Thursday, April 3, 2008
Livin' In The Future
Taken from a review of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band live at the Rose Garden, March 28th, 2008.
Pausing on the first few bars of Livin' In The Future, Bruce silences the gathered masses. A reverent hush falls over the Rose Garden, it feels like Sunday morning, crouching on the edge of a charismatic revival. Springsteen the evangelist steps up to the mic and delivers his thought for the evening. Living in Portland, you find yourself subject to any number of political rants delivered from the wrong end of an electric guitar. Most of the sermonizing you hear in the local bars and clubs falls into the cynical and ashamed to be American category, every opportunity for critique is hungrily lit upon while optimism and genuine advice for the future are often sadly lacking. Tonight you find more positivity, hope and dare you say it, patriotism in the three sentence introduction to Livin' In The Future than anything you've heard in the last year.
Bruce Springsteen is openly proud to be an American in a way which most of us are incredibly uncomfortable with. His national pride is not a blinkered, unrealistic view of all the shortcomings inherent in modern American culture, but rather a strongly held belief in the constitution and what it once meant to be an American and hold true to the American values of freedom, independence and equality. During the forty five seconds Springsteen devotes to sermonizing this evening you find yourself incredibly convicted not of American cynicism, but rather of a deeply ingrained cynicism to all things Church-related. As Springsteen says he is proud to be associated with what it really means to be an American and call us to stop complaining and disassociating and step up to embody these ideals, you hear a similar call to abandon cynicism and step up to a fuller embodiment of what God intended the Church to actually be. "Good grief," you think, almost tearing up as he sings Livin' In The Future, "Why does God always get me with Bruce?" and it is weird because afterwards, on the long walk home, you talk to Nate and he has heard exactly the same thing. Maybe, just maybe, this is the best church service you'll attend this year.
Jan Carson blogs at http://specialfriends7.blogspot.com