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

Till We Have Faces, C. S. Lewis

random reads

That a Man Should Rejoice in His Work

Last Wednesday was the official end of the 2008-2009 substitute teacher season. My last sub call was out to a grade nine math class getting ready for final exams. Humid classroom. Antsy kids. Urgent beckon of the grass growing outside. Not much math got done.

Now the kids are home from school, I've hung up the tie, my wife is finishing up her last days in the office, and we're looking ahead to new things: new home, new city, new province.

And new work.

August 1st I'll start my new role as a pastor of the Free Way Free Methodist church in Oshawa Ontario. This will mark the culmination of five years preparation at seminary, and something like eight or nine years since God first put it on my heart to pursue vocational pastoral ministry.

What with ending jobs and starting new ones-- and especially this particular job, one that my whole story, it seems, has been meandering towards for years-- I've been feeling pretty reflective these days about work. The Teacher of the ancient assembly says there's nothing better than that a man should find cheer in the work God has given him to do, "for that is his lot." And maybe he's right. At any rate, it's interesting to think how the different kinds of toil at which I've toiled under the sun have all contributed something to who I am, and who I'll be as a pastor.

Here are some of the more memorable ones (in loosely chronological order):

7. Hardwood Flooring Guy-- I have pretty early and awesome memories going out to the job site with my Dad as his "helper"; sitting next to him in that work truck at ten, or twelve, or whatever it was, I felt grown up at last. Eventually this would evolve into a great summer job doing hardwood floors through High School and some of University, and the ability to do something useful with my hands.

6. Convenience Store Clerk-- When I was in High School, a friend got me hired on at the convenience store he worked at: weekend night shifts dealing with drunk teenagers who had nothing better to do than loiter around the local Winks store and hassle the polyester-clad attendant; paying more in fuel to get to work than I actually made most weeks; spending the difference (if there was any) on "lunches" of gas station hot dogs and fountain pop.

5. Painter for Student Works Painting-- This was supposed to pay for my second year's university tuition. Three evenings a week or something, we would "cold call" neighbourhoods to find jobs. *ding-dong* "Hi I'm a painter for Student Works Painting. We're working in your neighbourhood and wondering if you have any odd painting jobs we could give you a free quote on?" I felt like a JW with a paintbrush. I made absolutely zilch at this job.

4. Bible Camp Counselor-- When he finally got it through my head that the painting job was a dead end, God sent me to work as a camp counselor at a Salvation Army camp in the interior of BC. I made zilch here, too, but living up in the woods of B.C., eating healthy camp food three times a day, hanging out with people who loved Jesus and doing ministry to children all summer sent me home a richer man.

3. Waiter--
I worked as a waiter in two different restaurants. One was a down-to-earth place that did things like Sunday morning brunch and cheap wings night; the other was a hoity-toity place where we opened bottles of wine at people's tables and the menu had some exotic Cajun dish with real alligator meat in it. The waiting profession was a world unto itself... and the bizarre mix of people you worked with. But it was fun, and good money.

2. English/Math Teacher--
Only a couple of days ago I jettisoned a big box of old teaching resources that I finally admitted to myself I'd never use again. Felt liberating and agonizing at the same time. Seven years teaching full time probably shaped me more than #6-#3 together, and to be honest, standing in a room full of young people and helping them feel passionate about things I'm passionate about always felt as life-giving to me as breath.

1. Substitute Teacher--
I've blogged before about the unique joys of being a sub. To the list I might add how working with young people can sharpen your wit, and remind you about the power of laughter and strip years off your soul, if you'll let it. I found a lot of cheer in this work; I'll miss it.

1 comments:

Tyler Lane said...

It's amazing to look at all of the things we've done in the past that God has used to prepare us for what's next.

We are so looking forward to having you join us at The FreeWay. God has certainly been working through this entire process and in your life in preparation for this time. I look forward to learning what He has in store for each of us as we move forward together.