(07-21-2002) Out of the Ghetto - CCM Magazine - U2 Feedback

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Old 07-21-2002, 06:42 PM   #1
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(07-21-2002) Out of the Ghetto - CCM Magazine


Out of the Ghetto
By John M. De Marco

There is an endless subject of debate among Christians who scrutinize the music, mannerisms and motives of U2. This Irish rock band has continued to evolve in its craft and its social justice activism for more than 20 years. Several mainstream music magazines lauded the rockers as 2001’s best band, and its "Elevation" arena tour was a smash among new and longtime fans. Lead singer Bono’s Jubilee 2000 crusade aimed at forgiving Third World debt and the band’s stunning performance at the post Sept. 11 benefit concert have given the group its hottest public profile in years.

Dovetailing with this spotlight is the new book Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2 (Relevant), examining the core beliefs and foundations that have driven U2 since its teenage years, while raising issues of interest to those who produce, record, sell and listen to the genre known as "Christian music." Author Steve Stockman, a Presbyterian minister based in Ireland, studied the music and lyrics from each of the band’s 12 full-length albums and culled together excerpts from various press interviews. The author spends dozens of pages asserting how U2 lives as vibrant a faith as any labeled "Christian" band, all while eschewing organized religion, Christian media and their attempts to place the band within a box.

As the book continues to gain buzz among Christians—its first print run of 10,000 copies sold out in one month—several contentions put forth by Stockman are ripe for debate and discussion. Stockman castigates the evangelical, particularly fundamentalist and televangelistic, Christian subculture for ostensibly insisting that a band be "Christian" on the subculture’s terms. Taking specific aim at the Christian music industry, Stockman claims its gatekeepers limit the potential of talented Christian acts, creating "a safe industry ghetto" that limits creative lyric writing to overt gospel sharing.

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