Herr Professor Doktor Poulos has a few smart things to say about Bono and Christianity and . . . well, other things. You know, it’s Poulos.
A few years ago Bono did an AIDS-awareness “Heartland of America” tour that led him to Wheaton College, where I teach, and there was a kind of pep rally in our chapel. Tickets were scarce, but my buddy Ashley Woodiwiss, who had worked with Bono on some of these projects and who masterminded the whole thing, took care of me. Bono got up and talked for a while, riffing on C. S. Lewis, since he knew that Wheaton has a collection of Lewis’s papers. (“Everything that is not eternal is eternally out of date,” Bono quoted.) Ashley Judd was there too, and served an an obnoxiously peppy mistress of ceremonies. And Chris Tucker: he got up and said that all this was new to him but he thought it was good to help people who are poor and dying. We got a PowerPoint presentation from Dr. Jim Kim, Paul Farmer’s colleague at Harvard and with Partners in Health. Then Bono sang a song with some African children and we were done.
Looking back on it, what I can’t get over is that none of this seemed surreal to me at the time.