It wasn’t too long ago that we saw Bono sitting down with author, pastor and Bible translator Eugene Peterson. In that interview we heard of the lead singer’s love for Psalms and listened in as he and the seasoned theologian discussed the intersection of faith and art. Bono has praised Peterson publicly and used his version of the Bible, The Message, for more than a decade, both personally and in concert. (More about that Peterson connection here, here and here.)
Now Bono is endorsing another Christian author. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest who makes his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the Center for Action and Contemplation. Rohr has published numerous books, but his latest, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation, has received special attention from Bono.
On the book’s Amazon page, U2’s frontman says,
Finding the sweet spot where contemporary science meets ancient mysticism, and theology meets poetry, The Divine Dance sketches a beautiful choreography for a life well–lived. In our joy or our pain, true life is always relational, a flow, a dance. (And was always meant to be.)
In Divine Dance, Rohr wants to reorient us to the mystic and transcendent quality of God as he is known in the Trinity. The fancy academic term for this theological topic is “perichoresis,” the dynamic and fluid dance-like interplay of Father, Son and Spirit. Rohr says that, in our modern society, we have reduced God solely to an individual, a rational being like us. To do so limits our understanding of the Divine as an ongoing creative entity. Restoring our concept of a transcendent God will once again help us find our purpose and place in relationship to the grand cosmos, and thus, to each other.
No wonder Bono likes this stuff. He has a keen interest in how we connect to the creation and the cosmos. A prime example of this is found in the live presentation of “Iris (Hold Me Close).” Bono’s allusion to stars, time, light, darkness and the coldness of space, while simultaneously reflecting on a relationship with his mother, against the backdrop of Oliver Jeffers’s illustrated constellations (which eventually hurtle down through the window of the lead singer’s childhood bedroom), illustrate what Rohr is getting at: A proper understanding of a cosmic Trinity helps us understand our own connectedness with God, humanity and the creation.
Good stuff. I couldn’t agree more.
But that’s not the only connection between U2 and Rohr we’ve seen lately. A couple of months ago Edge posted a little video clip of dolphins swimming in the wake of a boat on the ocean, with the caption, “Enneagram buddies.” Huh? Enne-what?
The Enneagram is an ancient spiritual tool that Rohr is well known for using to teach about personality types. When Edge posted that video, he was winking at us and letting us know that he is the “dolphin” type, which corresponds with Rohr’s “type nine.”
Here are some of the descriptors:
- Basic desire of type nine: To have inner stability “peace of mind.”
- Type nines are pleasant, peaceful, generous, patient, receptive, diplomatic, open-minded and empathetic.
- They are peacemakers. Their gift of accepting others without prejudice makes people feel understood and accepted.
- They can be unbiased arbitrators, because they can see and appreciate the positive aspects of both sides.
- Their sense of fairness may make them committed fighters for peace and justice. They express harsh truths calmly and so matter-of-factly that it’s easy for others to “swallow” these truths.
- In the presence of a nine, many feel it’s easy to come to rest.
Remember all those times Bono has introduced Edge as a “Zen-Presbyterian”? That’s our guitarist!
So two of U2’s members are connecting with Rohr. It wouldn’t surprise me if we see that Enneagram show up in the graphics of a new tour. Regardless, I’m always intrigued to learn of influences that impact the spirituality of this band. And I’m glad they find Rohr a help.