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10/26/2005

ON THE COVER OF THE ROLLING STONE

Excerpts from Rolling Stone's interview this week with Bono:

Q:What role did religion play in your childhood?

A:I knew that we were different on our street because my mother was Protestant. And that she'd married a Catholic. At a time of strong sectarian feeling in the country, I knew that was special. We didn't go to the neighborhood schools -- we got on a bus. I picked up the courage they had to have had to follow through on their love.

Q:Did you feel religious when you went to church?

A:Even then I prayed more outside of the church than inside. It gets back to the songs I was listening to; to me, they were prayers. "How many roads must a man walk down?" That wasn't a rhetorical question to me. It was addressed to God. It's a question I wanted to know the answer to, and I'm wondering, who do I ask that to? I'm not gonna ask a schoolteacher. When John Lennon sings, "Oh, my love/For the first time in my life/My eyes are wide open" -- these songs have an intimacy for me that's not just between people, I realize now, not just sexual intimacy. A spiritual intimacy.

Q:Who is God to you at that point in your life?

A:I don't know. I would rarely be asking these questions inside the church. I see lovely nice people hanging out in a church. Occasionally, when I'm singing a hymn like . . . oh, if I can think of a good one . . . oh, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" or "Be Thou My Vision," something would stir inside of me. But, basically, religion left me cold.

Q:Your early songs are about being confused, about trying to find spirituality at an age when most anybody else your age would be writing about girls and trouble.

A:Yeah. We sorta did it the other way around.

Q:You skipped "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and you went right . . .

A:. . . Into the mystic. Van Morrison would be the inverse, in terms of the journey. It's this turbulent period at fifteen, sixteen, and the electrical storms that come at that age...

Q:You never saw rock & roll -- the so-called devil's music -- as incompatible with religion?

Look at the people who have formed my imagination. Bob Dylan. Nineteen seventy-six -- he's going through similar stuff. You buy Patti Smith: Horses -- "Jesus died for somebody's sins/But not mine . . ." And she turns Van Morrison's "Gloria" into liturgy. She's wrestling with these demons -- Catholicism in her case. Right the way through to Wave, where she's talking to the pope.

The music that really turns me on is either running toward God or away from God. Both recognize the pivot, that God is at the center of the jaunt. So the blues, on one hand -- running away; gospel, the Mighty Clouds of Joy -- running towards. And later you came to analyze it and figure it out.

The blues are like the Psalms of David. Here was this character, living in a cave, whose outbursts were as much criticism as praise. There's David singing, "Oh, God -- where are you when I need you?/You call yourself God?" And you go, this is the blues.

Both deal with the relationship with God. That's really it. I've since realized that anger with God is very valid. We wrote a song about that on the Pop album -- people were confused by it -- "Wake Up Dead Man": "Jesus, help me/I'm alone in this world/And a fucked-up world it is, too/Tell me, tell me the story /The one about eternity/And the way it's all gonna be/Wake up, dead man."

Q:Soon after starting the band you joined a Bible-study group -- you and Larry and Edge -- called the Shalom. What brought that on?

A:We were doing street theater in Dublin, and we met some people who were madder than us. They were a kind of inner-city group living life like it was the first century A.D.

They were expectant of signs and wonders; lived a kind of early-church religion. It was a commune. People who had cash shared it. They were passionate, and they were funny, and they seemed to have no material desires...

But it got a little too intense, as it always does; it became a bit of a holy huddle. And these people -- who are full of inspirational teaching and great ideas -- they pretended that our dress, the way we looked, didn't bother them. But very soon it appeared that was not the case. They started asking questions about the music we were listening to. Why are you wearing earrings? Why do you have a mohawk?...

Q:What draws you so deeply to Martin Luther King?

A:So now -- cut to 1980. Irish rock group, who've been through the fire of a certain kind of revival, a Christian-type revival, go to America. Turn on the TV the night you arrive, and there's all these people talking from the Scriptures. But they're quite obviously raving lunatics.

Suddenly you go, what's this? And you change the channel. There's another one. You change the channel, and there's another secondhand-car salesman. You think, oh, my God. But their words sound so similar . . . to the words out of our mouths.

So what happens? You learn to shut up. You say, whoa, what's this going on? You go oddly still and quiet. If you talk like this around here, people will think you're one of those. And you realize that these are the traders -- as in t-r-a-d-e-r-s -- in the temple.

Until you get to the black church, and you see that they have similar ideas. But their religion seems to be involved in social justice; the fight for equality. And a Rolling Stone journalist, Jim Henke, who has believed in you more than anyone up to this point, hands you a book called Let the Trumpet Sound -- which is the biography of Dr. King. And it just changes your life.

Even though I'm a believer, I still find it really hard to be around other believers: They make me nervous, they make me twitch. I sorta watch my back. Except when I'm with the black church. I feel relaxed, feel at home; my kids -- I can take them there; there's singing, there's music.

Q:What is your religious belief today? What is your concept of God?

