It was one year ago today that Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA, launched a ground-breaking initiative called Fuller Studio with an inaugural film featuring Bono and Eugene Peterson. The pair, along with director David Taylor, and aided by filmmaker Nathan Clarke, discussed the importance of the Psalms in faith and art. Peterson is well known for The Message, an extremely dynamic and contemporary translation of Scripture. The 20-minute film gained attention across the internet and delighted fans around the world, especially those interested in the spirituality and Christian experience of U2. Scott Calhoun’s account of that film can be found here in the atU2 archives.
As a result of the Peterson/Bono project, U2’s lead singer agreed to do a second interview by himself with Taylor. That meeting took place in Manhattan at the International Arts Movement gallery on July 29, 2015. Coincidentally, the interview took place just half-a-mile from where our atU2 crew was setting up a 20th-anniversary celebration at The Cutting Room (you know, the one where Edge, Adam and Dallas crashed our party; we certainly had no clue Bono was almost next door!). You can find Calhoun’s feature story on the second interview here.
We knew that the July 29 meeting was filmed, but we didn’t know if that footage would ever be made public. I had simply forgotten about it until yesterday, when Fuller Studio announced that it would be publishing the material on April 26, the one-year anniversary of the initiative’s debut.
Today, Fuller and Taylor made good on their promise and released a series of five video clips, each one featuring a different insight from our frontman. This project, Bono & David Taylor: Beyond the Psalms, is a collection of intimate conversations with Bono, who, by all accounts, is being his candid self, without pretense or persona.
Among other things, Bono had the following to say.
Psalm 82 is a good start. [It says] defend the rights of the poor and the orphans. Be fair to the needy and helpless. Rescue them from the power of evil people. See, this isn’t charity, this is justice.
I try to get to the place where the song is singing me.
We [U2] have a hunch that God is not that interested in advertising . . . . It’s art, rather than advertising, that the Creator of the universe is impressed by.
Taylor: One thing you’ve learned about God through your reading of the Psalms. Bono: “He listens.” Taylor: One thing that you’ve learned about yourself through your reading of the Psalms. Bono: “I don’t listen enough.”
I want to argue the case for artists – or potential artists – who might be listening in on our conversation and are not giving expression to what’s really going on in their life because they feel it will give the wrong impression of them. We don’t have to please God in any other way than to be brutally honest; that is the root not only to a relationship with God but the root to a great song . . . .
I think all art is prophetic.
I went finally to Jerusalem… And I went to Golgotha, and I went to the site… where death died. That’s where death died. And so, I don’t really believe in it anymore. It has no power over me as it had when I was 14 years old.
Check out the whole set of clips on Fuller Studio’s website. Bono’s warmth and honesty will likely leave you hungry for more. Good thing that Joshua Tree 30th anniversary tour is almost here!