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

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

Creation and Covenant

Recently I've been looking through some papers and lit-reviews I wrote during my time at Briercrest.  Two years doesn't seem like a long time, but more than a few times I had one of those, "Did I really write this?" moments. I thought that over the next few months it might be interesting once in a while to share some highlights from what I've been finding on my stroll down amnesia lane (to quote Dead Poet Society alumnus John Keating).

The first comes from a paper I wrote on the book of Genesis. I noticed the other day that the church down the street is hosting a Creation vs. Evolution seminar in the coming days.  Seeing the advert reminded me of this excerpt from a paper where I argue that Covenant is best understood theologically as a Creative act of God.  This particular section talks about ways to read Genesis 1-2 in light of, and over against other Creation accounts from contemporary cultures of the Ancient Near East.  If it at all piques your interest, you can read the whole paper here.

Because of our temptation to limit creation to questions of cosmogony—pitting it against big bangs and primordial soups as the only adequate account of origins, and thinking about it primarily in Aristotelian or Augustinian categories of Primum Mobile, creatio ex nihilo and the like—the suggestion that Israel understood covenant theologically as a creative act of God may strike us at first as counter-intuitive. Before examining the way creation theology informs the Noahic and Abrahamic covenants, then, it is important to examine how Genesis actually develops and defines “creation” as a theological statement about what God does as the maker of heaven and earth. Terence Fretheim gives us a helpful pointer in this regard, when he suggests that “‘creation’ is not simply a matter of origination or a divine activity chronologically set only ‘in the beginning’”; indeed, “the verb bārā’, ‘create,’ so central to speaking of creation in Genesis 1, is used more often elsewhere in the Old Testament … for God’s creative activity in and through the historical process.” He further argues that to limit “creation” to absolute beginnings is “virtually to deny the possibility of speaking of creation with respect to the Bible,” in which acts of creation include acts of originating, continuing and completing—not just the order of the physical universe—but social, cultural and national order along with it.

Likewise, Richard J. Clifford warns us that failure “to be clear about ancient and modern differences [in defining creation] has often obscured the role of ancient cosmogonies in the Bible.” He proposes four distinct differences—the process, product, manner of reporting and criterion of truth— that should inform our reading of Genesis. Ancient cosmogonies imagined the divine process of creation in more anthropomorphic terms of gods moulding the world like clay, or speaking something into existence; they understood organized human society as a natural product of the creative process; they tended to conceptualize, and thus report creation as a drama or story “on the analogy of human activity”; and they held a more dramatic, functional criterion for truth which sought “plausibility or suitability” over “complete and coherent explanation.” With this in mind, it is helpful to consider Genesis creation theology in relation to those narrative patterns and archetypal motifs it shares with the ancient Near Eastern context into which it originally spoke, however radically and subversively it has reinterpreted them. In particular, important parallels among related Mesopotamian cosmogonies include the primordial chaos as symbolized by primeval waters, (cf. the waters of Apsû in the Atra-Hasīs), and the archetypal struggle to order this chaos as dramatized by a god’s battle against a sea-monster (cf. Marduk’s battle against Tiamat in the Enûma Elish). Further to this, the idea of a “creation rest” for the creating god “is commonly found in many of the creation texts of the ancient world.” It is also important to note that ancient cosmogony conceived of creation, not as an historical, linear, one-time event to be recalled, but as a timeless, cyclical and ongoing event to be re-enacted yearly through myth and ritual, whereby the life-giving fertility of the created order was sustained and perpetuated.

To be sure, the extent to which these myths have directly influenced the shape of Genesis 1-2 is subtle; Gunkel’s claim bears repeating that “the difference between the Babylonian myth and Genesis 1 is so pronounced, in terms of both religious attitude and aesthetic quality, that at first glance the two seem to have nothing in common.” But in the broader brush-strokes of Genesis’ creation narrative, we can see shades of that archetypal chaoskampf which colours texts like the Enûma Elish. We see its silhouette, for example, in Genesis 1:2’s description of a primordial world, shrouded by the chaotic waters of the deep, and brooded over by the hovering spirit of God. Likewise, the themes of forming and filling that give shape and content to the six day creation account become, in this context, a central concept for Genesis’ creation theology: to create is to bring and sustain fertile form out of chaotic shapelessness, to fill chaotic emptiness with life-giving order. This theology underlies the various creative acts in Genesis 1, as God, by speaking (1:3), separating (1:4), naming (1:5), gathering (1:9) and blessing (1:22), creates order and fertility—form and fullness—out of empty chaos. Indeed, the language of fertility and order permeate this text: the earth sprouts with vegetation, while lights govern its days and nights (1:11, 15); waters and firmament teem with fertile life, according to ordered “kinds” (1:20-22); blessed beasts increase and multiply, while humans are enjoined to govern and steward them well (1:26). Present, too, is that ancient intuition which understood “creation” as the divine story whereby the created order is continually sustained and cyclically renewed.  We see this intuition at work in the “signs” given to mark the seasons (1:14-15), in the divine mandate for humans to “image” God by further governing the created order (1: 26-27), and especially in the institution of the Sabbath as a ritual of work and rest synchronizing the rhythms of weekly life with those of the creation story. Thus creation extends far beyond merely “originating the natural universe.” By blessing family (1:28), planting and giving fruitful land (2:8-9), mandating work (2:15), sanctifying marriage (2:22-24) and so on, God continues creation by sustaining fertility and order, not only in a non-human “nature,” but also among human life and civilization as a created part of “nature.”

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