Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


Leave a comment

Clapton: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton. Crown. 396 pages. 2007

In this book, Eric Clapton writes about his incredible life as a blues musician, an addict and ultimately as a happily married man and father, a man who is sober and helping others to achieve sobriety.
I read this book when it was first published, and decided to read it again after seeing the now 77-year-old guitarist in concert for the first time last year.
Clapton begins by telling us he was raised by his grandparents, though for many years he grew up thinking that they were actually his parents. He was nine years old before he met his mother. As a child, he attended Sunday school, which is where he first heard a lot of the old, beautiful English hymns, his favorite being “Jesus Bids Us Shine.” Music became a healer for him, and he learned to listen with all his being. He found that it could wipe away all the emotions of fear and confusion relating to his family.
He taught himself how to play guitar. He writes about listening to the blues music of Robert Johnson, saying that following his example would be his life’s work. He writes about his work with the Yardbirds, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos and as a solo artist.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review…
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper

Much of Clapton’s story has to do with his out-of-control drinking and use of drugs. What I remember from my first reading of the book is that it is amazing that this man is still alive given how he abused his body. I had that same feeling reading the book a second time. He would eventually spend two periods (1982 and then again in 1987), at Hazelden in Minnesota, which he states was then said to be the best treatment center for alcoholics in the world.
Eventually this would lead him to his knees and to surrender. From that day on, he has never failed to pray in the morning, on his knees, asking for help, and at night, to express gratitude for his life, and, most of all, for his sobriety. He writes that in some form his God was always there, but finally he had learned to talk to him.
Throughout the book Clapton writes about his relationships with women, including Patti, the one-time wife of George Harrison, and who later would become Clapton’s wife. Clapton wrote his classic song “Layla” for Patti.
At one point, as Clapton had two children from girlfriends, a daughter Ruth and a son Conor. Sadly, four-year-old Conor would fall to his death from the 53rd floor of a New York apartment in 1991. Clapton would write the song “Tears in Heaven” about Conor.
Throughout the book, Clapton gives details about each of the albums he was working on, who was playing on them and his tours. He also provides the story behind how he got his nickname “Slowhand”.
In 1998, Clapton founded, and largely funded, the Crossroads Centre, a treatment center in Antigua that still exists today. He writes that in order to stay sober, he had to help others get sober. He has used his Crossroads Guitar Festival to help raise money for the treatment center.
Clapton married Melia in 2002. He writes that at the age of fifty-four, he had probably made the first healthy choice in a partner in his entire life. They have three daughters.
At the time the book was written, Clapton was 62 years old and twenty years sober. He writes that staying sober and helping others to achieve sobriety will always be the single most important proposition of his life.
He writes about some of his musical influences (Robert Johnson, Buddy Guy, B.B. King and others), and finishes the book with:
“Music survives everything, and like God, it is always present. It needs no help, and suffers no hindrance. It has always found me, and with God’s blessing and permission, it always will.”
This well-written and researched book does include some adult language sprinkled throughout.

  • Keller’s Formation: John Piper on C. S. Lewis and Jonathan Edwards. On this episode of the Gospelbound podcast, Collin Hanson visits with John Piper to discuss Jonathan Edwards, C.S. Lewis, evangelical feminism, and the reception to his own expansive writing and teaching.
  • Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation. Tim Challies reviews the new book Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation by Collin Hansen. He writes “Whether you have been influenced by Keller or not, whether you admire him or not, I believe you will enjoy this account of his life framed around his intellectual and spiritual development.”
  • Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold. My wife Tammy has published a book about HOW to study the Bible. The book is available on Amazon in both a Kindle and paperback edition. She writes “Maybe you’ve read the Bible but want to dig deeper and know God and know yourself better. Throughout the book I use the analogy of making a quilt to show how the Bible is telling one big story about what God is doing in the world through Christ. Quilting takes much patience and precision, just like studying the Bible, but the end result is well worth it.
  • The Second Coming of Christ with John Piper. On this episode of the Life and Books and Everything podcast, Kevin DeYoung visits with John Piper to talk about Piper’s new book, Come, Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Second Coming of Christ.

BOOK CLUB – Won’t you read along with us?

Providence by John Piper

The providence of God is his purposeful sovereignty by which he will be completely successful in the achievement of his ultimate goal for the universe. God’s providence carries his plans into action, guides all things toward his ultimate goal, and leads to the final consummation.
John Piper draws on a lifetime of theological reflection, biblical study, and practical ministry to lead readers on a stunning tour of the sightings of God’s providence—from Genesis to Revelation—to discover the all-encompassing reality of God’s purposeful sovereignty over all of creation and all of history.
Exploring the goal, nature, and extent of God’s purposes for the world, Piper offers an invitation to know the God who holds all things in his hands yet remains intimately involved in the lives of his people.
You can download the PDF of the book free from Desiring God.
Watch this six-minute video as John Piper talks about the book, and this interview with Dr. Joe Rigney of Bethlehem College & Seminary.

This week we look at Chapter 41: Blood-Bought Zeal for Good Works. Here are a few helpful quotes from the chapter:

  • What many Christians do not think about is the fact that the blood of Christ purchased, or secured, sanctification as well as justification, faithful obedience as well as forgiven sin, good works as well as eternal life, present transformation as well as final glorification.
  • Forgiveness is the ground and guarantee of all the benefits of the new covenant.
  • The holiness promised in the new covenant is not ancillary to salvation. It is part of what salvation is. And it is sure, because Christ died to secure it.
  • God’s not sparing his own Son secured for us every promise that God has made to conform us to Christ and bring us to glory.
  • When God put Christ in our condemned place, he did this not only to secure heaven, but to secure holiness.
  • Christ died not only for our justification and our final glorification, but also for our sanctification in this life.
  • God’s aim in the sacrifice of Christ is not a peaceful conscience doing nothing. Serving the living God is the goal of the purified conscience.
  • Christ died to create a life of service to the living God.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

Leave a Reply