Archive for the ‘God’ Category

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Bono’s Genuine Faith

April 24, 2007

It has been awhile since I’ve been able to blog, and I apologize.  Homework, essays, and laziness do get in the way of everyday or even frequent posting, I’m afraid.  Anyway, enough remorsefulness about the fact that I don’t have unlimited time to blog and to the subject of this post!

Over a month ago (sorry!), I posted my comments and analysis of some of U2’s lyrics from their CD How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.  I was particularly interested in lyrics that seem vaguely spiritual in nature.  I had heard on several occasions that Bono is a real Christian, but I did not know how to verify whether or not his faith is, in fact, bona fide.  Granted, I did know that Bono is actively involved in fighting AIDS and poverty worldwide; I should know, since I own a (Product) Red iPod Nano (which Apple, Inc. produced in order to earn money for the Global Fund which fight AIDS worldwide).  I’m not sure about the exact connection, but I know that Bono is in some way connected to and involved with this Global Fund.  Anyway, the fact remains that Bono is at the forefront of many charitable causes, yet that does not prove his Christianity.

Imagine my interest, then, when I ran across this post at The Point:

You’ve seen him trotting around shopping for Red products with Oprah. You’ve heard about how the Pope wanted to wear his sunglasses. Now you can read about Bono’s very real faith, a faith which he shares so openly and eloquently that he does the very best thing possible–makes non-believers wish for a God like the one he believes in.

The post describes a little more about Bono’s faith and then links to this very insightful article by Steve Beard that takes a closer look at Bono’s Christianity.  I was particularly impressed by the fact that Bono’s father recognized that Bono has a genuine relationship with God, something that his father claims he could never achieve:

At the height of his success and fame, Bono and his father would often go down to a local pub and drink Irish whiskey on Sunday afternoons. On one occasion his father told him, “There’s one thing I envy of you. I don’t envy anything else. You do seem to have a relationship with God.” Bono asked: “Didn’t you ever have one?” “No,” he said. “But you have been a Catholic for most of your life,” Bono responded. “Yeah, lots of people are Catholic. It was a one-way conversation. . . . You seem to hear something back from the silence!” Bono said: “That’s true, I do.”

Bono not only affirms that he does indeed have a personal relationship with God, but in the article he goes on to describe in very clear terms the faith that he has in Jesus Christ.  As I read the article, I was struck by the powerful way in which this mega rock star articulates his faith in Christ, probably even better than I do!  And, while speaking about Christ’s sacrificial death for our sins, Bono demonstrates that he clearly understands that salvation does not come through good deeds.

It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven.

I feared that Bono — as many rich people do — was seeking to buy his way into Heaven through his charitable works.  Reading Mr. Beard’s article, however, showed me that Bono does truly understand Christian doctrine and theology in a way that I would never have guessed.  If you still have any doubts about Bono’s genuine faith, I encourage you to take a look at the article I linked to above.  It’s good to be reassured that there are real Christians in influential Christian positions — way to go, Bono!

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A Hole God Does Not Fill

December 19, 2006

When Christians are faced with the pain and aching in the world, I think it is safe to say that they usually blame it all on mankind’s fall into sin.  Indeed, had Adam resisted the temptation to eat the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:6), there would be no suffering and hurt in this world, would there?  We would all live in a peaceful utopia, just as Adam did before he made his fateful mistake.  I must agree with the general conclusion that pain and sin are results of the fall and the entire world would be much better off if Adam had resisted the hideously beautiful fruit.  Before sinning, Adam had a perfect relationship with God.  There was no pride, hatred, lust, greed, envy — in short, no sin to separate God from His greatest creation.  In fact, the Bible seems to imply that Adam would walk throughout the garden with God during the “cool of the day” (Gen. 3:8).  Adam probably had the closest relationship a man could ever have with God; while Moses may have been the man closest to God after the fall, a post-fall relationship could not compare to the completely perfect relationship Adam had with God before the fall occurred.  And yet, even in this utopia and perfect relationship with God, all was not well.

The Genesis account is filled with God’s proclaiming His creation good, from the Seas and the Earth (Gen. 1:10) to the trees and plants of the field (1:12).  The crowning moment of creation, however, happened when God created man in His own image and then proclaimed His entire work “very good” (Gen. 1:31).  One can only imagine what it must have been like to be Adam, “born” into a perfect world with God as His Parent, walking with Him as one walks with fellow humans.  What more could one ask for?  God, in His wisdom, saw that all was not good.  Moses puts it this way:

And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (NKJV, Gen. 2:18).

Despite his perfect relationship with God and the wonderful world he lived in, Adam could not be complete until God made a helper suitable for him.  There was a “hole” inside Adam that even his perfect relationship with God did not fill.  When we’re feeling lonely or rejected, we’ve all heard the consolation from fellow believers that “only God can fill your heart.”  There’s truth in that statement — one will never find complete satisfaction in even the most wonderful love (a lesson powerfully illustrated in Sheldon Vanauken’s amazing book A Severe Mercy).  It is unreasonable, though, to tell people that God will fulfill their longing for another person to love and cherish; God, in His perfect relationship with the first man, recognized that Adam needed another human to love.  Granted, I’m sure God could (and sometimes does — see 1 Cor. 7:37) take away that desire, but He never fulfills it Himself, for another human was meant do to that.  I like how John Locke put it in his Second Treatise of Government:

God having made man such a creature, that in his own judgment, it was not good for him to be alone, put him under strong obligations of necessity, convenience, and inclination to drive him into society, as well as fitted him with understanding and language to continue and enjoy it.  The first society was between a man and wife…

Now, I realize that what I’m saying here could be misinterpreted to an extreme.  I’m not saying that we should first of all seek love — the Apostle Paul warns for him who is “loosed from a wife” to not seek one (1 Cor. 7:27).  In addition to this, God promises that if we seek first His kingdom, the rest will be added unto us (Matt. 6:33) and that the desires of our hearts can be found only be delighting first in Him (Ps. 37:4).  A tragic and horrifying (if somewhat extreme) example of what results when we seek love above God can be read in this recent story at the LA Times.  (Read the story at your own risk — it can get both sexually and violently graphic.) 

In the end, I’m not advocating the idea that we should seek love above God; that is making and idol of a good thing and will only lead to heartache and problems, as illustrated in the LA Times story above.  Still, it is untrue that God will “fill the hole in our hearts” for romantic love when He is the one who put it there in the first place.  We must seek Him first, certainly, but we must not expect Him to fulfill something He never intended to.  All we can do is trust that, if that emptiness is inside us, He will one day bring the only one who can truly fill it.