Mining Town
9. 40
10. Gone
11. New Year's Day
12. Where The Streets Have No Name
13. Bad
14. With or Without You
15. Discotheque
16. Like A Song
17. I Threw A Brick Through a Window
19. With A Shout (Jerusalem)
20. Miracle Drug
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Old 10-16-2006, 11:59 PM   #4
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redhotswami, I know a lot of people like to attach a lot of terms and conditions to being saved, but it's simply going to Jesus, and saying "I've sinned, and You're the only One that can take it away, so please come into my life as my Savior and Lord." (something along those lines) Anyone's who's done that is Saved. That's the message I get out of "ISHFWILF" by the last verse Bono's clearly saying he's saved, but he hasn't reached perfection yet, and neither has this world. I hope I helped a bit!
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:37 AM   #5
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interesing ... i see ISHFWILF as an expression of doubt, of the inadequacy of religion and faith to fully address the human condition, and also the fact that while Bono believes and is a person of faith, he's well aware that there is no faith without doubt, in fact, doubt makes the act of faith stronger. certainty is arrogance.
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Old 10-17-2006, 03:31 PM   #6
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I'm with you on that, Irvine.

I could make a pretty long list of U2 songs that have helped my faith as well, but I'll keep it brief.

"Falling At Your Feet," I know it's not a "U2" song, but it's the most beatiful worship song I think I've ever heard. As a Christian, I'm so tired of all of the modern worship music. It all sounds the same: a bunch of tired anthems.
Then this song comes along and it's a quiet, playful worship song that turns serious at the end. It's definitely a goose-bump song.

"All Because of You," -- no worship song kicks more ass than this.

"Tomorrow" I know this is about Bono's mother, however, the middle part expresses his faith. The first time I realized what he was crying out here I think I had goose bumps for a week.
"Open up, open up/to the lamb of God/to the love of he who made/the light to see you/he's coming back/he's coming back/I believe it/Jesus is coming."
He then sings "And I'm gonna be there/I'm gonna be there, mother . . . And you're going to be there."
Even at this young age, Bono knows he'll be reunited with his mother in the end because they've "opened up" to the love of Christ (the lamb of God).

"If God Will Send His Angels," another beautiful song that's well done. No cheese here. Plus, Bono and the Edge co-wrote the lyrics. Very cool.

"Wake Up Dead Man," a very important song. I love how Bono's able to express his anger through this. The frustration there is when God seems distant or when he doesn't reveal his full plan. Back in the day, I heard healthy conversations about being angry with God spring up among Christians because of this song. It's another sign of Bono's sincere faith, if you ask me.

"Mysterious Ways," I know, this one may throw people off. However, as they sing in the song "The spirit moves in mysterious ways." The first rock song about the Holy Spirit? And you can dance to it. Brilliant.

"When I Look at the World," speaks for itself.

"Until the End of the World" a friend called me one day and told me to bring my Bible over sometime in 1993. I did and he then told me to look up a few verses. Then he showed me the lyrics from the song. I had an open Bible in my friend's house and an open U2 album booklet. Years before this day I was made fun of for listening to Christian music, so I stopped.
I had new music to listen too now. Music with the music I was looking for music to have, with the artistic talent I had grown to need in music. My life changed dramatically after this moment. It was like a bomb went off, only it put things together for me.

That's enough for now.
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Old 10-17-2006, 10:10 PM   #7
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I agree about Mysterious Ways. Love that song on so many levels. I like the line "if you wanna kiss the sky, you better learn how to kneel"

Ultraviolet works for me too. "your love was a light bulb hanging over my head"

Gloria, Streets, God's Country, One, End of the World, All Because of You, so many.
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Old 10-17-2006, 10:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
interesing ... i see ISHFWILF as an expression of doubt, of the inadequacy of religion and faith to fully address the human condition, and also the fact that while Bono believes and is a person of faith, he's well aware that there is no faith without doubt, in fact, doubt makes the act of faith stronger. certainty is arrogance.
true true! once a friend asked me "whats the secret to your faith" i said "doubt!"

however, im sorta changing my view on life. instead of beating my head over things, like contradictions and whatnot (especially in myself), i'm starting now to take it all in and appreciating the mystery, and how beautifully many contradictions can coexist together, like, for example, faith and doubt
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Old 10-18-2006, 11:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by mandrake
I agree about Mysterious Ways. Love that song on so many levels. I like the line "if you wanna kiss the sky, you better learn how to kneel"


i always took this as one of Achtung's many, many oral sex references.

religious ecstasy and sexual ecstasy actually being two sides of the same coin.
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Old 10-18-2006, 02:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
he's well aware that there is no faith without doubt, in fact, doubt makes the act of faith stronger. certainty is arrogance.
I hear this a lot; people talking about doubt as if it's a good thing. I don't agree. I don't necessarily think doubt is a "sin", but it can definitely hold us back from doing what we need to be doing.

