When U2 musician Bono reads the Psalms, a book of the Bible filled with ancient hymns, he sees the full range of human emotions: anger, irritation, sadness, bliss. While the Psalms have been a source of spiritual inspiration for him throughout his life, Bono has much harsher words for contemporary Christian music.
Modern Christian worship music has often been critiqued for its mediocrity -- the repetition of the same four chords, the same set of reliably inspirational words, and theological jargon that leaves outsiders bewildered.
Bono, who has become more outspoken about his Christian faith in recent years, is advocating for a return to the raw and honest emotion of the Psalms.
"The psalmist is brutally honest about the explosive joy that he's feeling and the deep sorrow or confusion," the singer said in Fuller Studio's newly released documentary "The Psalms." "And I often think, 'Gosh, well, why isn't church music more like that?'"
The singer's comments in the film were part of a wide-ranging conversation he had with Eugene Peterson, a pastor and scholar who is best known for "The Message," a translation of the Bible into contemporary language. The film documents the friendship between the unlikely pair, who were drawn together by their common interest in this ancient book of the Bible.
Peterson talked about how his translation of the Psalms are as close as he could get to the original meaning of the text.
"It's not smooth, it's not nice, it's not pretty, but it's honest," Peterson said. "I think we're trying for honesty, which is very, very hard in our culture."
Bono agreed that honesty was hard to find in modern Christian culture. In fact, he said that he found "a lot of dishonesty" in modern Christian art.
“I would love if this conversation would inspire people who are 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, the truth,” Bono said. “And that truthfulness .... will blow things apart."
"Why I am suspicious of Christians is because of this lack of realism,” he continued. "And I'd love to see more of that -- in art and in life and in music."
Watch the video above for more of Bono's conversation with Eugene Peterson.
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more informationTrack ballot status
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place