A:If I could put it simply, I would say that I believe there's a force of love and logic in the world, a force of love and logic behind the universe. And I believe in the poetic genius of a creator who would choose to express such unfathomable power as a child born in "straw poverty"; i.e., the story of Christ makes sense to me.

Q:How does it make sense?

A:As an artist, I see the poetry of it. It's so brilliant. That this scale of creation, and the unfathomable universe, should describe itself in such vulnerability, as a child. That is mind-blowing to me. I guess that would make me a Christian. Although I don't use the label, because it is so very hard to live up to. I feel like I'm the worst example of it, so I just kinda keep my mouth shut...

Q:How big an influence is the Bible on your songwriting? How much do you draw on its imagery, its ideas?

A:It sustains me.

Q:As a belief, or as a literary thing?

A:As a belief. These are hard subjects to talk about because you can sound like such a dickhead. I'm the sort of character who's got to have an anchor. I want to be around immovable objects. I want to build my house on a rock, because even if the waters are not high around the house, I'm going to bring back a storm. I have that in me. So it's sort of underpinning for me.

I don't read it as a historical book. I don't read it as, "Well, that's good advice." I let it speak to me in other ways. They call it the rhema. It's a hard word to translate from Greek, but it sort of means it changes in the moment you're in. It seems to do that for me.

Q:You're saying it's a living thing?

A:It's a plumb line for me. In the Scriptures, it is self-described as a clear pool that you can see yourself in, to see where you're at, if you're still enough. I'm writing a poem at the moment called "The Pilgrim and His Lack of Progress." I'm not sure I'm the best advertisement for this stuff.

Q:What do you think of the evangelical movement that we see in the United States now?

A:I'm wary of faith outside of actions. I'm wary of religiosity that ignores the wider world. In 2001, only seven percent of evangelicals polled felt it incumbent upon themselves to respond to the AIDS emergency. This appalled me. I asked for meetings with as many church leaders as would have them with me. I used my background in the Scriptures to speak to them about the so-called leprosy of our age and how I felt Christ would respond to it. And they had better get to it quickly, or they would be very much on the other side of what God was doing in the world.

Amazingly, they did respond. I couldn't believe it. It almost ruined it for me -- 'cause I love giving out about the church and Christianity. But they actually came through: Jesse Helms, you know, publicly repents for the way he thinks about AIDS.

I've started to see this community as a real resource in America...

(Excerpted from RS 986, November 3, 2005) Read more here. Or better yet, buy the magazine. This is the longest most in-depth interview I've ever read in Rolling Stone and well worth the read. Much to think about on music, life, faith and family.

46 Comments:

Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

I think one of the things I enjoy most about reading about Bono and his faith is that he's so focused on trying to live out what he believes on the broadest scale possible that he doesn't have any time or interest in shrinking down his influence or sanitizing his message so it fits inside the narrower walls of the Christian subculture. I know that doesn't win him a lot of favor with large parts of the Christian community, and definitely not Christian radio, but his frankness and rough edges sure get him into places and into minds that the more careful among us can't reach.

10/26/2005  
Blogger wstaple said...

I love the part of the article where he says, "The music that really turns me on is either running toward God or away from God. Both recognize the pivot, that God is at the center of the jaunt." That's the perfect definition of life: you're either running towards or away from God. The term "pivot" is a perfect term for God as one's center. Great article!

10/26/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i friggin love the way he answers the question of his concept of God and why he believes in Christ. there is nothing cookie cutter about it.

Also makes me once again re-evaluate my role in this Christian subculture and its role in the world. Here is the biggest rock-star in the world laying it out to the biggest secular music mag EVER. How many college students would have read this interview if it was in CCM.

thanks for posting it.

Seth

10/26/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one more thing-

whats funny is how many Christians will actually get to read this?


Nancy, "I know that doesn't win him a lot of favor with large parts of the Christian community, and definitely not Christian radio, but his frankness and rough edges sure get him into places and into minds that the more careful among us can't reach." i think you are totally RIGHT!! but isnt this soooo sad? shouldn't Christianity PERIOD be getting into the places and into minds that the more carful cant (or wont) reach?

Seth

10/26/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

I can't say whether or not he's a believer. He says he is and I accept him at his word, but his lifestyle and his usual choice of words ("choice words") makes it very hard for others to see Christ in him sometimes. There are many, many people who do many, many good things, are involved heavily in charitable work, volunteer tirelessly to serve others, works with AIDS patients, etc. who are by no definition Christians. Check out the Mormons for heaven sake. They have the largest tithing body of any group in the world, provide their own welfare system to their members as well as non-members, etc. and they are in no way Christian! The Bible teaches that "they (the non-believer) will know us (Christians) by our love." That's true, but if they first impression they get is bad, or our outward lifestyle denies our inward beliefs, then people don't tend to see the love, or if they do, know it's Christ's love they're seeing. I don't think that Christian's should live cookie-cutter lives or all fit into some kind of mold, and we certainly should not isolate ourselves from the world, but we should be set apart and people should be able to recognize us as that.

