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

random reads

Asked the Anti-Theist...

Listening to the radio last night I heard an interview with this guy who had written a book explaining why he despised religion and felt he needed to confront religious people with the dangerous error of their ways. He described himself not as an "a-theist" (one who simply can't find any compelling reasons to believe in God), but as an "anti-theist" (one who believes that the more people disillusioned of their faith in God, the better).

His anti-god polemic is part of a new movement of "loud atheism" which is quite vitriolic in its attacks against faith. The book's sandwiched somewhere between Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion and anti-God ad campaigns on city buses.

When the interview started, I really expected to find my spiritual hackles raised and my intellectual defenses battered. By the end, however, I felt like I just wanted to play an Apologetic Buzz Lightyear to his Atheist Sheriff Woody in that scene under the car in the original Toy Story.

Remember that line? "You are a sad, strange little man. You have my pity. Farewell."

Apparently this guy is one of the greatest philosophical minds of our time or some such accolade; but really, the whole thing just seemed so confused and pompous and spiteful that it was hard to take it seriously. Towards the end, the interviewer asked him what in his own view, lacking religious faith and all, it meant to live a good life. I don't doubt his tongue was buried in his cheek as he answered, but even then, the vision he offered was so sterile that you could almost hear the wind whistling through its desert hoo-doos as he spoke: irony, laughing at the misfortunes of others, literature, winning arguments with stupid people and forcing them to concede you're right, and passing on your genes through procreation.

Seriously. Those were his five pillars of wisdom.

But at one point he said that the lynch pin of his argument-- the question that no one has been able to answer in any of his debates-- the question that deep-sixes faith every time, is this: what's one moral thing that faith "makes" people do that they would never do without faith? (He said that there were none, but there's all sorts of bad stuff religious people do that non-religious people would never do. And when the interviewer tried to name some good things religious people have done, he dismissed them all: Mother Theresa didn't do that because she was religious, she did it because she was Mother Theresa. It seemed to me like he wasn't playing fair: when a religious person does something bad, you say it's because they're religious, but when they do something good, you won't let them attribute it at all to their religion...)

And I'm still trying to figure out why this question is such a big deal for the anti-theist argument, anyways. At best all it can prove is that religious faith is morally unnecessary; it doesn't prove it's untrue. But it's not the first time I've heard it. A friend of mine just moderated a long blog conversation along the same lines (you can read it here if you're interested). There the specific question was: "What is Jesus doing within the church that isn't happening elsewhere in society?"

And when I hear these kind of questions, the answer is so obvious that it stands out like a "Preach it Brother!" in a Presbyterian Church. The one moral thing that a person of faith does that a person would/could never do without faith is: worship God.

What Jesus is doing in the church that isn't happening anywhere else in society is: receiving our worship in Spirit and Truth and offering it on our behalf to the Father.

Of course, I don't expect an anti-theist to acknowledge worship as a moral act anyways, so here we may have to part ways. But it is a moral act. For the Christian, I think, worship--worship defined biblically mind you, not "Vineyard-ically" -- genuine worship is the most profound of moral acts. It's that act of the will and the heart and the body in which we find ourselves rightly aligned with the Creator and genuine participators in his creative shalom in the world.

It's the moral act that only Jesus makes possible; and it's the moral act that no anti-theist could ever commit.


Nathan said...

Wow; thanks so much for this reflection, Dale. In fact I wonder if we could go so far as to say that worship is where all fully moral action begins too. I'm thinking of Romans 1.

Thanks for reminding me of my creaturely obligation to worship.

(I guess I finally decided to stop lurking :)