Bono and Eugene Peterson
I waited patiently for the Lord
He inclined and heard my cry
He lifted me up out of the pits
and the miry clay
I will sing, sing a new song.
I will sing, sing a new song.
I believe God is reaching out and engaging with us in infinitely creative ways all the time. Art is one of the most surprising (and exciting) apertures where I experience the fullness and creativity of God. The poems of Maria Rainer Rilke, Mary Oliver, Denise Levertov and William Stafford; the painted art of Chagall, Vincent Van Gogh, Picasso, and Rembrandt; the music of Antonio Vivaldi, Samuel Barber, The Indigo Girls, and Bob Dylan; the literature of Flannery O’Connor, Victor Hugo and Jaqueline Woodson have all expanded my vision of God and all the wondrous possibilities for a Kingdom reality here on earth. I wrote my dissertation at Vanderbilt Divinity School on the conversation between art and theology. You may be surprised to discover that artists from Rembrandt, to Picasso to Andy Warhol to Flannery O’Connor used their art to communicate the gospel.
I am an avid fan of Bono and his iconic band U2. What I didn’t know until recently was that Bono is a passionate seeker of God. Recently, I listened to a beautiful conversation between the rock star and Eugene Peterson, one of the most treasured writers and theologians of our time. His,The Message (a modern day translation of the Bible), and his best-selling book, Run with the Horses changed Bono’s life, and now mine too. Before Peterson’s death, Bono and Eugene bonded over their love of The Psalms. Bono’s beautiful anthem, “40,” inspired by Peterson’s translation of Psalm 40, is on repeat at my house.
I highly recommend listening here to a conversation between Bono and Eugene Peterson that took place several years ago now made into a wonderful documentary. Rockstar, theologian, sinner or saint— each of us longs to connect with God and Something More. U2 will be in Nashville November 9th at the Ryman.
Peterson said we are a generation that doesn’t read the Bible. We easily read the paper, our instagram feed and messages on facebook, but rarely open the Good Book. I credit his translation, The Message, for bringing new life and vitality to my own experience of the Bible. (I love his translation of the Beautitudes!) Bono claims the Psalms have taught him to be honest with God. He said, “Whether it’s written by David or not, doesn’t matter, the psalmist is brutally honest about the explosive joy that he’s feeling and the deep sorrow or confusion and it’s that, that sets the Psalms apart for me.”
Faith can be experienced as this curious and exciting adventure if we dare to step outside the box, and open ourselves to the creative ways God is speaking to us.
Have a blessed week!
P.S. For my Nashville friends, Bono will be at The Ryman on Wednesday, November 9th speaking and singing about his life! Check for tickets!
Amey WarderOctober 17, 2022 at 5:27 am
This is wonderful! Went to see U2 in Birmingham, the night before a big test at Sewanee. Worth it. U2, one of my favorites of all time, no wonder🙏🏻
SusancfosterOctober 17, 2022 at 6:20 am
Love this,Farrell-& nov 9 sounds like a good night at the Ryman ❤️
Carole HaganOctober 17, 2022 at 7:03 am
Farrell, yet another inspiring post. I have always admired Bono for his philanthropic efforts. Love the link to his music. Love you. Thank you for continuing to guide us on this journey. You are the servant we are meant to be.
Tesair LauveOctober 17, 2022 at 10:20 am
Farrell, thank you for Bono’s “40.” Your poetry/art/music list is almost the same as mine, except I would add Bach as my biggest inspiration, and I play him daily. Working on, and listen to, his Goldberg Variations often, and have for years, particularly in times of difficulty. Hope all of you are well! o Much love, Tesair
Diane TuckerOctober 17, 2022 at 11:01 am
Enjoyed your blog this morning. Enjoyed learning more about Bono and his spiritual journey!
AnonymousOctober 19, 2022 at 8:56 pm
Thank you, Farrell! I never knew about the perspective behind this translation, or the relationship with Bono. What a wonderful gift to all of us.