Some of you may think Bono’s communication style is too preachy. I went through a stage of thinking this too – but now I think the good work he does outweighs his preachy style!
All the attention and anticipation about selecting a new Pope – got me thinkin’ about Bono and his relationship with The Catholic Church (and Christianity in general.) All the anticipation about the smoke – got me thinking of a quote (often attributed to Bono) about the Catholic Church being the glam rock of religion. Smoke machines, impressive outfits!
This image is from this site:
It’s interesting because even though some people (many of the business execs I work with) think Bono’s style is TOO PREACHY – there are many others who think he does not go far enough in aligning with religion and preaching the Christian message.
Now, Christianity is not one homogenous group – it’s a continuum – a scale of varying degrees on intensity and attitudes – and while many Christians approve of the good work Bono does, other Christians think Bono is “not Christian enough”. Just because Bono can be preachy and sing songs with biblical inspired lyrics doesn’t mean that all Christians like him.( I’m basing this on what I’ve read about the very “complex” relationship between Bono and Christianity.)
For example, some Christians do not approve of Bono’s Rock and Roll lifestyle and they do not like his song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.
The song is full of biblical languages and allusion – yet the singer is not satisfied. A “good Christian song” would have him satisfied and finding what he is looking for.
Bono and The Catholic Church:
Bono’s initial relationship with the Catholic Church was “strained” and here’s why according to his quotes:
I avoided religious people most of my life. Maybe it had something to do with having a father who was Protestant and a mother who was Catholic.
One of the things that I picked up from my father and my mother was the sense that religion often gets in the way of God.
As Bono matured his view changed: (Also note – the way he credits the glam rock comparison to his friend. Bono is often credited with the comparison)
Bono says that the older he gets the more comfort he finds in Roman Catholicism. “Let’s not get too hard on the Holy Roman Church here. The Church has its problems, but the older I get, the more comfort I find there … murmuring prayers, stories told in stained-glass windows, the colors of Catholicism–purple mauve, yellow, red–the burning incense. My friend Gavin Friday says Catholicism is the glam-rock of religion” ( from the book Bono on Bono, p. 201).
As you may know Bono met with Pope John Paul II where the Pope put on Bono’s glasses. Bono seemed to admire the “showmanship” and wiliness of this Pope. Bono also recognises the power of the Church when it gets “on the move” behind a cause.
Bono’s quote: In truth, I was wrong again. The church was slow but the church got busy on this the leprosy of our age.
Love was on the move. Mercy was on the move. God was on the move.
Moving people of all kinds to work with others they had never met, never would have cared to meet…conservative church groups hanging out with spokesmen for the gay community, all singing off the same hymn sheet on AIDS…soccer moms and quarterbacks…hip-hop stars and country stars. This is what happens when God gets on the move: crazy stuff happens!
Popes were seen wearing sunglasses!
Here’s a link for more info if you’re interested in Bono’s meeting with the Pope. Bono described the (then) Pope as:
“a street fighter and a wily campaigner on behalf of the world’s poor.”
It’s interesting to note (even on a superficial level) how Bono seems to have a thing for the purple and mauve colours of the Catholic Church.
The colour is/or used to be very big with Italians – partly because the colour was one of the most expensive dyes to produce. The colour was a symbol of the Church and a desired colour.
Maybe, there’s no deep symbolism – maybe Bono just likes the colour purple! Just something I’ve noticed!
Bono and MLK
Bono was hugely influenced by MLK and the role of and the power of the Church in fighting for social reform.
In his acceptance speech at the NAACP – Bono seems to be “channeling” the Preacher style of MLK. I understand that some people may find this style too preachy – but considering his audience and the occasion, I think it suited the event.
Here’s a link to his NAACP acceptance speech:
Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how Bono continues to connect with The Catholic Church and the new Pope!
Also, if you are in the age group that isn’t familiar with the song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” here’s a link to the great version of it I hadn’t seen until today – a version with The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. Enjoy!
And here’s the version with gospel choir!