“When I look at the world…”

12 07 2008

There’s no doubt that U2 is by far my favorite musical group ever.  It always seems that one or two of their songs are running through my head at any given time.  Most of the time, the songs are not the ones you will recognize immediately–they’re not that radio-friendly.  The one that’s been going through my head recently is called “When I Look at the World.”  It’s from their album “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” and represents the cynicism I constantly find myself experiencing.  Now, let’s break these lyrics down. Shall we?

“When I Look At The World”

When you look at the world
What is it that you see?
People find all kinds of things
That bring them to their knees
I see an expression
So clear and so true
That it changes the atmosphere
When you walk into the room

So I try to be like you
Try to feel it like you do
But without you it’s no use
I can’t see what you see
When I look at the world

When the night is someone elses
And you’re trying to get some sleep
When your thoughts are too expensive
To ever want to keep
When there’s all kinds of chaos
And everyone is walking lame
You don’t even blink now, do you
Or even look away

So I try to be like you
Try to feel it like you do
But without you it’s no use
I can’t see what you see
When I look at the world

I can’t wait any longer
I can’t wait till I’m stronger
Can’t wait any longer
To see what you see
When I look at the world

I’m in the waiting room
Can’t see for the smoke
I think of you and your holy book
While the rest of us choke

Tell me, tell me, what do you see?
Tell me, tell me, what’s wrong with me


I read a book a few years ago about our “worldview,” and how Christians aren’t that different from non-Christians when it comes to how they view the world.  It was evident that the author was a big advocate of the need for Christians to develop a “Christian worldview,” in order for them to somehow sense God’s perspective on the things happening in the world.  

But isn’t it a lot easier to argue amongst ourselves about who’s more Christian (or Baptist) than the other, or who we should or shouldn’t align ourselves with because of their dangerous orthodoxy?  What about the need to identify ourselves with any certain political party, declaring, “In the elephant/donkey do we trust” to take care of issues of basic human decency that we should be smart enough to take care of ourselves.

How does God look at the world?  What is it that God sees?

How should we look at the world?  Shouldn’t we be concerned about what God’s concerned about?

Poverty.  Injustice.  Famine.  Slavery.  Forced Prostitution.  Civil Rights.  Crime, and the various environments that encourage the cycling of crime.  The breakdown of the family.  


I want to see what God sees when God looks at the world.   I want to see–

Faith.  Hope.  Love.  

I want to see revival breaking out across this world, a revival of faith, hope, and love, a revolutionary faith, hope, and love that will change the world from the inside, out.  

I want to lose my cynical outlook on the world.  I want to denounce my apathetic and lackadaisical attitude toward anything that doesn’t hit me in the face personally.

I want to care, to become aware of what’s going on around me.

My prayer is to open my eyes, tune in my ears, loosen the reins that have kept my heart so tied up for so long, and truly look at the world like God does…

Change won’t (just) come politically.  It has to start with the world’s admitting that we don’t really care about what’s happening to our neighbor, and resolve to start doing something about it.

More lyrics spring to mind, but these will do for now.  Get ready.



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