Sunday, July 15, 2007

Where the streets have no name

Two weeks ago marked the 20th anniversary of "The Joshua Tree" album by U2. Released to much acclaim, the album launched U2 into the category of one of "The Greatest Rock Bands in the World."

Over the years, U2's front man, Bono, has gone from a cocky Irishman singing poignant lyrics to a crusader to end poverty and the spread of AIDS in third world countries--most noticeably those in Africa. This journey of Bono and the boys coincides with their spiritual journey as well. For many years, Bono blamed Christians for tearing his beloved homeland apart and criticized them for not doing more to help the dying mothers and children in Africa and around the world.

He figured that, instead of just blaming and criticizing, he'd do something about it. Using his star power and the popularity of his band's music, he started lobbying governments to change their policies on AIDS drugs to AIDS-ravaged countries and forgiving the debt of these countries. He has helped start two organizations over the years that addresses these issues: Data and the ONE campaign.

Bono believes that poverty in these countries can be eliminated. He has dedicated his life, time, and resources to this cause in an unprecedented move by a famous rock star. There is a severe problem. But there is also a solution.

As followers of Christ, Bono believes that we must do as Christ would do and help those who can not help themselves. Christ would not sit back and watch as people die of starvation and diseases like malaria that can be prevented. He would DO something about it. Every little bit helps. Small steps can make a a world of change. The poverty many people face is poverty that can be cured.

There is no reason that anyone in today's world--with the vast wealth and technology we have--should be living in extreme poverty.

It's time that every single person who is able to do whatever it takes to advocate for this. Donate your time or money. Write your leaders. Get others involved. Do something.

I found out about Bono's journey at church last week. We watched a video of an interview with him by a pastor in Chicago. Our church is going to adopt a group of orphaned children in a village in Swaziland, Africa. I'm excited for this. I know that it will only be a small part but a small part can go a long way. As I said in my speech yesterday, in the famous words of Robert F. Kennedy, "...Each of us can work to change a small portion of the events, and in the total of all these acts will be written the history of this generation."