Bono and Eugene Peterson talk Psalms, Christian art in new video

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(RNS) In a new video conversation with Christian scholar and poet Eugene Peterson, U2 frontman Bono said he finds “a lot of dishonesty” in Christian art.

The video — posted Tuesday (April 26) on YouTube — launched Fuller Studio, a new website for Fuller Theological Seminary dedicated to providing resources for churches and individuals interested in spiritual formation.

In it, Bono says: “I would love if this conversation would inspire people who are writing these beautiful voices and 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. That truth — ‘the way, the truth’ — and that truthfulness — know the truth, ‘the truth will set you free’ — will blow things apart.

“Why I’m suspicious of Christians is because of this lack of realism, and I’d love to see more of that in art and in life and in music.”

Bono and Peterson first met after the Irish singer expressed his admiration for  Peterson’s The Message — a version of the Bible that “speaks to me in my own language.”

The American pastor, scholar and author hadn’t heard of Bono.

“That’s not really the circles I travel in very much,” Peterson admitted in the video.

But he quickly felt Bono was “a companion in the faith.”

In their conversation at Peterson’s Montana home, moderated by Fuller professor of theology and culture David Taylor, Bono and Peterson discussed their introductions to the Psalms as children.

The Psalms, a collection of poetry included in both Jewish and Christian Scriptures, showed Peterson “imagination was a way to get inside the truth,” he said.

Meantime, Bono said, “The psalmist is brutally honest about the explosive joy he’s feeling and the deep sorrow or confusion, and it’s that that sets the Psalms apart for me, and I often think, ‘Why isn’t church music more like that?'”

Along with the video, Fuller Studio posted the first 40 Psalms from The Message with a new introduction by Peterson, reading tips for the Psalms and a curated Spotify playlist of “modern psalms.”

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