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Ghosts Who Are Speaking to the Living

March 26, 2012

Bruce Springsteen on the communion of saints?  There is a simply astounding interview by Jon Stewart of The Daily Show in Rolling Stone, “Bruce Springsteen’s State of the Union.” The full interview’s not available on-line but it’s worth picking up a copy with his insights on music as mission, America’s captivity to a glaring class gap, the death of his close African-American friend and saxophonist Clarence Clemons, and the aroma of a profoundly theological view of the world.  One excerpt about the album’s final song, “We Are Alive”:

“When I got [to the end of the album] I needed one more song – I needed a strange kind of party.  And ‘We Are Alive’ provides that.  It’s a party filled with ghosts.  It’s a party filled with the dead, but whose voices and spirit and ideas remain with us and go on and on.  That’s why I talk about the girls in Birmingham [killed by the 1963 church bomb], the workers in Maryland and the new immigrants crossing the southern border.  It’s just the recurrence and how the blood and spirit of all those people regenerate the country and what America is, generation after generation, so I end the record with a party of ghosts.  Ghosts who are speaking to the living.”

I don’t go to many concerts but I was downright inspired in Greensboro last week at Springsteen’s new “Wrecking Ball” album tour.  The power of artists to bring a fresh message was visceral in Springsteen’s performance.

About the Author: Chris Rice is co-director of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School. He is author of Reconciling All Things, Grace Matters, and More Than Equals. He writes at the blog Reconcilers.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jean-Luc Charles permalink
    March 26, 2012 6:52 pm

    Chris this is very interesting. Certain artist “channel” these conversations better than others. It sounds like Bruce’s concert allowed all manners of different voices to speak.

    Jean-Luc

  2. Paul and Kay Rader permalink
    March 27, 2012 10:40 am

    Very interesting insights. When all else fails, Go for the ghosts. Music is a powerful medium for truth. The slaves proved this long ago with their heads bending low in the cotton fields of this country as do the people of Africa to this day.

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