This week's book is on that I read some time ago and found useful.
One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God by Christian Scharen
Scharen, a Lutheran pastor and instructor of practical theology at Yale, points to the many biblical, theological and spiritual themes found in U2's lyrics to explain why this band "matters to those seeking God." The book focuses strongly on how the theology of the cross is revealed in the music of U2.
Here is an excerpt from the introduction:
I hope you've found this bok because you too, find yourslef drawn into the
ways Bono and U2 talk of spiritual matters. I've been a fan since I first
heard them in 1985. I've alays felt a spiritual kinship with them, as
though they seem to know my soul and put words to thoughts I've had.
They've been spiritual companions for me. This is true during times when
I've felt at home in a traditional church, but even more so during times when
I've felt frustrated with the church. When my life is in spiritual
upheaval, U2 has been and is a trustworthy companion.
I don't mean to be scolding in this effort to think through U2's spiritual
voice as so many Christians have done when they've questioned if U2's members
and music are sufficiently "Christian". That question is humorous if you
reflect on the ways U2 has turned htat question back on the church, asking
whether the church is sufficiently Christian! Rathre, what I mean to do
here is to think about how U2 fits within a longer tradition of Christian voices
that point us to the cross, to Jesus, and to the power of God's ways in the
And a quote from Bono...
There's cathedrals and allyways in our music. I think the alleyway is
usually on the way to the cathedral, where you can hear yyour own footsteps and
you're slightly nervous and looking over your shoulder and wondering if someone
is following you. And then you get there and you realize there was
somebody following you: it's God.
In my opinion, this book would be a great study guide for a group that may be familiar with U2's music but not so familiar with the church. In a day when many, both inside and outside of the church, are becoming disillusioned with the Church, this book can offer something a faith that is real and practical and worth holding on to. For that reason, perhaps it would also be good for anyone who is a bit frustrated with what they find in today's churches.