Prophets are hard to find these days. But there is one in our midst, wearing a leather jacket, long hair, colored shades and some stubble. Perhaps it’s the camel-hair clothing and leather belt of the 21st century.
Bono was born Paul Hewson, but a high school buddy stole the name “Bono Vox” from a hearing aid store — Latin for “good voice” and gave it to him. He shortened it to “Good,” and he’s lived up to his namesake: he has not only made some incredibly soulful music, but he has also called presidents, kings, governments and nations to bring shalom — wholeness — to the poorest countries in the world.
For instance, check out the sermon he gave a couple of weeks ago at the National Prayer Breakfast. In it, by quoting Isaiah 58, he challenged the United States to the ONE Campaign — to give 1% more of the U.S. budget to overcome AIDS and extreme poverty through measures like fair trade, debt relief, fighting corruption and providing basic health and educational needs. He therefore lives a double life: one as rock star swaying to a social-conscious beat and the other as statesman rubbing shoulders with government elites to call them to something higher.
I liked him as a musician, but I love him as a prophet. He’s not a bad preacher either.
Like Bono, artists — meaning everyone from musicians to poets to dancers to filmmakers — are the prophets of our time. Sure, sometimes they boast about poppin’ Cristal or at other times croon about a mushy, cuddly sentimental version of love. But when they find their true soul and humanity, they can inspire a generation. It was no accident that the musicians of the Old Testament came from the Levites — the priestly tribe. It was no coincidence that the Old Testament prophets wrote in poetry — the street rap of their time. They were prophets, using the arts to subvert prevailing norms and call people to a more loving, risky and gracious standard.
So get out there and sing, scat, dance, step, jam, riff, write, type, act, shoot, direct, paint, sculpt, carve — this world could definitely use a few more prophets.
i lost the comments while updating this website — my bad…
Even the greatest band on hearth wears leather. This tells you that there is nothing like wearing a leather outfit for any occasion.
I’m not sure I agree with the “prophet” label. That’s pretty biblical for someone who is still alive. That’s usually reserved for those who have passed and had the time to judged by the “prophet makers”. But I do agree that he is about as good as it gets when it comes to rock stars that use their fame and fortune for good and not just waste away (like Amy Winehouse did today). Just sad.