The manic reading cycle continues – The Gospel According to U2

Just returned home from Connecticut and attending the funeral of my dear Aunt Helen (aka known in my family as Ciocia Helen).  It was one of those bittersweet weekends – always difficult to gather with family and friends for a time such as this, but mixed with the celebration of a beautiful woman’s life and seeing family and friends who I have not seen in far too long.  I am very thankful to have been able to spend the last few days in Connecticut and blessed to share life with my dear Ciocia Helen.

As I was flying to and from Connecticut, I had some excellent time to read a few books.  I finished the last few chapters of McLaren’s book, A New Kind of Christianity on the way out and then read We Get to Carry Each Other: The Gospel According to U2 by Greg Garrett.  The book was a good, but a pretty fast and easy read.  I would best describe it as an introduction to U2’s music from a theological perspective.  For someone who is a die-hard U2 fan, familiar with their story and familiar with their music, it doesn’t bring out too many new things.  For someone, however, who might not know much about U2 beyond the stories about Bono in the media or have only heard a few songs of theirs, it is an excellent introduction.

Basically, Garrett traces three themes in their songs – Belief, Communion (or Community), and Social Justice.  He also has a brief appendix that lists 10 songs with strong Christian themes – would be useful for a small group to use at some point.  He begins each chapter with a song list to take in before the chapter is read.  Basically 7-8 songs that he will focus on in each chapter.  This is very helpful, especially for someone not familiar with their music. Along with this, he does some very basic introductions to those theological concepts.

For me, what I found most insightful was Garrett’s exploration of the band members’ faith journeys.  I have heard a great deal about U2’s Christian faith, but never much more than a general concept about it.  He goes into some of their experience in an Irish Christian community early on in their music and the impact that it made upon their faith, their view of the church, and on their music as a whole.

This is a solid exploration of U2’s music and I recommend it expecially for a small group that might be interested in a “different” sort of series.

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