Now when I say doubt, I do not mean "questioning". I do question God, questions like "Why did you let this happen to that person?", or "what are you doing?" and moreso, "Where do I fit in your plans?". But as far as having doubts about whether the Gospel is true, I don't.

I've been a Christian for 27 years now, and I no longer have any doubts, really. And yes, I have had many big things happen in my life that could induce doubt. I'm as sure of Christ as I am of anything. Call that arrogance if you'd like. I'm not bragging when I say that I don't really doubt. I really think that anyone who has been a Christian this long should have resolved those issues for the most part.
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Old 10-18-2006, 08:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511


i always took this as one of Achtung's many, many oral sex references.

religious ecstasy and sexual ecstasy actually being two sides of the same coin.
The song is deliberately meant to blur the line. It is the story of John the Baptist/Salome, taken via the Oscar Wilde play, and spun into the personal Achtung themes of temptation/betrayal/love vs lust etc.
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:55 PM   #12
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Oscar Wilde is great, I just started reading his works.

Heres my list of spiritual songs: These are in m/o for various reasons.

Beautiful Day
Gone
Kite
Walk On
40
One Step Closer
Yahweh
Smile
Stuck in a Moment

Grace (I never thought this was a great song, basically because I don't think I really understood what it was about. After I read Whats so Amazing about Grace? the light bulb went on and I saw the song in a new light and its amazing).

Rejoice

Running to Stand Still - Even though I know what it is really about there is something very religious to it.

Staring at the Sun
If God Will Send His Angels
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Old 10-19-2006, 10:54 AM   #13
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Originally posted by 80sU2isBest


I hear this a lot; people talking about doubt as if it's a good thing. I don't agree. I don't necessarily think doubt is a "sin", but it can definitely hold us back from doing what we need to be doing.

Now when I say doubt, I do not mean "questioning". I do question God, questions like "Why did you let this happen to that person?", or "what are you doing?" and moreso, "Where do I fit in your plans?". But as far as having doubts about whether the Gospel is true, I don't.

I've been a Christian for 27 years now, and I no longer have any doubts, really. And yes, I have had many big things happen in my life that could induce doubt. I'm as sure of Christ as I am of anything. Call that arrogance if you'd like. I'm not bragging when I say that I don't really doubt. I really think that anyone who has been a Christian this long should have resolved those issues for the most part.


can you have light without darkness?
can you have sweet without sour?
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Old 10-19-2006, 03:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest

I'm as sure of Christ as I am of anything.


but can you be sure of anything?

can you be sure that you won't be hit by a car on the way home from work? can you be sure that you won't get brain cancer? can you be sure that the sun won't fall out of the sky tomorrow? can you be sure that the Washington DC metro won't be attacked with sarin gas on a random tuesday morning during rush hour?

the point is, you can't. we must at least consider the possibility that any of these things could happen in order to appreciate the fact that they don't happen, or haven't happened. i don't think faith is "faith" unless it's a willingness to choose to believe in the face of uncertainty. what if the atheists are right? isn't it conceivable that we're just big bags of protoplasm and water who simply happen to be self-aware and that when we die that's it? and it's the choice to belive otherwise from which faith draws its strength.

so sez the agnostic who cautiously refuses to place any bets just yet ...
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Old 10-19-2006, 03:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest


I've been a Christian for 27 years now, and I no longer have any doubts, really. And yes, I have had many big things happen in my life that could induce doubt. I'm as sure of Christ as I am of anything. Call that arrogance if you'd like. I'm not bragging when I say that I don't really doubt. I really think that anyone who has been a Christian this long should have resolved those issues for the most part.
I have to say this does sound pretty arrogant. People are at different places in their lives. Following Christ is a journey, not just a destination. Doubt is healthy and is a form of questioning things. Sometimes God feels far away. Sometimes things don't turn out how we thought they would. We're human and luckily, God doesn't care if we doubt. He understands. And, luckily, Bono understands this enough to write some cool songs about it.
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