Bono wins honory knighthood: Rockstars and statesmanship

BonobushBono, the lead singer of U2, just received an honorary knighthood from the Queen of England. (Story here in the BBC)  This is interesting for many reasons.  First, he is a rockstar.  Second, he is not a British national and is in fact Irish.  Third, he is a rockstar, although we know that he is one who is making a difference in Africa and impacting the way people think globally.  The music is great.  But, we are seeing more than music.

Why is it that the Evangelical Church in America seems to have a hard time embracing the power of modern music (as well as art, etc.) and how it can influence culture?  We have tackled education, politics and even creation science.  I think, except for politics, that we have brought discourse that has been beneficial to our society.  But, it seems we are losing our edge.

Today, we see a change.  The Evangelicals are now divided.  We have seminars on the environment.  World hunger and AIDS have made us cross paths with the likes of Bono.  Yet still we have a group of us that wants to run back to Fundamentalism (defined as the group in the 20th century who were committed to "fundamentals" of the faith and being separate).  This means for some still living in fear and speaking against the culture.  (Ironically, Evangelicals broke from the Fundamentalists for this very reason).

Never in recent history, in my opinion, has there been a window that the Evangelical Church can make sweeping, lasting and meaningful improvement to our culture in America.  We see it in the film industry with a renewed interest in making films like "The Passion of the Christ" or "The Chronicles of Narnia" and we see it in the growth of Christians in the mainstream of entertainment.  However, these "missionaries" are not seen as such.  Real-life believers had to be in places in Hollywood to make Narnia happen.   And, even though improving the culture is a good cause, the primary mission of the Church requires us to speak the language of today.

I applaud the work Bono and others are doing to help people who are in deep need in Africa and other places in the world.  How can we learn from all of this? 

Here is a list of things I believe we (evangelicals) must consider.

  • The arts need to be seen as a mission field in reaching "The West" which is now more godless and churchless than some of the places we send our missionaries. How can your church and mine send our artist-missionaries?  Do you have systems setup to support and send out your talent to Hollywood or other entertainment centers? 
     
  • We need to separate politics from the mission of our church, while still being very active as citizens.  Pastors need to be pastors, in other words.  Policy makers need to be policy makers.  Keep blue and red from the church sanctuary and reach ALL of your community, not just those who think like you and look like you  How are we reaching out to liberally-minded people in our city? (For instance).
     
  • Lets stop being "against" the culture and instead be salt and light in the culture.  Our culture is no more evil or good than many others, given historical comparisons.  So, we have no excuse to live in a ghetto or bunker. Our actions really do matter if we want our words to be heard.  Does the community know what we even do for them in service?  (Not to brag, but to display who we really are).
     
  • We MUST learn the language of our culture, or we will basically lose.  We will lose the ability to present the gospel of Jesus.  We will lose the opportunity to have an audience.  We will lose our kids, too.  Be more concerned about we we are not reaching than who we are reaching in our churches–the "market share" of people unreached is amazingly huge.
     

Of course, we can’t solve the worlds problems right here.  But, like Bono, we can leverage who we are as Christians to sure give it a shot. Why not?

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

24 comments

  1. Good Post Rich, I would say I am in agreement with you but that is pretty much a given.
    Happy Holidays!

  2. Good Post Rich, I would say I am in agreement with you but that is pretty much a given.
    Happy Holidays!

  3. Good Post Rich, I would say I am in agreement with you but that is pretty much a given.
    Happy Holidays!

  4. Good Post Rich, I would say I am in agreement with you but that is pretty much a given.
    Happy Holidays!

  5. Well said here, Rich. I’m going to share this one on my Google reader account, if you don’t mind.
    Sadly, too many Christians are loathe to embrace something that doesn’t have a “Christian” tag on it. This is especially true in the world of music. We need to embrace those around us, rather than putting up walls to keep them out.

    Excellent post.

