With the release of his 2007 album, Magic
, Bruce Springsteen again proved his status as one of the greatest songwriters in American history. For over three decades, Springsteens musicwith his trademark poetic lyrics and his ability to find glory in the struggles of everyday lifehas attracted fans and critics from across the globe.
In this book, author Jeffrey Symynkywicz shows that a large part of Springsteens enduring popularity is the deep sense in which his music connects to something essential to human experience. Springsteens music, Symynkywicz suggests, helps make sense of the many threads of our livesincluding our experiences of sin and redemption and of faith and hope. With a clear and inviting style, Symynkywicz treats each of Springsteens albums as a chapter, exploring the history and context of Springsteens music and the ways in which his songs express these spiritual themes.
Jeffrey B. Symynkywicz is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and a Unitarian minister in Stoughton, Massachusetts. He is the author of five books on recent Eastern European history.
From the Conclusion
Much of the power of Springsteen’s work—like any decent art—emerges only from the resonance it creates in the soul of the observer. Whether or not Springsteen’s words reverberate with some particular meaning for us depends to a great degree on what we bring to our conversation with them: how they reflect (or don’t) our experience, outlook, and aspiration. If there is a “religion” of Springsteen, then it is one that places great importance on individual freedom of belief.
Likewise, saying (as this book does) that there is a “gospel” according to Bruce Springsteen—some good news that this world of ours fails to hear (and heed) at its perilis-not the same as saying that Springsteen presents, in his writings, any sort of systematic (or even especially consistent) theology.
There is within the Springsteen canon neither the consistency of doctrine for which a staunch creedalist might hope, nor sufficient hermeneutical density to please a professor of theology. Nonetheless, Springsteen’s assembled works do present “good tidings” to those who hear them. As we listen to Springsteen, certain themes of hope, joy, and challenge emerge clearly.