Saved by A Hot Lick

Posted February 8, 2016 @ 11:44am | by Tripp

Here I sit and here I ponder. Here I scribe and here I wonder. Can enough be said that says the things yet unsaid? Can I write All The Things in such a way where only the few words on the page insinuate what is not written? Brevity is the scholar’s bane. Relatedly, since when did forty pages become “brevity”? And yet, here we are. 

Sonic Theology rests on my desk. The introduction taunts me again. What is the theological language that the protestant Christian West employs to describe it’s musicking? There is no single language, to be certain. But this does not mean that there is no language. Far from it. We are theological polyglots where our musicking is concerned. Implicit and explicit meanings careen around our sanctuaries and from our head phones every minute of every day without so much as a “howdy do.” We love to music. We love to make the meanings. All of ‘em. Even the ones we don’t like as long as they sound good. 

“My style is real Lightnin’ Hopkins lowdown blues. I call it hard classic blues, stompin’ blues, railroad smokin’ blues.” – Beverly “Guitar” Watkins.

Say it with me: Penal Substitutionary Atonement is not good theology unless you are playing slide guitar and then, damn, son, but that’s a hot lick and if Jesus didn’t save me from my own damned self, I’d still be in that ditch. The sounds save the words and then our own salvation is revealed to us. 

I hate it when the sounds prove me wrong about the words. 


The eye of the great God be upon you,
The eye of the God of glory be on you,
The eye of the Son of Mary Virgin be on you,
The eye of the Spirit mild be on you,
To aid you and shepherd you;
Oh, the kindly eye of the Three be on you,
To aid you and shepherd you. 


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