what the church could learn from springsteen // 03

image In part 3 of the Springsteen series, we explore another thought from Rick Newman and US News and World Report. Rick’s third observation from the Boss is that he gives the people what they want. Here are Rick’s own words:

Experiments get a more welcome reception when mingled with something familiar. Throughout the show, Springsteen deftly blended unembellished hits such as “Badlands” and “Born to Run,” performed pretty much the way everybody knows them, with darker, topical music; after appeasing his conscience, he quickly reverted to happier songs such as “The Promised Land” (irony intended, I presume) and “Dancing in the Dark.” The result: His message of protest got across without turning anybody off.

I know what you are thinking here. “The church can’t give people what they want. We would compromise or values and morals.” Hmmm, not sure I buy into that objection. To me, it is an issue of relevance.

Someone once said that “The church has historically been answering the questions that nobody is asking.”


Jesus always looked beyond the obvious. He looked into the lives of people. What were they struggling with? What were the things locking them up? What were their dreams?

Somewhere along the way we have to be able to answer the question of what people are looking for. Every year the people of exchange volunteer to work one of the biggest musical event in town. Bluesfest draws people from all over the Midwest. Several thousands come to enjoy some good blues with some great friends. Last year I stood in the middle of the crowd and again had to ask myself:

Is the church being relevant? Are we addressing the questions that these people are struggling with? Is the song we are singing familiar to people outside of Christ?

I never want to stop asking those question. As a church, we better wrestle with it. I am not asking that we compromise the message or the values. I am asking that we look at the questions that people are asking and begin to address those in relevant ways. Jesus did it, why should we do any different?

The heart of Christ beats for those who have yet to know him. Find out what they are asking and you have an inroad to the familiar in their life.

Photo by Sister 72

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One thought on “what the church could learn from springsteen // 03

  1. Hard-core fans of Bruce Springsteen who want to revel in the observations of fellow followers might not even know to put this book on their gift list: For You is a limited-run, $50 hardcover with hundreds of concert photos. Primary text: E-mail-type recollections about first shows and memorable moments. The Boss himself might like to read it.