U2: Band or Church?

The New Yorker ran an interesting piece by Joshua Rothman called “The Church of U2” shortly after the somewhat controversial release of their recent “free” album. The article explores the not-so-subtle spirituality of the band which is still sometimes missed by fans and those who prefer that musicians wear their Christianity on both sleeves. Rothman attempts to explain this by explaining their developmental context:

Much of the confusion around U2’s faith stems from the fact that they’ve never been an “officially” Christian rock band. The ambiguity goes back to the band’s origins, in the Dublin of the late seventies, during the Troubles. In a country divided along sectarian lines, little about organized religion was attractive.

And then in the next paragraph:

Their break with organized religion was probably inevitable. But it was still traumatic, which is perhaps why almost every U2 album contains a song about their decision to belong to a band rather than a church.

It’s a good piece and worth the read for those who appreciate the band or for those who are curious about how art can be influenced by faith without being overwrought.  I found the turn of phrase in this second quote to be interesting. I wonder if U2 didn’t actually decide to authentically be church by being a band, instead of pretending or going through the motions.

Read the original piece here…

Photo Credit: Image used under Creative Commons from Dorli Photography.


What to do when the pieces no longer fit… Need a hint? It rhymes with glove.

Our family enjoys the challenge of a good jigsaw puzzle. The little ones have puzzles with large pieces that can be completed in a time span complementary to their limited attentions. When schedules allows, my wife and I will work through puzzles significantly more complex. While we chose this as a hobby to reduce stress, it’s amazing how frustrating this activity can be.

It has often been noted that human beings have an exceptional ability to recognize patterns. This skill is key to our survival as a species and essential to our progress in scientific innovation and inquiry. The unique ways our brains work to create connections is deeply related to our drive to understand the world and to derive meaning from our experiences. This skill is also critically important for solving the jigsaw puzzles we find on tables and those we encounter as we live out our days.

If you have ever wrestled with a 1000+ piece puzzle, you will have encountered the false-positive – that piece that totally fits in a place it doesn’t actually belong. This phenomenon is an example of apophenia; a human tendency to see patterns that aren’t really there. When these instances of apophenia are recognized as significant, they are called pareidolia (Greek for false image). In both cases, more data is usually the way we discern our error, make corrections, and move on.