Why orthodox Christians should appreciate an unorthodox Bono

(Photo by Ricky Carioti/TWP) Recently, I had the chance to interview U2 front man Bono for a Focus on the … Continued

(Photo by Ricky Carioti/TWP)

Recently, I had the chance to interview U2 front man Bono for a Focus on the Family broadcast airing June 25. To be sure, Bono is a unique rock star, as well-known for his activism in helping the people society often overlooks the poorest of the poor, and those living with HIV and other diseases as he is for his music.

What sometimes gets lost in the mix, however, is the motivation behind Bono’s work. It’s his very real Christian faith. So while I spent some of my time with Bono talking about his childhood, his role as husband and father, and even U2, it was his passion for helping others, and the reasons behind that sense of his Christian calling, that quickly drove our conversation.

As Bono spoke, the phrase from the Bible that ran through my mind was from the Epistle of James: “faith without works is dead” (2:26). In other words, don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk. It’s a basic tenet of Christian orthopraxy: following God and living by faith takes practice. And loving God and obeying His Word is nothing if not practical.

Bono was quick to point out during our conversation that Jesus launched His ministry by quoting the prophet Isaiah, a man who was clearly out of the mainstream of his day. Evoking Isaiah’s words, Jesus of Nazareth made clear that a drive against injustice of the world would be a significant part of His ministry:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives

and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19)

If you’re not actively embracing this theology “in little or large ways,” as Bono put it you’re simply not catching the vision of how Jesus wants us to engage our world. Certainly we’re called to serve the spiritual needs of others but we’re also called to tend to people’s physical needs. All of it taken together is love.

According to Bono, “The job of love is to realize potential. When you see lives squandered in the developing world because they cannot get access to medicines that we buy or they can’t vaccinate their kids for measles, then you know something’s up. The job of love is to realize that potential.”

That’s why this pop idol, a man who could easily enjoy the spoils of his fame and fortune, instead chooses to go out and serve alongside other people consumed by the desire to help others.

The results birthed from such a collaboration can be staggering. As Bono shared in his recent participation in TEDTalks, there has been progress on poverty, accomplished thanks in part to The Global Fund and PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a bipartisan effort.

All this because real people joined together for the common good.

So, yes, Bono may at times be a bit unorthodox in his approach, but he is quite orthodox in the areas that matter most loving God and loving people.

Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and author of “ReFocus: Living a Life that Reflects God’s Heart.”


  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

Read More Articles

An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.