BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (ABP) — A new book written by a Baptist professor applies theological themes found in the music of the Irish rock band U2 to the quest for Christian unity.
In Ecumenism Means You Too — pun intended — Steven Harmon, associate professor of divinity at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, describes a conversation a few years ago with a colleague at Campbell University Divinity School, where Harmon taught at the time. They were discussing a summer course on ecumenism — the organized attempt to foster cooperation and unity among Christian denominations.
The colleague commended the idea with the observation, “After all, as U2 said, ‘We’re one, but we’re not the same.'” The line is from the band’s song “One” from the 1991 album Achtung Baby. That sparked an idea that Harmon fleshed out in a 2008 lecture titled “U2 and the Eschatology of Ecumenism,” workshops including one at the 2009 General Assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and then, ultimately, the book.
Subtitled Ordinary Christians and the Quest for Christian Unity, Harmon’s book is not about theological themes in the music of U2 — a topic that has been explored by scholars and pastors throughout the band’s three-decade career. Instead he invokes ideas drawn from U2 lyrics to help build a case that seeking unity in the body of Christ is “an inescapable obligation of Christian discipleship.”