Sin and Springsteen

Today’s Bible readings are Isaiah 48.17-19; Psalm 1; Matthew 11.16-19.

I keep hearing from fellow Christians, and especially from ministers, that we really must get away from the concept of sin. Apparently, it is no longer relevant and no one wants to hear about it anymore. Imagine my surprise therefore when, sitting in front of the TV screen on Wednesday night, I hear none other than Bruce Springsteen waxing lyrical on the subject. Reflecting on the making of the classic 1978 album, ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’, Springsteen says:

A lot of the songs deal with my obsession with the idea of sin and what is it? What is it in a good life? Because it plays an important place in the good life also. How do you deal with it? You don’t get rid of it. How do you carry your sins? That’s what the people in ‘Racing in the Street’ are trying to do. How do you carry your sins?

The Bible, of course, has a lot to say about sin and today’s readings make their own contribution.

I was completely enthralled by the special edition of ‘The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town’ that aired on BBC1 on Wednesday evening. I don’t think it was just a sense of nostalgia for the Jersey Shore that made the documentary so resonant for me. We seem to be living in days that are increasingly reminiscent of the late 70s and early 80s; perhaps that is why Springsteen’s songs from that era came over to me with new force and vitality. Anyway, if you missed the documentary, you can still catch it on BBC iPlayer (or buy the full version on DVD). Springsteen talks about sin and compromise, and about growing up. He talks too about a sense of place and of honouring parents, of ‘apocalyptic grandeur’, and artistic instinct and intelligence. He does all this against the backdrop of original footage of Springsteen and the E Street Band striving to create a great work. All this gives it a strange kind of Advent appropriateness, or at least it did for me winding down after a busy day. Watch it if you can; I don’t think you will regret it.

One Response

  1. Breakaway from the sin/world system. You go Robert!!!

    “In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway american dream

    At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines…

    …Baby this town rips the bones from your back
    Its a death trap, it’s a suicide rap

    We gotta get out while were young `cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run”

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