Look, I'm not equating a Bono interview with a deal with the devil (okay, maybe with MacPhisto), but I do wonder how much we’d be salivating for or dissecting his words if they were coming from someone else. Inspiring and convicting as his reflections may be, is the only reason we’re taking them to heart because they come with his cache? I get the cult of personality and even sympathize with its reality; on some level, it’s a natural human instinct. But sometimes it can get a little embarrassing, especially if we find ourselves feeling more validated by Bono than Scripture.

It’s also an unfair burden to put on a man, especially one that Evangelicals are just as quick to to question and judge as they are to embrace. Despite falling all over themselves to kiss the ring of Christianity’s punk ambassador, Evangelicals often don’t know what to make of Bono. Is he brother or prodigal? Just when we’re ready to embrace Bono fully as our own, he’ll drop an f-bomb while praying to Jesus (as he does in the song "Wake Up Dead Man"), or flash a Christian/Muslim/Jewish/Eastern/Hippie/Etc. mashup Coexist logo and, suddenly, his entire salvation is in question. Many still don’t even know what to make of "I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For."

Being unable to reconcile these sides of Bono is what many Evangelicals find problematic, but they so want to because oh what a witness he would be! The fact is, though, the need to reconcile these things in the first place may very well be the real problem. When that kind of clarity becomes a necessity, a man's worth is reduced to an easily-packaged testimony, and the complexities of obedience are tragically forsaken.

As for Jim Daly and his interview, he was refreshingly non-starstruck. He wasn't offering up softball questions, nor was he dogmatic so as to preserve any precious conservative reputation. When Bono has been interviewed by Christians in the past, I'd often get a sense that he was patient and gracious with overly-earnest interviewers looking either to score points with both him and the audience or trying to keep him inside an Evangelical-Orthodox box. Daly never succumbed to those extremes; their half-hour conversation is well worth the listen, and at times provocative.

Bono is as culturally relevant as they come, but I suspect relevancy isn't Bono’s mission. Bono, it seems, is driven by how he's submitting to God, rather than how he's presenting him. As he says in the interview, "when you align yourself with God's purposes, as described in the Scriptures, something special happens to your life. You're in alignment." This is a man with a strong sense of who He is and who we aren't.

Humility is what empowers us to proclaim the Gospel rightly, and Bono offers some insight into what that looks like. After declaring point-blank to Daly that Jesus is the Son of God (and not merely a prophet or teacher as many try to reduce Him to), Bono goes on to say, "we need to… if I could be so bold, need to be really, really respectful to people who find that ridiculous." That’s a man who understands: Truth must be revealed by the Spirit and accepted by faith, not through clever argument or debate, and that the proclamation of the Gospel begins best not as a sermon but rather a confessional – even when you're the most popular Christian on earth.

Publication date: June 27, 2013