Mike Cosper, “Bono’s Punk-Rock Rebellion Was a Cry of Hopeful Lament,” Christianity Today (Nov. 4, 2022) [link], writes about Bono’s memoir (Surrender [amazon]), the space between faith and the world, and how Bono came to live there:
- [His mother’s] death wasn’t the only earth-shattering event in 1974. Four months before she collapsed, three car bombs exploded in Dublin and a fourth in Monaghan, killing 33 and wounding more than 300. One exploded near Dolphin Discs, the record shop that was Bono’s regular afterschool hangout, but he wasn’t there. A bus strike that same day meant he’d ridden a bike to school and back, and he was home when the bombs went off. He writes, “I didn’t dodge a bullet that day; I dodged carnage.”
- Too often, Christian artists are confronted with unwritten codes — subjects to avoid, self-images to project, messages to cram into their projects, people not to offend, and politics to endorse or avoid. Few things are more poisonous to creativity than that kind of dogmatism. U2’s response to these confrontations has been to accept the paradox and contradiction of living in an in-between space. It’s led some to suggest they’re too Christian for the mainstream and too mainstream for Christians. It strikes me that this framework gets it exactly wrong. Living in that liminal space has made them more able to speak to both communities.
I particularly enjoyed the reported conversations with Billy Graham’s son Franklin and with Jesse Helms, but I also like the account of how contract law kept U2 from disbanding.