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

How Do You See?

When you think of your bowels, do you think, primarily, about feelings of mercy and compassion?

I don't. But then, I'm not a 1st Century Palestinian. For them, the "bowels" (in Greek splangnon) were the seat of your tenderest affections, where things like pity, and empathy, and compassion came from. Usually we associate these things-- tender affection and warm feelings- with the heart, like when we say: "my heart really goes out to you." But in Jesus's day it wasn't your "heart," it was your "bowels." (Look, for instance, at 2 Cor 7:15, Phil 2:1, Col 3:12, Phm 1:7, 12, 20, or 1 John 3:17 in an old KJV, but don't try writing "My bowels go out to you" on your next Get Well Soon card (especially if it's for someone who's just had a coloscopy).)

But I'm not trying to be gross. I'm saying this to illustrate how easily we can miss the point if we don't remind ourselves that moderns and ancients often used different "psychosomatic categories" for talking about the body.

Sometimes, for instance, we hear people quote Jesus when he said: "These people honour me with their lips but their hearts are far from me." And because we use the "heart" to describe our emotions, we conclude that Jesus is saying he wants people to worship "with emotion." Now, it may be (and I believe it is) that Jesus wants people's emotions engaged when they worship. But in the Bible, the “heart” actually refers to the whole "inner self," and not exclusively, or even primarily, the "feelings." The "heart" is the seat of knowledge and reason (Mk 11:23, Ac 7:23; cf. Ex 35:10, Deut 8:5, 1 Kin 10:2, 1 Chron 29:9), will and resolve (1 Cor 7:37, Eph 6:22; cf. Ex 23:2, 1 Sam 9:20, 1 Chron 24:4), affections (Ac 2:26, Jn 16:22; cf. Deut 11:16, 1 Sam 1:8), and is better understood as a parallel to the “soul” than to “emotions.” Jesus’ criticism is not that the Pharisees lack emotion, but that their adherence to empty tradition at the expense of real holiness betrays hypocrisy, and is a sign that their “inner selves” are not aligned with God.


And speaking of "inner selves" and ancient psychosomatic categories, have you ever thought about Jesus' saying in Luke 11:34 about how the eye is the lamp of the body, and when the eye is good, the whole body is full of light? Modern science always told me that light goes into the body through the eye, so I always figured that Jesus' point here was that the eye is like a lamp letting light into the body, lighting up the soul, and if the eye is working properly, then the whole inner self will be full of light.

But then, I'm not a 1st Century Palestinian. Apparently many, if not most ancients, when they thought about it at all, believed that the eye "saw" by emitting light out from the body. This ancient theory of vision is called "extramission." And if you believed in extramssion, then the eye would be the lamp of the body in a way similar to how the headlights are the lamp of a car.

If Jesus is taking to a 1st Century Ancient Palestinian, then it's quite likely he means: "If your eye is good, it's because your whole body is full of light." The light that's "inside" will determine how the eye's seeing, because what's happening on the inside (light or dark) is what shines out, and will determine how you look at the world.

The question is not "is your eye working"; it's "is your heart full of light?" Because, as Jesus says elsewhere, "If the light that's in you is darkness, how great is that darkness."

When I do this psychosomatic shift in my imagination, the whole saying makes perfect, profound sense to me. And I discover it's quite true after all: as the light of Christ illuminates ever deeper and darker corners of my heart, I find I'm looking at the world more and more differently. And when I let the light of His Spirit shine out through the lamp of my body, I discover I really am seeing the world in ways I've never seen it before. The worldly treasure and ambitions and distractions that once looked so tantalizing now seem rather shabby; and humble things, simple things, pure things that I might never have given a second glance before, start to gleam with transcendent beauty.

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