There was an old lp involving Tim Weisberg and Dan Fogelberg a long time ago. It was entitled Twin Brothers from Different Mothers. This book mighty have had that title, because as it turns out, there are a lot of similarities between President Obama, and Bruce Springsteen, in terms of their upbringing, their absentee fathers, there strong mothers, their finally finding a good life partner, their dedication to their families including their children, their great love of all sorts of music, and their eloquence of expression in their respective mediums of music or speeches. But there is also a shared deep deep love of America and its ideals, and a deep angst about how far short we keep falling from ‘one nation, under God indivisible, with liberty and justice for all’ or ‘all persons are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights’. The passion and personal nature of this book makes it a great read of about 300 pages (but about half of those are pictures), and reading this was an interesting supplement to having read Bruce’s biography (reviewed some years ago on this blog). One need not agree with all the political views expressed in this book (and I don’t) to appreciate the humanity of these two men, and their deep, deep concern for our country to live up to those ideals.
Part of the honesty that comes out in this book is about failures— failures to be the man they each wanted to be, failures to be as adequate a husband and parent as they longed to be while still profoundly loving their families, failure to convince people of some of the ideals they share in common, and much more. This is also very hopeful book, as they both still believe in some form of the American dream. It is a very patriotic book in various respects, but not without plenty of critical discussion about America’s many many flaws.
This book came out last October, and my son and daughter-in-law bequeathed it to me as a Christmas gift. I am so glad they did. I needed to be reminded of the lyrics to ‘The Rising’ or the speech Obama gave in Charleston at the funeral after the horrific murders of a pastor and various Bible study members by a young white man. Suffused throughout the book, and underlying various of the things said are Scriptures, truths from God’s Word. And this reminds me of what is most lacking in this book— namely a clear call to get back to making the main thing, the main thing— namely having a deep and profound faith in God and in his Son Jesus Christ. If there is to be a renewal in this country, it will require a genuine revival of Biblical faith. All other efforts at changing of laws or institutions or mere ideas will fall short of accomplishing what only a revival can accomplish— the renewal of the soul of America. Unless we truly become one nation under the only God there is, we will remain all too divisible, all too partisan, all too lacking in liberty and justice for all, including the unborn, who were also created equally in the image of God as those outside the womb.