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January 07, 2007


As someone who was brought up an atheist and had to go through that "get in the door" process, bring this topic on!

That last verse you quote, from "The Wanderer," is at the very top of *my* favorite U2 lyrics, although not so much because of the "get in the door" issue, but because of how directly it describes my experience inside the hierarchy of the institutional mainline church.

Here's an example of out of touch church culture for you. Many denominations were represented in GUOYK, so when it came out our publisher asked about having it reviewed in a few relevant denominational publications. In one case, no one in the publication's office had ever heard of this "U2" or of a "Bono," so they replied no thanks, they didn't anticipate enough reader interest in a book on such an obscure topic. (I located someone on their editorial board who was a little less out of touch, and that person was able to give them some context for the idea that perhaps a reader or three might know what "U2" was.)

Just one thing, and I'm sure this was a slip of the fingers: Protestant (Anglican) *mother*; Catholic *father*.


Thanks for "feeling" this one and responding so affirmingly. I highly value your opinion as one who has an atheistic background. I was raised from "within" so I'm coming from a very different place.

Regarding the mother/father thing, you're right, I do know that Bob was the Catholic. Oddly enough, I had just been re-reading Bono's National Prayer Breakfast speech and he himself makes the blunder. He says, "Maybe it had something to do with having a father who was Protestant and a mother who was Catholic in a country where the line between the two was, quite literally, a battle line." It's not just in the transcript, it's in the video too. Odd isn't it? Do you have any explanation for this? I've already corrected the reference in my original post.

Finally, I was driving to work this morning and "One" was working on me (again). I added the "temple" lyric from that song. Seems appropriate.

Thanks again.

My explanation is that I think Bono was somewhat nervous and not listening to himself.

I'm reading U2 by U2 now, and I wonder if another key to this is the crowd that Bono was a part of- from his descriptions it sounds like they (Bono, Guggi, etc) prided themselves on being different than others (and in some ways that was a protection in what Bono portrays as their rough and tumble neighborhood). It also makes sense to me that when he was in an 'organized' relgious group, that it was not a traditional church, but Shalom.

I'm also sure that losing your mother at the age that he did would cause a person to ponder God, and to have some difficulty connecting with God in a traditional way.

One last thing that has just ocurred to me- I have always interpreted Bono's lyrics about God to be a sign that he questions God himself, and not just the church, which is prey to human foibles. I don't think he's only viewing the church with suspicion. I have always loved that he's open with the fact that his relationship with spirituality has been one of seeking, confusion, questioning.

And with that, I have got to get to bed : )

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Tim Neufeld

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