Broooose… The Best Have the Zest

Concert Crowd

Copyright, © olaf herschbach/iStockphoto

by Bruce Sanguin

This posting originally appeared on Bruce Sanguin’s blog Visit his blog for more postings, webinars, and podcasts on Evolutionary Christianity.

Went to my first Bruce Springsteen concert last night. It was closer to a revival service actually. As my friend Sarah put it, “we were baptized by Bruce”.  The Boss strutted across the stage, laying down the gospel of love, his heart wide open.

He was in love with the crowd and us with him. Three songs in it felt like a freakin’ encore. At one point he walked fifty feet out into the crowd, maybe 15 feet away from where we were dancing, on a raised stage. He then fell backward off the stage in a gesture of radical trust, into the adoring arms of his fans, who knew exactly what he was asking. He crowd surfed his way back to the main stage, doing a little horizontal preaching on the way.

What was most remarkable to me was the feeling of unity in the arena. Strangers standing side by side were dancing together, singing the lyrics, looking into each other’s eyes. Separation dissolved.

Identity as personality was ecstatically transcended. This was about a shared common experience that united 17,000 people in a transpersonal ecstasy. Those who had entered the zone were in an egoless space. The joy in the place was overwhelming, and those two statements are radically connected.

Catholic priest and paleontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin had a word for all that I’ve just described: “zest” or a “zest for life”. For him this far exceeded a merely transient emotional, egoic, state. In his own words, it is:

  • “nothing less than the energy of universal evolution, which, in the form of an innate pull toward being, wells up in what is most primitive, and therefore the least directly controllable, in each one of us;
  • an energy, the feeling and development of which is to some degree our responsibility;
  • and this we must do by a supremely vital operation, the most sensitive part of which is entrusted to the expert knowledge and skill of religion.”

God bless the man, for thinking that religion (Christianity) has the chops to be entrusted with the stewardship, the increase, the harnessing of the blessed evolutionary impulse that was using Springsteen as a vehicle, and through him, awakening and enlivening the crowd. His own religious order shut him down for doing so. It scares the crap out of us. After three hours of being in that vitality, I’ll wager that everybody had the feeling that they wanted to be more, do more, love more, care more…because this is what the evolutionary impulse is all about. It’s never satisfied.

This is what animated Jesus and if it’s not what animates the church of the 21st century, we might as we shut ‘er down. Because in the face of overwhelming cultural indifference to what we’re doing, it’s going to take an army of Bruce’s to breathe some life back in the institution. Not carefully parsed theology. Not endless knee groups “processing” our feelings. Not more Christmas bizarres. (No, there’s nothing inherently wrong about any of these). But we’re talking about resurrection here, folks.

Whatever it is we mean by “the Christ” is located in the condition of zest, the sacred, creative, impulse of life itself that had 17,000 people on their feet shouting for more, from a sixty-three year old man from New Jersey who was enacting the resurrected life.

Bruce Springsteen – Death To My Hometown

Bruce Sanguin is a minister serving Canadian Memorial United Church in Vancouver, BC. Bruce is passionate about raising public awareness that there is a form of Christianity beyond the belief-based, biblical literalism that is associated with traditional “church.” In 2011, If Darwin Prayed: Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics, won an IPPY gold medal for best spiritual and inspirational book. His most recent book is The Advance of Love: Reading the Bible with an Evolutionary Heart.

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Categories: Art and Music, Bruce Sanguin, Embodiment, Evolutionary Christianity, Featured, Inspiration and Meditation, People, Spiritual Growth

Author:Wood Lake Publishing

At Wood Lake Publishing we are passionate about supporting and encouraging an emerging form of Christianity, which is rooted in ancient wisdom and attentive to the movement of spirit in our day. Visit us online at


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