‘Slowhand’ Eric Clapton Biography – Brief ‘Kind of’ Review

This year I’m trying to read a few non-Christian books. ‘Slowhand’ was on display at the local library, so I decided that it would be a good book to read. Slowhand: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton by Philip Norman was published last year (2018), so is nicely up to date. I finished it a few weeks ago but as far as the readability goes, it’s easy going and I enjoyed reading it. The text is a nice size and the chapters divide up into easy chunks and are not too long. There’s even an Index (and I used it). As I go through the book I note the dates and think how old I was and what was going on at the time. For example, I was at the Rainbow Concert after just turning nineteen. I didn’t become a Christian until I was 25.

I’ve not picked a guitar up for nearly 40 years, and most likely won’t again, but I remember back then having very heated discussions in the pub over who was the greatest guitarist. At the time (early 1970’s), for me, it was Jan Akkerman (Focus). There were a lot of contenders, so Clapton was probably one of them. I do recall the ‘Clapton is God’ label. There are several songs that I really like. For example White Room, Bell Bottom Blues, Crossroads, and Sunshine of Your Love and even though I heard a lot of his music I never actually owned any of his albums (including Cream) until I recently bought a Best of Eric Clapton CD. I suppose, for me, and it is a matter of taste, the Blues is not my favourite style of music, although I appreciate it when it’s done well. In the Blues genre, Clapton is definitely one of its great exponents and I do like a lot of it.

The book starts with Eric in a Service Station with George Harrison. Initially, I thought it was going to miss his childhood but the author then takes us back to when Eric was born in Ripley. His early childhood, or the effects of it anyway, feature throughout his life. His mother left him when he was two. He thought his mother was his sister and his grandmother was his mother. He found out the terrible deception when he was nine. His grandmother Rose, spoilt him rotten (and continued to do so) and so consequently spoilt him.

Thankfully, there are no graphic descriptions but pretty much everybody, perhaps especially Clapton, lived totally promiscuous lifestyles: even when they were in ‘proper’ relationships or were married. It becomes a bit wearisome to continually read about his constant state of drunkenness or drug abuse. But that was how it was and the author faithfully records it all, while (most of the time) avoiding too many value judgments. There is some strong language in the book but It’s kept to a minimum and isn’t gratuitous. My language was quite extreme before becoming a Christian so to me it’s all quite tame.

I wondered if Clapton came into contact with Christians. He was brought up in a culturally Christian environment, as I was, so he would have some vague knowledge of the Christian faith. Vague knowledge, however, is most often completely wrong. After thinking about that the very next chapter found him undergoing radical treatment for his drug addiction by Christian doctors. The nurse was fired though because her evangelism was a bit too ‘full on’.

The temptation is to be judgemental about him and think of him as a spoilt brat (which he was) who seemed to get away with just about anything and everything (which he mostly did) whilst in the main avoiding the carnage he created for others around him. The way he treated the women in is his life is appalling. So appalling that it becomes impossible for the author not to say something. As the saying goes, however, ‘there but for the grace of God go I.’ No matter how much money or talent he had, ultimately, it couldn’t protect him from himself or later tragedy. It’s quite amazing that he has survived as long as he has. So many of his musical peers died while young.

He becomes a father and this finally begins to wake him up to some responsibility. And then tragedy strikes. In just one short paragraph (one sentence really) Norman writes about the death of Connor, Clapton’s four-year-old son. What happened is jaw-dropping. It stopped me in my tracks. So, so, sad.  The service was held in Ripley. I’ve no idea what Christian content there was at the funeral apart from the set C of E service.

In Christian circles, you hear the phrase ‘I don’t know how I’d cope if I weren’t a Christian. But people do. And sometimes they cope rather well. It’s not a phrase I like, even though I understand what’s meant. Clapton appears to change after this. He quits the drugs and the drink and takes control of his life. The last two chapters, I thought, were a bit rushed as we read that his grandmother Rose eventually dies, as does his mother, probably the two most influential people in his life. And so here we are in 2019 and Clapton is still playing. He survived. That is remarkable.

I’d definitely recommend reading it. Especially if you are a fan. I think it was good for me to read it.

 

 

 

Weather Report – A Remark You Made

Just beautiful. Enjoy. One of my favourite bands. Saw them in October 1977 at the Rainbow Theatre, London. And I still listen to them.

Theological Testing of Worship Songs

Came across this interesting piece at Premier Christianity Magazine ‘Theology test your worship songs‘. That is good advice and we ought to that with any song including hymns. I haven’t read it all yet, but others might be interested in checking it out. I particularly like the graphic to show the Industrial Complex that Christian music has become.

I won’t comment on it here now, but I have saved it for future reference.

Christians Awake Salute the Happy Morn

P1030632
Worshiping the King of Kings this morning in Coventry

It was with great joy we attended Church this happy morn to celebrate the sending into the world of a Saviour – Christ the Lord.

We were treated to an excellent message appropriate for Christmas morning given by Pastor James and were exhorted through all the busyness of the Christmas season to make sure there is room for Jesus. He made comparisons between the pomp and greatness of Herod and a mighty Roman Empire and the silent almost imperceptible coming of the King of Kings. And although it seemed like Mary & Joseph and the birth of Jesus was at the behest of the rulers of the day – the reality is completely the opposite. We as Christians can take great encouragement that although events today may seem to militate against a sovereign God – again nothing could be further from the truth.

