Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sanctification, Bono, & Barth

In his introduction to U2 By U2, Bono remarks:

"Your nature is a hard thing to change; it takes time. One of the extraordinary transferences that happen in your spiriutal life is not that your character flaws go away but they start to work for you. You're insecure: you end up a performer who needs applause. I have heard of people having life-changing, miraculous turn-arounds, people set free from addiction after a single prayer, relationships saved where both parties 'let go, and let God'. But it was not like that for me. For all that 'I was lost, I am found', it is probably more accurate to say, 'I was really lost, I'm a little less so at the moment.' And then a little less and a little less again. That to me is the spiritual life. The slow reworking and rebooting of a computer at regular intervals, reading the small print of the service manual. It has slowly rebuilt me in a bettter image. It has taken years though, and it is not over yet.

I think Bono is onto something here. Sure, it's not the Puritan ordo salutis, but perhaps the ordo is a bit too organized, even for the Bible. Barth has said that sanctification is a series of conversions. The idea is that sanctification is salvation (not vice-versa) and salvation is as much a point as it is a process. Gradual change. Even the addict has deeper and more significant sins to deal with than addiction to crack. That's just the surface of the sinner's heart. But the propensity to be addicted just might be a spiritual value--the human impulse to desire, to crave.

Do you think Bono is right? Can spiritual transformation be described as "your character flaws working for you?"? What of his honesty? A dose of that for the evangelical church, starting with numero uno, could go a long way...


At 3:33 PM , Anonymous matt said...

I don't know. I agree with the gist of what he's saying - but character flaws are just that - flaws. My understanding is that sanctification works out those flaws. In other words - the desire for attention may work for Bono in the proffessional sense of driving him as a performer, but does that "flaw" foster righteousness? I can't speak for Bono, but I don't see that pattern in my own life.
However - the definition of "flaw" could change this whole deal for me. Are we talking about weakness or sin? Weakness can work for us - sin cannot. At least I don't think it can.


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