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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.
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. S 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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