15. U2 - "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"

"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" is the second track from U2's 1987 album The Joshua Tree and was released as the album's second single in May 1987. The song was a hit, becoming the band's second consecutive number-one single on the US Billboard Hot 100 while peaking at number six on the UK Singles Chart.

The song originated from a demo the band recorded on which drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. played a unique rhythm pattern. Like much of The Joshua Tree, the song was inspired by the group's interest in American music. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" exhibits influences from gospel music and its lyrics describe spiritual yearning. 

"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" was critically acclaimed and received two nominations at the 30th Grammy Awards in 1988, for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. It has subsequently become one of the group's most well-known songs and has been performed on many of their concert tours. The track has appeared on several of their compilations and concert films. Many critics and publications have ranked "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" among the greatest tracks in music history.

There are a number of ways to interpret this song. On the one hand it seems that this song is about having questions regarding faith. On the other hand it's could be seen as an attack on organised religion. That's how the Catholic church in Ireland saw it when it was produced. When it first came out the song was very controversial, because U2 are Irish the Catholic church in Ireland demanded an apology from U2 when the song was released. The Catholic Church saw the song as a direct attack on the church. They also hit hard at the rock band for writing this song and as we have already said demanded an apology, but the band declined any further comment. Another way to understand this song is to say the person in the song has some kind of faith, but has some unanswered questions or doubts.

I have climbed highest mountains
I have run through fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you

I have run, I have crawled
I have scaled the city walls
Said it was
Only to be with you

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing in her fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire

I have spoken with the tongue of angels
I have held end of the velvet
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a star

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

I believe in kingdom come
When all the colors were bleeding as one
Bleeding the one
Yes, I’m still running

He broke the bounds, he loose the chains
Carried the cross of my shame
Broke my shame
You know I believed it

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

You could not be blamed if you have second thoughts about organised religion or that you have doubts about faith. It is not wrong to question, It's not wrong to doubt. On the contrary it would be very suspicious to many if they met someone who seemed to have it all sewn up. You know the kind, that perfect person that does not have any problems, no issues, no worries, no questions, no brokenness and answers to the name of perfect Peter. I'm not sure that they person really exists. I have encountered many people who have said they have no issues, but scratch the surface and there they are.

In the gospels there is a character that we often use in general conversation. Often when someone is unsure about something we will call him a "doubting Thomas" I think a better way of referring to him would be to rename him as "honest Thomas"

John 20:19-29
"19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” 24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

In terms of Faith an "Honest Thomas" says "I still haven't found what I'm looking for" It's a good place to be. It means you will not settle for imitations or second best. It's a humble place. And in that humble place arrogance and pride cannot take root. All of us have questions from time to time and need the security of being convinced. Thomas simply wanted to see, he did not want to take it on hearsay. Thomas wants what we all want a "Real Experience" and who are people to say he is right or wrong on that. But that is not the end of the story as Jesus himself in the passage talks about a whole group of people who will not see what Thomas has seen but yet still believe.

When confronted with religion an "Honest Thomas" says "I still haven't found what I'm looking for" The institution of organised religion however good cannot take the place of a real life relationship with Jesus. From time to time most people will find that life in the church is not all that it is cracked up to be. at the end of the day, it's a bunch of broken people trying their best to navigate the the world of faith. It can never be as good as a relationship with Jesus. Is it any wonder that the church cannot satisfy the needs we have. 'We still haven't found what we are looking for"

But when confronted with the real Jesus an "Honest Thomas" must concede and admit that a relationship with Jesus is of more worth than anything else.  "My Lord and my God" is what Thomas in John 20:28. Thomas saw and believed. He found in reality what others had told him about. 

There is nothing wrong with the desire that you will not take second best. There is nothing wrong with questions. there is nothing wrong with seeking the truth and not giving up. there is nothing wrong with have issues with organised religion. Nothing wrong with not giving up seeking for answers regarding faith. It's a quest that we are all on. It's just sometimes we admit that fact.

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