The New Yorker ran an interesting piece by Joshua Rothman called “The Church of U2” shortly after the somewhat controversial release of their recent “free” album. The article explores the not-so-subtle spirituality of the band which is still sometimes missed by fans and those who prefer that musicians wear their Christianity on both sleeves. Rothman attempts to explain this by explaining their developmental context:
Much of the confusion around U2’s faith stems from the fact that they’ve never been an “officially” Christian rock band. The ambiguity goes back to the band’s origins, in the Dublin of the late seventies, during the Troubles. In a country divided along sectarian lines, little about organized religion was attractive.
And then in the next paragraph:
Their break with organized religion was probably inevitable. But it was still traumatic, which is perhaps why almost every U2 album contains a song about their decision to belong to a band rather than a church.
It’s a good piece and worth the read for those who appreciate the band or for those who are curious about how art can be influenced by faith without being overwrought. I found the turn of phrase in this second quote to be interesting. I wonder if U2 didn’t actually decide to authentically be church by being a band, instead of pretending or going through the motions.
Photo Credit: Image used under Creative Commons from Dorli Photography.