Both accounts follow, as they complement each other well (I have always been intrigued by two of Beth Maynard's comments when she first blogged the Yancey version: 1)She once was a musician at a service Manning was speaking at (do tell!) and 2) "My personal theory: U2 answered such questions years ago and this was more a test of Manning than a request for information. But maybe not")
Phillip Yancey : I think it’s OK to tell this story. U2 came to New Orleans and played in the Superdome. Brennan Manning [The Ragamuffin Gospel, Signature of Jesus was in New Orleans, so they looked him up because they had read his books. Edge [guitarist] said, "OK, Brennan, I have two questions for you." I forget the first one. The second one was: "Can I glorify God by being the best rock guitarist I can be?" And Brennan said, "Absolutely you can. If that’s your calling, you can."
In a lot of ways Edge is a more thoughtful, content-oriented guy than Bono. But he’s aware that Bono’s the front guy. [He’s probably thinking:] "Bono is the media-savvy [one]. He can handle the crowds, and that’s not my goal, and that’s not my calling. I probably wouldn’t be very good at it. But I can be God’s guitarist!"
Steven Curtis Chapman : Wow, that’s incredible.
Philip : Bono is an interesting example here because [U2] tried intentionally not to be a "Christian rock band," even though some of the guys are strong Christians. Yet he came to a point where he said in USA Today, "We live in this crazy celebrity culture. Like an athlete, I’ve got the attention of the world; so what matters most? To me what matters most is the continent of Africa, AIDS and the debt and the poverty these people live under." It’s actually the most Christian continent in a lot of ways. "So I’m going to use this crazy platform I have because I play music and use it for things I believe in."
He wasn’t doing that 10-15 years ago, and all these Christians were wondering, "Are they still Christians?" But he’s very strategic. He waited until his credentials were secure. He can walk into George Bush’s office as he does because he didn’t get pigeon-holed as a Christian rock musician. But now he’s matured, and he’s saying, "How am I a steward of this crazy celebrity culture?" link
Bevak's book offers Manning's version, in a section called "U2, Grandma, and Butterscotch Pies":
When Brennan Manning shares his life story in public, the Spirit of God often moves people to tears and to their knees. Upon rising from prayer, many people, including members of the legendary rock group U2 are never the same.
Manning, author of The Ragamuffin Gospel, is renowned for hid down-to-earth manner of comforting people with the good news about God's love.
We sit down together during our interview, and he tells me a couple of great stories
One day he was asked to meet personally with U2 guitarist Dave Evans, otherwise known by his stage name "The Edge," because he needed some spiritual advice. The guitarist was anxiously striving to be faithful to God, but was worried about how to have a meaningful prayer life. He told Manning he wanted to be the best guitarist in the world. But would that goal make him arrogant? This was not a characteristic he wanted to have as a sincere disciple of God.
"I assured The Edge that his heart's desire to be the best guitarist in the world was borne out of God's wonderful love and will for him and his life," explains Manning.
The author gave him some practical advice.
God gives each one of us an array of talents and a burning passion to strive for excellence so that we may reflect glory and praise back to our Creator who formed us in our mother's womb in the first place, says Manning. As the guitarist contemplated Manning's advice, it transformed his prayer life and he experienced God's peace in a way he had never felt before. -pp 166-67 of Trudy Beyak's "The Mother Heart of God: Unveiling the Mystery of the Father's Maternal Love."