Bruce Springsteen’s “Land of Hope and Dreams”: Towards Articulating and Assessing Its Inclusiveness


  • Barry David


I focus on two things that are well known about Bruce Springsteen’s song, “Land of Hope and Dreams.” First, it has decisive roots in earlier American songs employing ‘the moving train’ as analogue to God’s Church and His eternal plan for humanity. In this respect, ‘the moving train’ carries its passengers, who prominently embrace a normative moral imperative, from an imperfectly happy place in this world to a completely happy destination beyond this world. The influencing songs apparently include: “People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield, “This Train”/”This Train Is Bound For Glory” by each of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Big Bill Broonzy, and Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash’s “This Train is Bound For Glory’ (a.k.a. “The Bible Train”) and Bob Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming.” Secondly, and more importantly, it is also agreed that Lohad is distinguished from its influences by presenting an ‘inclusive’ message. This has two principal components. In the first place, it is that God’s Love ultimately guides all persons towards, within, and to the end goal of his eternal community of Love, to the ‘Land of Hope and Dreams,’ that is formally established in the afterworld. Secondly, everyone in this world (both ‘saints and sinners’ and ‘whores and gamblers’) shares in this goal. Therefore, Springsteen’s train, unlike his predecessors’ trains’, proclaims the redemption and redeeming of all rather than the redemption and redeeming of some. According to LOHAD, everyone, whether they know it or not, is on God’s train.


Author Biography

Barry David

Associate Professor of Philosophy, Ave Maria University