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A civilized truth - interview with Eugene Peterson & Bono

Sunday, May 1, 2016

In 2011 I read a book that changed me. When I finished, I did something I had never done before. I wrote to the author. It was a short note, outlining the impact her words had on me and thanking her for the time she took to write them. She was quick to reply with kind and gracious words and over the next several months we developed a friendly online relationship. In addition to the tremendous insight and affirmation I garnered from Andi Ashworth's book, Real Love for Real Life - the Art and Work of Caring, I slowly became aware of a network of people that were speaking a language that I loved.

At the time we were living on the East Coast, my husband was a medical fellow and I was well occupied with the demands of three our small children. In my spare time, I was curious about things like art, culture, faith, vocation, and social justice. Frustrated with the spiritual and political climate, I wanted a more nuanced dialog on what it meant to be a follower of Christ. I was searching for humble voices addressing these issues and found them in abundance at a Texas retreat center where Andi and her husband Charlie spent time over the years.

photo credit Laity Lodge

David Taylor was the keynote speaker at the first Laity Lodge retreat that I attended. I was a bit of an outlier in the group - most of the attendees were professional artist or ministers to artists. Many had attended the retreat in the past and were familiar with David and his vision for the arts. But despite my obvious nativity, I felt very much at home - the words, the people, the food, the beauty, the hospitality, the place... all of it was right and good and I left wanting more.

Over the next five years, life took many surprising turns. We had our fourth child, moved to New Zealand, moved to South Carolina to be with my dying father, and five months ago we landed in Nashville. Coincidentally, David was the first familiar face I saw upon returning to the States. We ran into him at LAX when we were catching a connecting flight to South Carolina.

Over the past several years as we transitioned and transitioned and transitioned...  many of the friends I met at Laity Lodge have become unknowing mentors - I've read books they wrote, watched films they directed, listened to music they produced, enjoyed art they created, followed blogs that they curated... a silent observer gleaning all sorts of goodness from this beautiful, unique community.   

Last Tuesday a project that David has been working on for the past 15 months was released. A conversation about the Psalms with Euguene Peterson (author of The Message - a modern version of the Bible) and Bono (who you might think needs no introduction). I love this documentary for a million different reasons. Aside from the superb content, there is so much humanity packed into this short film.

In a world where truth is often politicized, stripped to it harshest form and intended for harm - this piece of thoughtful art is a breath of fresh air. I think you will find it to be a more civilized version of truth. Take a moment to enjoy this beautiful introduction to the Psalms and if you want a bit more - check out these resources for exploring the Psalms. Here is a link for the film - I recommend the full screen version.


  1. As always, thank you for sharing. I always stumble upon your entries when I need them most. Thank you, Liz.

  2. Thanks so much Heidi! Glad to hear it was encouraging. I hope you are well.