Vancouver native works on Bono documentary

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Years ago, Bono invited a Christian writer to meet him, and the writer turned him down.

Eugene Peterson, whose translation of the Bible into contemporary language, “The Message,” has proved enormously popular, was hard at work on adapting the Old Testament.

A flabbergasted interviewer heard that Peterson had said no to the lead singer of U2. “It’s Bono, for crying out loud,” journalist Dean Nelson said. And Peterson responded coolly, “Dean, it was Isaiah.”

Now, Peterson is finished with Isaiah. And through a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, the two men finally sat down face-to-face at Peterson’s home on Flathead Lake in Montana for a discussion of the Biblical poetry that has inspired Bono’s songwriting.

The result is a short documentary, “The Psalms,” which was released Tuesday. The director of photography for the film is John Harrison, 35, who grew up in Vancouver and graduated from Hudson’s Bay High School in 1998.

Bono has praised Peterson’s writings and his version of the Bible for well over a decade; in fact, Peterson said he first heard of Bono when someone showed him a Rolling Stone interview in which the singer mentioned Peterson’s writing.

In the documentary, the U2 frontman offered some advice for Christian musicians. “I find in Christian art a lot of dishonesty, and I think it’s a shame,” Bono said.