culture


For those who haven’t yet seen this … it’s pretty funny.  Actually I can relate … my wife and I still have bunny ears on top of our T.V.!

Sean O’Hagan spent 18 months following U2, from Fez to Dublin, as they recorded their album No Line On the Horizon.  At one point, O’Hagan asked Bono about the album’s last lines:
Choose your enemies carefully, ‘cause they will define you/ Make then interesting, because in some ways they will mind you/ They’re not there in the beginning, but when your story ends/ Gonna last longer with you than your friends.

Bono “Yeah. Yeah. They’re are going to be closer than your friends. They are going to shape you.”

SOH Are you singing from experience here?

Bono “In a way, I guess. I think one of the things that has set our band apart is the fact that we chose interesting enemies. We didn’t choose the obvious enemies – The Man, the establishment. We didn’t buy into that. Our credo was: no them, there’s only us. Think about it. Every other band was us and them. The Clash, our great heroes. Then U2 arrived and it was no them, only us. 

“What that means is that we picked enemies that were more internal – our own hypocrisy. The main obstacle in the way of our band we always saw as ourselves and our limitations. We never blamed the record company. We never blamed the radio [laughs]. You never heard that from us in 25 years. It was always, can we be better? Can we make the song better, the show? What you’re really dealing with then are the obstacles to realising your own potential. They are nearly always of a psychological, if not a spiritual, nature. The spectres that hold you back, they were our enemies. It was always, ‘You’re supposed to be in a rock’n’roll band. You’re supposed to be rebellious, but you don’t rebel against the obvious.’ And we’d go, ‘No, we don’t. That’s the point.’”

Walt Mueller:

I’m looking forward with great anticipation to the May 1 release of Dennis Hollinger’s new book, The Meaning of Sex: Christian Ethics and the Moral LifeIn this wonderfully deep yet incredibly accessible and practical treatment of sex and sexuality, Dennis combines Biblical studies, theology, ethics, sociology, and a timely understanding of contemporary culture in what I believe is just what’s needed in today’s world.

Hollinger writes, “we live in a sex-crazed world.” Like the ancient Athenians whose landscape was littered with and covered by phallic monuments to their idolotrous sexual practices, we too are worshipping the Creator’s good creation more than the One who made those good things. That’s certainly true for sex and sexuality. By doing so, we take a wonderfully good thing in terribly bad directions. . . . and it’s killing us.

Here’s a few of the books I look forward to reading in the days ahead.

Leading Naturally Right Where You Are

Karen Crouse, writing for the New York Times on Michael Phelps’ marijuana pipe:

This is what I find so striking: A man whose chest has been covered with gold medals, has achieved international fame, showered with awards, and blessed with an incomprehensible amount of money, still feels compelled to press his face to a bong.

C.J. Mahaney responds:

It was Augustine who said that the soul is restless until it finds its rest in God. So true. Only God can satisfy the soul. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ provides forgiveness of sin, and therefore it is here in this gospel that we find rest for our restless souls.

Study the unflattering picture of Michael Phelps to be reminded of the deceitfulness of sin and the superficiality of fame and money. But also study the picture to be reminded of the message of Christ and him crucified for restless sinners like you, and me, and Michael Phelps.

  • Read Crouse’s article, Phelps Apologizes for Marijuana Pipe
  • Read Mahaney’s article, Michael Phelp’s Bong


(HT: Jonathan D.)

Martin Luther King Jr. once said,

In every human being, black or white, there exists, however dimly, a certain natural identification with every other human being, so that we tend to feel that what happens to a fellow human being also in some way happens to us. (Quote taken from Marshall Frady’s book, Martin Luther King Jr. — A Life., pg. 39)

Could it be that this natural identification with our fellow human beings points to what we were made for in the beginning?  Could it be that this natural desire to share in one another’s happiness (however dimly it may seem) is a pointer to what we all long for and what God promises to his children in the end?

We see indications of this desire in God’s heart all throughout the Scriptures.  Indeed, God’s design for the church is to be a diverse people who rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.  A people who share their lives with one another in deep awareness of one another’s needs.  And finally, an ethnically diverse people who worship forever in eternal happiness around the throne of the One who was slain for the sins of the world.

Even Martin Luther King Jr. understood that the fight for compassion and justice was a fight that ultimately pointed to a biblical ending.  On one occasion, he told his congregation,

The end is reconciliation, the end is redemption, the end is the creation of a Beloved Community. (Quote taken from Marshall Frady’s book, Martin Luther King Jr. — A Life., pg. 39)

For King it was not just a racial reconciliation, but an ultimate reconciliation of all people.  A reconciliation of all human beings, regardless of color.  A reconciliation of ethnic diversity and harmony.  A reconciliation and creation of a beloved community crying out to King Jesus for all eternity.

So, the question for us today is simply this:  Are we working toward reconciliation?  Are we giving others a picture of the beloved community that’s coming in the new creation?

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