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40 Years in the Wilderness: God's Search for Bruce Cockburn (in 27 Songs) - Part 3

40 Years in the Wilderness: God’s Search for Bruce Cockburn (in 27 Songs) – Part 3

This is the third and final installment in a series on the music and spirituality of Bruce Cockburn. You can read Part One here, and Part Two here.

Act III: Uncertainty and Spiritual Drift (1987-1999)

In my mind, the first two “Acts” in this narrative arc of Cockburn’s career represent two different forms of certainty or assurance—the first, an assurance of religion, and the second of politics. Such assurance comes not merely from a certainty of beliefs, but from a certainty of purpose, a certainty in the core meaning that drives a person, which is as much felt as thought. And that certainty…

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PZ's Podcast: Welcome to the Club

PZ’s Podcast: Welcome to the Club

EPISODE 246

One of the best things about the recent Mockingbird conference in NYC was its unerring focus on universals and primary factors in human destiny and identity, rather than on contingencies and elements in life that do not endure, but pass away.

Hence one’s love for Blue Magic.

Blue Magic were a Philadelphia group in the early and mid-1970s who stuck to absolute basics. Which is to say, Blue Magic stuck to romantic connection and romantic loss as the big drivers. Almost every song they performed is about acutest mourning (for a person) or ecstatic presence (of a beloved and loving person)….

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May Playlist

May is off to a rad start with new material from Jon Parks (!), Sons of Bill (!), and the collaboration of the year between Janelle and BW. And let’s not forget about Juliana Hatfield’s full-length ONJ tribute from last month – pure magic:

Touching Kevin’s Heart with Dirty Hands

Touching Kevin’s Heart with Dirty Hands

This one comes to us from Blake Nail. 

Our culture is obviously in the middle of some division: some think it’s necessary, and others think it’s harmful. It seems people, especially on the internet, are on the hunt to shame, ridicule, or in some cases, completely ruin people’s lives and careers. Albeit sometimes over reasonable issues, not to negate real offense and wrongdoing. Often, though, people are being shamed for having different views, thoughts, and sometimes even associations. It can even be for unintentional offense, for which the mob has no mercy. When the Law comes down on you, it doesn’t…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Ecclesiastes Chapter Two Verses One Through Three and Verse Eleven

Hopelessly Devoted: Ecclesiastes Chapter Two Verses One Through Three and Verse Eleven

This devotion is for anyone with a case of the Mondays… From The Mockingbird Devotional, today’s entry was written by Todd Brewer:

I thought in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless… when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:1-3, 11; NIV)

1965 brought “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” and it seems that the Stones were merely echoing the sentiments of the writer…

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40 Years in the Wilderness: God’s Search for Bruce Cockburn (in 27 Songs) - Part 2

40 Years in the Wilderness: God’s Search for Bruce Cockburn (in 27 Songs) – Part 2

This is the second in a 3-part series on Bruce Cockburn. To read the first part, go here. 

Act II: The Struggle Against the Darkness of the World (1980-1986)

Three dramatic changes occurred in Cockburn’s life around 1980: (1) his 10-year marriage to Kitty—which had included the birth of their daughter Jenny in 1976—ended in divorce, (2) his music caught fire in the U.S. and brought him fame he’d never had and was ill-prepared for, and (3) he moved from his 1970s home in rural Burritt’s Rapids, Ontario, to downtown Toronto, Canada’s largest city. Perhaps as an effect of these changes, it was…

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April Playlist

Crying ABBA: An (Over-)Annotated Introduction to the Second-Best Selling Group of All Time

Crying ABBA: An (Over-)Annotated Introduction to the Second-Best Selling Group of All Time

Inspired by Ben Self’s wonderful Bruce Cockburn playlist the other day (pts 2-3 coming soon!), here’s what I’ve affectionately been informed is “the toughest sell” in A Mess of Help. No apologies:

The Church of Wilson has drawn scores of worshippers over the years, including a disproportionate number of musicians. Those who are interested in the craft of pop music—writing, production, arrangement—invariably find themselves in The Beach Boys’ tractor beam sooner or later. There has been no more successful Wilsonite than Benny Andersson of 70s Swedish megastars ABBA. The influence is writ large on every one of their records, even their…

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Sanctification Through Song

Sanctification Through Song

I am a poor singer. Like amusingly bad. I know it is amusing, because those nearest and dearest often actually chuckle at me. No bucket is big enough for me to carry a tune in it. Though I read music well, that has never translated to making my voice do what it’s supposed to do. I’ve never had any vocal training, and my Creator did not endow me with much natural ability. I don’t even understand the vocabulary behind the use of one’s voice to make music. I am very fuzzy on the difference between finding the correct pitch and…

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March Playlist

I think I speak for everyone who was in Tyler when I say, do yourself a favor and check out some Josh White! I’ve had Pilgrim on repeat since we got back…

40 Years in the Wilderness: God’s Search for Bruce Cockburn (in 27 Songs) - Part 1

40 Years in the Wilderness: God’s Search for Bruce Cockburn (in 27 Songs) – Part 1

This is the first of a 3-part series on Bruce Cockburn.

The unproved assumption of [the] very common mountain analogy is that the roads go up, not down; that man makes the roads, not God; that religion is man’s search for God, not God’s search for man.

– Peter Kreeft, Fundamentals of the Faith

Our journey is driven by longing…perhaps the overarching human emotion.

– Bruce Cockburn, Rumours of Glory

I wonder: how many of you have ever listened to much Bruce Cockburn, eh? Any Canadian readers will at least be familiar with his name. For the rest of you, Cockburn…

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Vulgarity, Anguish…and Truth

Vulgarity, Anguish…and Truth

Punksters and non-punksters alike will be able to relate this one by Cole Hartin:

I’ve always had something of a penchant for punk rock. Anything gritty, really. This eventually extended itself into post-hardcore. It’s kind of a guilty pleasure, though. I only listen to it once in a while, after sneaking glances over both shoulders, to make sure nobody is looking at my iPhone. I do feel a smug sense of pride in my curated list of higher pop: Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, S. Carey, Novo Amor, Julien Baker, and the like. But my love for Say Anything, Blink-182, and Brand…

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