Bono and his band, U2, have been provoking audiences, including Christians, since they began playing in the '70s. After making clear their Christian influences early on, the band took on social justice concerns and explored the depths of pop culture in the '90s. With their album All that You Can't Leave Behind, U2 returned to exploring its spiritual roots. Bono then toured the United States asking Christians to step up the fight against AIDS in Africa.
All along, however, U2 has been a staple in sermons across the country, across denominations, and across generations. Get Up Off Your Knees is a collection of sermons from the U2 catalogue written by several authors. Co-editor Beth Maynard is the pastor of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.
Your co-author, Raewynne Whiteley, has a piece on pop culture and preaching. What is the connection between those two?
Preachers are always looking for effective cultural connections that help people grasp the meaning of biblical text. One of the points that Raewynne makes is that not only do we take the biblical text out into the world, we bring our life experience and our experience of the world with us when we read biblical text. If you're a fan of U2, when you come to a situation of discouragement, when you need to be encouraged to persevere, you may come to that situation with "Walk On" in your head. There's just a natural connection that you make of these different texts and these different ways of telling the story of the world that we're in.
For people that aren't that familiar with U2, give a brief history of U2 and why it is that their lyrics so consistently convey biblical themes.
U2 is an Irish band, formed in the late '70s, out of the punk/new wave movement ...1