Kicking at the Darkness: Bruce Cockburn and the Christian Imagination  -     By: Brian J. Walsh
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Kicking at the Darkness: Bruce Cockburn and the Christian Imagination

Brazos Press / 2011 / Paperback

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Product Description

"So, is this book about Bruce Cockburn's spirituality? Well, yes and no. Yes, this book takes as its point of departure the deeply Christian spirituality that we meet in Cockburn's music. But this is not an attempt to explain Cockburn's spirituality. As you will see in the opening chapters, there is a sense in which this book isn't so much on Bruce Cockburn as it is a conversation with his art." --From the Introduction

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Brazos Press
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1587432536
ISBN-13: 9781587432538
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

For forty years, singer and songwriter Bruce Cockburn has been writing beautifully evocative music. Bestselling author and respected theologian Brian Walsh has followed Cockburn's work for years and has written and spoken often on his art. In this creative theological and cultural engagement, Walsh reveals the imaginative depth and uncompromising honesty of the artist's Christian spirituality. Cockburn offers hope in the midst of doubt, struggle, failure, and anger; indeed, the sentiment of "kicking at the darkness" is at the heart of his spirituality. This book engages the rich imagery of Cockburn's lyrics as a catalyst for shaping and igniting a renewed Christian imagination.

Author Bio

Brian J. Walsh (PhD, McGill University) is the bestselling author or coauthor of several books, including The Transforming Vision, Truth Is Stranger Than It Used to Be, and Colossians Remixed. He is a chaplain at the University of Toronto and an adjunct professor of theology of culture at Wycliffe College in Toronto, Ontario.

Publisher's Weekly

For more than 40 years and in 31 albums (20 of which went gold or platinum), the Canadian guitarist and singer-songwriter has probed the depths of human life in all its joy, anguish, sorrow, despair, and hope. In this affectionate set of fan’s notes on his favorite musician, Walsh (The Transforming Vision) gracefully and charmingly attempts to join Cockburn on his artistic journey to determine whether there are resonances with our own journeys and to see if Cockburn offers wisdom that will help us as we travel our own roads. Walsh provides close readings of Cockburn’s many lyrics to demonstrate the ways in which Cockburn is a psalmist whose songs’ rich images invite us into a world that is “intergenerational, covenantally shaped, morally serious, dialogically open, and politically demanding.” For example, in “Isn’t That What Friends Are For?” (1999), Cockburn scrapes a little light off the darkness—in this case the darkness brought on by a failing friendship—and shares that light with his hearers in the midst of darkness. Walsh’s loving tribute to Cockburn’s artistry, one suffused with grace and generosity, offers a rich introduction to one of our most precious musical talents. (Dec.) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.

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  1. Vancouver, BC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Window into Bruce Cockburn's Worldview
    December 28, 2011
    conrade
    Vancouver, BC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    A friend of mine once said that there is no such thing as 'Christian music' or 'non-Christian music.' Instead, there is only 'good' or 'bad' music. After reading this book, I believe that my friend's preference for the good/bad music paradigm does not go far enough. Good music has to be creative, authentic, and reflective of life. This book is a fascinating commentary cum theological engagement with one of Canada's most celebrated musician and Christian thinker, Bruce Cockburn.

    Brian Walsh has offered the literary world an profound work that engages our modern world with biblical insights, through the works of Bruce Cockburn. The title of the book is extracted from the lyrics of one of Cockburn's most popular songs, called 'Lovers in a Dangerous Time.' Walsh uses four main questions to helm his reflective interactions (21).

    "Where are we? What is the nature of the world in which we find ourselves?"

    "Who are we? What does it mean to be human?"

    "What's Wrong? What is the source of brokenness, violence, hatred, and evil in life?"

    "What's the remedy? How do we find a path through this brokenness to healing? What is the resolution to the evil in which we find ourselves?"

    Walsh is generous with his praises. He calls Cockburn a modern 'psalmist,' 'prophet,' as well as a man with a 'certain storied perspective.' His music and lyrics stem from his strong Christian worldview, one that is able to grapple with the issues of the world with a theological imagination that does not diminish or dismiss the world with escapist music. Instead, Cockburn engages the culture, politics, postmodern paradigms, pluralism, and religion, with his brand of literary and musical prowess.

    As I read through the book, at some point, I find Walsh's sustained reflection on Cockburn and Bruce Cockburn's lyrics are dancing to the same tune. Whether that is true or not, only Cockburn can tell. I like the way Walsh summarizes the nature of art.

    "Art cannot save us, but it can shed a light. It can open our eyes." (190)

    This is certainly true of this book. In a world of human drivenness, achievement-oriented technological world, and management strategies on how to get things done according to human ways, this book is an opportunity for humans to move from consumerism to appreciation of the world. This book is not an easy read. Those who dare to swim through it will reap rich dividends. I think I am going to really love Bruce Cockburn's music.

    Rating: 4 stars of 5.

    conrade

    "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Brazos Press, a division of Baker Publishing Group".
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