Produced by Fuller Theological Seminary, the film tells the story of Bono and Peterson’s friendship and features a discussion about the Psalms.
Bono first endorsed Eugene Peterson’s translation of the Bible in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 2002. He said The Message ‘has been a great strength to me’. Peterson and Bono met for the first time in 2009 at the Dallas date of U2’s 360 tour.
The film is titled The Psalms and can be viewed free on YouTube. It was shot at Peterson’s house in Montana, USA in April 2015.
The roundtable discussion also features David Taylor, associate professor of theology and culture at Fuller. Taylor, who produced the film, says, ‘Our hope is that as a result of watching the film, people will be curious or inspired to read the Psalms themselves and to discover this remarkable book of poetry in Holy Scripture that has captured Bono and Eugene’s imaginations.’
In the film Bono admits he is often ‘suspicious’ of Christians because there is a ‘lack of realism’. The award-winning rock star contrasts this attitude with the writers of the Psalms who ‘are vulnerable to God’ and ‘honest’.
‘I would love if this conversation would inspire people who are writing these beautiful gospel songs [to] write a song about their bad marriage [or] about how they’re p***** off at the government.
‘Because that’s what God wants from you. The truth. That truthfulness will blow things apart.’
Co-founder of Worship Central Al Gordon is a ‘big fan’ of the film and believes Christian songwriters should watch it and welcome Bono’s challenge.
‘We need songs that scale the heights and plumb the depths, songs that connect personally and yet represent the prayers of the Church.
‘Can our songs be more honest? Yes, sure. That’s something every songwriter, every artist sets out to do: connect with something real deep inside people. Bono’s advice is great.
‘The good news is great news for people who don’t have their lives all neatly tied up with ribbon. Jesus came for the messed-up ones, like us. So why should the Church’s hymnody not be the sound of imperfect lives stunned into song by a perfect God who comes into our mess to make something beautiful?’