U2 and Social Justice: a non-traditional witness

On June 5, 2015, I delivered the closing address for a gathering of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work (California chapter) at Fresno Pacific University. In my talk, “Social Justice and Pop Culture: U2 as a non-traditional Christian voice,” I suggest the thesis that “U2 models a non-traditional Christian witness by engaging the world — especially in areas of social concern — not by remaining isolated from it.”

After giving a brief survey of Ireland, The Troubles and U2’s own adolescence, I address the changing social commentary that “Sunday Bloody Sunday” provides across four decades of live performances, including the dirge-like presentation on the current Innocence + Experience tour. I finish by reflecting on Bono’s own words about engagement with the culture, especially as faith prompts him to speak about social issues.

I captured a live Persicope stream and edited in some of my visuals (including concert footage) from the presentation. I was pleasantly surprised at how warmly the talk was received by this wonderful crowd of social workers. As always, I’d be glad for any feedback, comments or questions. The link to the presentation is here.

For an ongoing series of live Periscope chats that take place after most shows on the current Innocence + Experience tour, see my YouTube channel, “The Crystal Ballroom.”



YouTube video of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” from Vancouver — Orsolina Rabasco and peterschs; 
“Justice For The Forgotten” photo — @timdurkan via @U2Memes


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