Thursday, February 01, 2007

Now here’s a celebrity missionary… Bono! (who, like God and Willowcreek CC, “isn’t short of cash, mister”)

Before I raise my questions of restricting/charging money for ministry materials – and how Bono even remotely fits into the mix – let me first make this statement: U2 is by far my favourite secular band. I don’t have it listed in my favourites because it goes without saying and is a class unto itself. I mean, let’s face it: Bono is the undisputed Pope of Rock’n Roll. What else, at a purely sensory level, can lift the soul higher than Bono’s high-octave peals as he existentially laments our human confines? As for Bono’s profession of faith in Jesus Christ, it is at best enigmatic and confounding. But he is a compelling poet who echoes the cries of many-a-heart, and one would be hard-pressed to find fault in his work to fight poverty and injustice. Bono is indeed one person I would very much enjoy meeting in this life – placing a close second to Joshua Harris.

Now the inspiration, followed by the point, of my entry: Bono’s (strictly copyright) interview by Bill Hybels of Willowcreek Community Church (click for a small description and interesting discussion about it).

Now without having seen the interview, or knowing who is responsible for the near-impossibility of access to it, I can’t make too many comments about it. I know that my sister's church in Thunder Bay heralded the good news of Bono speaking at Redwood Alliance (via taped interview) in a local paper. However, what greatly amused me was this email sent to my sister from a friend in Germany who tried in vain to find the video on the web:

No Bono interview on the internet. Willow Creek offers a couple of DVD’s from the leadership conference, but as for the "exclusive interview with Bono" it says "not available". Well, maybe Bono would sue them if they would sell his precious thoughts and insights.... Only to give the money to the poor, obviously....

I still laugh at much of what is done in the name of Christian ministry with a price-tag attached (I mean, even Bono seems to agree in U2’s live version of “Bullet the Blue Sky” -- delivering a stinging indictment of money-pandering preachers with the quote up above in the blog entry title). I don’t think restricting/ charging money for books, recordings etc. is completely unallowable, just worthy of calls for greater examination in light of scripture (1 Corinthians 9:18; Matthew 10:8).

I, for one, have been far greater blessed and refreshed (and far less impoverished) by ministers and their materials that “offer the Gospel free of charge” à la Paul, or who at least give free license to reproduction and distribution as such, like Ray Comfort and Keith Green (whose estate, however, has discontinued the practice). Oneplace.com has sermons that are offered freely by prominent teachers like John Macarthur and John Piper (who is by and large pretty sound, except his “Christian hedonism” kick is still pretty whacky to me – probably the topic of a future entry).

But I have not been more blessed than I have been by the ministry of George Tabert. Links to his works (freely received and freely given) are under my Favourites column. I particularly recommend his recent sermon series explaining how the Levitical sacrificial system demonstrates the great breadth and richness of our salvation in Christ (which, as you can surmise, money can’t come close to touching).

2 comments:

Paula T said...

Here's a thought for ya:

I run the bookstore at our church, and we've talked about how much to charge for things we sell. A point that was brought up to me, was how our culture attributes quality to cost. So if I gave a CD away for free or $2.00, people figure it's not very good music. But if I charge 10 or 15$$, then it is valued as better music.

Also, working with Vineyard Music people, I realize how some people do music for a living. If you considered teaching your ministry and not your job....would you do it for free?

What about paying for housing? Food? Clothing? Is it lack of faith to ask for money to pay for these things, or is it being a wise christian and a good steward of the money God entrusts you with??

Renny said...

Thanks for the comments Paula. Your questions have inspired a new entry!