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Tunnel of Love:  Notes and Links from the Forum Series 1/5

The Rev. Morgan Allen
January 9, 2020

Are you ready to ride?!


Dear Trinity Church and friends,

What a wonderful first week of riding down with you – “down in … to … this … tunnel of love!”  I am looking forward to the weeks to come.

Seeking to honor the artist’s work, copyright keeps us from filming the whole Forum hour the way we sometimes can.  However, I have appreciated the requests for internet links and song recommendations to catch up on what anyone may have missed and to ready for our next session.


Sunday January 5: Review

We began our program by listening to the title track of our class and The Boss’ 1987 album: “Tunnel of Love.”  The “official video” may be found here, and we watched this selection from a 1988 live show that showed each of the band members receiving their ticket for the carnival ride.

As we considered our call to take this ride together, we listened, as well, to Springsteen’s introduction to “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” from his On Broadway performance.  Though the entire film may be seen on Netflix, the audio of that introduction we heard may be found here, and in the first minute-and-a-half of the song itself, which may be found here.  In this piece, Springsteen taught us a lesson of unconventional math.  As he shared, when 1+1=3, “You see everything new. These are days when you are visited by visions.  When the world around you brings down the Spirit, and you feel blessed to be alive.  It is the essential equation of love … of art … [and, of course] of rock-n-roll.  It is the reason the universe will never be fully comprehensible.  It is the reason “Louie, Louie” will never be fully comprehensible.  And it is the reason that true rock-n-roll, and true rock-n-roll bands, will never die.”

For Springsteen, this magic math happens in the experience of rock-n-roll and through life together in a band.  We named that for us at Trinity Church, we experience our 1+1=3 in Christian community, as in the scripture that guided our first session, Acts of the Apostles 2:37-39, 41-47: “Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.  All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.  Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number.”

Finally, we looked together at an overview of Springsteen’s catalogue, discussed some common covenants for our class (including acknowledgement that we will hear profanity in Springsteen’s voice), and began to introduce ourselves to his childhood, as he writes of it in his autobiography, and as he speaks of it in the introduction to “My Hometown” in On Broadway.  Through Springsteen’s official YouTube channel, the On Broadway audio is in three parts: the first and second comprise the introduction, and the third is the song itself.  As he shares with us, he “literally grew up surrounded by God, surrounded by God … and my relatives,” all in the “heart-stopping, … race-rioting, soul-shaking, redneck, love- and fear-making, heart-breaking town of Freehold, New Jersey.”


Sunday, January 12: Looking Ahead

As I confessed, we are learning together in this adventure, and my optimism about what we could accomplish in a single Sunday exceeded the bounds of time and space!  Therefore, our syllabus has been revised, and the update will be available this weekend.
This week, we will discuss the most fundamental of rock-n-roll values: freedom.  In the context of The Boss, we will first listen to “Blinded by the Light,” from Springsteen’s 2005 performance on VH-1’s Storytellers, and then compare its expressions of freedom with those from “My Hometown.”  Scripturally, we will root this conversation in Luke 2:41-52, which recounts the story of the boy Jesus in the Jerusalem temple, and Galatians 5:13-26, which begins, “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become servants of one another.”

We will end by anticipating our MLK weekend conversation about Springsteen and race.


Springsteen in a Sunday: January 26, 4-5:45 p.m.

On the last Sunday afternoon of this month, I will reprise themes from our morning Springsteen series in one longer session, anticipating the 6:00p service on January 26.  We will ride the “Tunnel of Love” from “My Hometown” to “Land of Hope and Dreams,” and, for those who can’t make the mornings, I hope you will join us then!


See you Sunday!



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