Some time ago, I got a copy of the European version of the quasi-autobiography (actually an extended interview) of Mr. Hewson aka Bono, done by the noted music journalist from Paris Michka Assayas, a long time friend of Bono’s. The book came out originally in 2005 on both sides of the pond, and has been a best seller, for obvious reasons. It’s candid, revealing, anecdotal, off the cuff, and often quite a serious discussion of everything imaginable, including Bono’s Christian faith, though I have to say, there is too little on that subject (but see p. 200). There is far more on Bono’s activism for numerous good causes, including debt relief for African countries, AIDS vaccines, and much more.
Michka certainly knows how to prime the pump, and Bono is nothing if not prepared to talk at great length about things he cares or is passionate about. One of the remarkable things about the man and his activism is he is prepared to work with all sorts of people he often strongly disagrees with on, if they nonetheless are prepared to help him with some particular cause or project he is working on. This reminds me of the irenic spirit often shown by John Wesley, in this case towards a Catholic, saying ‘if your heart is as my heart [on this matter] then give me your hand.’ A good illustration of this is Bono’s working with George W. Bush during that administration on the problems in Africa in regard to AIDS, etc. Bono found the man a person of genuine Christian faith.Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book (which these days is dirt cheap on Amazon): ” The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is….the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you are a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules. But with Christ we have none-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 Jesus who looks familiar. The combination is what makes the cross.” (p. 200).
Another of my favorite lines is Bono’s exegesis of ‘Be Still and Know that I Am God’. He interprets this to mean ‘Shut Up and let me love you!!!’ Whatever else you say, both through U2’s music and performances, and through his many contacts and activism and influence with the movers and shakers not merely in the music business, but in normal business, and in politics as well, Bono has done more for the good of humanity and indeed the broader cause of Christ, than almost any other living Christian. He embodies the saying of Wesley “there is no true spiritual holiness, without social holiness’— works of piety and mercy. And he loves Eugene Peterson’s work, especially the Message.