Thursday, November 1, 2012

Postmodern Hymn: No Line on the Horizon

Benten, by Warwick Goble

I could make a whole hymnal out of U2 songs, and I know they would be totally happy with that. It's common knowledge that they make use of Christian imagery in their lyrics and promote what they would say are Christian values, although their brand of Christianity is definitely not mainstream.

But before we get too concerned with labeling anyone "Christian" or "not-Christian" though, I'd like to look at one powerful image that continually resurfaces in their songs: the divine feminine. It's an image that blurs the line between Christianity and non-Christianity. Listen to songs such as "No Line on the Horizon," "She Moves in Mysterious Ways," "Grace," "Lemon," "Gloria," and you'll hear a collection of recurring motifs: the mysterious female, grace, ocean, moon.

What do these motifs have in common? For one thing, the lyrics point to a lack of control, either in the creative process or in the search for absolution. Creativity and grace come unexpectedly, as Bono says in an interview with Rolling Stone: "This kind of spirit blows through every now and then. It’s a very strange feeling. We’re waiting for God to walk into the room – and God, it turns out, is very unreliable."

If you're interested in this topic, here are some fun reads on the interwebs:

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