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Kicking at the Darkness: Bruce Cockburn and the Christian Imagination Paperback


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Kicking at the Darkness: Bruce Cockburn and the Christian Imagination + World of Wonders: The Lyrics and Music of Bruce Cockburn + Pacing the Cage
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press (December 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587432536
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587432538
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #890,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Christian Imagination and the Redemptive Work of Bruce Cockburn

"Kicking at the Darkness is a brilliant analysis of forty years of Bruce Cockburn's lyrics and their biblical and religious connections. Brian Walsh's explication is thoroughly researched and logical, and also compelling and entertaining. I read it from start to finish in one evening."
--Joel Goldberg, producer/director of Bruce Cockburn, Pacing the Cage

"Brian Walsh has offered us an enthusiastic celebration of Bruce Cockburn as a postmodern psalmist. Walsh engages in sustained reflection on Cockburn's sometimes dark and obscure lyrics and shows how they reflect a deep Christian sensibility that cherishes creation, groans along with the pain of a corrupted world, and yearns for the final revelation of beauty and justice. Longtime fans of Cockburn like me will find fresh shafts of light falling on familiar words; those who haven't yet discovered Cockburn will find themselves beckoned to encounter a world-changing artistic vision."
--Richard B. Hays, Duke Divinity School

"Brian Walsh is not just a theologian; he's a poet and a farmer, a father and a husband. He's an intellectual who likes good music; he's a lover of culture and a critic of culture. In this book, Walsh examines a musical legend and shows us how Bruce Cockburn's work can point us to God and to God's redemptive action in the world."
--Shane Claiborne, author, activist, and recovering sinner, www.thesimpleway.org

"I've been listening to Cockburn for three decades and reading Walsh almost that long, and I can hardly imagine surviving these times, let alone believing that joy will find a way, without the artistry and insight of both. This is an extraordinarily ambitious project, years in the making, and there is profound insight on every page. I recommend it with great enthusiasm and with immense gratitude."
--Byron Borger, Hearts & Minds Books

"What happens when one of the planet's leading Christian thinkers and writers engages with one of the planet's most brilliant songwriters and musicians? You'll find out when you read Kicking at the Darkness, Brian Walsh's new book about the music of Bruce Cockburn. I'm a dedicated fan of both of these men and I savored each page of this tremendous book."
--Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity and Naked Spirituality

About the Author

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.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael Levitt on December 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
Confession time: Before reading this book, I was vaguely familiar with Bruce Cockburn, and may have only heard his music a handful of times. Not by intent, but somehow missing the connection between my listening ear, and the radio stations play lists.

Think of your favourite (favorite for my American brethren) musical artists. Now think of the first time you ever listened to your favourite artist. For many of us, that first moment was a virtual explosion of emotion and nerve-tingling excitement.

Brian Walsh's chronicles of Cockburn's musical journey provides a window into those nerve-tingling experiences. Dr. Walsh describes Cockburn as a modern-day theologian (we need more of them!), and Bruce's lyrics provide the bridge between us, and God.

Dr. Walsh didn't write this book over a summer holiday. It took him years to compile, journal, reflect, and gather insights into what Cockburn was attempting to show us, through his artistic gifts.

If you're a long-time Cockburn fan, this is a book that will help you dig deeper into the true meaning of Cockburn's music. If you haven't (yet) experienced Bruce Cockburn and his four decades of musical blessings, this book should wet your appetite.

Blessings!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By THowerton on September 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
Have you ever had the experience where you were sitting in a stuffy college class with late springtime bursting with beauty and surprises and melodious sounds just outside the shut-up window where you could catch glimpses but could not hear it, smell it, taste it, or touch it? All the while you were sitting inside that stuffy classroom on a hard seat listening to your professor drone on and on while a light on the rising ceiling sputtered and buzzed as it decided whether or not to give up the ghost and your classmates were scattered around the room shifting sleepily in their seats as they lazily tooled with their phones and the second hand on the clock seemed to have a hard time pressing forward? Well, if you have, then you have a sense of what I experienced as I trudged through the first two chapters of Brian J. Walsh's book "Kicking at the Darkness", a book that I was so looking forward to reading and then almost put down before finishing the second chapter. What kept me going you might ask? Only snippets of Cockburn's wondrous lyrics occasionally reproduced that were able to sing in my memory and make me long to open that classroom window.

Walsh, to be sure, is a man who is passionate about the topics that he presents in this book (Cockburn, a particular epistemological perspective of Christianity, and how art as expressed through an "unrestricted imagination" can act as a sometimes prophetic glimpse into something greater and more true). While he uses Cockburn's art and lyrics as a springboard his primary concern is that of expressing and exploring a particular Christian worldview that he has found embedded in Cockburn's work.
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17 of 25 people found the following review helpful By J.P. Randall on January 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've loved the music of Bruce Cockburn for nearly 35 years now. I've always enjoyed Bruces music, his arrangements, magnificent playing and his voice. This book by Brian Walsh, however, seems more to be an attempt at idol worship and approaching the object of his passion with answers, no, not answers, insights, but suggested insights, but maybe not the insights of the writer, blah, blah, blah......Buy Bruces CDs, enjoy them, keep them and if you want a sound theology....spend your time elsewhere, and you'll begin to understand where "we are"......Bob Dylan said more in his quote..."You don't need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows" , than this author did in this absolutely dry , vague and boring volume. Bruce Cockburn is a gift to us, but the comparisons to prophets, especially Biblical ones, is way ridiculous....Everyone can "claim" a theology, most are simply opinions...like this review. Unless grounded in something substantial, they don't weigh much. JPR
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By George V. Hudgins III on December 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a great addition to the growing library of music and spirituality. "Christian imagination" is under-explored and under-appreciated. This volume is an excellent homage to a musical hero from a diehard fan. It is also a wondrous volume of theology.

Thank you for it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book about Bruce's work, although the jump to the premise that Bruce's work somehow rekindles the "Christian imagination" was at times a bit much. I do appreciate that the author did mention several times that Bruce no longer declares himself to be only a Christian. digging into the songs and the mysteries of Bruce's work was fascinating. I recommend this book for any Bruce Cockburn fan, but also advise reading Jim Heald's "World of Wonders" which takes a more open view of interpreting BC's spirituality expressed in his songs.
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