The Theologian and the Rock Star

A new short documentary film was released on the internet yesterday. By happenstance I was one of the first to watch it. Today I’m sharing it with you.

The theologian in question in Eugene Peterson. He’s a pastor, author and teacher who a few years ago published his own translation of The Bible, which he called The Message.

That work was an attempt to breathe new freshness into the ancient text for those not able to read Greek and Hebrew. The Message has sold 17 million copies since it was first published.

The rock star is Bono, front man for the Irish group U2. I have written about them before.

The twenty minute film, The Psalms, is a snapshot of the interaction between the two as they discuss the Biblical book of the same name.

As someone who has actually recorded a psalm or two, Bono brings a musician’s perspective to scripture, especially “The Psalms,” which were originally written to be sung. As a theologian Peterson’s take is perhaps a bit less emotional – but it is evident both men have a love for the text under discussion.

When Eugene Peterson was first told by his students that Bono had declared himself a Peterson fan, he had never heard of the singer. He knows now; he’s seen U2 in concert. I got the impression however that he may not fully comprehend just how influential the band is. He’s of a different generation.

I think the filmmakers hope to generate discussion about this particular segment of scripture, to remind people again of its timeless message. Who better to help spread the word than Bono? The hope is to get you excited about the psalms. If you haven’t read them and don’t have a Bible handy, Peterson’s publishers are offering a free sample for download here.

Twenty minutes is about 19 minutes longer than I am usually willing to watch a video on YouTube. This one I will watch again. Check it out for yourself and tell me what you think.


Here’s U2 in concert, with their version of Psalm 40.


  1. […] Last year, when I wrote about Bono, the band’s vocalist, and his conversation with theologian Eugene Peterson, I referenced that I had written about the band before. But when I searched past postings all I found was a CD review. […]

  2. […] ran a video clip from Bono, lead vocalist for the band U2, about a year ago, where he was talking about the Psalms. There’s an addendum that came out this past week that I […]

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