Summer 2012

I am a terrible blogger. Truth is…I cannot honestly call myself a blogger. Apparently I am not insightful or dedicated enough to manage such a task. Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE the idea of being a blogger but I lack the discipline to carry it out. I believe that I do have some interesting opinions and that some people may even want to read them. I guess the question I have to ask myself is: Am I really going to do this? With that…I’ll share a little bit I wrote the other night…just because I felt like writing.

           I am sitting here in my Dallas Cowboys pajama pants, listening to U2 songs playing on my battered HP laptop. Robin, my wife of twenty-one years, is laying on the bed next to me trying to watch a movie on her older (and even MORE battered) HP laptop. This is a routine we carry out at least two or three nights a week. It’s not that we have nothing better (or exciting) to do, this is just comfortable. It works for us.

            Bono is doing his little ad lib wailing at the end of One when Jamie, our seven year old, walks into our room and whines, “I want the Kindle.” Robin lets out a half-hearted sigh and tells her to go back into the living room. The whining intensifies and Jamie turns her attention from the Kindle to the Acer laptop that I use for work. One fades out and the opening chords to Yahweh emanate from the tabletop speakers hooked up to my computer.

            I ignore Jamie’s whining and try to focus on Bono as he sings. I don’t know when I became a fan, but I can definitely say that U2 are one of my favorite bands. That wasn’t always so. They came onto the scene when I was ten years old but I don’t recall the first time I consciously heard them. It may have been at my uncle Allan’s house up in Waynesboro, Virginia. I do recall seeing a cassette copy of The Unforgettable Fire among my cousin Doug’s tapes. That would have been when I was fourteen.

            But as I sit here and think about it, I am sure that I must have seen them on M-TV before then. I remember the live video for Sunday Bloody Sunday that was recorded at Red Rocks. Although it would be a few years before I became a true fan, that video did make an impression on me. Bono was waving that white flag out over the sea of fans as the rain soaked them all. I didn’t understand it at the time but I thought it was pretty cool when he yelled out, “This song is not a rebel song,” at the beginning, right before The Edge played that iconic guitar lick. I was into Def Leppard, Quiet Riot, and Twisted Sister at the time, but that was still fairly hard core.

            I just remembered something. Robin is using the Acer to watch the movie. Her laptop’s CD/DVD drive is not working. It stopped a couple of months ago. I actually replaced it with another drive but it doesn’t work either. I can only assume that it is something inside the machine that I am not capable of repairing on my own. I would like to buy her a brand new computer but that will have to wait until she finds a job. She graduated from Liberty University back in May but has yet to find anything. We’re trying to be patient and trust God. But I digress, back to U2.

            I do remember the video for New Year’s Day when it was in heavy rotation on M-TV. I will be honest; I usually turned it to something else when it came on. I haven’t seen it in a long time but if memory serves me correctly, there are lots of shots with horses and the band in a snow-covered forest. I guess I will have to look that up on YouTube tomorrow and check my facts. Anyways, I didn’t care for the song or the video because neither was as cool as Kevin DuBrow and his metal mask.

            As I sit and listen to it tonight, I can’t help but wonder about the lyrics. I didn’t know it at the time but they were the most Christian band on M-TV. That was still a couple of years before Stryper crashed the Dial M-TV request lines in all their yellow and black glory. At the time I had no idea that three of the guys in U2 identified themselves as Christians. I always felt the tension between my church upbringing and the music I listened to. In 1983 I was still two years from discovering Stryper and Petra. Those two bands would become HUGE in my life, but at thirteen I was still deeply engrossed with the devil’s music.

            I admit it; I still don’t quite grasp all of Bono’s lyrics. Sometimes it is simply because I cannot understand them. I can’t honestly say that I have sat down and deeply analyzed them though. U2 aren’t my favorite band (that would be Electric Light Orchestra) but I do listen to them quite a bit. I would even put them in my top ten but the truth is, I usually have them playing in the background while I’m doing something. There are a handful of songs that I know every single lyric to but I’m far from being a die-hard fan. I’d kind of like to be but I’m not there yet.

            I do feel something different when I listen to them. It’s something tangible too. I do believe that music has a spiritual quality to it, maybe even a mystical quality. There are many songs that move me spiritually when I listen to them. I can close my eyes and it just seems like God steps into the room with me. I find it amusing (and sad) that those are usually not praise and worship songs. A lot of classical music has that affect on me. I have never studied music theory in depth but I assume that there may be something about certain keys, chords, and combinations of notes that stir that sort of thing up within people. Whatever it is, I know that a great deal of U2’s music does it to me.

            Some of it is the lyrics, I won’t deny that. When I hear Bono whisper the opening lines of Wake Up Dead Man it’s like he was peeking into my mind when he wrote it. I know some Christians have an issue with his use of the f-word in that particular song but I happen to think it is one of the most honest prayers I have ever heard. I would imagine that King David may have penned just such a lyric, profanity and all. I guess that is why I consider Bono and his band mates modern day psalmists. They speak openly and honestly about their faith and how it functions in the real world. I wish more Christian artists would do the same thing.