U2 singer Bono, who has been outspoken about his Christian faith says when he reads the Psalms, a book of the bible, he sees the full range of human emotions: anger, irritation, sadness, bliss and he says Christian artistes ought to replicate this sincerity in their 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 is therefore 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.
Bono said 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 Bono’s conversation with Eugene Peterson below: