Magazine article The Christian Century

U2's Spiritual Journey Defies Categorizing. (News)

Magazine article The Christian Century

U2's Spiritual Journey Defies Categorizing. (News)

Article excerpt

More taboo than drugs or sex, God is a most unwelcome guest in the world of rock `n' roll. But that's precisely why Bono, lead singer of U2, finds God to be such a powerful subject for the band's songs. "You're in a rock band what can't you talk about? God? OK, here we go," he once said. "You're supposed to write songs about sex and drugs. Well, no, I won't."

From the band's origins as four dreaming teenagers in Dublin, Ireland, in the 1970s to its current status as among the greatest rock bands on the planet, U2 has written and performed music shot through with a religiosity that defies easy categorization.

On its 2001 Elevation Tour, U2 sold out arenas and stadiums around the world, using in the process a surprising amount of religious imagery. The band usually closed with "Walk On," a song from its newest album, All That You Can't Leave Behind. Toward the end of the song, Bono would shout "Unto the Almighty, thank you!" and lead the crowd in a chorus of hallelujahs.

Bono and the rest of U2 would seem to fit comfortably with evangelicalism and contemporary Christian music. That placement, however, is resisted by both the evangelical establishment and the band itself. U2's members--Bono, guitarist The Edge, drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and bassist Adam Clayton--drink and smoke and swear, causing some pietistic Christians to question the band's beliefs.

U2 doesn't seem to care whether churches accept the band. Over 20 years, U2 has grown uncomfortable with organized religion, calling church life "claustrophobic" and blaming Christianity, at least in part, for dividing Ireland. …

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