The Thrill is Gone: B.B. King and my love of the blues and theology

Last night, another hero of mine died. BB King is one of the few artists who caused me to fall in love with the blues. He is known as the King of the Blues, and he rightfully earns that title for the rest of history. With his death, my only hope is it causes a resurgence in the popularity of the blues as people go look into his work and develop a fraction of the appreciation and love I have for the blues.

Blues music gives an incredible parallel narrative and context to the Bible. You see in blues music deep interaction with sin, suffering, pain, abandonment, and injustice. In the Psalms, prophets, and even some of Paul's writings you see these same things. Stephen Nichols wrote, "Good Friday yearns for Easter, and eventually Easter comes. Blues singers, even when groaning of the worst of times, know to cry for mercy because they know that despite appearances, Sunday's coming." (hear When Love Came to Town by BB) The Bible is very familiar with the blues, and I would argue blues is more familiar with the Bible than many Christians. Most Christians are more content to avoid and bury pain instead of acknowledging and walking through it.

Christian Scharen wrote, "Too often the blues is put in opposition to spirituals. But when the Church's songs stray too far from the cries of the broken humanity, they lose their truth, depth and power." 

The Thrill is Gone! BB King caused me to fall in deep love with the blues, and I will love them until I am also gone. 

PC Walker

Speaker.Author.Poet, whatever comes through the cracks is all grace.