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

Top Ten Classes Revisited

About five months ago, as I was preparing for my OCE (Oral Comprehensive Exam) at Briercrest Seminary, I posted an annotated list of the the top ten classes I took in seminary. At the time this represented the list of classes that I felt had most shaped my heart for doing ministry.

So here's an interesting exercise: now 2 months into my new life as a pastor, I've been reflecting on the various roles, tasks and experiences I've had since I got here, and I've been taking quiet note of which classes have come to mind the most. That is: which classes have I actually been drawing on to do and be the things that God is calling me to do and be in this new role?

Here's the list of the ten classes I've recalled most in the last two months. It's interesting because it suggests that in my time at Briercrest, God was not only shaping my heart for ministry, but also my hands--I was getting practical tools as well as spiritual formation. It's interesting, too, because the top five of this list were in the top ten of my previous list-- the ivory tower had its foundations on earth after all. (Though, alas, as deeply as they shaped me at the time, none of my 7 biblical languages courses make this new list. (Yet.))

10. Pastoral Theology and Practice: This was a kind of a "pastoring 101" course; not as theologically lofty in content as some of the entries on my first list, but it did give me a helpful framework for understanding my role as a pastor.

9. Sign, Symbol and Sacred Act: Among other things, this class helped me develop a more theologically-rounded view of communion. I've led communion at the FreeWay twice now, and I have to admit that this act of extending Christ's invitation to his followers to come freely to his table and share a holy meal where he is both host and feast-- this is when I've felt most like I'm doing Christian ministry.

8. Contemporary Worship Leadership: I've thought over some of the very practical, rubber-meets-the-road discussions we had in this class about leading through change more than once over the last few months.

7. Organizational Function and Design: I had no idea when I was taking it how important the leadership concepts this class was giving me would be in ministry: I've reread the papers I wrote in this course about three times recently, and each time it's like buckling on Batman's utility belt.

6. Philosophy and Foundation for Ministry: I've looked back to the "personal philosophy of ministry" I developed in this class a lot lately, especially when I'm trying to gauge if I'm really ministering the way I feel God has called me to.

5. Pentateuch: Not exactly sure why this course still ranks as high as it does, except that I've been preaching a number of OT texts lately, and this was the class that taught me how to really "see Christ in the Old Testament." That, and the compelling vision of creation shalom that I picked up somewhere along the way has been an important theme in my heart these days.

4. Theology of Worship: The mediation of Christ. This is the concept that will forever change the reality of the believer it takes hold of. This is the class where it first took hold of me. You can read the paper that changed my world forever here.

3. Homiletics: Still trying to find a rhythm for weekly sermon prep that really works, I find myself going back continually to the homiletical method I learned in this class: Hear the text. Let the text say and do what the text is saying and doing. And if you haven't hit oil in 30 minutes, stop boring.

2. Marriage and Family Counselling: This class taught me the one ministry lesson I've thought about more than any other in the last two months: Listen. Before you give answers, give ear. Just listen. I had no idea how vital this lesson would be, but this was the class where I first learned to see listening as a spiritual act.

1. Shepherd the Flock: Pastoral Theology of Church, Sacraments, Preahcing and Missions: My #5 class from last time is now in the #1 slot, because it was here I learned the lesson about minsitry that has the potential to save: Ministry is our participation by the power of the Holy Spirit in Christ's mninstry to the Father for the sake of the world. It's not us. It's Christ. He's doing it. We just have to see it and join him in it, and the Spirit will make that possible if we'll let him.

0 comments: