Friday 10 February 2006

Religious Nuts Political Fanatics: U2 in Theological Perspective by Robert Vagacs

Religious Nuts Political Fanatics: U2 In Theological Perspective
By: Robert Vagacs
Cascade Books
December 2005
95 pages

Vagacs does many unique and intriguing things in this little volume. He examines the collective works of U2 through the theological lenses of Walter Brueggemann to interpret their albums and specific songs. The categories he borrows from Brueggemann are the themes of hope amidst despair, social justice and eschatological anticipation, exile in a scorched land, and finally grace and resurrection.

Vagacs was drawn to undertake this endeavor after attending a U2 concert, which raised a number of questions in his mind. He states: “They prompt me to ask what is it exactly about U2’s music that captivates people from such a diverse demographic, not to mention geographic, diversity? Is it their consistency, or their cohesiveness as a band? Is it their commitment to the music and each other? Is it U2’s concern and involvement with social justice issues? Perhaps it is simply the fact that they generate great music?” (p.ix)

Vagacs believes that there are 4 categories of readers for this book:
  1. You are neither a U2 fan nor a Christ follower.
  2. You are a U2 fan with no real connection to Jesus Christ.
  3. You are a Christian with no real connection to U2.
  4. You are both a U2 fan and a Christ follower.
No matter which category you are in, this book can be informative, both on the history of U2 and the progression of thought through their music, and the spiritual imagery and implications of their work album by album. No matter which of the four you are, this book will open your eyes.

Brian Walsh in the introduction states: “Rob Vagacs does not come to worship at the shrine of U2. That would be a blasphemy to his own faith and a terrible disservice to the band. Rather, this book opens our eyes to light that is shining in the midst of the darkness of a postmodern world.” (p.xvi) I believe it sums up the book well. This book will not herald U2 as the light, but as light bearers in a darkening world. This book will help you see light around you, whether in other people, music, or even theology.

Robert Vagacs is a local K-W author and his book is available at Words Worth Books (Waterloo), KW Books (Kitchener) and Book Express (Cambridge Centre) or through

(First Published in Imprint 2006-02-10 as ‘If Bono met Jesus”.)
(Repirinted in Beyond Ordinary Living January/February 2007 as 'If Bono Met Jesus".)

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