It’s no secret to anyone that I love U2 and that I love reading the works of Eugene Peterson, the author of The Message. Some folks may know that on recent U2 tours when Bono quotes from Scripture he has generally quoted from The Message paraphrase. In fact, at a celebration of the completion of The Message in 2002, Bono videoed in some words of appreciation to Peterson:
Hi Mr. Peterson, Eugene. My name is Bono. I’m a singer with the group U2. I wanted to sort of video message you my thanks, and our thanks in the band, for this remarkable work you’ve done translating the Scriptures. Really, really a remarkable work. As a songwriter, it was very clear to me that you were a poet as well as a scholar. You brought the musicality to God’s Word that I’m sure was there, was always there in intention. There have been some great translations, some very literary translations, but no translations that I’ve read that speaks to me in my own language. So I want to thank you for that. And it’s been ten years, that’s a long time, so take a rest now, won’t you? Bye.
I recently stumbled upon an interesting article in which Eugene Peterson is interviewed about U2 and their stance as a prophetic voice in the world today. For instance, when asked what he would say in response to Bono’s words about The Message, Peterson says:
“Thank you for preaching to all the people who will never listen to me or read anything that I write! And for doing it with such integrity.” I think that’s what I feel, I just feel grateful to them for being obedient to the gifts that God has given them.
Take a read, if you have an interest in this sort of thing.