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November 14, 2006


one thing i find admirable about both these groups is their willingness to become vulnerable, to go over the edge to make a point and project an image that not everybody is going to like, and one that the fans may entirely reject. (see zootv...)
it seems like so much of the music industry today is concentrated on getting across an appealing persona, one that the fans will want to don as well. these two groups go beyond the need for assurance from fans that they are appealing... and even send messages that strive to be intentionally unappealing. that depth of understanding the group and their motives is not something that comes easily to most of the audience, and so makes them vulnerable to criticism unfounded. i am impressed...

Thanks for the good comments Jessica. I agree that they have important, not always comfortable messages. One of the things that intrigues me most is how both groups deliver their messages. Leonard Sweet challenges the church to be EPIC and even cites U2. EPIC is an acronym for Experiential, Participatory, Image-driven and Connected.

I think the church can learn a lesson from the Blue Man Group and U2 about how to engage people. Concert goers often speak of a U2 concert as something spiritual. It’s often said that the arena becomes a sanctuary. While this has much to do with the content of a U2 show (there is a definite liturgy to be seen), it also has a lot to do with how the content is delivered. U2 practically invented the “B stage” and the wrap-around ramp (the Heart and the Ellipse). Why? So they could engage their audience; they are working at removing the audience/performer barrier.

So many of our churches are performance driven today. Church members sit passively in the pews being sung at, prayed at, and preached at. The professionals own the stage and “do” the worship. What we can learn from BMG and U2 is how to create gatherings that draw people together as active participants in a community of worship. This is especially challenging (and fun!) when the topic is a difficult or uncomfortable one.

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