In honor of U2’s phenomenal show last night at FedEx Field (“Cardinal McCarrick is in the house!” -Bono) I’d like to discuss the themes in their hit “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”. In 1987, the song was performed during their Rattle & Hum celebration tour at Madison Square Garden featuring the gospel choir, New Voices of Freedom. It is a powerful arrangement, and today I found the original video on YouTube.
You would think, by the joyful praising of the choir, that they are singing about faith, but the song clearly states that this person has considered the Jesus thing but still hasn’t found what he’s looking for. When asked by Rolling Stone about the meaning of the song, Bono himself said it was an “anthem of doubt more than faith”.
How can someone say “You broke the bonds and You loosed ths chains” and yet doubt? How can someone say “You know I believe it” and yet still be searching? Interestingly, there is a line in the new U2 song Crazy that says, “How can you stand next to the truth and not see it?”
I think the answer comes down to a person’s daily life experience. When I am having a philosophical or theological argument with someone about some specific topic, I always end up wanting to ask the questions, What in your life would have to change if you changed your view? Would you have to create a new relationship with your mother? Would you have to stop sleeping with your significant other? Would you have to make time in your schedule to serve? Would you have to start taking better care of your body?
We all know people who seem to be very stubborn in their lack of faith. Conversation after conversation, they still won’t budge. But I would suggest being a little more curious about their daily life experience. What are they holding on to? What are they scared of on the other side of of the doubt/faith decision? Far more than any rational argument, your curiosity, love, and personal concern may be what they are looking for. And may be the reason they stop looking, and believe.