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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Till We Have Faces, C. S. Lewis

random reads

Top Ten Classes

So today I take my final, oral comprehensive exam at Briercrest. In preparing for this exam, I've spent the last week or so reviewing old papers and projects I've done over the course of my studies, some of the "greatest hits" of which can be seen in my last five or six posts. As my preparations draw to a close, I've been trying to step back and get the big picture of how God has been shaping my heart through my time at school. To that end, I've put together this list of the top ten courses I've taken at Seminary that have had the biggest impact on my spiritual formation for ministry.

10. Foundations of Marriage and Family Counseling (2007): I heard once that theologically, the act of listening-- to God and to each other-- is one of the most profoundly spiritual acts we can do. In Marriage and Family Counseling, I discovered how and why this is true.

9. Hebrew II (2007): Near the end of my time studying Hebrew, after hours and hours of monotonously writing out paradigms and reviewing flashcards, something sort of clicked. Opening the Old Testament these days is like opening up a wardrobe and discovering a whole, mysterious, panoramic world where once there had only been musty old fur coats.

8. Greek Exegesis II (2006): Probably the most intellectually and spiritually demanding class I took at Briercrest. Walking word by word through the first nine chapters of Matthew, with a master teacher and passionate Christian as my guide, left me truly covered in the dust of the Rabbi.

7. Sign, Symbol and Sacred Act (2006): God was really at work in my heart when I took this class, shaping and sharpening my vision for a worship ministry that found room for more participation, more aesthetics, more symbol, and more Christ-centredness than I had experienced in the past.

6. Pentateuch (2006): This, my first Old Testament course, was like getting a set of glasses after years of not knowing you needed them. Themes like covenant, shalom, and creation blessing suddenly jumped into sharp focus for me where before I had never realized how blurry they were. Here I got a set of lenses for reading, not just the Pentateuch, but the entire Old Testament.

5. Shepherd the Flock (2006):
Here I discovered a genuine theology of ministry that transformed my heart: Ministry is our participation by the Holy Spirit in Jesus's ministry to the Father for the sake of the world. One of the central points of the class was that we need to move away from thinking about ministry as simply imitating in our own flesh what Jesus did, and we need to discover that ministry is really about participating in what Jesus is doing now in our communities and in the lives of those around us.

4. Homiletics (2005): My first glimpse of the kind of preaching ministry God was calling me to, this was the class where he started to answer the prayer I mentioned here. The idea that the sermon should not only convey the message of the text, but should also reflect its literary form, emotive feel and pastoral function was a really important discovery for me. And hearing Barbara Brown-Taylor preach had a lasting impact.

3. Theology of Worship (2006): At the risk of overstatement, studying for the major paper of this course changed my life. Here I discovered what the good news of the mediation of Christ really means for the Christian life: our worship, our prayer, our faith, our praise, our ministry all happen in, through and with Jesus. If you're interested, you can read the paper here.

2. Truth and Method (2004): Not so much the truth, but the method of this course challenged and changed my thinking about the faith in a way no other course has. Spiritually and emotionally difficult-- at the time I described it as "pulling old an old scab off a wound; it hurts, but in the end there's finally relief from the itch and sting"-- the course exposed some idolatrous assumptions I had about the power of human reason to attain knowledge of God, the "givenness" of my apologetic arguments for the faith, and my trust in abstract "absolutes" rather than trust in person of Jesus Christ.

1. Gospels (2006): This course introduced me to Jesus -- as a person, as Messiah, as Rabbi and as Son of God all at once-- in a way I'd never really met him before. And he left his fingerprints all over my heart, and mind, and soul and strength. This, I think, is what the best of Christian education should be. The paper I wrote for this class was also really significant for me at the time. If you're interested, you can check it out here.


Jon Coutts said...

have a good interview!

make sure you bring up the millenium, that's always a good idea for these things!