CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 August 2019

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Religious music should be art not advertising

DUBLIN (SE): Bono is the well-known vocalist from the Irish rock band, U2, but he is also a man with a great love for the psalms and has strong ideas of his own on how to communicate religious values through music.
 
The 57-year-old has spoken often about the inspiration he receives from the biblical hymns and says that they hold good lessons for aspiring Christian musicians, as they are real art and, as they do not try to get in your face with the Christian stuff, are more honest than what he calls the typical Christian music genre.
 
“Creation screams God’s name. So you don’t have to stick a sign on every tree,” he said in a video interview in May reported by the Catholic News Agency.
 
He explained that when music is truly art it is not necessary to explicitly label it Christian, as it can speak for itself. Bono added that a message does not have to be overtly Christian in order to glorify God.
 
“This has really, really got to stop. I want to hear a song about the breakdown in your marriage, I want to hear songs of justice, I want to hear rage at injustice and I want to hear a song so good that it makes people want to do something about the subject,” he said in the interview.
 
Bono’s comments came in a five-part video clip series released by Fuller Studio, which promotes resources for a deeply formed spiritual life.
 
Bono explained that what he has learned from years of reading the psalms is the importance of listening and honesty.
 
He singled out the story of King David, who after falling in love with a married woman named Bathsheba, committed adultery with her and then arranged a plot to kill her husband, a soldier, to cover up the subsequent pregnancy.
 
Bono called the evils committed by King David mind blowing, but pointed out that he was able to find grace and redemption.
 
In encouraging Christian musicians to understand their goal is to create art, not advertising, he said that the honesty of giving expression to the real things that are going on in life is the key to good art.
 
“I want to argue the case for artists or potential artists who might be listening in on our conversation and are not giving expression to what’s really going on in their lives, because they feel it will give the wrong impression of them,” he said.
 
“Brutal honesty,” he said “is the root. Not just to a relationship with God, but it is the root to a great song. That’s the only place you can find a great song. The only place you can find any work of art, of merit.”

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