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FORUM: Tunnel of Love: The Gospel According to Bruce Springsteen Syllabus

December 2, 2019

Trinity Church in the City of Boston

Tunnel of Love: The Gospel According to Bruce Springsteen

Sundays, January 5 – February 9




Growin’ Up

      January 5: Community


      “Tunnel of Love” & Acts 2:37-47 (Life among the believers)

            Are you ready to ride?


      Introducing ourselves to Springsteen’s “long and noisy prayer” and his New Jersey childhood

      “surrounded by God,” we learn the unconventional math of community.


      January 12: Freedom


      “Blinded by the Light” & Luke 2:41-52 (The adolescent Jesus in the Temple)

      “My Hometown” & Galatians 5:13-26 (The call to freedom)

            Mama always told me not to look into the sun …

            ‘Whoa! But, Mama – that’s where the fun is!’


Grappling with the innocence, decadence, and power of youth, we discuss the power of home and compare the freedom-from of “Blinded” with the freedom-for of “My Hometown.”



Darkness on the Edge of Town

      January 19 (MLK Weekend): Race


      “Devils & Dust” and “41 Shots” Luke 22-23 (The arrest and execution of Jesus)

            You can get killed just for living in your American skin


Recognizing “our finger on the trigger,” we consider the racism of our American system, remembering the 1999 shooting death of Amadou Diallo and reflecting on Springsteen’s use of mud and blood as images of original sin.


      January 26: War


      “Born in the U.S.A.” and “War” & Luke 19:29-44 (Jesus enters Jerusalem)

            Got in a little hometown jam, so they put a rifle in my hand


      Reflecting on Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem from the Gospel of Luke, we consider the    processions of power in our American experience, focusing on the legacies of wars in    Vietnam and the Persian Gulf.




Hello Sunshine

      February 2 (Feast of the Presentation): Sonship


      “Jesus Was an Only Son,” “My Father’s House,” and “Living Proof”

      & Luke 1:39-56 (The Song of Mary)

            In his mother’s arms was all the beauty I could take


      Carrying with us our worship’s celebration of “The Presentation” (and enjoying in the Forum            a special “Magnificat” by several of our Choristers), we consider both parenthood and what it           means to be somebody’s child, discussing our “ancestral” as sons and daughters, mothers and    fathers, friends and companions.


      February 9: Faith


      “Dancing in the Dark” and “Land of Hope and Dreams”

      & Luke 23:50-56 (Joseph of Arimathea)

            On this train you don’t need no ticket, all you got to do is get on board


Binding ourselves to last week’s “little piece of the Lord’s undying light,” we consider our call to faith and the moment-by-moment choice we face between hope and despair, reflecting on the words of Springsteen’s “strange benediction.”