Book Report:

onestepcloser.jpgOne Step Closer: Why U2 Matters To Those Seeking God

I read a book, I actually started a book and finished it. This is a big deal for me as I really don’t enjoy reading. You see, I really want to enjoy reading, and I know there are a plethora of benefits of reading, but I simply don’t enjoy it. I guess I get a guilt trip sometimes that if I’m reading a book that is not the Bible, then I’m short changing God. And then there is the amount of time it takes to read a book. Instead of reading I could be exercising (something else I don’t do enough of), playing Madden on the XBox, catching up on the Tivo, work on the house, playing with the dogs, and oh . . . spending time with WifeGeeding. I’ve always heard of people telling me about reading a book they just can’t put down. I have never had such an experience, but I will say at times this book came somewhat close.

As a Christian and a very devout U2 fan, who at times gets a tad bit annoyed when people start to judge Bono and the band regarding their faith, the title jumped out at me. I was hoping that it would be something I could give to my friends who I feel constantly question U2’s faith regarding Christ. I’m not going to say that this book will make them believers, but I think the first 20 pages of the book will help them get a better understanding of why so many Christians enjoy following the band.

The author is not just a U2 fan, but also the associate director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture and teaches practical theology and congregational studies at Yale Divinity School. He is also an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church and has served in congregations in California, Georgia, and Connecticut. I tell you all this just so you don’t think the author is some crazy U2 nutcase like me that just wanted to go on a rant about U2 and Jesus, but actually someone that carrys some clout. After some research, I found he was actually keeping a blog about writing this book, and it gives you a little more insight which I found interesting. For instance, I found out that he didn’t get to choose the title or cover, but the publisher actually did. Anywho, if you are interested in his blog about this book and the feedback he is receiving about it as well as some interviews he is going through, you can find it here.

So what about the book? I really enjoyed it. The introduction actually got me feeling a little giddy because I actually found something very relevant to my life. I was so thankful that someone actually wrote a book about two of my favorite things (Jesus and U2). Right about I found that not only am I enjoying reading about the band, but I’m actually feeding my spirit. I was able to do two things at the same time, read about U2 and grow in the spirit.

The book approaches U2 and the theology of the cross of Martin Luther. You get some great background and historical information about the band, not to mention some great insight into a lot of the band’s songs and lyrics. This is great foundational information for anyone that is new to U2 or actually wants to learn more about the band without have to spend several hours Google-ing about U2 and Jesus. For a devout fan, he or she will not only enjoy a nice trip down memory lane but may discover a few things he or she didn’t know.

The theology of the cross is a tricky one to tackle, but here it goes. The church at times tends to only preach to the choir and becomes a ‘bless me club.’ U2 and the theology of the cross compliment each other because both “avoids the all too common proclamations of faith, hope, and love that ignores the present realities of doubt, despair, suffering, and injustice. Both look at the world and is honest about what it sees . . . the good, the bad, and the ugly.” If that doesn’t make sense, then read the book. 😉

Each chapter starts with a quote by a member of the band, most of which as you can imagine are from Bono. Although the book is divided into three different sections, I like how the author approached each chapter. A chapter starts out with a spiritual or Biblical message, and then later relates U2 to that message, either by action or by song or lyric. I will admit it was funny doing my homework. Sometimes I had to listen to a song or research more lyrics, all of which made this experience even more enjoyable.

Overall, I will say I have grown spiritually from this read. It was so great to read about my favorite band and grow in Christ at the same time. The book is right around 200 pages of reading, so it is really a quick read. If you just want to know more about the band, or in need for some pop-culture in Christ reading, this book may be for you. For me, I think I may have finally found what I’ve been looking for. Apologies for the cheesy pun.

What’s next?  Well, I was going to finish the Bono In Conversation book, but a friend in NYC recommended Velvet Elvis, so I ordered the book.  Then five days later at church my pastor referenced it twice in his sermon.  Sign or no sign, I’m going to give it a read.  I hear that some describes a salvation experience during a U2 concert.  I’ll be sure to give a review if I finish it. 😉

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