  6. Well said here, Rich. I’m going to share this one on my Google reader account, if you don’t mind.
    Sadly, too many Christians are loathe to embrace something that doesn’t have a “Christian” tag on it. This is especially true in the world of music. We need to embrace those around us, rather than putting up walls to keep them out.

    Excellent post.

  7. Well said here, Rich. I’m going to share this one on my Google reader account, if you don’t mind.
    Sadly, too many Christians are loathe to embrace something that doesn’t have a “Christian” tag on it. This is especially true in the world of music. We need to embrace those around us, rather than putting up walls to keep them out.

    Excellent post.

  8. Well said here, Rich. I’m going to share this one on my Google reader account, if you don’t mind.
    Sadly, too many Christians are loathe to embrace something that doesn’t have a “Christian” tag on it. This is especially true in the world of music. We need to embrace those around us, rather than putting up walls to keep them out.

    Excellent post.

  9. Rick…I might be sure to point out that Bono is indeed a bona fide believer in Jesus. He may not be polished on all the finer points, but he is living out his faith. Now, I embrace the idea of Bono in this case, without really trying to make a statement about simply embracing things without an obvious Christian label. I hope that makes sense. I just need to clarify to some who might misunderstand my point here. In this case, I am saying we have a lot to learn from this. That’s it. Thanks for the comment!

  10. Rick…I might be sure to point out that Bono is indeed a bona fide believer in Jesus. He may not be polished on all the finer points, but he is living out his faith. Now, I embrace the idea of Bono in this case, without really trying to make a statement about simply embracing things without an obvious Christian label. I hope that makes sense. I just need to clarify to some who might misunderstand my point here. In this case, I am saying we have a lot to learn from this. That’s it. Thanks for the comment!

  11. Rick…I might be sure to point out that Bono is indeed a bona fide believer in Jesus. He may not be polished on all the finer points, but he is living out his faith. Now, I embrace the idea of Bono in this case, without really trying to make a statement about simply embracing things without an obvious Christian label. I hope that makes sense. I just need to clarify to some who might misunderstand my point here. In this case, I am saying we have a lot to learn from this. That’s it. Thanks for the comment!

  12. Rick…I might be sure to point out that Bono is indeed a bona fide believer in Jesus. He may not be polished on all the finer points, but he is living out his faith. Now, I embrace the idea of Bono in this case, without really trying to make a statement about simply embracing things without an obvious Christian label. I hope that makes sense. I just need to clarify to some who might misunderstand my point here. In this case, I am saying we have a lot to learn from this. That’s it. Thanks for the comment!

  13. That’s a great post there Rich. I just finised recently the book on the faith of U2…forgot the name of it…it was interesting to read about their spiritual journey.
    Steven had a great comment above on how Jesus confused the pharisees and Bono doing the same to conservatives “emphasizing the reality that ‘truth’ cannot be held independently of action”. I would turn the table also on Bono…emphasizing the action cannot be held independently of truth.

    Bono has done a great job the past couple of years reaching out and trying to include the church in some of what he’s trying to accomplish. I hope he’s realized he cannot deny the truth in God’s word that the church is a neccesary aspect of faith…along with sharing the good news (gospel) that Christ died for their sins.

    Great post!

  14. That’s a great post there Rich. I just finised recently the book on the faith of U2…forgot the name of it…it was interesting to read about their spiritual journey.
    Steven had a great comment above on how Jesus confused the pharisees and Bono doing the same to conservatives “emphasizing the reality that ‘truth’ cannot be held independently of action”. I would turn the table also on Bono…emphasizing the action cannot be held independently of truth.

    Bono has done a great job the past couple of years reaching out and trying to include the church in some of what he’s trying to accomplish. I hope he’s realized he cannot deny the truth in God’s word that the church is a neccesary aspect of faith…along with sharing the good news (gospel) that Christ died for their sins.

    Great post!

