Rock stars and theologians generally inhabit separate spheres of influence. But every now and then, their orbits intersect in unexpected ways. Such is the case with Bono, frontman for U2, and Eugene Peterson, the pastor and theologian who wrote The Message paraphrase.
Bono has long been a fan of Peterson’s work translating Scripture not only into English, but into contemporary idioms. In a 2002 video message to Peterson, Bono said of The Message, “There’s been some great translations, very literary translations, but no translation that I’ve read that speaks to me in my own language, so I want to thank you for that.”
In the years since, Bono and Peterson’s paths have occasionally intersected. And last year, the singer joined Peterson at his Montana home to talk about the book of Psalms. How it influences our faith journey. How it might serve as a template of sorts for artists of faith seeking to honestly articulate that faith.
Peterson says of this poetic, at times raw book in the Old Testament, “I think the psalms are important because they … showed me that imagination was a way to get inside the truth.”
Bono adds, “[The psalms] have this rawness, a brutal honesty of—whether it’s David or not, it doesn’t matter—the Psalmist is brutally honest about the explosive joy that he’s feeling and the deep sorrow or confusion. And it’s that that sets the Psalms apart for me. And I often think, Gosh, well why isn’t church more like that?”
For more on a rock star and a theologian’s interaction on the role Psalms plays in the life of believers and artists, check out this video … and let us know what you think of this fascinating interaction between two remarkable—and remarkably different—men.