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.

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random reads

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

Screwtape Proposes a Toast, C. S. Lewis

Top Ten Books I Never Finished

Usually when I post book lists, I have formative or compelling reads in mind. But yesterday I was thinking wistfully about books I started with high hopes and good literary intentions but, through the vicissitudes of time or machinations of fate, somehow never finished. As an avid reader, it was a humbling exercise.

So here's my list of the top ten literary ghosts of my past, rattling their unfinished chains at me from the dusty corners of my bookshelf. What about you? Any books back there that you started with the best of intentions only to get bogged down and abandon somewhere between "Once upon a time" and "happily ever after"?

10. The Imitation of Christ,Thomas a Kempis.
I've tried twice to wade through this medieval masterpiece of Catholic piety, and something about it always escapes me.

9. Don Quixote, Cervantes.
I made it to the end of Book 1 and at page 450 or so, I was still only half way through. I sat for a moment in a staring contest with Book 2, until Book 2 won. (Later I sat through all 3.27 hours of the Man of La Mancha, so maybe in that I'm redeemed).

8. Middlemarch, George Eliot.
They told me this was a masterpiece of an English Novel but I could only get down the first 90 of its 800 or so pages before it lost me. Later I read Silas Marner and loved it, so maybe Middlemarch is worth a second attempt.

7. Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche.
Maybe if I were a nineteenth century German existentialist, this book might have seemed far less pompous, angry, and ridiculous; as it was I'd lost all ability to take him seriously after the first 50 or so pages.

6. Hard Times, Charles Dickens. For the record, Tale of Two Cities ranks high on my list of favorite novels, so it's not Dickens himself, but somehow the times in Hard Times were a bit too hard for my patience. I think I reshelved it after chapter 1.

5. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens.
See the disclaimer about Dickens on #6 above, but to be honest, while I could recognize the genius of this novel, I never quite made it to the end.

4. Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy.
Tess (of the d'Urbervilles) is one of my all time favorite heroines of English fiction, so I tackled Jude with quite high hopes. I'm not sure where or how, but at some point the whole plot seemed to unravel for me and I couldn`t muster up the sympathy to read Jude's sad tale to its (by all accounts) pathetic end.

3. The Pilgrim's Regress, C. S. Lewis.
Funny enough, I really love this early Lewis book, and I've read it all the way to the last few chapters something like three times; but somehow it derails for me in its final throes, and I can't track the allegory through to the end of its last 20 pages.

2. The Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyan.
And speaking of allegorical pilgrims, to my great chagrin I confess here that I never finished The Pilgrim's Progress. Moment of silence. I read Book I dutifully (and it was dutifully) but somehow I couldn't find the energy to do it all over again with Book II.

1. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Because people I respect deeply deeply respect this novel I did my best, but somewhere in the Russian Monk's life history, I trailed off and have never (yet) found my way back.


Tyler Lane said...

I'm with you on Great Expectations. I was supposed to study it in high school. I just couldn't get through it. And, the same year, Hollywood released the Brad Pitt/Gwenyth version... So, like any good student, I just went for the film... sadly.. it was "loosely" based on the book...

Oliver Twist is another I didn't finish, but I am currently giving it another go.

Jay Mowchenko said...


THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU for this confession!!! I consider myself a "reader" and yet more often than I dare(d) admit, I would leave "great" books unfinished. To hear someone like you, whose intellectual capabilities I respect SO much, admit much the same thing...well I'm not so ashamed anymore.

Another confession - the only way I got through Pilgrim's Progress was in the comic book edition. *hangs head in shame*

Hector Macdonald said...

You might like Book Drum’s illustrated profile of Tess, which incorporates maps, music, video, pictures and background information to bring the book alive for modern readers:

Tess of the D’Urbervilles on Book Drum

We also have a great Don Quixote profile!