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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

Click here to listen (to most of it) on Spotify:

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… Click here to listen on Spotify (barring one track, that is):

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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February Playlist

Shadows of the Brothers Gibb hang heavy over this one, as well they should. Also, RIP Mark E Smith. Click here to listen (to all but three tracks) on Spotify:

The Deathless Death

The Deathless Death

This one was written by our friend Sean Dwyer.

I’ve recently stopped attending my church. Putting many intellectual issues aside, the heart of the matter is the heart. I do not want to go anymore. I am unable to go. I am unable to bear the weight of the expectations, exhortations, and encouragements. I am sick.

In the words of Hozier, my church has been dishing out a “deathless death.” In his song, “Take Me to Church,” he sings:

Every Sunday’s getting more bleak,
A fresh poison each week.
“We were born sick,” you heard them say it.
My church offers no absolution.
She tells me, “Worship…

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Before the Big Top, There Was Love: The Greatest Showman

Before the Big Top, There Was Love: The Greatest Showman

The many movies that contemplate men experiencing work/dream/family conflicts have not, generally, been helpful to viewers—men or otherwise. This category of film is vast, of course, but they almost always posit that fathers who sincerely return their gaze to family in Act 3 will achieve a previously inconceivable version of whatever they were pursuing to their children’s detriment in Act 1. It’s a bit like the pop theology “let go [of yourdesires/needs/wants] and let God [lavishly reward your moment of selflessness with all the riches and favors you’ve ever wanted].” If I can just trick myself into believing that my…

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January Playlist

Click here to listen (to 14 of 18 tracks) on Spotify:

Consuming 2017: Favorite Music, Media, Humor, and Books

Consuming 2017: Favorite Music, Media, Humor, and Books

Alrighty, my friends, it’s time for our annual round up of favorites, which I had way too much fun putting together. As always, these are predominantly personal picks, albeit ones with an eye toward Mocking-resonance. TV went live last week. (Click here to check out last year’s list). Here goes:

Music

Favorite Discoveries

Jimmy Webb. This one counts as about 20 discoveries wrapped up into one. I had known the hits–“Galveston”, “Wichita Lineman”, “Macarthur Park”, who doesn’t?–but that was as far as it went. Talk about the tip of the iceberg! Webb’s is a gift that’s been giving for nigh on…

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