Tag Archives: songs

Bono and The Message. Worlds collide.

When I first found The Message version of the Bible, the whole thing came alive for me.

There are so many translations but this version, by Eugene Peterson, is my favorite.  My Bible actually has the NIV version next to the Message  so it’s the best of both worlds.  As you know, I love writing and reading and words so now I have the Amplified Bible too – just to see the different words for each passage.  We also have the ESV and the King James and a bunch of study Bibles and well, you get the point.

There is a lot of chatter out there on this topic.  I have no interest in debating with the scholars.  I just know that in reading the Message, it has felt like God was sitting with me in my living room.  It has felt like He is in my marriage and my parenting and my worry and my loneliness and my laughter.  No longer was this a book to sit on a shelf and never be opened.  This was a living, breathing, manual for life.  These words were leaping off the page into my heart and found me shouting yes! yes! like Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch.  Minus the crazy.

No these words are not crazy.  They are true.  They are not only for the past, they are for NOW.  These words are alive and transformative and centering.  These words scream “YOU ARE NOT ALONE”.  These words comfort and heal and give hope and usher in peace and bring tears and laughter and wonder.

Words are so important.

The other day I learned that the word “repent” can be translated as “return” and that pretty much changed my life. No joke. This feels like it needs a whole other blog post or maybe a book.  But if we just encouraged everyone to see the word “repent” – when Jesus says it, when the church says it – if we could replace that word with “return”, think of the difference.  It’s not repent because you are terrible and awful and horrible.  It’s return to Jesus and His path and the truth.  It’s not you are doomed and miserable- it’s not a scary, depressing word…it’s you’ve just wandered away…it’s time to return.  See? It’s hope and expectation and promise and reconciliation.


One of our required reading books for Holy Yoga is written by Eugene Peterson and it’s a guide to reading scripture.  So he’s one of my favorites.  I picture him sitting down translating the entire Bible so more people can feel the Word come alive.  The work. The time. The commitment.  Thank you Eugene Peterson for your obedience.

One of my personal missions in life is to recognize the Word of God, the truth of God, the LOVE of God in today.  In the here and now.  In our conversations and our jobs and our parenting and our relationships and our art.   Music is big for me and this conversation between Bono and Eugene Peterson just blew me away.  It’s like all the worlds I love collided.

When I think of Bono, I can’t help but remember when a friend was at the U2 concert and she called me and just held the phone up and then screamed, “Bono is God!” into the phone.  It makes me laugh. Honestly, he’s pretty cool but not God.  I do love the way he worships on stage and the way he honors God with his music.

Looks like I’m not the only one inspired by The Message.  Enjoy this.

©  2016 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™  All Rights Reserved

No Boundaries

Image Writing is difficult.  I struggle sometimes.   I have a lot of things I want to “say” but sometimes I put boundaries around my work and it suffers.  I decide I can’t “go there” or I “shouldn’t” write about certain topics.  Even within certain topics, I tiptoe around and I draw arbitrary lines about what is appropriate.

Sometimes I imagine people reading my writing and I cringe at what I think their response will be and I change it.  I water down.  I avoid hot buttons.   I tell only parts of the story.

My son was talking to me the other day about art.  He said he hates it when the teachers make the students color inside the lines.  He said it’s frustrating because, “Boundaries are not art!”

Boundaries are not art.

Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

Awesome right?

Can you think of things you’ve read where you just know the author is putting it all out there on the page? Do you know when someone is authentic and raw and real?

Of course you can and you do.  That’s why we read.  So we can peer into another person’s soul and think, “Wow.  You too?  I thought it was just me.”

We are told from an early age that there are lines and boundaries and we must create and draw within those lines.  We are told that there is an order and a sequence and a way that is acceptable for creating.  So of course, I have a lot of that in me since I like to follow the rules. However, it’s the writing or the song or the drawing that breaks out of those boundaries that stops us in our tracks and changes us.

When I was little, I had a babysitter that colored with me.  She showed me how to emphasize the lines of the picture by pressing the crayon down hard and going over all of the outlines.  Then she showed me how to lightly color in the rest of the picture with a softer touch.  I thought that was really cool.  Maybe she was testing boundaries by drawing right on the line, challenging the limits.

Maybe we are all just caged birds who want to be free.

That image reminds me of Maya Angelou knowing why the caged bird sings.

It also reminds me of a song I love by the Avett Brothers called Head Full of Doubt.

My favorite line in the song says, “There was a dream.  And one day I could see it.  Like a bird in a cage, I broke in and demanded that somebody free it.”

I get goosebumps when he sings, “Decide what to be and go be it.”

The song makes me think of my daughter who has always had a challenging time coloring within the lines.  She was judged in school for this when she was younger.  But as she gets older, she is being recognized as a talented artist.  She always has been because she has allowed herself to look at things differently.    She has always known boundaries aren’t art.

All it takes is one person to tell a child that there is not only one way to do it.  One adult to color with them outside the lines. One person to tell them that boundaries are not art.    Let’s be that person for someone, let’s tell them.

Let’s not just tell them, let’s show them.

Then we can all be free.

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™  All Rights Reserved

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”                         -Andy Warhol