Perhaps the most popular and influential rock group to espouse Christian ideals without getting sidelined as "Christian rock" is the Irish band U2. Scharen (a Lutheran pastor and instructor of practical theology at Yale) points to the many biblical, theological and spiritual themes found in U2's lyrics to explain why this band "matters to those seeking God." And he does so elegantly, offering the heartfelt and intelligent musings of a fan while also acknowledging the band's wild and worldly bent. He admits U2's lyrics are multivalent, helping the band to attract both religious and nonreligious fans. Scharen is most impressed with U2's emphasis on "the theology of the cross," a theology that accepts both doubts and faith while emphasizing the victory of God's love over the reality of earthly powers. "Despite worldly trappings of wealth and power, in U2 love does get a chance to speak," says Scharen, who calls on Christians to ask themselves what is keeping U2's "God-hungry" fans outside the church's edges. This book will no doubt appeal to the Christian who is a U2 fan, but its higher purpose is to bring the church and U2 fans from a variety of backgrounds closer together. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Scharen (associate director, Yale Ctr. for Faith and Culture; Public Worship and Public Work) has written an engaging treatment of the spiritual truths to be found in the music and life of the popular rock group U2. The practice of digging spirituality out of popular culture has a rather long history, stretching back at least to The Gospel According to Peanuts, and U2's heterodox Christianity should come as no surprise to the band's more careful listeners. But Scharen spells out the implicit rather gracefully, finding in U2 "powerful and moving and truthful music, sung in a way that both admits the limits of life and yet in word and deed gives a vision of something more." For most collections. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.