Skip to content ↓

Preaching U2?

This morning I came across a book entitled Get Up Off Your Knees which is subtitled Preaching the U2 Catalog. It is a collection of sermons based on the songs of U2 that was compiled by authors Raewynne J. Whiteley and Beth Maynard. Eugene Peterson wrote the foreward. Here is a description of the book:

A thoughtful and provocative collection of sermons by a group of preachers from across the international church spectrum who have been moved to theological reflection on the art and work of U2. This book will appeal to fans of U2, students of homiletics, and everyone interested in the intersection of art, popular culture, and religion.

RAEWYNNE J. WHITELEY is vicar of Trinity Episcopal “Old Swedes” Church in Swedesboro, New Jersey. She is the author of many articles and published sermons.

BETH MAYNARD is rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Fairhaven, Massachusetts and past president of Gathering the NeXt Generation, the Episcopal Church’s network for postmodern ministry. Her publications include books, pamphlets, sermons, and several articles.

Does anyone else see a conflict with this? How can a pastor preach on this:

Jesus, Jesus help me
I’m alone in this world
And a f****d up world it is too
Tell me, tell me the story
The one about eternity
And the way it’s all gonna be
WAKE UP WAKE UP DEAD MAN
WAKE UP WAKE UP DEAD MAN

Jesus, I’m waiting here boss
I know you’re looking out for us
But maybe your hands aren’t free
Your Father, He made the world in seven
He’s in charge of Heaven
Will you put in a word for me
WAKE UP WAKE UP DEAD MAN
WAKE UP WAKE UP DEAD MAN

Listen to your words they’ll tell you what to do
Listen over the rhythm that’s confusing you
Listen to the reed in the saxophone
Listen over the hum in the radio
Listen over sounds of blades in rotation
Listen through the traffic and circulation
Listen as hope and peace try to rhyme
Listen over marching bands playing out their time
WAKE UP WAKE UP DEAD MAN
WAKE UP WAKE UP DEAD MAN

Jesus, were you just around the corner?
Did you think to try and warn her?
Or are you working on something new?
If there’s an order in all of this disorder
Is it like a tape recorder?
Can we rewind it just once more?
WAKE UP WAKE UP DEAD MAN
WAKE UP WAKE UP DEAD MAN

I have no idea if that particular song is covered in the collection. It is well-documented that the members of U2 have long had a pretty bad case of potty-mouth. Just recent Bono got in trouble for using the F-word during a live broadcast. Now I do not mean to be legalistic and suggest that people who swear cannot be Christians, but should be holding up such people as examples of great Christians? Should our pastors be basing their sermons on such songs? It seems to me there is a pretty serious conflict here.

I guess I just do not understand why so many Christians hold up U2 as being the poster boys of Christian music. It seems to me that they have done very little to prove that they have true, living faith. Now I realize that these are fighting words for many believers! I would love to be proven wrong, so if you have links to resources that would prove me wrong, please leave a comment with a link.


  • The Night Is Far Gone

    The Night Is Far Gone

    There are few things in life more shameful than sleeping when you ought to be working, or slacking off when you ought to be diligent. When your calling is to be active, it is inappropriate and even sinful to remain passive. This is especially true when it comes to contexts that are of the highest…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (April 15)

    A La Carte: Personal reflections on the 2024 eclipse / New earth books / 7 questions that teens need to answer / Was there really no death before the fall? / How to be humble instead of looking humble / Kindle deals / and more.

  • Exactly the Purpose God Intended

    Exactly the Purpose God Intended

    General revelation serves exactly the purpose God intended for it—it reveals his power and divine nature. But, its message, while important, is insufficient—insufficient by design. Though general revelation tells us about the existence of God, it does not tell us about how to be reconciled to God.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (April 13)

    A La Carte: The pain of being single; the love that holds me fast / The Christian response to cultural catastrophe / The reduction of public Bible reading / All Things (a new song) / Why should I go to church? / and more.

  • Free Stuff Fridays (Moody Publishers)

    This giveaway is sponsored by Moody Publishers, who also sponsored the blog last week with Overflowing Mercies. Attention all Bible scholars, believers in the power of faith, and lovers of the Word! Learn about God’s divine mercy and compassion with our exclusive Bible Study Giveaway. Win the ultimate bible study library including Overflowing Mercies by…

  • How Should We Then Die

    How Should We Then Die?

    Euthanasia makes a lot of sense. At least in our culture at this time, it makes intuitive sense that those who are ill without hope for a cure or those who are in pain without likelihood of relief ought to be able to choose to end their own lives. Our culture assumes there are few…