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Pro Bono Rodney Clapp Pro Bono


The third chapter, "Social Justice," shows how the renewal of creation in the Kingdom of God serves as the thematic scaffolding for the many U 2 songs decrying violence, bigotry, and the inequitable distribution of wealth. [...] a church that might faithfully and effectively welcome U2 to the Eucharist would have to take its own life and language at least as seriously as U2 takes its humanitarian work.

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									                                Rodney Clapp
                                Pro	Bono
                                We	Get	to	Carry		
                                Each	Other
                                The	Gospel	According	to	U2
                                Greg Garrett
                                Westminster John Knox Press, $16.95, 176 pp.

                                        tereotypical rock stars use their
                                        fame to get sex, or as an excuse
                                        to trash hotel rooms and smash
                                their guitars. U2’s lead singer Bono uses
                                his rock-star status to gain an audience
                                with billionaires like Bill Gates. “It was
                                late, we’d had a few drinks, and Bono was
                                all fired up over a scheme to get com-
                                panies to help tackle global poverty and
                                disease,” Bill Gates reported. “He kept
                                dialing the private numbers of top ex-
                                ecutives and thrusting his cell phone
                                at me to hear their sleepy yet enthusi-
                                astic replies.”
                                   “I do have responsibilities,” Bono
                                explains on another occasion, “and ac-
                                tions speak louder than words.” That
                                deep sense of responsibility, founded on
                                Christian convictions—his mother was            bers (bass player Adam Clayton, though
                                Protestant and his father Catholic—com-         not dismissive of his bandmates’ com-
                                pels Bono not only to write songs that          mitments, is not a professing Christian).
                                call for peace and justice, but to lobby        This initial chapter follows the doctrines
                                tirelessly for organizations such as Am-        of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the
                                nesty International, Greenpeace, and the        Cross through a steady parade of U2’s
                                Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis,        songs. “Communion” surveys the theme
                                and Malaria.                                    of community across the band’s works,
                                   Hailed by popes and presidents alike,        and details how the members of the band
                                U2 has earned the respect it receives           have stuck together over the decades.
                                as a philanthropic juggernaut. It would         The third chapter, “Social Justice,” shows
                                have been easy for the group to rest on         how the renewal of creation in the King-
                                its musical laurels, particularly after their   dom of God serves as the thematic scaf-
Commonweal . November 6, 2009

                                1987 album The Joshua Tree—an instant           folding for the many U2 songs decrying
                                classic. But instead of coasting, the band      violence, bigotry, and the inequitable
                                has remained restlessly inventive and           distribution of wealth.
                                hardworking. Its story, like its musical           Garrett’s conversational, friendly style
                                corpus, continues to grow.                      will help even the mildly curious to more
                                   Greg Garrett’s new book surveys the          deeply appreciate U2’s work. He avoids
                                sweep of this important band’s life and         hagiography and is never heavy-hand-
                                output so far. Apart from an introduction       ed in his theological exploration o
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