U2 and Bono Coming to Town: Rock Star, Statesman, Different Kind of Christian
Omaha is set to welcome the super rock group U2 this coming Thursday, December 15 on its tour of the album “How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb”. What an incredible string of concerts we’ve had in Omaha this year. Prior to U2 it was Paul McCartney, whose tickets sold out in about 15 minutes! Not much different with U2 I might add.
About the closest to either concert I could get, was knowing a couple of good friends who scored tickets. Omaha, believe it or not, now ranks as among the top 10 concert venues anywhere!
Back to U2 and Bono. I have developed a real passion for the music and social outlook of the band from Dublin. And I would like to share my thoughts about that in a few posts this week. First off, I find Bono a compelling figure on the world celebrity stage right now. He’s a rock star with a conscience and a genuine faith in the God of Jesus Christ.
Along with that comes the fire of a prophetic faith served straight from the Hebrew Scriptures and prophets like Isaiah and Micah.
“He has told you, O Mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
Bono does a pretty good job with two out of three of Micah’s recommendations. The “walking humbly” part doesn’t really fit the outsized personality and ambitions of Bono.
He wants a world where the poor in places like Africa have a decent chance to move from the most extreme forms of poverty to what he and others call a “liveable poverty”.
Today, I’d like to introduce some of the interview Bono did for the November 2005 issue of Rolling Stone. In that interview, Bono speaks about growing up in Dublin, as Paul Hewson, a.k.a. Bono, with no thoughts that he would become the voice of the world’s biggest rock band, let alone a political activist who has revolutionized policy on debt relief in Africa. In that interview with editor Jann Wenner, Bono speaks about his complicated relationship with God and Christianity, his thoughts on his group’s musical legacy and his hopes for the future of the human race.
What was your childhood in Dublin like? (JannWenner)
I grew up in what you would call a lower-middle class neighborhood…a nice street and good people. And, yet, if I’m honest, a sense that violence was around the corner. Home was a pretty regular three-bedroom house….Mother departed the household early; died at the graveside of her own father. So I lost my grandfather and my mother in a few days, and then it became a house of men. And three, it turns out, quite macho men- and all that goes with that. The aggression thing is something I’m still working at. That level of aggression, both outside and inside, is not normal or appropriate.
The Dreamer: “ My father encouraged us not to dream; to dream was to be disappointed,” says Bono. “Which, of course, explains my megalomania.”
(Hart: Bono wrote an extraordinary song about his father on U2’s current cd,
“Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own”.
“You don’t have to put up a fight
You don’t have to always be right
Let me take some of the punches
For you tonight.”
It’s a song of great emotional depth, challenging the kind of destructive macho that lots of men seem to feel the world demands of them.)
Bono to Wenner:
You know that Johnny Cash song, “A Boy Named Sue” where he gives the kid a girl’s name and the kid is beaten up at every stage in his life by macho guys, but in the end he becomes the toughest man.
Wenner: “You’re the boy named Sue!”
Bono: (Yeah) By not encouraging me to be a musician, even though that’s all he (my dad) wanted to be, he’s made me one. By telling me never to have big dreams or else, that to dream is to be disappointed, he made me have big dreams. By telling me that the band would only last five minutes or ten minutes, we’re still here.”
(Hart: It’s this kind of transparency to the world that makes Bono such an appealing figure. He’s brutally honest with himself and his life story, and sometimes with other people, but there’s also an accepting kindness at work in his life. More about that tomorrow, when I take up the evolution of Bono as an activist and how he worked to convert former Sen. Jesse Helms to the cause of AIDS activism. What a conversion that was for the famous Senator “No”! from North Carolina, my home state.)