Monday, October 23, 2006

Perceptions 2: Mr. MacPhisto

At the prompting of my friend Rick at, I bought a copy of U2's Zoo TV DVD, a concert given by the band during their Zoo TV tour in the early 90's.

First of all, yes it's true. U2 is the greatest rock band -- ever. I hesitate to say that, because I know everyone has their own favorite rock gods, but that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

I first listened to U2 when I was in high school, probably in 1986. I wasn't really a fan (back then I was to busy listening to hip-hop music and watching YO! MTV Raps), but you couldn't deny their music was stellar.

Right around 1990, I decided that I couldn't let televangelists, the Spanish Inquisitors and other assorted greedy and mean so-called Christians dictate whether or not I was going to believe in an eternal God, so I did my own search and found that God and Christ made sense, not only to me but in the realm of reality, and that I was going to stick with Him for awhile.

Still, I grew up as most Christian children in America do; believing that the Bible is "the Good Book" of rules to be followed and anything weird or outside the realm of what I had been told was "right" is suspect and "of the devil".

Which leads me back to U2.

I had heard that Bono was a Christian. I later read that 2 other band-mates were also Christians. But I didn't get the words to "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".

"You broke the bonds, and you loosed the chains Carried the cross, of my shame, of my shame You know I believe it. But I still haven't found what I'm looking for"
It was a beautiful song, but what was Bono saying? That he believes in Christ's death on the cross for his sin (shame), but he still hasn't found what he was looking for? Was there something more?

I heard other rumors here and there about Bono's beliefs, and drew my own conclusion that Bono was not content with Christianity and assumed he'd be making the inevitable celebrity trek to the mountains of Tibet to run away from Christianity... I mean to find enlightenment.

I still listened to U2 over the years. Over time, they became one of my favorite rock bands (up there with Zeppelin, The Beatles and Queen).

So here I am, with a copy of Zoo TV in Sydney, Australia, a concert given by U2 in 1993...

...which leads me back to Perceptions.

In 1993, I was still carrying a judgemental attitude, wearing my Christianity on my sleeve. U2 was a great band, but Bono's faith was questionable, and could confuse weak-minded believers.

I was such a schmuck.

I now watched the Zoo TV concert. Performance? Amazing. Theatrics? Cool and over the top. Imagery? Thought provoking (Is this "The Clockwork Orange" or a philosophy and religion class?).

Faith? Zoo TV is riddled with it. Bono is a master in acting out his own struggle with belief, temptation (how 'bout that belly dancer), and the duality of man. Through song and screen shots coming off the huge stage monitors, he unravels humanity, and brings the true observer to question... everything. In fact, unravel is a great word. Zoo TV takes the viewers perceptions (whether you're an atheist, Christian, Buddhist, etc...) and rips them apart; unravels them.

Watching Zoo TV, I realized how much my perceptions have changed over the years; because of life, age, wisdom. Mostly though, my perceptions changed out of a desire to think, an openness to truth, and the acceptance that there is more to this life.

Maybe I was reading too much into Zoo TV. All deep thoughts and exaggeration aside, it's an awesome show. You should get a copy.

As far as "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", it dawned on me while watching the concert that Bono was crying out from his heart. He doesn't want something other than Christ. He wants to experience the fullness of Christ. He wants to touch the face of God. I can relate to that.


James said...

Whenever I listen to U2's music, I'm always reminded of Bono's repelling arrogance; maybe it's just me though!

mora68 said...

I totally remember when you were into hip-hop...I had just moved down to Florida and you were telling me that there was a difference between the hip-hop down there and the hip-hop up just confused me...I didn't get it.

Did you get my other comment? It didn't tell me that it had saved when I sent it to you...

Marquito said...

I got your comment asking me to clarify the Lewis quote, and I responded. If you placed another comment, I didn't get it.

mora68 said...

I commented on this blog regarding U2. I said that I love U2, although your perception is much different then mine. I am not a deep thinker...I try to be, but, then I just confuse myself! Hence the reason I needed you to explain the previous blog, which is still swirling around in my head!

Marquito said...

James, I'll drink a pint of Guiness in your honor tonight. Cheers!

mora68 said...

Ok...I have read this particular blog a few times. This question I ask comes from my heart. It is sincere. I don't want to be yelled at by anyone for asking it, thinking that I am being disrespectful. Because, honestly, I am not. Here goes...

