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

random reads

Preaching Jonah (Part I)

This fall we went through a verse-by-verse preaching series on the Book of Jonah.  I picked it mostly because I like to do one Old Testament and one New Testament book each year in my preaching ministry, and I figured this story itself was well enough known on the surface that it would be engaging for the church to go a bit deeper with it.  I didn't really see it coming how vividly it would come to life and how clearly it would speak.  I'll post some excerpts here over the next little while, in the hopes of extending the conversation.  Here's the opening thoughts from the first sermon.  You can download the whole sermon here.

Well: fish stories always inspire bigger fish stories, don’t they? So let me tell you about the time my brother and I were fishing on a lake in the Rockies.

My dad took us fishing every summer, and this particular summer Shane and I were out on the water in an aluminum rowboat, way over at the other end of the lake. And we were drifting around not paying much attention, watching our bobbers and not really watching the sky, so we didn’t notice the storm clouds piling up around the mountains.

Thunderstorms in the Rockies can sweep in pretty suddenly, so when Shane happened to look up and see black clouds scowling down all around us, he didn’t waste much time suggesting that we go in. We started rowing for the dock, but like I say, thunderstorms in the Rockies can sweep in pretty suddenly, and we were like, right in the dead centre of the lake when “the Lord sent a great storm upon the sea” (so to speak).

I’m sure I’ve been more scared in my life, but it’s hard to remember when; because the sky exploded like a Myth-Buster’s experiment gone wrong, and lightening flashed like the strobe light in a bad disco ... and the rain. It was pummelling the lake so hard it seemed like the water was boiling ... and we were drenched .... and Shane was shouting something in the bow that sounded like “Dale you gotta row! You gotta row!” or maybe it was “I don’t wanna go! I don’t wanna go!” it was hard to hear over the roar of the water.

Well. We made it back in one piece, and the minute we were standing on solid ground we started laughing our heads off; but I’ll tell you, to this day when I think of the last time I was “prepared to meet my maker,” that storm in the Rockies comes first to mind.

And I’m telling you this story not just because it’s a good fish story, but because I need you to think of the last time you were terrified, like that. I don’t mean creeped out, or startled, I mean, like: get-ready-to-meet-your-maker kind of fear.

At least, that’s what Jonah wants us to think about. It doesn’t quite come through in translation, but the Hebrew word for “fear,” actually, shows up six times in this opening segment. It’s there in verse 5, and again in verse 9, twice in verse 10 and twice again in verse 16.

I mean: Sunday School flannel graphs and singing Asparaguses have sort of tamed this one down for us, made it feel more like a nursery rhyme than a psychological thriller ... but when you peel back the layers, what you’re left with is one scary story.

When I was a kid I caught about 30 seconds of the movie “Jaws.” I was probably five or six, and I wandered into the room one night when it was on TV. Before any of the grownups realized I was there, I saw that scene where the girl’s swimming out in the deep water and something brushes her leg? Remember? She panics. She goes down once, splashes to the surface screaming, and then... she’s gone.

That was all I saw, but I’ll tell you, for years after there was this niggling fear in the back of my mind every time I went for a swim. That I’d turn around and there’d be some huge mouth coming up to swallow me.

Anyone know what I’m talking about?

If you do, then you’re closer to “getting” Jonah than Larry the cucumber could ever bring you. Because this is a fearful story. It’s about our fear. And it’s especially about how the turning point—in our spiritual lives, let’s say, our goals, our ambitions, our life direction—how the turning point begins with the fear of the Lord.

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