Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Comparing a Bruce Springsteen concert to Mass - what can we learn?

An article from Luke Hill in dotCommonweal about Springsteen's North American "Wrecking Ball" concerts:
Much of the audience at a typical Bruce Springsteen concert looks like the folks you might see at the 11:00 Sunday Mass in suburban parishes across the country. (In some cases, they are the same people.) There’s one notable difference: the people at Springsteen’s shows sing.

Now that's interesting quote - because compared to people in Ireland, many many parishes in America do sing.   Or at least they did in 2007, when I was last there.  Ordinary city-centre and city-fringe parishes, the sort that a tourist might find.     For sure, not everyone sang.   But most places, most people did.   So I'm thinking that Luke is pointing to a differece in enthusiam - which might be described as the level of full active participation.   Bruce has these people singing like they mean it - because he knows that singing together is one effective tool for growing solidarity to beat the problems that sparked the tour - and that's something which the Church needs to learn to do.

Luke's conclusion is that Bruce's message is

When facing hard times that exceed the limits of personal experience, remember your history. Remember those who’ve gone before you. Draw strength from their stories and examples. You may need to do what you’ve never done before ...

It strikes me that's a message which Catholics in Ireland need to hear.  

But it's got to come with a fair dose of discernment:  looking to the past needs to mean a lot lot more than continuing  blaming the [Vikings | English |  Vatican | bishops | priests | nuns].   And we need to find the real spritiual strengths, not simply mimic practices that were adopted to deal with problems at a time, and retained because no one ever said "why?".

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