U2 and Africa

I am a huge fan of the Irish rock band U2. I realize this confession may make me a pop-culture Philistine in some biblio-blogger’s eyes — at least compared to the regular postings on Mozart, Bach, etc. by Jim West, Joe Cathay, and Michael Pahl (among other blogging luminaries). Be that as it may, I can say without qualification that U2 is my favourite band (there are many in second place). From their very first album Boy (1980) to their latest release How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (2004), I like all of their music. I have even appreciated their transformations throughout the years, including their Achtung Baby/Pop/Zooropa phase (which, BTW, I thought was a brilliant exposé of the superficiality of popular culture). I regularly use music, lyrics, and videos from U2 songs in my lectures as well as my sermons. Songs such as “Wake Up Dead Man” (Pop 1997) and “Yahweh” (Atomic Bomb 2004) are great examples of modern laments, while “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” and “Walk On” (both from All that You Can’t Leave Behind 2000) are great expressions of (Christian) hope.

Perhaps more than anything else, however, I have appreciated U2’s prophetic voice and their ability to raise people’s social consciousness through their music. Songs such as “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” (War 1983; my favourite version is in the 1988 Rattle and Hum film), “Bullet the Blue Sky” (The Joshua Tree 1987), and “Love And Peace Or Else” (Atomic Bomb 2004) all convey a message that the world needs to hear. More than that, however, is the fact that the band also consistently backs up their words with actions. What compelled me to blog on U2 was the news story that U2 is going to be donating over six million euros to help fight poverty in Africa. Well done, boys! (Hopefully their generosity will be a model for all of us, including our over-paid “celebrities”)

UPDATE: In mentioning the musical tastes of other biblio-bloggers, I failed to note Ed Cook’s posts on Bob Dylan. (I also like Bob Dylan, though here I am showing my age since I know him more from his Travelling Willbury’s days!

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