I'm sure I'll get plenty of flack for my "two cents" but that's OK. I'm a big girl and I can take it. I know I have a pretty narrow view of the world and I can deal with the fallout from from that too. I certainly am far from perfect and I know I fail Christ everyday by not always showing Christ to others the way I should. Something I struggle with off and on. I guess what troubles me about him is that he has such an influence over so many and I'm not sure that when people think Bono, they think "there is a great Christian guy."

Beth

10/26/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i guess i see where you are coming from but, what is the definition of a "great Christian guy"? a preacher, a deacon, George Bush, lots of people know Bush is a Christian but there are plenty that would not call him a great Christian Guy. if its the bono's drinking and smoking problems then i guess we would have to rule out Rich Mullins because he had the same problems. If its the Rock and Roll then i guess were ruling out the procurer of this Blog. If its the Curse words then all of us here probably need to fear some judgement. Is it the divorce.? And what is by definition a Christian. isnt it a person who confesses with there mouth and believes in their heart that Jesus is the Son of God. I have heard that line on the Jesus freak album also, but how do you know he denies him with his lifestyle? I wonder is what ticks some of us off about bono is that we feel like we have been saying these things for a while now and here here comes bono and now its maybee cool to be a Christian. Well maybe that puts us in the position of pointing fingers like the prodigals brother.

-seth

10/26/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

I guess I don't have a specific definition of a "great Christian guy" as it probably varies for different people. I didn't know (and don't care) that he was divorced and the music doesn't bother me either. Smoking is just plain stupid with all the health risks and if he's not drinking to excess or an alcoholic, then that's his decision. My point is just that since he's such a public figure and influences so many, maybe he could be a bit more "up front" about his beliefs so as not to cast doubt about where he stands. I'll bet if you took a survey of Christians and non-Christians asking whether or not Bono was a Christian (not that it is our place to do so, nor am I suggesting that anyone else would fare better), more people would say no than yes because of his language and his lifestyle.

Beth

10/26/2005  
Anonymous Sonflower said...

That is ******* great article!!!


I have a great deal of respect for Bono. No, he's not a perfect Christian but from what I can tell from his words and actions, he is transparent and does listen to the Holy Spirit.

... ;) sorry I'm not perfect Christian either.

10/26/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would agree that bono is not your everyday Christian public figure. but, do we really need more of them. they seem to do more damage at times than good. when i mean damage i mean damage to message of Christ. Love and forgiveness. there are lots of actors, atresses, musicians, etc. who are devout Christains who star in movies that have words not considered clean. and maybee we would never know they are christians. most of us never knew that mel was a christian until he made that passion movie. anyway, i think that the person dying with aids who is helped by bono through his efforts and see him as Christ-like more than they will see him as worldly because of a profane word or two that flys out of his mouth. and about being upfront, it is hard to imagine being more upfront about your faith than blatantly telling Rolling Stone magazine about your beliefs in God.

I guess what i am wondering is how do you think he could be more upfront? besides the profanity although i think that even minus the profanity bono might be in the same dilema with conservative Christains. what i see is this:

right now there are alot of conservative Christians sitting back trying to figure out what the heck to do with this bono guy. the biggest rock-star of our time saying he is a christian. It is strange for them because this has never been a problem before. no one in the secular world ever asked him and everyone in the chirstain sub-culture just assumed he wasnt. all the while he's just rockin away, while moving some mountains and being Christ-like in his committment to helping people. that was okay for us for a while, lots of celebs have done that sort of thing. so here comes this book "conversations with bono" (i think thats the title)he speaks openly about his struggles and his faith. but he is not lining up to what our idea of a clean cut christian should be so we arent exactly lining up with them. its sort of like peter and paul and the bacon. While some conservative Chirstians secretly admire what he is saying and doing but cant claim him because maybee he aint safe and fun for the whole family, and stand back with eachother and refuse to sell "conversations with bono" in their book stores but then they run to barnes and noble, go home and read and admire what he says and then publish a review of it in the amy grant tribute issue in CCM. it just seems strange to me and i cant put my finger on what seems to be the problem that Alot of people are having with him. so keep talking...how could he be more upfront?

thanks for the reply

Seth

10/26/2005  
Blogger Amy said...

some good conversation here. I tend to agree with you Beth...the very fact that He called God a "force" raises red flags. lol. God is very much a person. I think the fact that he tries to bring people together to help others is great. I think a lot of his ideas make a lot of sense. I would wonder, Seth, if people don't know you're a Christian what's the point? We are certainly meant to be known as followers of Christ. And yes, some Christians have given us a bad name, and yes, that is old as Bible times.
Ha, I don't really have a point, just some random thoughts. :-)

10/26/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the question. my whole point is that I think that bono IS making it apparent that he is a Christian. it just makes some of us feel a bit more uncomfortable because he is a bit unorthadox. my question is still... how does the world know that we or you are a Christian? this view of him is exactly why he says-"Even though IM A BELIEVER, I still find it really hard to be around other believers: They make me nervous, they make me twitch. I sorta watch my back." why is he watching his back? why is it so difficult for christians to except his statement of faith and why does it seem to be so easy for the world to just seem to think that it is okay. i mean, seriously, what else does the guy have to do to convince you that he is a believer?

good discussion.

go astros.

