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

The Cobblestones of Heaven

In Revelation 21:21, when John the Seer is casting about for words to describe the vision of the New Creation he's just glimpsed, he tells us, among other things, that the street of the heavenly city was pure gold, like transparent glass.


Not that I've spent a lot of time ruminating on the infastructure of Heaven, but whenever I did, I always assumed this was intended to signify either the beauty of the city or the extravagance of its wealth. It reminds me a bit of 1 Kings 10:21, where it says that Israel was so wealthy under the reign of Solomon that nothing was ever made out of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon's days.


It may still be, in the end, that when he describes "streets paved with gold" John wants to fill our heads with hopeful visions of the luxury that awaits us in that celestial city. Our pie in the sky when we die. I'm not sure. But the other day I was reading Talking the Walk, Marva Dawn's fascinating book about Christian doctrine, and she suggested something in passing I've never considered before.


She says that the "street paved with gold" is a vision, actually, of the great reversal that God will accomplish at the end of the age, when Christ's Coming turns everything on its head. "Here," she writes, "we think gold is of utmost importance, but there we will just walk on the stuff."

If she's right, she'd certainly be singing a tune in beautiful harmony with one of the major-- and most ignored-- themes in the New Testament, a theme that I sometimes call the "Upside down Kingdom" (with apologies to Don Kraybill). In God's Kingdom, things are continually turned upside down: the last come first; the greatest are the least; the Poor are called to rejoice and the Rich sent away in tears. Those who mourn are happy; the fools shame the wise; the Christ conquers through his public humiliation and brutal execution.

And the most precious ingots of all (perhaps?) become the cobblestones.

Of course, to vary that old saying about the banana a bit: sometimes lump of gold is just a lump of gold. And certainly when you look at how John uses gold imagery in the rest of his apocalypse, it still seems to signify the radiant beauty and transcendent value of heavenly things. But, right or not, I like Marva Dawn's reading here for its implications. Because if the gold we're toiling for today will become mere paving tiles in the Heavenly City, then it certainly begs the question: in that same God-illumined Jerusalem then, what will become of those things-- the humble, ignored, physically down-trodden and spiritually-degraded things-- that we tend to trample over now in our worldly ignorance?

0 comments: