The Prophet and the Pastor: Bono and Eugene Peterson

Yesterday Fuller Studio premiered a new documentary that focuses on the unlikely friendship and love of the Psalms shared by, arguably, two of today’s most important spiritual leaders – Bono and Eugene Peterson.  Peterson, who is perhaps most widely known for his translation of the Bible known as The Message, has significantly shaped contemporary conversation in the areas of pastoral and spiritual theology.  Over the past forty years, his calm and steady voice has saved many pastors from foundering on the rocks of the Church Growth and Marketing movements.  For those who aren’t familiar with Bono, he is an international activist and humanitarian who moonlights as the front-man of the Irish rock band U2. Bono and his band-mates have the uncanny ability to turn a stadium rock concert into a liturgical celebration.  At a climactic moment of concerts during their most recent “Innocent and Experience Tour” scraps of paper containing Peterson’s translation of the Psalms rained down upon concert-goers.

The 22-minute film traces the history of the friendship between Bono and Peterson before settling its gaze upon a conversation shared between the two men at Peterson’s beautiful Montana home.  It is fascinating to watch the intersection of the two very different worlds represented by Bono and Peterson.  Peterson, in a quite endearing way, displays his unfamiliarity with Bono and the world of rock music at several points, referring to “mash pits” and the magazine “Rolling Stones.”  However, both Bono and Peterson are poets and both have been profoundly shaped by the Psalms.  Their conversation about the raw honesty of the Psalter, in comparison with the dishonesty of much of what passes for Christian art today is worth the price of admission in and of itself.  Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *