Grace Over Bono
by Greg West
Hands down, the most popular post on The Poached Egg is a portion of an interview with U2's Bono, entitled: Grace Over Karma. Every now and then, someone will run across this post, share it on Facebook or Twitter, and my hits will explode (this is happening right now even as I’m writing this). This is a good thing. Although The Poached Egg is mainly an apologetics website, I also like to post things that illustrate the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a manner that will reach out to the widest possible audience. And in the case of this particular Bono interview, Bono paints for us a picture of the meaning of the Gospel as well as any scholar.
In today’s culture, people tend to be somewhat overly obsessed with celebrity, and since U2 is arguably the world’s most popular rock and roll band, just about anything posted about them is bound to garner some attention. So if Bono will get people to discover The Poached Egg, that is a-okay with me. I always hope that by exploiting the popularity of any given something, that maybe God will use it to speak to someone’s heart; maybe by getting them here, someone will discover apologetics for the first time, or better yet, begin to get a grasp on what the Gospel really means.
Now, that having been said, there are inevitable repercussions to posting something like the Bono interview. Almost without fail, every time this post gets shared, I will receive several messages in my inbox from well-meaning believers warning me of the folly of associating Bono with Christianity. These messages usually contain statements like “Bono is not a Christian; Bono drinks beer; Bono smokes; Bono cusses; Bono endorses Islam; Bono said this or that; yadda, yadda, yadda.”
I usually ignore these kinds of comments, because first of all, I’m not here to defend Bon’s beliefs and I just don’t have the time to respond to those kind of things as they usually don’t care what I say anyway, and sometimes end up ‘unfriending’ me. Secondly, it is obvious to me that they have missed the point of the article entirely. Go back and check the title; it’s called ‘GRACE’ Over Karma, not ‘Bono’s Faith on Trial’!
If we, as Christians, do not have any idea of the meaning of ‘grace’, we need to shut our big yaps, go back to theology 101, and start over. When the Bible talks about grace, it’s not talking about being a good dancer or not tripping over things. The biblical definition of grace is this (now pay attention, class; drumroll please; stage set; cue curtain…), the biblical definition of GRACE is… God’s “UNMERITED FAVOR!!!”
Did you get that? Please say you did. Please? Because you see, on a good day, I might make it till 10 a.m. without sinning in thought, word, or deed. There is nothing I can do to earn God’s unmerited favor and there is no sin big enough to have it taken away. If there was, then it would not be ‘unmerited’ now, would it? If it were not for grace, there would not be one single Christian on this planet; because being a Christian means having an intimate relationship with the Creator of the universe, and because of our natural sinful state of rebellion towards God, none of us deserve to have that!
Is Bono’s theology always right on target? No, probably not. But then again, I don’t think that even C.S. Lewis, the most quoted theologian of the 20th century, is always 100% accurate in his theology, and of course, neither am I. But through studying the Bible, prayer and meditation, sound teaching, reading theology and other Christian literature, maybe I’ll get there someday.
Now, back to ‘grace’. I’ve already given you the biblical definition of grace, but now I’d also like to give you a mental picture of what grace is: Picture in your mind Bono’s endless lobbying for debt relief and aids relief for Africa; picture Mother Teresa embracing a person whose body is being ravaged by leprosy; picture a couple who is willing to adopt a child that has severe down syndrome; picture relief workers in Haiti handing out bottles of water in the wake of the earthquake; picture someone giving a sandwich to a homeless person, or emptying their pockets of change to give to a beggar; picture Jesus hanging on a cross, bearing the sins of the world, and paying the penalty for our rebellion towards God so that we can be brought into a right relationship with Him. That’s grace, my friends. None of us deserve it, but God has given it to us freely, for which I am eternally grateful!
God, thank you for ‘Grace’. And Bono, thank you for ‘Grace Over Karma’. Rock on, dude!