When I was in college, sitting in World Civ class, Dr. Carter, our august professor, refered to someone (I can't remember who) as "a Christian, but not by our definition." Aaron and I turned to one another and said, "Maybe we need to change our definition."
U2 has helped me to change my definion of what a Christian is. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is an honest, humble, challenging expression of faith and commitment. It expresses aspects of orthodox Christianity that Red State Christians need to be reminded of. All at the same time, this album has pop appeal while remaining genuine and grounded. It challenges saints to be peacemakers while it calls seekers to give up on their dizzying, vertigo-inducing quest for a miracle drug. All of life finds its culmination where the album does - in a prayer to Yahweh.
Here are some random thoughts:
I think my favorite song (but this is subject to change) is A Man and a Woman. I have to admit that I don't understand the mysterious distance between me and Vanessa. (However, whenever Bono breaks into the falcetto on this song, I always think he is going to sing "Roxanne" reminscent of Sting. And then I am left picturing Steve Martin with a long nose. It is weird how it all runs together.)
Songs like Love and Peace or Else and Crumbs from Your Table have been used by God to keep me thinking about my mental grid. Do I evaluate everything through a political grid or a biblical grid? These songs help me to see that there is a Christian way to look at war and poverty that is not necessarily the Republican way.
The tribute songs on this album are as powerful as they were on All That You Can't Leave Behind. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own (for Bono's father) and City of Blinding Lights (for New York City) are both fantastic.
Yahweh is amazing and worshipful.
Overall, I like this album a ton. It is in the vein of All That You Can't Leave Behind, which was in the vein of The Joshua Tree. U2 is simply the greatest band on the planet.