22 August 2004

“U2 isn’t Christian, but their songs are”

GetReligion’s article about U2 the other day spawned this very insightful comment:

I recently saw a CD in a Christian bookstore of U2 songs covered by
Christian artists
(“In the Name of Love”). When I asked the clerk if
the store carried CD’s by U2 themselves, I was greeted with a shocked
expression and told “No, we only carry CHRISTIAN CD’s here.” Apparently
the exact same song is “secular” if sung by U2 but “Christian” if
performed by Toby Mac.

Yes.  This is precisely the problem with many evangelical
Christians today.  Only when actions are taken by certain people
(designated “Christians”) can such actions be regarded as “good, holy,
and pleasing.”  Should the exact same action be taken by someone
who is not part of the designated group, it suddenly loses its approved
status.  The action’s ethical status depends entirely upon the
ethical status of the actor, not the action itself.

I’ve written about this before.

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6 Responses to ““U2 isn’t Christian, but their songs are””

  1. Scott Says:

    Very insightful and sadly true. Kudos.

  2. Kevin Says:

    That is so true. I posted the exact same thing on the CCM Magazine website when that “Christian” U2 CD came out. The silence was stunning!

  3. Pat Says:

    You are wrong. Christian bookstores sell CDs by bands that are “Christian” from a music category sense-not just lyric content. Music categories have to do with labels, marketing and awards.

    There are obviously a lot bands today whose songs have Christian content who-like U2 are mainstream and don’t get marketed as Christian acts.

  4. Nate Says:

    I think that proves my point. Christianity seems to me to be more than a marketing strategy.

    Putting the label “Christian” on some music, based on its market standpoint, serves first as a filtering mechanism. Many Christians may look no further than what’s “approved” based on such labels. And they’re not going to be challenged, I think. Most “Christian” music repeats the same non-challenging tropes because pushing the boundaries will not garner it the “Christian” label, and it’ll harm the artist’s chance to make a living. I’ve found the extra-“Christian” music to be more worthwhile for the life of faith because in refusing the “Christian” boundary, it has more room for the honest dealing with human life. (That said, there’s a lot of crap in non-“Christian” music, just like in “Christian” music.)
    The second problem with such labels is that they seem to be a cynical way to reinforce the “Christian” media empire. The label tells people not only what to consume, but that consumption is good, as long as it’s got the “Christian” label. For a people who focus on “in the world, not of the world”, this falls into the ideological agenda of liberal, acquisitive, consumptive capitalism. Christianity should, at its best, seek to transcend capitalism and other world systems, not find itself limited and consumed by them.

  5. cybervoyager Says:

    I am sure Bono is sincere about his beliefs, andh honestly thinks he is a born again Christian, but in the end he will have to stand before the God he claims to know and follow and give account whether his claimed conversion was genuine or not. To me he preaches and follows a pure “social gospel” that dethrones the “gospel of grace”.

    Jesus Christ nor the apostles were not celebrities nor liked because of the messege of the cross that they taught. I think Bono and U2 are more concerned about the affairs of this world and life than preparing for the coming kingdom.. if that was not so they would telling people to repent of their sins which they just do not do… what can I conclude but they are using the name of Christ and the Christian label to add public approval to thise already celebrity status.. how sad. God will deal with them in the end, not to worry.

  6. Nate Says:

    Don’t know where to begin with this.  I thought abotu deleting the
    above comment, but that violates my blogging sensibility.Then I was going to respond with a rational discourse, but I looked up my interlocutor’s site.As
    Mark Twain said, “God created man in His image, and man, being a
    gentleman, returned the favor.” We all do it, even those who think that
    they don’t. Especially those who think they don’t.