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Baylor professor's book focuses on faith messages in U2 music

Aug. 26, 2009

By Derek Smith

Greg Garrett has written numerous books, including works that focused on themes of faith in movies, comic books, and graphic novels. His latest work focuses on faith themes in the music of U2. "We Get To Carry Each Other: The Gospel According to Hollywood" is a focus on a band that has been particularly meaningful to the author over the last three decades.

Many fans feel similarly, as the sold-out stadiums and 145 million U2 records sold would attest. The Irish band has long received critical acclaim for their unique sound and lyrics that many find to be spiritually affirming or thought provoking. That's deliberate. The band is rooted in a faith community.

It's that line, "We Get To Carry Each Other," that became the title of Garrett's book. The idea of serving others, and meeting the needs of those around us has been a theme in other U2 songs besides "One". It's an ideal shaped in many ways by their religious roots in Ireland.

U2 eventually left Shalom after a rift over whether or not it was appropriate for a Christian to play rock music, but the influence lasts over three decades later. Beyond the lyrics, they have a unique sound that Garrett says reminds him and many of being in a cathedral. Soaring melodies provide a lift upward, and many describe their concerts as a religious experience.

In "We Get to Carry Each Other," Garrett focuses on a number of song lyrics and aspects of U2's influence that speak to him and others in their spiritual lives. He also focuses on their well-known social activism, with lead singer Bono often in front of world leaders speaking on situations in Africa, as well as poverty worldwide. It's a way the front man has lived out his faith, and an area that's gaining momentum in evangelical churches in America.

Garrett believes it's their ability to tap into spiritual themes touching on the issues of the day that have allowed the band to continue it's success over three decades, and write music that speaks to Christians and non-Christians alike.

"We Get To Carry Each Other: The Gospel According to U2" is available from Westminster John Knox Press. For KWBU news, I'm Derek Smith.

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