Two scriptures that illustrate this is Luke 17:20 ‘And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he (Jesus) answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:’

And Hebrews 2:8 ‘putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him (Jesus). Heb 2:9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

We opened the service with the singing of ‘Christians Awake‘.

Christians, awake, salute the happy morn
Whereon the Saviour of the world was born
Rise to adore the mystery of love
Which hosts of angels chanted from above
With them the joyful tidings first begun
Of God incarnate and the Virgin’s Son

Then to the watchful shepherds it was told
Who heard the angelic herald’s voice: “Behold,
I bring good tidings of a Saviour’s birth
To you and all the nations upon earth
This day hath God fulfilled His promised word;
This day is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord.”

He spake, and straightaway the celestial choir
In hymns of joy, unknown before, conspire
The praises of redeeming love they sang
And heaven’s whole orb with alleluias rang
God’s highest glory was their anthem still
Peace upon earth and unto men goodwill

To Bethlehem straight the shepherds ran
To see the wonder God had wrought for man
And found, with Joseph and the blessed Maid
Her Son, the Saviour, in a manger laid
Amazed, the wondrous story they proclaim
The earliest heralds of the Saviour’s name

Let us, like these good shepherds, them employ
Our grateful voices to proclaim the joy
Trace we the Babe, who hath retrieved our loss
From His poor manger to His bitter cross
Treading His steps, assisted by His grace
Till man’s first heavenly state again takes place

Then may we hope, the angelic thrones among
To sing, redeemed, a glad triumphal song
He that was born upon this joyful day
Around us all His glory shall display
Saved by His love, incessant we shall sing
Of angels and of angel-men the King

John Byrom 1691-1763

Wonderful words to praise Jesus.

Happy Christmas to you All.

Hark! the herald angels sing

Here’s one of THE great Christmas Hymns – ‘Hark! the herald angels sing’ and so should we!. Or if you prefer one of THE great Incarnational Hymns by Charles Wesley (18 December 1707 – 29 March 1788). I’ve included below each stanza the verses from the Bible so we can see just how full of Scripture and theology this Hymn is. It’s no wonder they are great teaching aids. I’m using the King James version of the Bible for its poetic beauty. The actual text of the hymn has many variations so I apologise if the one below is a little different from the particular version you are most familiar with. As we sing this Hymn I trust we will not just admire the skill of the composer, or be lost in familiarity, but be amazed at the incredible condescension of the Lord of Glory as He comes to redeem lost sinners. Late in time behold Him come!

1 Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King:
Peace on earth, and mercy mild;
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King.”

Stanza. 1 = Luke 2:14, 2 Cor. 5:19

Luke 2:14 ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’

2 Corinthians 5:19 ‘To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.’

2 Christ, by highest heav’n adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus our Immanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King.”

Stanza. 2 = Gal. 4:4, John 1:14

Galatians 4:4 ‘But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,’

John 1:14  ‘And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.’

3 Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King.”

Stanza. 3 = Isa. 9:6, Mal. 4:2, Phil. 2:7-8, 1 Pet. 1:3

Isaiah 9:6 ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’

Malachi 4:2 ‘But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.’

Philippians 2:7 ‘But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:’
Philippians 2:8 ‘And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’

1 Peter 1:3 ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,’

(Thanks to the Hymnary.org web-site for information on the hymn. Specifically HERE.)

Is The Bible Relevant?

Last Sunday (14/08/2011) we were privileged to hear preaching of the highest order. In fact, as I’ve been thinking about the sermon over the week, the more convinced I am that this particular sermon would act as a model for up and coming ministers, including those studying at seminary. Not only that, but it would also be of benefit to more experienced ministers. Yes, it was that good. Let’s just say I do not want to elevate the man as it was evident the sermon was blessed of God and Pastor being the man he is would merely point away from himself and to the blessing of God upon it.

The Text of the sermon was Genesis 3:9 ‘But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”‘. The particular words Pastor concentrated on were the words directed to Adam ‘where are you’.

The ministry was relevant and contemporary but above all Biblical, exemplifying what it is to expound the text. This sermon is Gospel ministry at it’s best and what people today within and outside the church need to hear. Culturally the sermon is set in the context of recent Riots and looting in the UK.

To listen click on the link below. Or go to the Lower Ford Street Baptist Church Web-site.

King Crimson – Elephant Talk

Here’s one of my favourite pieces of music – superb!

Hallelujah Chorus Flash Mob – Must See!

I was made aware of this video by my good friend Pastor Robert Briggs. This video is just amazing. Watch, listen, and enjoy! And give all Glory to Christ.

Today’s Weather Report

I thought about having days for this or that music – but here’s The Weather Report for today. Enjoy. The last few seconds are missing but it’s still amazing and stands the test of time.

Magma – Concert clip

Here’s a band I was listening to 30+ years ago and it’s amazing to see them still going. Christian Vander is Magma, the founding member and one of the great drummers. I never did see this band live, but if they were playing in the UK I would still like to see them play live. The clip is – I think – from a 2006 concert. And, they are still playing. There are some great clips to see and hear from last year.