Seth

10/26/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the question. my whole point is that I think that bono IS making it apparent that he is a Christian. it just makes some of us feel a bit more uncomfortable because he is a bit unorthadox. my question is still... how does the world know that we or you are a Christian? this view of him is exactly why he says-"Even though IM A BELIEVER, I still find it really hard to be around other believers: They make me nervous, they make me twitch. I sorta watch my back." why is he watching his back? why is it so difficult for christians to except his statement of faith and why does it seem to be so easy for the world to just seem to think that it is okay. i mean, seriously, what else does the guy have to do to convince you that he is a believer?

good discussion.

go astros.

Seth

10/26/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.

1 John 3:23 And this is his (God's) command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, Jesus said. And righteousness is mercy showing, peace making, and purity of heart - at the very least. (Matthew 5:1-12)

Only God knows the heart of a man. I didn't post this interview because I believe or don't believe in Bono. The point wasn't to make a case for or against his salvation. There were many lessons in his words for me personally, none of them related to his salvation or lack thereof. One of the many excellent teaching moments in his interview was concerning how uneasy he is around the religious, not because he doesn't believe in their God, but because he doesn't trust them. I understand this feeling. It's in me too and growing. In part, this is because I never feel quite "Christian" enough. I suppress parts of my personality and steer very clear of some of my beliefs and rarely if ever mention how many of my beliefs/convictions are wet cement still, how uncertain I truly am of so much. Doing that long enough, living as a fraud, breeds paranoia. I felt a huge weight lift off of me when I read Bono's confession here.

And I felt an even greater boulder roll off my shoulders when his faith came under question her in the comments section of SHLOG. Why? Well, I realized that even a guy who saves millions of lives, brings world leaders together to forgive debts, restores hope to fourth world orphans and widows, and says publicly at the peak of his career that he believes the story of Jesus and finds the bible to be true and life sustaining for him - I realized that even a man like this is questioned. So, it makes my trying to look more Christian than I am, trying to earn the approval of the squeaky wheels and stone throwers, is futile. I'll never do it. I'll never be an generous and revolutionary as Bono is at this instant. Dare I say, I may never be as obedient to the central command of Christ to love. What a relief to feel today like the work of earning the approval of ALL the religious in America is pointless, a war that can't be won, a prize that doesn't exist.

What a relief. I feel a little more inspired than before to be like Christ - not like Christians - knowing that some Christians will never like me.

SG

10/26/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

All points well taken. Shaun, I know where you're coming from and I struggle everyday with wondering if people see Christ in me. You know, if I were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me? Sometimes I seriously doubt it! Outward evidence anyway. I guess I am guilty of judging Bono when I have no right to do so and I stand convicted. All I have to say is if people are questioning you Shaun, then I'm in big trouble! I guess I'm wondering if while Bono is out doing all this good, do the people he's doing it for, know why he does it and for who's glory? Just curious.

Beth

10/26/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Do they have to? Does he have to tell people he's fighting famine and aids and evil government oppression because of Jesus in order for him to be obedient to Jesus, to bring attention to the character of Jesus, to be a follower of Jesus?

I did something once that changed my view on this sort of thing. I went and read every healing and feeding of Jesus in the Gospel accounts. Amazingly, no altar calls, no hymns of decision, no four steps to relationship with God, no mention of salvation from Hell beginning at death, few mentions of His motivation. Odd. Odd how unlike Jesus I am when I help only when I will at the same time have the chance to talk about Jesus, and specifically about salvation and Heaven. I'm learning to take every opportunity I have to talk about Christ, but at the same time I'm letting my legs and hands walk before my mouth. I don't shut my mouth - does anyone think I ever could??? - but I'm making sure my hands and feet and money talk when words can't.

I know Michael W. Smith spoke with Bono at great length when we were in Dublin together. I didn't get to go to Bono's house with him so I asked lots of questions in an effort to get a sense of what it would have been like to be there talking with him about life, eating with his wife and kids, hearing Vertigo before anyone else etc. I wished I could have been there, not because he's famous - famous means nothing when you get even the slightest taste of it yourself - but I wanted to be there with Michael and Bono to see what was discussed when an obviously "Christian" Christian met with a Christian. From the conversation, the secret details of his faith and life and work, I'm confident that Bono has a more accurate understanding of what it means to be a disciple of the Christ than many of us who've grown up in evangelical American circles do - better than mine a few years ago for certain. He doesn't trust governments to fix the world. He thinks it's the Church's job. He doesn't believe rhetoric or sermons make us like Jesus. He insists that actions do. He doesn't believe God can be reduced to dogma and regulations and systems or that those things ARE God. God is God, is vast and mysterious and he doesn't claim to have Him figured out but continues to try.

Admittedly, he cusses. (I do) He drinks excessively at times.(I have) He's prone to fight instead of back down. (Me too) But he's following Jesus and I'm not sure some of what we use to disqualify him and others from our fold (cussing in particular) is really what Jesus ever cared about. Paul cursed. Jesus called Pharisees blood sucking snakes. He drank and danced with whores and ate with crooked IRS agents. So I wonder if Jesus were to put on some sunglasses (I think they'd be cheap ones ; ) ) and interview with Rolling Stone, would we recognize Him?

