Eugene Peterson, the beloved pastor, theologian and author, has passed away, leaving behind a vast legacy of people who were moved by his biblical paraphrase, The Message. Among his fans was Bono, who reached out to Peterson after falling in love with the Message. The two actually got together to chat about their mutual love of the Psalms back in 2016, and a video of their conversation was produced by Fuller Seminary and posted on YouTube. It’s a pretty compelling watch.
Peterson and Bono have a wide-ranging conversation, but it mostly focuses on what the Psalms have that a good deal of modern Christian art does not: vulnerability.
“I got started translating the Psalms …to try to get them to realize praying wasn’t bing nice before God,” Peterson says. “The songs are not pretty They’re not nice …but they’re honest. I think we’re trying for honesty, which is very, very hard in our culture.”
“Write a song about your bad marriage!” Bono agrees. “Write a song about how you’re, you know, pissed off at the government! That’s what God wants from you: the truth.”