Following on their first two albums dealing with adolescence (Boy) and spirituality (October), U2’s third studio album turned political in 1983 with War. Besides the album title, songs like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day” issue their comment on the world at the time, when Bono said, “War seemed to be the motif for 1982. Everywhere you looked, from the Falklands to the Middle East and South Africa, there was war. By calling the album War we’re giving people a slap in the face and at the same time getting away from the cozy image a lot of people have of U2.”
Last month I heard on the radio about an event taking place at The Forks in Winnipeg. Turns out that Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was running a tour that would be in town that weekend — the event was to set up a refugee camp and give tours of it so people could get a feel for the facilities and the conditions in one of the many refugee camps in the world. We decided it’d be good for the whole family, so we all headed down to check it out. Unfortunately, the SD Card with the photos was corrupted, but there are other photos online of the event, and you can preview it online as well to get a sense of the different stations on the tour and the information presented at each. The preview sets you in the role of the refugee — or IDP, Internally Displaced Person, since “refugees” are technically people who have crossed a border; IDPs may be in the same position, but have not actually left their country.
Advent is a season of waiting. My friend friend the priest (who also writes about Advent, including prayers for Advent) says that we need to be careful not to rush into Christmas too early — and he’s right, of course. As children, we have a waiting anticipation for the approach of Christmas. As adults, it always arrives too soon. We enter into a frenetic pace somewhere in mid-November. We let it creep up on us and slowly build until the week before Christmas when we’re frantically buying one more gift or somebody’s cousin’s aunt or weird-uncle-Hal’s girlfriend from Topeka who announced rather late that she’d be tagging along for the holidays. And the grocery store lineup, and an extra bottle of wine or two… and something a little stronger to help fortify yourself for the season. We know it’s coming, so we put on the Christmas carols about six weeks early. It wouldn’t be so bad if this practice didn’t actually tire us further instead of building anticipation like it did when we were kids wanting to make sure that we had cookies and milk put out for Santa Clause.
I tend to forget how deeply spiritual U2’s Joshua Tree album was… hey, it was 20 years ago, but it was also one of the greatest rock albums of all time. Like many others I’m sure, I was glad to see that the album has been remastered and is to be re-released on November 20th as a double CD or double CD with DVD (click to order/pre-order). The re-release includes previously unreleased tracks that were written for but not included on the original Joshua Tree album release. One of these, “Wave of Sorrow” is now circulating via the wonder of Internet video, this time at iLike.com/u2. Wave of Sorrow was written out of Bono’s experience in Ethiopia with World Vision. The video is below, with Bono continually interrupting to explain the lyrics, which draw on several biblical allusions, including Solomon and the Beatitudes. And matches them with extreme poverty.
Bono’s speeches are inspiring. He’s just received and award from the NAACP, and through the wonder of YouTube, we can see and hear his acceptance speech… it wouldn’t be the same in print. The video below is about 10:00; the first 5:00 is a brief video montage and the award presentation plus Bono saying how good Tyra Banks looked. At about the 5:00 mark, he gets into his remarks. 4:00 into his remarks, he starts preaching… about God and about the poor. 30 seconds after that, he’s got a standing ovation — only halfway through the “preaching” part.
“Whether you live should not depend on where you live.”
“God, my friends, is with the poor. And God is with us if we are with them.”
“Don’t let anyone tell you it cannot be done; we can be the generation that ends extreme poverty.”
Sorry, for those who don’t know it’s one of the Veggie-songs from The Jonah Movie from which my kids like to sing. Well, they say “Jonah” instead of “Bono.” And it includes the classic echo line, “Ah-doodily-doo…”
Anyway, there’s a discussion on about whether or not Bono/U2 is a prophet/prophetic voice. Seems Eugene Petersen said something to this effect, and from the discussion just linked comes this gem:
So I’ve used the word prophet for them. Walter Brueggemann describes prophets as â€œuncredentialed spokesmen for God.â€? Well, I think that fits them pretty well. They don’t have any authority in the world of faith.