Labels: Bono, Mumford, Pope Francis

Cathleen Falsani:

This reminds me of Pope Francis, who has accepted the label of “Holy Father” but prefers to refer to himself the “Bishop of Rome.” In doing so, he’s not denying his role as pontiff, but he is telegraphing the idea that he is much more comfortable with a more humble position. He is a shepherd who likes to, as he told crowds during Holy Week, be amid the “smell” of his sheep.

A good shepherd keeps track of his sheep and his sheep recognize his voice when he calls to them. Humans are not meant to be labeled. They are meant to be known.

I don’t care what Mumford or Bono or the Pope call themselves or don’t.

Their actions and (other) words tell a story of faith that is much more nuanced, and therefore truer, than any label they might pin over their hearts or have thrust upon them.

So Marcus, roll away your stone, and let the naysayers roll away theirs.

Take your time. God’s not in any hurry and we shouldn’t be either. Because, as you say, “that’s exactly how this grace thing works.”

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  • Scot, this linked article is for subscribers only.

  • scotmcknight

    That’s weird; I’m not a member.

  • Oh man – the pay wall went up this morning. Sorry for the timing, Scot. You can try it free today for seven days, or buy a day pass…

    Thanks for the shout out, Scot.


  • MatthewS

    For anyone who may not have heard the song (the “roll away your stone” reference):

  • T

    I Will Wait was a great Lent meditation. 😀

  • This excerpt was excellent, even if I can’t access the whole article. I like the comparison you’ve given Cathleen.

  • EricG

    I agree with T.
    And Earth Below My Feet is a great prayer.

  • Jeremy

    Just a quick note – This article is available here for free:

  • lpadron

    Why Bono, Mumford and others have a hard time with “christian” as a label but not “pop star”, “musician”, “scottish”, “british” or others with worse connotations is a question that should be asked at some point. You either identify yourself with a lot of fallen and failing, miserable sinners for which blood was shed precisely because they’re fallen and failing or you hold yourself out as somehow above them.

  • Glenn

    Ditto what Ipadron said 🙂 Sometimes when I talk with people who do not want to identify as Christians, it is because they do not want to identify with the specific sins of certain Christian groups. But when did we begin to redivide sins into categories of acceptable and not acceptable? Peter was in sin when he refused table fellowship with Gentiles and I believe this was very common in that time period. But the answer was not found in the refusal to identify with the Way but to critique it.