Showing posts from April, 2016

Rising Above These Badlands

(Another letter to my son using a Bruce Springsteen song as a muse)  I’m giving up on trying to avoid talking about my gig as a minister and about spiritual matters. Such things central to who I am. I am going to trust that you don’t see it as meaningless religious speak. I’ll try not to sell religion. I will try to point to the heart and to our need to love one another. Anyway, in seminary, and in my years at Christian college too, we learned the craft of exegesis. Looking at a text and delving deep and finding meaning out of it, that’s what exegesis basically is. Now, doing this with song lyrics can be a venture in snobby – and boring - intellectualism. But some lyrics reach the level of poetry. I’d certainly say that about Bruce’s lyrics. One of the major things I learned in those classes on exegesis is this – knowing the context surrounding the text is very important. The context surrounding the song Badlands is actually important for more reasons than understanding

"This is 'Land of Hope & Dreams'"

Between 1989 and 1999, in the wake of his world-wide success and his local divorce, Bruce Springsteen and his band experienced an extended hiatus. Bruce had not written many rock songs in these 14 years, dabbling with either straightforward pop music or folk music. When Springsteen and the band reunited in 1998, Springsteen wondered if Rock music was still in him. He wondered if that part of himself had passed him by. “Land of Hope and Dreams (LOHAD),” one of the first new songs he wrote post-reunion, gave him his answer. Springsteen stated that LOHAD proved that the thing which got him to the table of greatness, the Rock song, had not left him. More than this, Bruce was returning with a message, with spiritual insight. Bruce and the band first played LOHAD live in 1999 and a year later in the now famous concerts at Madison Square Garden in July 2000. It is interesting to me that LOHAD is the only song, in the concerts I’ve listened to anyway, where Bruce introduces the s