Years ago, Bono invited a Christian writer to meet him, and the writer turned him down.
Eugene Peterson, whose translation of the Bible into contemporary language, “The Message,” has proven enormously popular, was hard at work on adapting the Old Testament.
A flabbergasted interviewer heard that Peterson had said no to the lead singer of U2. “It’s Bono, for crying out loud,” journalist Dean Nelson said. And Peterson responded coolly, “Dean, it was Isaiah.”
Now, Peterson is finished with Isaiah. And through a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, the two men finally sat down face-to-face at Peterson’s home in Montana for a discussion of the Biblical poetry that has inspired Bono’s songwriting.
The result is a short documentary, “The Psalms,” which was released Tuesday.
Bono has praised Peterson’s writings and his version of the Bible for well over a decade; in fact, Peterson said he first heard of Bono when someone showed him a Rolling Stone interview in which the singer mentioned Peterson’s writing.
In the excerpt of the documentary shown in the video above, the U2 frontman offered some advice for Christian musicians. “I find in Christian art a lot of dishonesty, and I think it’s a shame,” Bono said.
“I would love if this conversation would inspire people who are writing these beautiful… gospel songs, write a song about their bad marriage. Write a song about how they’re pissed off at the government. Because that’s what God wants from you,” Bono said. “Why I am suspicious of Christians is because of this lack of realism.”