Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws by Bruce Cockburn (1979)

Of all the 75 masterpieces we are reviewing in this study, today’s genius might be the least known.  Bruce Cockburn is an award-winning artist, but he is primarily known in his native Canada.  One of the reasons for his lack of popular appeal is his resistance to classification.  He bends genre and stretches definitions without apology.  The best introduction to his catalog is certainly today’s masterpiece.

As Terry Glaspey explains in 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know :

Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws announced a noticeable shift in Cockburn’s work. Up to this time he worked solidly within the folk genre, but this record combined a number of styles to create a sound that was upbeat, joyous, and celebratory. A largely acoustic outing, the album showcased his sparkling guitar work and some of his most poetic and imaginative songwriting. The lyrics show the influence of Charles Williams, whom Cockburn was reading at the time. Williams was a close friend of C. S. Lewis and wrote supernatural thrillers filled with strange and mystically charged moments when the spiritual world burst unexpectedly into an ordinary life. This vision of the interpenetration between this world and the next fueled Cockburn’s imagination and resulted in some of his most vivid songwriting. Cockburn described the theme of the album as “being joyful in the face of everything.”

Are you familiar with Bruce Cockburn?

If so, what is your favorite work?

John 1: 1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

D I G  D E E P E R

Bruce Cockburn

Bruce Cockburn

Bruce Cockburn was born in Ottawa, Canada, in 1945, and spent his earliest years on the family farm, where he got his first taste for the beauty of the natural world. The young Cockburn discovered a guitar in his grandmother’s attic, which he dusted off and adorned with golden stars, and used to play along with his favorite music on the radio. His father would only allow him to take guitar lessons if he promised not to buy a leather jacket, something the elder Cockburn clearly saw as an emblem of rebelliousness. The young Cockburn enthusiastically agreed, but his rebel spirit could not be contained for long. He became a devotee of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and other Beat writers. Although he attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, he only lasted about three semesters, as he was more interested in what he was learning about music outside classes than inside them, absorbing the music scene and participating in a succession of bands where he honed his skills with the guitar and with songwriting

Sources & Resources

Bruce Cockburn: Pacing the Cage. DVD. Directed by Joel Goldberg. Burlington, Canada: True North, 2013.

Cockburn, Bruce. Rumours of Glory. New York: HarperOne, 2014.

Heald, James. World of Wonders. Missing Link Records (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform), 2012.

Middleton, J. Richard, and Brian J. Walsh. “Theology at the Rim of the Broken Wheel,” Grail no. 9. June 1993.

My Beat: The Life and Times of Bruce Cockburn. DVD. Directed by Nadine Pequeneza. Toronto: Title House, 2001.

Walsh, Brian. Kicking at the Darkness. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2011.

Terry Glaspey, 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories behind Great Works of Art, Literature, Music, and Film (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2015).


Terry Glaspey

Terry Glaspey

I’m really looking forward to discussing my book, “75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know,” with the members of Literary Life Book Club. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and perspectives on some of the art, music, and literature you’ll discover in the book. I’m interested in how it speaks to you in your life and the ways it inspires, challenges, or maybe even annoys you! I’ll try to share some “deleted scenes” stuff I had to leave out and will tell a few stories about what I experienced while doing the writing and research. Hope that many of you can join us as we look at he stories behind some truly wonderful art.

Let’s explore together!


Join the discussion with Terry on Facebook HERE

Terry Glaspey is a writer, an editor, a creative mentor, and someone who finds various forms of art—painting, films, novels, poetry, and music—to be some of the places where he most deeply connects with God.

He has a master’s degree in history from the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!), as well as undergraduate degrees emphasizing counseling and pastoral studies.

He has written over a dozen books, including 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know:  Fascinating Stories Behind Great Art, Music, Literature, and Film, Not a Tame Lion: The Spiritual Legacy of C.S. Lewis, The Prayers of Jane Austen, 25 Keys to Life-Changing Prayer, Bible Basics for Everyone, and others.

Terry enjoys writing and speaking about a variety of topics including creativity and spirituality, the artistic heritage of the Christian faith, the writing of C.S. Lewis, and creative approaches to apologetics.

He serves on the board of directors of the Society to Explore and Record Church History and is listed in Who’s Who in America Terry has been the recipient of a number of awards, including a distinguished alumni award and the Advanced Speakers and Writers Editor of the Year award.

Terry has two daughters and lives in Eugene, Oregon.

Dig Deeper at TerryGlaspey.com


Some of the greatest painters, musicians, architects, writers, filmmakers, and poets have taken their inspiration from their faith and impacted millions of people with their stunning creations. Now readers can discover the stories behind seventy-five of these masterpieces and the artists who created them. From the art of the Roman catacombs to Rembrandt to Makoto Fujimura; from Gregorian Chant to Bach to U2; from John Bunyan and John Donne to Flannery O’Connor and Frederick Buechner; this book unveils the rich and varied artistic heritage left by believers who were masters at their craft.

Terry Glaspey, 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories behind Great Works of Art, Literature, Music, and Film (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2015).

Order it HERE today.

Published by

Rick Wilcox

Rick is voraciously interested in the holistic transformation of people individually and in an organizational context - enabled by technology, educated continuously through multi-channel systems and informed by the wisdom of history's greatest thinkers. He is a Ph.D. student at Faulkner University, focusing on the appearance of the Logos in English Literature. He earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Master of Science in Management from Sam Houston State University. His undergraduate studies earned a BA with double majors in Sociology and Theology from Houston Baptist University. Rick is an ordained minister who leads the Parenting Teens Adult Community at Faith Bible Church in The Woodlands Texas.