What makes a Christian? It's a noun, not an adjective.

10/26/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Shaun,
Thanks for clarifying. I too am trying to break free from the stereotypical Christian attitudes and do more talking with my actions than my mouth (you think you can't shut up?) I don't think that we have to always be verbal about why we're doing things as Christians, but I think sometimes, especially where Christianity is less known, we need to very clear about who we're serving so they have a chance to know about their salvation. It's great to love them and show Christ's love to them, but if they don't know that's what they're seeing, then they miss the point and as Christians, we're responsible for that. I'm in no way saying that the Holy Spirit doesn't open eyes to Christ, because that's always necessary, but we can't "beat around the bush" either. Great points though and as usual, you make my brain hurt with all this pondering, view-changing, and searching.

Beth

10/26/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Thanks for letting me push you like this. Know that I'm pushing myself and everyone else too. I admire your being so teachable. Refreshing. It's invaluable to be able to TALK and PUSH and POKE each other and scripture in search of something true. That's how I learn. I'm glad you do to. Or else I'd be talking to myself a lot.

SG

10/26/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sometimes i wonder if being a Christian is more about feeding the poor than being born again.

Seth

10/27/2005  
Blogger supersimbo said...

normally im well up on what bono is saying.............i missed this one!! nice stuff shaun

10/27/2005  
Blogger Drew said...

Seth, being a Christian is definitely NOT more about feeding the poor than being born again.

Though feeding the poor is a great thing that Christ would want us to do, if you're feeding the poor but are not regenerate, you are merely a humanitarian, not a Christian. I would also have to agree with amy, that Bono's calling God "a force" raises some big red flags. However, I recognize and understand that this could simply be the way He talks about God, not having grown up in evangelical America, so to be honest, I'm more confused than ever about Bono's faith. Whatever he is "a believer" of, it obviously spurs him on to Christ-like actions, and that's good. But in the things I've read and heard from him (which is admittedly not as much as I'd like to read and hear from him), there is no verbal witness to the fact that he has trusted in Christ's redemptive work on the cross for the forgiveness of his sins and his reconciliation w/ God. He doesn't have to say that out loud for it to be true in his heart, but if he doesn't say it out loud, then we don't know. Hope that made sense.

10/27/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Force. It's a synonym. Is there a language requirement for salvation now?

10/27/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly I grew up in a "don't do this and this" Christianity. I am now realising that it is more of a "to do" thing...how can you love God and not help the poor...I think Jesus asked his diciple this and he said "of course" Jesus replies...then feed my sheep.

One of the things I whish I could change about my religion growing up was that service was never a part of it...not once did my youth group do something to fight injustice...I went to England and Handed out tracks...but didn't go down the street and hand out food...for that I am truly sorry...

10/27/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

let me explain my sentence. being a Christian. first of all i said BEING a Christian and not BECOMING a Christian, although sometimes i wonder if those two are not daily intertwined as well. i mean, i grew up in that evangelical all-american home. my dads a southern baptist minister. prayed the prayer, out loud, when i was 7. meant it. prayed it again out louder, when i was 11, meant it. then i was 13, meant it. that time i wrote down the experience in a bible to make sure i would remember when i did it. we as evangelical americans have been so caught up in making sure we are saved with these points of conversions to the point of that point of conversion is what being a Christian is. C.S. Lewis in his book suprised by joy describes his conversion as happening somewhere on a bus trip between two destinations. no particular point, just that when he left the station he did not believe in Christ and when he arrived he did. i do think you hit on something though when you said bono not growing up evangelical American. i guess we should take a moment and realize that there were a good 1800 years filled with non-evangelical american Christians speaking their faith in Christ without ever "asking Jesus into their heart" in those very words.

I simply have come to question if living day to day as a Christian is less about making sure that i have been born again and more about feeding the poor and loving.

how are you born again. do you say the prayer, do you walk down front of church in a invitiation? or is it that you believe Jesus is who he said he was and believe in Grace through faith. and what is faith "now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." but faith without works is dead. a work the way that james means it is the things that Christ tells us to do in obedience. feeding the poor. loving our neighbor. all because we have been saved not to be saved. if your faith is dead then you have no grace. for it is through faith that you recieve this grace. i know there is nothing that i can do to earn grace. but i know that the proof of that faith is how the love oF Christ is running through me to others. not being born again again and again. Jesus said, "if you love me, keep my command and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know hiim, for he lives with you and will be in you."jn. 14:18 . Love one another. Love as i have loved you. Do as I do. Feed my Sheep. "as the Father has loved me, so have i loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as i have obeyed my Fther's commands and remeian in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." jn 15:9-13 "if anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me". these things that Jesus said are the reason why every day i get older i wonder if BEING a Christian and BECOMING more like Christ is more about feeding his sheep than being born agian. A new command I give you: Love one another As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

but of course i am working out my salvaiton wtih fear and trembling like everyone else here so i know im not right about everything, still learning in his Grace.


