By the time that Bono announced the formation of his political advocacy group DATA, met with evangelical leaders about world need, and turned the Super Bowl halftime show into a spiritual event, a book chronicling the Christian message and mission of U2 had already been released.
Walk On: The Spirtual Journey of U2 (Relevant Books) was written by Belfast Presbyterian minister Steve Stockman, who has used the work of U2 in his sermons and writing for 20 years. This week, Christianity Today spoke with Stockman about the influence—and faith—that U2 and its frontman have brought to the world.
What makes Bono stand out among other socially active celebrities?
I think he is unique, and I would like to think he is unique because of his faith. The people who used to talk about political and spiritual things are not around now. U2 is one of the few. Bruce Springsteen is still around, but not with the same relevance he had maybe 20 years ago. Bob Dylan is still around but not in the same way. R.E.M. is now singing about dragonflies, and I don't think they have much to say.
I think the excessive living of some other pop stars has distracted them from the issues of the real world. But I don't think Bono has ever been distracted; he is still pretty well plugged into that. I think his faith has kept him away from excessive living and has also given him a mission.
Bono is unique in that world because he has integrity, he's famous, he has a brain, and he has this spiritual mission of wanting to bring in the kingdom.
Why do politicians listen to a rock star like Bono?
When the political door was opened for Bono, all these politicians said, "Who is this guy?" But when he got in there, he knew his stuff. He didn't come in with a three-line stance ...1