What You and The Boss Have in Common

What You and The Boss Have in Common

A little over four years ago on a late November evening, I had the time of my life. Yes, even as a firmly (gasp!) middle-aged woman and despite what my children might think, I know how to have a good time. And let me tell you, Bruce Springsteen knows how to encourage you to have a good time. My forever-bonded pal, Christy, and I made it to one of Springsteen’s legendary concerts – and he and the E Street Band did not disappoint.
So it was with great anticipation that I read The Boss’ new autobiography, Born to Run. It’s a massive book and I’m proud to say that I read all 510 pages of it in record time. Just like his concert, Bruce’s book did not disappoint. It’s funny, poignant, insightful, and poetic. And, if you can believe this, he ends his book by reciting the Lord’s Prayer. I am totally over the moon.
Knowing that I had to do more research on Born to Run, I devoured all the high-minded literature and press that I could: Vanity Fair, AARP magazine, the Costco flier, and even the smooth-tongued Terry Gross of “Fresh Air.” But none other than Stephen Colbert delivered Springsteen’s most spiritually insightful interview. You can watch it here (be sure to catch all three segments).

At one point in the interview, Colbert asks, “What is the ‘magic trick’?” Springsteen answers:
“Well, you’re there to manifest something…Before you get there [to the stage] it’s an empty space, an empty building. You get there and the audience is going to show up and together you’re going to manifest something that’s very, very real and very tangible…that wasn’t there before you showed up…My job is to assist you and for us together to create this sense of whatever you want to call it, it is cathartic – and hopefully on a good night, when we’re at our very, very best there’s a little transcendence.”
In Born to Run, Springsteen writes about what he tries to accomplish with his audience during a concert. As you’ll see, I’ve changed one word:
“It’s a life-giving, joyful, sweat-drenching, muscle-aching, voice-blowing, mind-clearing, exhausting, soul-invigorating, cathartic pleasure and privilege every [Sunday]. You can sing about your misery, the world’s misery, your most devastating experiences, but there’s something about the gathering of souls that blows the blues away. Something that lets the sun in, that keeps you breathing, that lifts you in a way that can’t be explained, only experienced.”
So that, my friends, is what you have in common with The Boss – you are about giving life-affirming transcendent experiences in your holy space. It may not be a “magic trick” but it is a Holy Spirit experience. And during one of the most mystical times of the Christian calendar, the humble birth of the Savior (King of Kings and Lord of Lords!), you have the rare chance to offer people the opportunity to experience the world and the Word in new and amazing ways.
May this Advent season continue to be one that fills you with wonder and hope and love and joy and peace and mystery…so that you can spread that Good News to your congregation as well. Oh, the Boss would be proud.
Video bonus: Here’s my favorite (and funny) video ("Christmas Presents") for the season from Forest Hill Church in Charlotte, NC. Be grateful!
Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” what can I say?) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She wants to know who will join her for Bruuuuuce’s next concert? She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.