Seth

10/27/2005  
Blogger Drew said...

Seth, I agree with you completely. Apparently I misunderstood you before. Thanks for clearing that up.

Shaun, there are no language requirements for salvation. There are clarity requirements for effectively communicating with those around us. Since we live in a time where spiritism (new age, whatever you want to call it) is so prevalent, it is imperitive that when communicating about our faith we use language that clearly distinguishes it from our false faiths. That is why I uncomfortable with calling God a force. Whether it's a synonym or not, it is unclear and vague.

10/27/2005  
Blogger FancyPants said...

We could argue semantics all we want with the word "force." But actually, Bono's description of God in this interview was this:

"If I could put it simply, I would say that I believe there's a force of love and logic in the world, a force of love and logic behind the universe. And I believe in the poetic genius of a creator who would choose to express such unfathomable power as a child born in "straw poverty"; i.e., the story of Christ makes sense to me."

We can take that out of context and say that Bono merely described God as a force, and left it at that. When in reality this is not what he said at all. He includes words such as "love", "logic", genius", "creator", "power", "child born in straw poverty", and "story of Christ" in his answer to an incredibly hard question. A hard question to answer in an interview, on the spot, in a limited amount of time. I think Bono did quite well, personally.

10/27/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Are words like "personal relationship" and "Savior" and "Lord" any clearer to those outside the club?

SG

10/27/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i guess what i am still wondering is what does bono have to do to please the people who dont think he is Christian enough.

lets face it, if our friend shaun groves would have given the same answers with the same colorful adjectives, we would not have thought twice about his beliefs. But because he's bono, who was until now thought of as the patron saint of rock'n'roll, we are giving him NO grace about all the words he chooses to use. scrutinizing every single word, looking for the slightest hole to stick our finger in and poke.

What is still incredible to me is that the heathen-lost world reading this article in the rolling stone seems to have ZERO problem with accepting him as a Christian.

Seth

10/27/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Seth,

I agree with what you had to say above about the difference in BEING a Christian and BECOMMING a Christian. Good explanation! Bono doesn't have to do anything to please ME about being Christian enough. No one does for that matter. However, to say (for me anyway) that if Shaun had given the same answers in the same "colorful adjectives" as Bono did above, I wouldn't have thought twice about it, is wrong. I'd would certainly have thought more than twice about it. Not about his beliefs, that's not for me to question, but certainly about what God's doing in his life. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, as humans, we do judge people by their words and their actions; but usually their words first. I'm not saying its' right, it's just true. Because of his public life, and because his music is in the mainstream, when he uses the language he did in the interview (not just the "force", but the cuss words), it does call into question his beliefs. You mentioned President Bush and the fact that people believe he's a Christian because he's publically stated it. If he'd publically stated it while cussing, I'll bet people would question him more too! As Christians, we are held to a higher standard than the secular world. I have no problem with his music (except when it contains cuss words) or his message. Just the delivery.

As for the "right words" to use that work with "those outside the club," I for one am guilty of using too many "Christian" terms to present the gospel too. I wish I was better at showing Christ to people than I am. I'm working on it, but then again, isn't that what we're supossed to do?

Also, just a slight scolding to you Shaun since we're dealing with symantics today; I don't consider Christianity to be a "club," but rather a way of life. And yes, I can say I'm scolding because I'm older than you!

Beth

10/27/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beth, (by the way, i cant count the times that a teacher in school has mistakenly called me Beth;) lets take that shaun-as-bono senerio a bit further. so what if shaun/bono said everything in the interview plus did all the other things, (although, shaun has already confessed his drinking similiarities and his similarities with the spicy words,) then lets say shaun was involved in solving the hunger problems of the world, (which he is) ect. going down the list of incredible things that bono has done pouring out the Love of God to others with his influence, would you still, still-still-still. question what is going on in his life.

honestly, i think that this is really boiling down to the words bono used in his interview: dickhead. one word, in this interveiw, not a word max lucado or olsteen would use in public or in their books, but we are talking bono here. he isnt concerned with getting a publishing deal with a christian label or christian book publishing house. amazangly he was refering to himself being afraid of sounding like one.

i guess we will agree to disagree on this one.

thanks for the reply.

seth

10/27/2005  
Blogger Amy said...

I didn't mean to say he was or wasn't a Christian. The use of the word force made me personally uncomfortable for the reason mentioned above that it makes me think of spiritism. If someone can push me to think outside the box, can I not in return question the use of a word? Not to judge, but just so that all of us can be better? Even though Bono has done countless good things he is not perfect. I also feel a growing discomfort around Christians Shaun. (and Americans for that matter) I haven't decided if that is really a good thing. For whatever flaws the church in America has, it is still the church...loved and chosen by God. A lot of the pressures we feel about living up to the Christian image we put there ourselves. I can't really say for anyone else, but for me, it's a serious problem and I have to work daily to walk in the grace God gives and trust His body. And sometimes they fail me. And I know I fail them. A critical heart is a sure sign to me that I am NOT walking in grace. Again some randomness...thanks for the discussion everyone.

