Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bono writes about Easter and the Soul

One of my heroes, Bono, had a guest column in the NY Times this weekend. In it, he reflects upon Carnival, Lent and Easter, as well as, what makes for a truly spiritual soul inside of a person. A few of his insights:

"Of all the Christian festivals, it is the Easter parade that demands the most faith — pushing you past reverence for creation, through bewilderment at the idea of a virgin birth, and into the far-fetched and far-reaching idea that death is not the end. The cross as crossroads. Whatever your religious or nonreligious views, the chance to begin again is a compelling idea."


"Carnival is over. Commerce has been overheating markets and climates ... the sooty skies of the industrial revolution have changed scale and location, but now melt ice caps and make the seas boil in the time of technological revolution. Capitalism is on trial; globalization is, once again, in the dock. We used to say that all we wanted for the rest of the world was what we had for ourselves. Then we found out that if every living soul on the planet had a fridge and a house and an S.U.V., we would choke on our own exhaust.

Lent is upon us whether we asked for it or not. And with it, we hope, comes a chance at redemption. But redemption is not just a spiritual term, it’s an economic concept. At the turn of the millennium, the debt cancellation campaign, inspired by the Jewish concept of Jubilee, aimed to give the poorest countries a fresh start. Thirty-four million more children in Africa are now in school in large part because their governments used money freed up by debt relief. This redemption was not an end to economic slavery, but it was a more hopeful beginning for many. And to the many, not the lucky few, is surely where any soul-searching must lead us."

Also, I read with interest a posting on the blog Religious Dispatches from Emory religion professor Gary Laderman, who commented on Bono's article. Laderman found it interesting that Bono reflected on how when he left church on Easter morning his mind wandered to people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Nelson Mandela who are making big positive changes in Africa but are not religious people. He writes:

"And then the zinger, the last sentence: “Not all soul music comes from the church.” Can I just add “hallelujah!”? Bono chose not to glory in the saving powers of Christ, proselytize his faith, or condemn others for their lack thereof. Instead, this man of faith turns to others who hold different religious views (perhaps even non-monotheists!) and praises their virtues, their moral commitments, in a way that allows for the possibility of religious sensibilities in their socially engaged actions. “Soul music” is Bono’s way to capture, metaphorically, a sacred stance and engagement in the world emanating not from the usual, institutional sites, but from prison cells and investment firms."

Here. Here.

Grace and Peace,


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