Friday, February 22, 2019

"Thick heart of stone/My sins my own"

Trolling through past episodes of Alec Baldwin's Here's the Thing podcast, I ran across a 2016 interview he did with Patti Smith: "Patti Smith Never Wanted to be Famous."

While I loved their discussion, there was something she said in response to a question from an art teacher that really struck me: "Because if you can't sacrifice with joy, then it's meaningless." It's one of those quotes that transcends the context without losing meaning.

I think the world of Patti. Our Friday traditio this week is a video of her 1976 appearance on SNL singing "Gloria. "Gloria" is the famous first track off her 1975 album Horses, which remains a seminal album. It isn't for nothing that Smith is known is as "the high priestess of punk." She is so self-effacing, but in the most authentic way, that I am pretty certain she would guffaw at this exalted title.

The opening verse of "Gloria" contains both a moral theology and an atonement theory, or at least a compelling rejection of penal substitutionary atonement theory, a theological view that has caused so much damage to individuals, the Church, and to Western society. How much more striking can a song be than one that opens with the words- "Jesus died for someone's sins but not mine"?

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