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

When Shasta meets Narnia and the World meets the Way

There's a scene in the third Narnia book, The Horse and His Boy, that has always sort of spoken to me. 

To set the stage, let me explain that Shasta is a young orphan boy who grew up in Calormen, a proud and cruel Empire across the desert south of Narnia.  All his life he has believed he's the only son of a hard-handed fisherman named Arsheesh.  At the start of the story, however, he happens to meet Bree, a talking horse from Narnia who was raised in captivity in Calormen.  Bree points out to Shasta that he is obviously northern-born, too, and convinces him help him escape to Narnia.

Tashbaan is the capital city of the Calormene Empire, and they must pass through it on their way across the desert and home to Narnia.  Shasta, you must remember as you read this scene, has grown up surrounded by the sombre and arrogant Calormenes, and is completely acculturated to their ways.  Aside from Bree, he has never encountered a true Narnian before.  But while they are wending their way through the crowded, labyrinthine streets of Tashbaan, this happens:

It was in a splendid street very near the top of the city (the Tisroc's palace was the only thing above it) that the most disastrous of these stoppages occurred.

"Way! Way! Way!" came the voice. "Way for the Barbarian King, the guest of the Tisroc (may he live for ever)! Way for the Narnian lords."

Shasta tried to get out of the way and to make Bree go back. But no horse, not even a Talking Horse from Narnia, backs easily. And a woman with a very edgy basket in her hands, who was just behind Shasta, pushed the basket hard against his shoulders, and said, "Now then! Who are you shoving!" And then someone else jostled him from the side and in the confusion of the moment he lost hold of Bree. And then the whole crowd behind him became so stiffened and packed tight that he couldn't move at all. So he found himself, unintentionally, in the first row and had a fine sight of the party that was coming down the street.

It was quite unlike any other party they had seen that day. The crier who went before it shouting "Way, way!" was the only Calormene in it. And there was no litter; everyone was on foot. There were about half a dozen men and Shasta had never seen anyone like them before. For one thing, they were all as fair-skinned as himself, and most of them had fair hair. And they were not dressed like men of Calormen. Most of them had legs bare to the kneee. Their tunics were of fine, bright, hardy colours -woodland green, or gay yellow, or fresh blue. Instead of turbans they wore steel or silver caps, some of them set with jewels, and one with little wings on each side of it. A few were bare-headed. The swords at their sides were long and straight, not curved like Calormene scimitars. And instead of being grave and mysterious like most Calormenes, they walked with a swing and let their arms and shoulders free, and chatted and laughed. One was whistling. You could see that they were ready to be friends with anyone who was friendly and didn't give a fig for anyone who wasn't. Shasta thought he had never seen anything so lovely in his life.

A bit of background might help here.  In C. S. Lewis' books, Narnia (and the North) is, in a general way, symbolic of the Life of Faith-- the Christian Life, the Christian Community, the Christian Church.  Tashbaan, by contrast, grave and noble and mysterious as it is, is roughly speaking a symbol of the World.  Shasta, as a refugee from the World, is encountering here, for the first time, authentic Christians living in authentic Christian community.

And now, hopefully, you'll understand you why this description of Shasta's first encounter with the "Narnian Lords" is so compelling to me.  The bright colours and sparkling joy, the easy gait and springing step, free camaraderie and open-armed peace with the world that radiates from this band of brothers and sisters is one of the most poetic pictures of Christian community I know of. 

A friend once said, in passing, that he felt Christians should be the most interesting people in the world.  I've mulled that over a lot since then. He wasn't speaking about holiness, per se, when he said that, or Bible knowledge, or any of the typical stuff we associate with the Christian life.  He just meant that, if we really are the Redeemed of the Lord--set free from the power of sin and death and experiencing the on-going renewal of the Image of God in us--if all that's really true, our lives ought to be more fully engaged, more filled with wonder and creativity, more curious about the Creator's world, more free with our friendship and more spendthrift with our love than any other way of living on offer.

We ought to be moving through this world together like a band of Narnian Lords through the crowds of Tashbaan.  And if we did, I think, more than just Shasta would be left wondering if they'd ever seen anything so lovely.

0 comments: