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Kicking at the Darkness: Bruce Cockburn and the Christian Imagination Paperback – 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 217 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press (2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587432536
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587432538
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #954,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brian Walsh is a Christian Reformed Campus minister at the University of Toronto and the pastor of the Wine Before Breakfast community. He lives with his wife, Sylvia Keesmaat, at Russet House Farm, an off-grid organic farm in Ontario, Canada. His work happens at the interface of theology and culture, with specific interests in biblical theology, empire, agrarianism, postmodernity, theology of the city, homelessness and music.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
Having just read Bruce Cockburn's 2014 biography, I was led to read Brian's book 'Kicking at the Darkness'. I have loved Cockburn's music since the 1970s. Both Brian and Bruce are poets who vibrantly point to the unseeable. This book insightfully focuses on the Christian imagination which is meant to be full of life and creativity, as seen in Cockburn's art. The theme of this book was accurately captured in the last paragraph of the book: 'In a culture of captivated imaginations, we need liberation. In a culture of dehydrated imaginations, we need fresh water. In a culture that has lost its imagination, we need new dreams.' I would commend this book for people who want to see their imaginations stretched and renewed.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird
http://edhird.com
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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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