Read an Excerpt
on the movea speech
W Publishing GroupCopyright © 2007 Bono
All right reserved.
Chapter OneIF YOU'RE WONDERING WHAT I'M DOING HERE,
at a prayer breakfast, well, so am I. I'm certainly not here as a man of the cloth, unless that cloth is leather. And it's certainly not because I'm a rock star. Which leaves one possible explanation: I'm here because I've got a messianic complex.
Yes, it's true. And for anyone who knows me, it's hardly a revelation.
Well, I'm the first to admit that there's something unnatural ... something unseemly ... about rock stars mounting the pulpit and preaching at presidents, and then disappearing to their villas in the South of France. Talk about a fish out of water.
It's very humbling, and I will try to keep my homily brief. But be warned-I'm Irish.
I'D LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THE LAWS OF MAN.
And I'd like to talk about higher laws. It would be great to assume that the one serves the other; that the laws of man serve these higher laws ... but of course, they don't always. And I presume that, in a sense, is why you're here.
I presume the reason for this gathering is that all of us here-Muslims, Jews, Christians-all of us are searching our souls for how to better serve our family, our community, our nation, our God.
I know I am. Searching, I mean. And that, I suppose, is what led me here, too.
YES, IT'S ODD, HAVING A ROCK STAR HERE,
but maybe it's odder for me than for you. You see, I avoided religious people most of my life. Maybe it had something to do with having a father who was Protestant and a mother who was Catholic and living in a country where the line between the two was, quite literally, a battle line-where the line between church and state was, well, a little blurry, and hard to see.
I remember how my mother would bring us to chapel on Sundays while my father used to wait outside. One of the things that I picked up from my father and my mother was the sense that religion often gets in the way of God.
For me, at least, it got in the way. Seeing what religious people, in the name of God, did to my native land ... and in this country, America, seeing God's second-hand car salesmen on the cable TV channels, offering indulgences for cash. In fact, all over the world, seeing the self-righteousness roll down like a mighty stream from certain corners of the religious establishment.
I must confess, I changed the channel. I wanted my MTV.
Even though I was a believer. Perhaps because I was a believer.
I WAS CYNICAL. NOT ABOUT GOD, BUT ABOUT GOD'S POLITICS.
Then, in 1997, a couple of eccentric, septuagenarian British Christians went and ruined my shtick-my reproachfulness. They did it by describing the millennium, the year 2000, as a Jubilee year, as an opportunity to cancel the chronic debts of the world's poorest people. They had the audacity to renew the Lord's call-and they were joined by Pope John Paul II, who, from an Irish half-Catholic's point of view, may have had a more direct line to the Almighty.
WHAT WAS THIS YEAR OF JUBILEE, THIS YEAR OF OUR LORD'S FAVOR? I'D ALWAYS READ THE SCRIPTURES, EVEN THE OBSCURE STUFF. THERE IT WAS IN LEVITICUS (25:35) ... "IF YOUR BROTHER BECOMES POOR," THE SCRIPTURES SAY, "AND CANNOT MAINTAIN HIMSELF ... YOU SHALL MAINTAIN HIM ... YOU SHALL NOT LEND HIM YOUR MONEY AT INTEREST, NOT GIVE HIM YOUR FOOD FOR PROFIT." IT IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT IDEA, JUBILEE, THAT JESUS BEGINS HIS MINISTRY WITH THIS. WHEN JESUS WAS A YOUNG MAN, HE MET WITH THE RABBIS, IMPRESSED EVERYONE, PEOPLE WERE TALKING. THE ELDERS SAID, "HE'S A CLEVER GUY, THIS JESUS, BUT HE HASN'T DONE MUCH ... YET. HE HASN'T SPOKEN IN PUBLIC BEFORE ..." WHEN HE DOES SPEAK, HIS FIRST WORDS ARE FROM ISAIAH: "THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME," HE SAYS, "BECAUSE HE HAS ANOINTED ME TO PREACH GOOD NEWS TO THE POOR." AND JESUS PROCLAIMS THE YEAR OF THE LORD'S FAVOR, THE YEAR OF JUBILEE. (LUKE 4:18)
WHAT HE WAS REALLY TALKING ABOUT WAS AN ERA OF GRACE-AND WE'RE STILL IN IT.
SO FAST-FORWARD 2,000 YEARS.
That same thought, grace, was made incarnate-in a movement of all kinds of people. The Jubilee movement wasn't a bless-me club; it wasn't a holy huddle. These religious guys were willing to get out in the streets, get their boots dirty, wave the placards, follow their convictions with actions. Making it really hard for people like me to keep their distance. It was amazing. I almost started to like these church people.
But then my cynicism got another helping hand.
COLIN POWELL, A FIVE-STAR GENERAL, CALLED IT THE GREATEST W.M.D. OF THEM ALL:
a tiny little virus called AIDS. And the religious community, in large part, missed it. The ones who didn't miss it could only see it as divine retribution for bad behavior. Even on children. Even when the fastest growing group of people with HIV were married, faithful women.
Aha, there they go again! I thought to myself: Judgmentalism is back.
But in truth, I was wrong again. The church was slow, but the church got busy on this, the leprosy of our age.
Love was on the move. Mercy was on the move. God was on the move.
Excerpted from on the move by Bono Copyright © 2007 by Bono. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.