Sunday, May 21, 2017

Where the Streets Have No Name

And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. ...neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.
4 Nephi 1:15, 17
I'm always interested in seeing how religious themes are represented in art, especially in art that isn't explicitly spiritual. Yesterday, I went on a road trip to Joshua Tree National Park, and my traveling companion and I decided that the perfect soundtrack to our trip was U2's album The Joshua Tree.

Yucca brevifolia in Joshua Tree National Park

The album starts out with "Where the Streets Have No Name". When I got home, I was curious what the song was about, so I looked it up. It's apparently a reference to the social divide in Belfast that was prevalent at the time. Upon meeting someone new, people would ask what street they lived on. The city was so segregated that, just by finding out what street someone lived on, you could tell immediately someone's religion and socioeconomic status. Bono envisioned a better world - one where those divisions didn't exist, i.e. where the streets have no name. Basically, it's a song about Zion - a place of unity where the pure in heart dwell.

Where the Streets Have No Name - U2 - 1987 - The Joshua Tree

That got me thinking about what our "streets" are these days. What divides us as a church and a society?

In the LDS context today, a few things come to mind. People are divided by whether or not they served a mission (and if they served, whether they served in the US or outside the US), whether or not they're married, how many kids they have, whether or not their kids have checked off societally prescribed boxes, whether a woman is employed, etc.

Let's work to create a society where our "streets" have no name.

And, just as a bonus, here's a picture from the trip I took to Belfast back in January.

Peace walls were erected throughout Belfast during The Troubles to separate Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods. The violence has stopped, but the streets still have names.