What would you tell beleaguered non-Christians, those of us who have been told we're going to hell, who might have some issues with the way Christianity is often practiced?
Well, first and foremost, I would begin with the assumption that, often, Jesus shares your critique. (laughs) Actually the first Christians took great pains to point out Jesus' critique of his own people. In fact, as long as you're having a Rapture theme, look at Revelation: it begins with Jesus having words for some of his churches, and some of the words are really positive and some of them are really strong: 'You are not being true to this message of compassion and grace and generosity. You are not being true, and I might have to turn the lights off. I might have to cut off the electricity.' You know?
'I'm going to turn this car around.'
Yeah. And I think it's actually very important to realize, maybe what has you really pissed off has Jesus really pissed off. To me, what's really powerful about faith is when it has a capacity for self-critique. I don't think -- like you said, those who are sort of beleaguered by this, I don't think they have a problem with flawed humans, with a wobbly, shaky church, which sometimes looks pretty anemic? I think they have a problem with a church that won't admit it, or say, 'You know what, we struggle. We are beggars who have found bread and we're just trying to help others find the bread.' You know? There's a number of pictures and metaphors that are MUCH healthier. I think that's why a lot of people are drawn to Bono's faith. He's like a Christian poet for some people. But what's fascinating is this really rich, powerful, popular fellow on a regular basis says things like 'I'm a sinner, and I'm saved by grace. I need it more than anybody. I'm desperately in need of a cup of cold water.' And people -- hardened skeptics who want nothing to do with this sort of Christianity -- they respect that. It's beautiful.
'In my dream I was drowning my sorrows, and my sorrows they learned to swim.'
Yeah! 'I still haven't found what I'm looking for.' Hey, we can go back and forth, like U2-lyric ping-pong.(laughs) So, my experience has been, when Christians are like 'No one wants to hear the message of truth' -- nooo, they just don't want to hear that version. Because that doesn't work. That doesn't ring true. But my experience has been that humility, confession, on our knees, humbly asking for grace -- these are all part of the human experience.