10/27/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Seth,

Can't say I 've ever been called "Seth." Sorry. I am most offended by his language I guess. I have a problem with it too sometimes, so it hits close to home sometimes. The "dickhead" reference to himself didn't bother me, it was the "F" word he used previously in the interview and on tv as well.

Amy, I agree that we should all be able to question and learn without fear of it all being taken personally. I love it here because I always learn so much, so everyone stick around!

Beth

10/27/2005  
Anonymous Sonflower said...

We've been so busy worrying about the "F-word" that we forget that a rockstar who many non-believing admire just said "yes, I believe in Christ. Yes, I believe in the Bible" in a publication that reaches outside the Christian subculture....and all we talk about is that he cusses, drinks and whatever else.

If Bono's profession causes one non-believer to consider Christ or to pick up the Bible to see the "poetry"....don't you get the beauty in that.... I'd certainly trade a little salty language for one life touched.

10/27/2005  
Blogger Kathryn said...

i LOVED that interview, thank you, Shaun for posting it. I don't even know what to say. ahhhh. . I love his apparent passion, I love his visible action. . he does things, good things. His music's great too! Of course I don't know him so I can't really say much about what he's like. I also love that he admits to being 'afraid' to take on the label "Christian". . I am too. I follow Christ on good days, neglect Him on other days. .but I always love Him. . and when I ask Him to forgive me, I believe that He does. I HATE seeing 'spiritual snake oil salespeople' on the airwaves. . it makes me FURIOUS! I have a story to tell. . but there isn't enough space on anyone's hard drive for this story. . Church. . ugh. . I was raised in it and i was crushed by it. . utterly devastated. Now, its just me and God. . I have such trust issues now, with authority. . I have become guarded, I am turned off. .shut down. Bono's words ring true in my heart. . If he was a pastor I'd listen, cuz he does what Jesus says to do.

10/27/2005  
Anonymous Stephen said...

I'm reminded of a story I've heard of a pastor who was addressing a meeting of his denomination. He walked to the pulpit and started by saying "There are three things that have really been bothering me lately.
The first is that there are millions of people dying every year in Africa from aids.
The second thing bothering me is that most of you don't give a damn about it.
And the third thing is that you are all now more upset that I said "damn" in church then you are over the fact that there are children dying from aids, and we're not doing anything about it".

10/27/2005  
Blogger Kathryn said...

i love that story, Stephen. . it really hits the nail on the head doesn't it?

10/27/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I believe that was Tony Campolo

10/28/2005  
Anonymous Stephen said...

Shaun, I just looked it up, and yes, it was Tony Campolo. Also, the word was sh**, not d***.

10/28/2005  
Blogger Kathryn said...

i'm glad that Tony Campolo said shit. Not glad that he swore, but glad that he tried to wake people up to a huge problem. I often see him doing World Vision spots on the TV. .

10/28/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Compassion International spots I believe.

OK, so I'm thinking this post is pretty dead at this point. New post coming soon. But before I stop checking in here - and I welcome you all to keep commenting if there's more you have to say - I wanted to thank everyone for the honest discussion. To summarize what I've gotten from this post and the comments here, Bono has a great deal to say about those who align themselves with Jesus and the Bible in various ways and a great deal to say about Jesus and the Bible themselves. But such insights are hard to accept at face value and to learn from for many of us accustomed to such insights coming from pulpits and other sources that are "obviously Christian" as defined by many of the Christians around us in the US. In other words the source and presentation of truth obscures for many of us any truth that may be present in Bono's words. On the one hand we find ourselves nodding in appreciation and approval of his life story and message and mercy showing but on the other hand we wonder if he's enough like us and like Jesus and like our version or impression of Jesus to fully trust him, to let his words influence our perception of God, scripture and truth in general. On the one hand we want to be inspired by a man like Bono but on the other we wish he were a bit more like us and like the Jesus image we've grown accustomed to. Tough questions ensue. Our image of Christ gets tested and maybe even revised. Our perception of rock stars gets a whacking too. But in the end, I think we're better for the wrestling. I find myself having to justify my view of Bono and God, figuring out why I think the way I do about some meaty matters. That's good. That's growing. Thanks for the discussion. I learn a lot from you all...even when I disagree...especially when I disagree.


SG

10/28/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Language

it is funny for me to see the words on the christian don't say list.

fricken and screw you...are accepted by the flock...but don't they have the same underlying meaning as fuc**** and fuc* you???

Now thats not christianity, its culture and arnen't christians supposed to be different?

A rockstar is going to use the language of his culture...and a southern baptist is gonna use the accepted language of their culture.

Now i would love to find out how/if at all, the underlying meanings of each culture differ in day to day conversation? or is it just different words?

10/28/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Excellent thought. Hmmm...I think you have something there, anonymous. Am I truly better saying crap instead of shit? Is either "wrong"? Jesus gets at this somewhat in the Sermon on the Mount when he talks about how we're damned by God if we saying ANYTHING, regardless of the verbage, with the desire to damn someone. The Pharisees had language rules that they kept while at the same time wishing ill upon someone else. Jesus seems to calling them on it and pointing out that the heart behind actions and words matters more to in the end.

One could probably argue that certain words (fuck, for instance) are more than likely spoken when there's less than noble intent in the heart of the speaker, just as certain actions are always wrong because of the intent that almost always accompanies them (rape, murder, stripping for strangers). But are "damn" or "shit" words that ALWAYS are tied to bad intent, evil motivation, anger, damning desires etc? I don't think so.

Of course maybe the best reason not to use these words is because I don't need to. I have better, more descriptive and powerful meaningful words to use when I'm angry or frustrated don't I? I better. I'm a song writer. If shit is the best I've got my songs probably suck. Of course if I had better words why did I use suck just now. I should have said - if shit is the best I've got my songs are probably dumbed down for mass consumption and probably lack merit. Yea, that's better.

The Church/church is constantly redefining what "bad words are too, you know? When our nation was founded words like "pagan" and "devil" were "bad words." In the fifties a woman couldn't share that she was "pregnant" in a bible study prayer time for fear of judgment from the Pharisees. Inappropriate. Doesn't mean there are no rules, no rights and wrongs or absolutes in the world and our faith. Just means those absolutes govern the heart and then the heart governed well, obeying well, infested with rightness, acts rightly more often and governs the tongue. The words of our mouths are the overflow of our hearts a wise book once said. The need to filter and make rules becomes much less when hearts - the basic foundation and values and perspective of a person - is renovated. A renovated heart furnished in the priorities and values of an Empire other than the one we live in down here is less likely, don't you think, as anonymous said, to talk like the culture at large, like their heart is still decorated like everyone else's?

Good thoughts. Made me ponder and philosophize. What's everybody else think abut anonymous' words here?

10/28/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

The pastor mentioned above's use of words was probably to make a point. I'll bet his congregation would soon wonder if his language was like that all the time. I agree that cultural differences have a great deal to do with language. We lived in the UK for 8 years and we are two nations separated by a "common" language as the saying went. However, I'm pretty sure the f*** doesn't have a positive conotation in any culture. I agree with you Shaun when you quote "The words of our mouths are the overflow of our hearts." A truly renovated heart, it would stand to reason, would then be different and thus the language should be too.

Oh yeah, Shaun; go wash your hands off with soap (instead of your mouth since you were typing).

10/28/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ooh more. i just want to thank everyone here for making the time between my teaching guitar and piano lessons way more fun. or funner.

F.or U.nlawful. C.arnal K.noledge. the name of a really bad van halen album.

it seems to me that when these words are used in a context and in the proper setting then there is nothing wrong with them. if they are at an innapropriate time like many things are-i.e. talking about sex with your wife or husband in front of your 6 year old, or at a hospital. or making out at your grandmas birthday party. (no, i have done niether) i think that when this preacher said this that it was appropriate. and if the congregation sat there and wondered if he talked like that all the time then the stick in their rear-end was extra large that night and they proved his point ever-the-more. just like when paul said in in Philippians 3:8 & 9. "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish [shit], that I may gain Christ and be found in him. maybee in a few years shit won't be considered a bad word and it will turn up in the 4th edition of "the Message" i am not sure about fuck though. its probably doomed for all eternity. i think its etymology has its root in the old Germanic from the verb "focken" (sp) meaning to poke or to prod. not the urban legend of f.or u.nlawful c.arnal k.nowledge. sorry van halen.

Seth

10/28/2005  
Anonymous Sonflower said...

Actually the use of the words in this posts makes sense in context of the discussion. I generally don't cuss and don't think it's something... let's say...Michael W. Smith or Billy Graham should be doing (at least publically) because short of making a point it would indeed injure their witness as Christian leaders. It wouldn't make them any less a Christian, though.

Although many within the Christian circles admire Bono he has never tried to be a "preacher". Right or wrong the language he used is relevant to the audience he reaches. God works in mysterious ways....don't doubt that.

10/28/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Bono cares more about what Jesus thinks than what we think.

Maybe God cares more about the things we do than the things we say.

Maybe Christians want Bono to "seem" more Christian so the we'll have a better poster boy to make us feel cool.

I don't know, but maybe...

10/28/2005  
Blogger Amy said...

Things like language, drinking, etc can be cultural sins. It isn't only Christians who consider certain words to be "rude" but others as well. I think part of being above reproach is being sensitive to what cultural sins are, knowing you are free in Christ, and then making conscious decisions about whether or not you will speak those words or drink, or be late to a meeting, or whatever it is. i.e, I drank alcohol in Japan, but I won't do it here, because there is so much uncertainty in the church surrounding it, that it's a small thing for me to give up in order to live in harmony with others.
Words, when used too much, when used to freely, devalue. I think that's part of why God didn't want us to take His name in vain. It's why awesome doesn't mean the same thing to me the American, as it does to my English speaking friends from other countries. Words are powerful. I may not judge another on the words they use, but I will certainly as lovingly as I can, encourage them to think about it.

10/31/2005  

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