There's a Trick of the Light I'm Learning to Do

This is a collection of songs I wrote and recorded in January - March, 2020 while on sabbatical from ministry. They each deal with a different aspect or expression of the Gospel. Click on the image above to listen.

Three Hands Clapping

This is my latest recording project (released May 27, 2019). It is a double album of 22 songs, which very roughly track the story of my life... a sort of musical autobiography, so to speak. Click the album image to listen.

Ghost Notes

Ghost Notes
A collections of original songs I wrote in 2015, and recorded with the FreeWay Musical Collective. Click the album image to listen.

inversions

Recorded in 2014, these songs are sort of a chronicle of my journey through a pastoral burn-out last winter. They deal with themes of mental-health, spiritual burn-out and depression, but also with the inexorable presence of God in the midst of darkness. Click the album art to download.

soundings

soundings
click image to download
"soundings" is a collection of songs I recorded in September/October of 2013. Dealing with themes of hope, ache, trust and spiritual loss, the songs on this album express various facets of my journey with God.

bridges

bridges
Click to download.
"Bridges" is a collection of original songs I wrote in the summer of 2011, during a soul-searching trip I took out to Alberta; a sort of long twilight in the dark night of the soul. I share it here in hopes these musical reflections on my own spiritual journey might be an encouragement to others: the sun does rise, blood-red but beautiful.

echoes

echoes
Prayers, poems and songs (2005-2009). Click to download
"echoes" is a collection of songs I wrote during my time studying at Briercrest Seminary (2004-2009). It's called "echoes" partly because these songs are "echoes" of times spent with God from my songwriting past, but also because there are musical "echoes" of hymns, songs or poems sprinkled throughout the album. Listen closely and you'll hear them.

Accidentals

This collection of mostly blues/rock/folk inspired songs was recorded in the spring and summer of 2015. I call it "accidentals" because all of the songs on this project were tunes I have had kicking around in my notebooks for many years but had never found a "home" for on previous albums. You can click the image to download the whole album.

blogs I follow

Readings, 2020

Readings, 2020
Paradise Lost, John Milton

Adorning the Dark, Andrew Peterson

The Soul of Shame, Curt Thompson

Cure for the Common Life, Max Lucado

Halos and Avatars, Craig Detweiller, ed.

Fool's Talk, Os Guinness

Brendan, Frederick Buechner

The Screwtape Letters

Surprised by Joy, C. S. Lewis

The Pilgrim's Regress, C. S. Lewis

Becoming Whole, Brian Finkert and Kelly Kapic

Real Sex, Lauren Winner

Out of the Silent Planet, C. S. Lewis

Voyage to Venus, C. S. Lewis

That Hideous Strength, C. S. Lewis

random reads

Hospitality, the Future, and the God of Abraham

A number of years back I encouraged one of my students to read Homer's Odyssey for fun. Part way through I asked how she was enjoying it. "It's great" she said, "But why is it every time Odysseus comes to a new country they give him gifts?" I tried to explain what I understood about the code of hospitality in the ancient world: how generous hospitality was a reflection of the host's wealth and dignity in a shame/honour culture-- how inhospitality was not just bad manners, it was moral failure-- how hospitality has lost its place in the ethical code of modern western culture.

I recalled this little "teachable-moment" a few weeks ago as I was reading Hans Boersma's Violence, Hospitality and the Cross. Boersma uses the ancient concept of hospitality as an interpretive lens for understanding the meaning of election, the cross, the church and the Second Coming. Election is God's act of preferential hospitality for the poor, the alien and the outcast; the cross is God's act of hospitality toward estranged humanity; the church is God's chosen "community of hospitality" in the world; the Second Coming is God's promised future of "absolute (unconditional) hospitality." And so on.

Boersma is right that the Bible uses the very rich concept of "hospitality" to describe God's gracious dealings with humanity; but what's interesting is how it uses the same concept to describe humanity's right response to God. The writer to the Hebrews exhorts the church to be hospitable, because "some have entertained angels unawares"; in Revelation, Jesus stands at the door and knocks, urging the Laodicean church to open that he might come in and eat with them; in Luke Jesus criticizes the Pharisee for his stingy hospitality towards him; and in Matthew he promises to commend the righteous sheep on the last day, because they welcomed him when he was a stranger.

We are called to receive the hospitable God of the universe with unconditional hospitality.

Probably the most compelling example of this is Genesis 18: Abraham, sitting at the door of his tent, looks up into the glare and heat of the day to see three mysterious strangers standing before him. The Lord, the text insists with no further explanation, had appeared to him.

Abraham receives this divine visitation with gregarious, and, by the standards of the the ancient world, impeccable hospitality. "My Lords, do not pass by. ... Let a little water be brought and wash your feet. ... Rest here in the shade." He rushes to Sarah: "Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! Knead it. Make cakes." He runs to the herd, prepares a tender calf. They eat.

But what strikes me here is that by welcoming this "stranger-God" with gracious hospitality, Abraham is actually welcoming his own future in God. Because after these three strangers have refreshed themselves in Abraham's shade and eaten at Abraham's humble table, the Lord says: "I will return.. your wife Sarah will have a son." Abraham embraces the stranger with impeccable hospitality, only to discover in his arms no stranger, but a laughing baby boy whose future seed will bless all the nations of the earth.

As I struggle these days with my own questions about the future, I take challenge and comfort from Abraham's hospitality that hot day by the oaks of Mamre. God still comes to us, a stranger, mysterious, and bearing a strange but laughing future. And we don't need to "get it", or to "make it happen", or even necessarily to recognize it.

We need only to embrace it with impeccable hospitality.

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