Bono’s articulations in this short interview are thoughtful and insightful. If my neighbor or a guy at work spoke like this, I’d be genuinely impressed. This interview, however, wasn’t given by your average working dude, it was given by a rock star… the front man for one of the biggest rock bands of the past few decades. Rolling Stone magazine ranks U2 as the 22nd most important artist in rock history. Bono, like everyone else, is a mixed bag. I just think is bag is more impressive than most. Part of his impressiveness is that he’s thoughtful about Christ and Christianity. I’d like to highlight a couple of elements of this interview below.
First, Bono’s view of “love” is not that of a hippie. That’s important. Very often, I run into Evangelical Christians that get all wet-eyed and start gushing when they say the word “love.” If I mention words like law, sovereignty, or sabbath, their eyes narrow, and then their faces mold into something of a blank stare. Bono says that “there’s nothing hippie about my picture of Christ. The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is.” Love means more than simply hugging oneself with a happy feeling in one’s breast. According to Bono, love is very demanding and sometimes divisive. This is quite insightful. With that insight in mind, Bono presses into the OT. Instead of just dismissing the OT as presenting and “unloving” God, he sees the OT in the history of redemption:
But the way we would see it, those of us who are trying to figure out our Christian conundrum, is that the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you’re a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules. But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross.
I’m almost dumbfounded as I read that. That was said by Bono… a rock star! I’d be quite impressed if I heard that from a pulpit. It almost smacks of covenantal thought. It certainly rings with incarnational thought. Bono seems to have some clarity on how the unapproachable God came to humanity and brought together heaven and earth in the Cross. What I like most is that he doesn’t articulate these notions as a theologian; he speaks them as a regular dude. Regular dude talk gets more traction than theology-speak.
What’s more, ladies and gentlemen, Bono even seems to have some clear notion of solus Christus:
The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled. It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.
Maybe that statement’s not as sharp as we’d like, but it’s got a decent point, nonetheless. It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven, but it’s Jesus Christ that gets us into heaven. Amen and amen.