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"Edge's guitar solo in 'Love Is Blindness' is a more eloquent prayer than anything I could write." — Bono

Sidebar: Jars of Clay's Dan Haseltine on the Nashville Summit

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Jars of Clay's Dan Haseltine talks about their involvement with African issues and his experiences at the Nashville DATA summit last year.

In December of last year, I had the opportunity to go to Africa. I spent ten days in three countries traveling with an organization called African Leadership. They are a group that started as a Bible training organization, but have moved far beyond that into the realm of basic needs, i.e. famine relief, vocational training, medical relief. They work at a very community based level. Very personal and relational. It was amazing to experience Africa in this way. World Vision also kept us busy. We visited the Minister of Health for the country of Malawi, we visited HIV/AIDS support groups in Zimbabwe, Orphanages in South Africa, the homes of HIV positive children and mothers.

Before I left, Bono was in Nashville as a last stop for his Heartland Tour. I had the chance to sit and listen to him talk about HIV/AIDS with about 15 of my fellow musical colleagues. He was told of my trip, and we spoke briefly about the places I would be going. Mostly, it was a great chance to cut through the hype and truly sit face to face and hear the heart of a man that had been called to love well the people of Africa, and who firmly believed, as I do, that the church must and shall play a vital role in the fight to save African brothers and sisters from the effects of HIV/AIDS. It is everybody's fight. Because it encompasses so many areas of humanitarian relief, it is a battle that needs everyone, i.e. famine relief, child sponsorship, sports equipment, entertainment, vocational training, everything!

When I returned home from Africa, I was stunned by my own reaction to the things I had seen and the people I had met. I was full of hope. I thought I would feel the opposite. But I then knew what Bono felt. It was not a problem worthy of despair. It was a problem with real answers, needing real people. So we started Blood:Water Mission. It is a foundation meant to support and fund grassroots medical facilities in South Africa. It is designed to get primitive medical facilities in a place where they can run effectively and efficiently. So when drugs are available, they will be able to administer them properly. The greatest way this connects with DATA, is simply that Bono has waved a flag saying do something...we felt like perhaps that was the necessary push we needed to have the confidence to move forward with our own visions of work for Africa.

We have resonated with what Bono speaks about. We have seen the church, primarily a sleeping giant, begin to stir. We want to be part of the group that sounds the alarm, and changes the apathetic current of American church culture. We want to help people remember how to care.

The bible talks about the concept of "knowing." To know is to love. But in America, to know is to become desensitized to a person's need. To dig deep enough into someone's life means to get dirty. American culture would tell us we do not have time to spend on getting dirty with another person's problems, so we spend our time learning facts about people rather than getting to "know" them, and subsequently...truly loving them well. This is true of Africa. We know all the facts, and it shuts us down, we need to get to know the African People, then we can really love them. This is what I would love to be a part of in the coming years. This is what Bono seems to be striving for as well. U2 has been a model of sorts. They have been a good example of people living lives in the reality of the Gospel. Lives that spend more time doing, than explaining. More time actually loving, than analyzing what love might look like. That is Jars of Clay's focus as well. We choose to write songs about life...prophetic in nature rather than as Bono put it, "making commercials for God."

Worship is in the "doing" even more than the "talking."





@U2, 2003.