First, define Christianity for me. Second, how can we be so sure that Christianity is so right, and everything else is so wayward? Do we/you know that Christianity is the absolute truth? And what religions or faiths fall under Christianity? What about the other people in this world that have been brought up to believe something so different? Do you think it would be arrogant to say that "I just hope God forgives them" or "I hope they find the truth" Why is Christianity the truth and everything else isn't?

Ok, there is more then one question here. I want to reiterate, I am asking from the heart, not to stir up trouble or have people say that I am not a Christian. I don't know what I am. I don't know, because, there is so much information out there, that I can honestly say that I am lost and confused..and don't know what to believe. And that is an awful feeling.

Marquito said...

Too many deep questions for one blog. I can tell you that the HONEST search is where it begins. When you put aside all of your "perceptions" regarding Christianity and God, and ask God to show you the truth.

Start here. The world teaches us that we are born good, and become bad. Christianity teaches we are born bad, with a capacity for good. It's not about a baby born wanting to kill people. It's about a baby growing up not having to be taught to be bad; eventually it comes out naturally. It's in us.

Christianity is about a God who is infinite and pure, and wants desperately to be with us, His children. But because of that evil that exists inside us, there is a rift or chasm between us and Him. There was no way for us to reach Him. This is separation from God; separation from God means death. The only thing that would break that, was a sacrifice. Of course, that sacrifice was God making himself man (Jesus). Jesus ALLOWED Himself (the Jews or Romans didn't catch Him unawares; He was in charge the whole time) to be murdered on a cross, to die in our place, so that we could have that relationship with Him.

There is more to it than that, but I want to stop to address the other questions.

The reason there are so many religions in the world is because ALL humans have a built-in knowledge of God. This does not mean that there are many paths to God. It means that everyone is looking for Him. Is Christianity the only way to God? Yes. BUT, before you get nuts, ask yourself if it would bug you as much if a clean-cut, pleasant looking Muslim in a white robe and sandals said the same thing about Mohammed. Sure it may bother you, but I bet it would really piss you off if it was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed middle-aged man in a suit saying the same thing about Jesus. Most people see the white guy and say, "what a self-righteous, arrogant Christian!" I think most people stop looking at Christianity there, because our American culture teaches us that relativism is king, absolute truth can't be known, religion is responsible for all the problems of the world, and for Americans, Christianity is the closest link that we can beat up on. When I talk about perceptions, that's usually what I'm talking about; things that we have stuck in our heads that keep us from thinking reasonably about important issues, like faith. We want so desperately to be seen as nice and non-judgemental, we put up a barrier to anything that sounds remotely exclusive.

How could Christ be the only way, when there are so many other religions in the world? This is the answer that has to do with history, reason and philosophy, and is way too long to answer here. I can recommend a book or two on that subject, or we can sit and talk about it one day.

As far as the rest of the world, Christianity teaches me that God is a just and loving God. The reason Jesus instructed us to go into the world and share the good news of His salvation, was out of His love for the world. That's why Christians have missionaries; out of love for the world. Again, there is more to it than that.

You ask what religions or faiths fall under Christianity. Christianity is one faith. Man has created the divisions and denominations that fall under Christianity, but Christianity is one. Basically, anyone who believes the promises of God, on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is a Christian. Nothing else falls under the label of Christianity. You can't add or take away anything from that.

Your questions seem to come out of a concern for "fairness". I can appreciate that, but when you're looking at issues regarding existence, an infinite God and eternal life, you have to keep your questions in perspective. There's a saying, "you can't help others until you help yourself". There is some truth to that. In the same way, you can't expect to get an answer to your questions about the condition of people around the world, until you honestly ask the questions regarding your own life, and God's role in it.

You've read my blogs, so you know what Christianity is NOT. It's not about rules to follow, about being self-righteous, about being a "good person", about being right. It's about Jesus wanting desperately to be with you, and that you would believe in Him. When you get to that point, the answers to your questions will start coming in. He doesn't answer them all (I still have a lot of unanswered questions), but you end up seeing that it's okay, because you have Him.

I just prayed for you, and I love you.

Anonymous said...

Markus, your 'perceptions' are great! You were a schmuck, but know you’ve seen the light! J/k
The truth is that U2 are the best at penetrating the mind of the seeker, in a way that no one can, and in my humble ‘perspective’, no one will. They can insert the seed of spirituality in the concert goer’s minds, souls, and at the end of the night, they don’t even realize what hit them… that is purely genius. Ok, I better stop here, or else I can write a journal!


- R.
Visit... [] For more on 'U2'.

Tierna soledad said...