Regardless of what you think about Bono, U2, or about whether or not sunglasses should be worn indoors, Bono is a really interesting guy. I have really enjoyed “getting to know” him through a book of interviews that I have been reading recently called “Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas.” The most surprising thing about the book is how deep and real Bono is… he seems to look at things realistically, seeing the good and bad in people, and in himself.
He also has a real passion for helping suffering people. You may have also heard about his involvement in the DATA (Debt AIDS Trade Africa) organization and the ONE Campaign to help eliminate poverty in the poorest countries of the world. He talks a lot about that in the book, as well as about how he uses his “star power” to talk to the world’s most powerful leaders and gain support for these organizations. While some view that with skepticism, saying that he’s a rich rock-star and couldn’t possibly really understand the poverty and suffering in Africa (or to use a term Josh would say… a “poser”), he seems to say in the book that he has been given a gift of influence, and with that position it would be a crime not to use what he has been given by God to try to make a big impact on the world. In fact, throughout the book, a major theme is his faith.
Bono never came across as “holier than thou” or “super intellectual and artistic” when talking with his interviewer… in fact he’s pretty raw, real, and rough around the edges. He doesn’t seem to try very hard to gloss anything over, which I appreciate. He is very approachable because he’s honest about himself, he embraces other people, he asks genuine, deep questions, and he loves a good, lively conversation. What a great recipe for how to be a real friend to someone.
Here is a little excerpt from the book:
Bono: I really believe we’ve moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.
Michka: Well, that doesn’t make it clearer for me.
Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics- in physical laws- every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the Universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “As you reap, so you will sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.
Michka: I’d be interested to hear that.
Bono: That’s between me and God. But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep s**t. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins to the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.
Michka: The son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.
Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there’s mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and let’s face it, you’re not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled… It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven.