Bono, Eugene Peterson, and the Psalms

I call this blog “Intersection” and this week’s entry is a good example why. This week, several folks shared with me a video, “Bono and Eugene Peterson on The Psalms.”

Here’s the link:

Eugene Peterson is a Presbyterian pastor and author who is best known for his translation of the Bible called The Message. There are 17 million copies of the message in print. A mentor once told me that Eugene Peterson is a “rock star” among Presbyterian pastors.

In 2002, Bono sent Eugene a video message telling him how much The Message meant to him and to his band, U2. The band would read psalms from The Message before a concert to inspire their performance. Not knowing that Bono really was a world famous rock star, Eugene ignored Bono’s message. But Bono was persistent, and over the years, the two struck up a relationship.

In this 21-minute video, Eugene’s wife, Jan, welcomed Bono into their Montana home by baking cookies. They discovered that they shared a passion for music and poetry, and a love for the way the psalms spoke to the reality of life. Peterson’s translation of the psalms was the inspiration for much of Bono’s music. As Peterson said, “Bono is singing to the very people I did this work for. I feel that we are allies in this. He is helping get me and The Message to the very people Jesus spent much of his time with.”

Bono’s advice to Christian artists is to “Get real,” and to write music that describe life the way it really is. “What God wants from us is the truth.”


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