Meet Bono. He is a rock star; he sings for the Irish band U2. Bono has traveled with his band around the world many times. He has lots of money and owns many homes. But if you think Bono is an empty-headed, narcissistic rock and roller, you would be wrong. He is deeply knowledgeable about matters like debt-relief and poverty; and Bono has used his celebrity to turn attention on these important matters. Bono is a Christian and his faith drives him to do more than collect wealth.
Meet Eugene. He is a retired Presbyterian minister. For thirty years he served as the Pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. Eugene actually started the congregation with the assistance of his wife Jan. Christ Our King grew to a membership of about 300 people. Eugene was widely respected by his people and those in the Bel Air community. But Eugene could walk down streets of Baltimore or Washington D.C. and go unrecognized.
Eugene is a writer and while pastoring his people he wrote several books about the ministry and the Christian life. In the late 1990’s Eugene worked on a paraphrase of the New Testament called The Message. It became a surprise best-seller. Eugene eventually worked through the whole Bible. When someone asks me if there is such a thing as a “beginners Bible” I refer them to The Message. Eugene’s goal was to capture the contemporary feel of the Bible as it would have been first read.
Bono, the rock star, got his hands on a copy of The Message. He liked it—a lot. He wrote this endorsement: “There’s a translation of the Scriptures that this guy Eugene Peterson has undertaken. It has been a great strength to me. He’s a poet and scholar, and he’s brought the text back to the tone in which the books were written.”
Eugene retired from Christ Our King Presbyterian Church and joined the faculty of Regent University in Vancouver, British Columbia. His students told him that Bono, the rock star, was reading his books. Eugene had never heard of him. Eventually though the two men met and became friends.
Recently, Bono visited Eugene and Jan at their lake house in Montana. A twenty-minute video was created by my seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary. Eugene and Bono sat at the Peterson’s dining room table and talked mostly about the Psalms. It’s a marvelous conversation. Both men obviously like and respect the other. Both shared a deeply prayed and considered faith. It’s a delight to sit with them and listen in to their conversation.
Treat yourself to a twenty minute retreat on the Psalms with Bono and Eugene.