GUEST BLOG: In God's Country . . .

I am pleased to welcome my good friend, Lisa Marchal, for the following guest blog on a topic very near and dear to her heart...

In God's Country... (or "A Friend of Wabi-Sabi gets all mushy about U2")
By Lisa Marchal

So I was around 14 years old, sitting on a hot vinyl bench seat on our rattle-trap church bus. It was a youth trip, and I was probably failing to contain my excitement over the coolest, cutest boy (in my book, anyway) who sat himself down in MY seat. We were striking up a friendship, and as we talked about our similar musical preferences (the barometer of any relationship), he began talking about this band called U2. They were great, he said. They had this cool live album called Rattle and Hum, he said.

It was the beginning of a love affair. Oh, the boy's not around any more. But the music is. For 20 years, U2 has steadily evolved into the soundtrack-makers of my life, and to eye-rolling proportions, I have become fascinated and fixated on the moves that they make. Their work over the past 30 years has been a heady conflation of punk noise, spirituality, Dublin streets, hard work, rockets to the top, rabbit trails (or innovations, depending on who you ask), social activism, creative capitalism, brilliant sounds, shiny fame, and heart.

Besides the music that never fails to hook right into you and make you feel something again for the first time, there's the heart -- and perhaps that's my favorite element of the band. No person or group can withstand the white-hot spotlight of fame for 30 days -- let alone 30 years -- without the light shining into some dark human places. So what inspires me most about the band is their fidelity to the process of their music, their spiritual journeys, and the people of their lives. They clearly put a premium on integrity as they play out their relationships with their work, with the Divine, and with each other. That in itself makes me thrilled about the first-ever U2 academic conference to be held in NYC this May (thanks to the folks of Cedarville University,, and others).

U2 - The hype and the feedback Here's the conference site: Registration's open, so get on the bus. Hope to see you there.