Eric Clapton on Jesus

Eric Clapton on Jesus April 22, 2024

Just a few steps below Jimi Hendrix, three of the world’s greatest guitar players are Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck.

Apparently, Clapton (who is still alive at the time of this writing) has a spiritual side.

The dude grew up in a small English town, going to a normal Church of England congregation like a good little boy. In his own words, he had a “curiosity about spiritual matters” but his searching led him away from organized religion to his own internal journey.

The foundation of his faith is represented in the favorite hymn of his youth, “Jesus Bids Us Shine,” which says,

Jesus bids us shine with a clear, pure light,
Like a little candle burning in the night;
In this world of darkness, we must shine,
You in your small corner, and I in mine.

Then in 1969, he got exposed to the fire and brimstone routine of Delaney Bramlett, who toured with Clapton’s band “Blind Faith.”

Bramlett basically called Eric out, telling him “God gave you this gift to sing, so use it before He takes it away!” Despite being unsure of himself, Clapton listened.

A few days later, a couple born-again Christians showed up after a show, probably digging Clapton’s song “Presence of the Lord,” a song I particularly like myself.

They get Clapton to pray with them, he saw some blinding light, and bam, he became a born-again Christian, telling everyone about it.

But Clapton’s faith was always a bit, let’s say unconventional. Because in that very same year of his “conversion,” he got addicted to heroin. Then alcohol. Then promiscuous sex. Not exactly solid Christian living. As he admits, “Bad choices were my specialty.”

It took hitting literal rock bottom in rehab in 1987 for him to finally “surrender” to God for real. On his knees, he dedicated his sobriety to his little son Conor.

Tragically, Conor died a few years later from an accident. But Clapton pushed through, finding strength in AA’s principle of “handing your will over to God’s care.”

In Eric’s own words from his autobiography about that 1987 rehab moment:

“I was in complete despair” … “In the privacy of my room, I begged for help. I had no notion who I thought I was talking to, I just knew that I had come to the end of my tether … and, getting down on my knees, I surrendered. Within a few days I realized that … I had found a place to turn to, a place I’d always known was there but never really wanted, or needed, to believe in.

From that day until this, I have never failed to pray in the morning, on my knees, asking for help, and at night, to express gratitude for my life and, most of all, for my sobriety. I choose to kneel because I feel I need to humble myself when I pray, and with my ego, this is the most I can do. If you are asking why I do all this, I will tell you … because it works, as simple as that.”

So there you have it: Eric Clapton’s spiritual journey in a nutshell.

Has he been perfect? Heck no. Did he have his act together? Rarely. But he found a funky, stammering faith that somehow kept him going through addiction, loss and life’s biggest challenges.


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