BOOK REVIEW: KICKING AT THE DARKNESS

In 1977 I was a 16 year old fascinated by the emerging music of the Jesus Movement. These were vinyl days when faith focused artists were emerging as proclaimers of the gospel.

I attended a music festival aptly named Jesus '77 at a campground outside Hamilton, Ontario. I heard some of the early Jesus culture prophets including Larry Norman, Randy Matthews, Mike Johnson, and Moose Smith.

From the handful of albums I had acquired, I was experiencing a renewal of my childhood faith and opening of imagination to the soul carnival found in concert venues and festivals.

In the Jesus '77 merch tent, I flipped through stacks of fresh vinyl endlessly searching for the next album to take home. In those days, I would spend $7 or $8 experimenting with new music. I would judge some of my purchases based on the album jacket and what I hoped would be matched sonically on both sides of the album.

When my eyes fell on Bruce Cockburn's 'In The Falling Dark', something mysterious happened. Without knowing fully why, the monochrome photo of Bruce and the song titles invited me to imagine another way of telling God's story.



From the first time the needle resonated in the groove of that album to this day, I revisit Bruce's discography the way some people return to a favorite cottage by a murky lake.

Now, about Brian J. Walsh's book; I say 'thank you, thank you, thank you!'

The book is subtitled 'Bruce Cockburn and the Christian Imagination'. Walsh treats the Cockburn fan to a rich exploration of themes found in Bruce's songs.

Bruce has an encyclopedia worth of recorded music (31 albums).

As I watched Walsh's dance with the theological elements found in the songs, I gained a greater understanding and appreciation for the true genius and intellect of Bruce Cockburn. He is a Psalmist, Prophet, Mystic (meaning we sometimes scratch our heads at his message) and Storyteller.

If you are a fan, you have already discovered that Bruce Cockburn's art will open doors of imagination and faith that no-one can shut.

I should also add that Brian Walsh understands the body of work better than anyone. He takes us into the sources of Bruce's inspiration and teaches us to read Bruce's worldview. Brian does this respectfully and carefully.


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"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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