Bono, the Church…Three Years Later

This was an interview with Bono – he wasn’t speaking live. Several years ago Bono told Bill Hybels that he was ticked at the American Church b/c the church did not care what was happening with AIDS. “We can’t fix everything, but what we can fix we should and there’s a lot we can fix.” Since the last time he met with Bill Hybels he said that he is amazed at what the church has done. It was the sleeping giant and it got up and ran really fast. The church is in the lead and not in the rear when it comes to helping people get the everyday drugs that they need. “There is no doubt in my mind that if the church had not woken up to the issue of aids then we wouldn’t have 2million africans on retroviral medications.” In the global village, Africa is down the lane – we are neighbors.

Where the Streets Have No Name – It’s such an amazing song even though the lyric is a bit lame and it was written really quickly. He wrote it 20 years ago in Ethiopia in a feeding station. And now people here it and are changed by it. Sometimes the best work is when you don’t know what you’re even doing. Intuition is better than intellect.

There was a story of a church trying to raise $160K for a pediatric ward in a church in Malawi. One family gave the money that they had been saving for infertility drugs. Little kids had lemonade stands, yard sales, and lots of sacrificing. When they brought the offering on Christmas Eve, they had raised over $500K. The stories shared during this portion brought tears to my eyes. I can’t articulate it in these notes. “We are a church that no longer exists for ourselves. We now exist for the world. Why did it take Bono to motivate this in our church?”

Bono asked what it says that they could not get governments to find $25 billion by 2010 to help hundreds of thousands of people who live on less than $1/day. But it took seconds to find hundreds of billions of dollars when a government bailout was needed for banks. What does this say about our world?

When I’m writing a song, people don’t want magic – they want a piece of the artist. The same is true for church – people don’t want something too lofty or intellectual – they want authenticity, honesty and a piece of the pastor. We’d be so much better as the church if we stood for things instead of against things. The church tends to separate itself from people and to pick the divisive side of things. But grace puts the divisive aside and enters in because people are more important. “You should never think that any of this stuff depends on you, but you shouldn’t be surprised when it’s hard, because there’s always resistance.”

  • “I have a dream where everyone is created equal under the eyes of God. Is that just an American dream? Or an Asian dream? Or a European dream? Or is it also an African dream?”
  • “All these statistics have faces, blood running through them, sisters and brothers.”
  • “I believe that in 50 years when they look back on this moment, they will say, ‘now there were some people who said it is not okay to let a child die because of lack of immunizations or nourishment.’”

Bill Hybels then made some comments about the interview and with leadership as it pertains to supporting the poor

  • Jesus spoke very poignantly in Mt. 25 – “whatever you did for the least of these…you did for me.”
  • There’s a lot of things we have to get better at as leaders – vision casting, problem solving, leadership development, etc…but if we neglect using our leadership positions to serve the poor, we will stand accountable to Christ some day. What Bono has done is ask everybody of every faith who leads anything to do something.