  15. That’s a great post there Rich. I just finised recently the book on the faith of U2…forgot the name of it…it was interesting to read about their spiritual journey.
    Steven had a great comment above on how Jesus confused the pharisees and Bono doing the same to conservatives “emphasizing the reality that ‘truth’ cannot be held independently of action”. I would turn the table also on Bono…emphasizing the action cannot be held independently of truth.

    Bono has done a great job the past couple of years reaching out and trying to include the church in some of what he’s trying to accomplish. I hope he’s realized he cannot deny the truth in God’s word that the church is a neccesary aspect of faith…along with sharing the good news (gospel) that Christ died for their sins.

    Great post!

  16. That’s a great post there Rich. I just finised recently the book on the faith of U2…forgot the name of it…it was interesting to read about their spiritual journey.
    Steven had a great comment above on how Jesus confused the pharisees and Bono doing the same to conservatives “emphasizing the reality that ‘truth’ cannot be held independently of action”. I would turn the table also on Bono…emphasizing the action cannot be held independently of truth.

    Bono has done a great job the past couple of years reaching out and trying to include the church in some of what he’s trying to accomplish. I hope he’s realized he cannot deny the truth in God’s word that the church is a neccesary aspect of faith…along with sharing the good news (gospel) that Christ died for their sins.

    Great post!

  17. People like Bono will always confuse theological conservatives. Not that Bono is like Jesus in other ways (how would I know), but this is precisely how Jesus confused the Pharisees; emphasizing the reality that ‘truth’ cannot be held independently of action.

  18. People like Bono will always confuse theological conservatives. Not that Bono is like Jesus in other ways (how would I know), but this is precisely how Jesus confused the Pharisees; emphasizing the reality that ‘truth’ cannot be held independently of action.

  19. People like Bono will always confuse theological conservatives. Not that Bono is like Jesus in other ways (how would I know), but this is precisely how Jesus confused the Pharisees; emphasizing the reality that ‘truth’ cannot be held independently of action.

  20. People like Bono will always confuse theological conservatives. Not that Bono is like Jesus in other ways (how would I know), but this is precisely how Jesus confused the Pharisees; emphasizing the reality that ‘truth’ cannot be held independently of action.

  21. We often lose telling our story as believers today. So, it is not just whether one lives out truth or not, it is about whether or not we are able to tell the story of truth along side the propositional side of truth. (Let us NOT separate them out of fundamentalist fear!) Where we evangelicals miss it is when we forget story and draw lines in two dimensions. We expect people to respond merely to a few verses of scripture while forgetting the great truth in the many stories of God’s grace found in scripture and validated in nature, history and yes…in art, music, film, literature, etc.

  22. We often lose telling our story as believers today. So, it is not just whether one lives out truth or not, it is about whether or not we are able to tell the story of truth along side the propositional side of truth. (Let us NOT separate them out of fundamentalist fear!) Where we evangelicals miss it is when we forget story and draw lines in two dimensions. We expect people to respond merely to a few verses of scripture while forgetting the great truth in the many stories of God’s grace found in scripture and validated in nature, history and yes…in art, music, film, literature, etc.

  23. We often lose telling our story as believers today. So, it is not just whether one lives out truth or not, it is about whether or not we are able to tell the story of truth along side the propositional side of truth. (Let us NOT separate them out of fundamentalist fear!) Where we evangelicals miss it is when we forget story and draw lines in two dimensions. We expect people to respond merely to a few verses of scripture while forgetting the great truth in the many stories of God’s grace found in scripture and validated in nature, history and yes…in art, music, film, literature, etc.

  24. We often lose telling our story as believers today. So, it is not just whether one lives out truth or not, it is about whether or not we are able to tell the story of truth along side the propositional side of truth. (Let us NOT separate them out of fundamentalist fear!) Where we evangelicals miss it is when we forget story and draw lines in two dimensions. We expect people to respond merely to a few verses of scripture while forgetting the great truth in the many stories of God’s grace found in scripture and validated in nature, history and yes…in art, music, film, literature, etc.

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