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

On Gratitude and Awesomeness

This year for father’s day I was taking the kids off to the local Chapters store so they could spend some gift cards that had been burning a hole in their pockets, when my wife, on the way out, suggested I buy myself a book. It’s a bit of a long story. We’d agreed not to do father’s/mother’s day gifts this year, but at this last minute she thought a little something couldn’t hurt, and told me to treat myself. So my kids came home with the next installment in the Warrior Cats series (or some such), and I came home with The Book of Awesome, a book I stumbled across on the “staff picks” table.

It was a serendipitous stumble. The Book of Awesome is the book edition of a blog called 1000 Awesome Things which author Neil Pasricha launched back in 2008, after a divorce and the tragic loss of a good friend left him in a dark place and he felt he needed to nurture a more positive outlook on life. 1000 Awesome Things is just that, a running list of simple pleasures and overlooked blessings we tend to take for granted, but when you actually stop to think about them they turn out to be awesome. The smell of rain on a hot sidewalk, giving a baby a high-five, peeling an orange in one shot, arriving at your destination just as a great song on the radio ends, all get their turn in the spotlight, along with your first shower after not showering for a long time, and hitting a bunch of green lights in a row. By turns hilarious, thoughtful, heart-warming and wise, The Book of Awesome was (wait for it) awesome.

No, really. His entry on the colon had me laughing so hard I thought I was going to split mine; and I was reading it in public, at the Swiss Chalet, with the kids wondering what had happened to their Dad.

The reason I’m talking about it today, though, is because it struck me while reading The Book of Awesome, just how much I take for granted, how many profound pleasures pass me by every day without my notice, how big a sense of entitlement I really carry around with me, and how much it all sucks the life out of things, my ingratitude. Before The Book of Awesome, I wouldn’t have thought of myself as an ungrateful wretch, but then again, before The Book of Awesome, it never occurred to me just how awesome photosynthesis is, or laughing so hard you make no sound at all, or gym pain, or salt.

I remember a theology prof of mine once pointing out how thankfulness is the fundamental posture of the Christian life. He was preaching on Ephesians 5:20 at the time (“always give thanks to God the Father for everything”), and he had grander things in mind than illegal naps and high tens (both entries in the book). But then again, maybe gratitude for the lofty things, the weighty things, the deep things, grows in our gratitude for the simple things, the light things, the surface things: dancing with your children and weeping with good friends and a well written poem and the smell of a Russian olive tree off in the distance.  (I’ve been working on my own list).

In 1 Timothy 4:4, Paul tells us that “everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.” I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I wonder if the reverse is also true, that nothing should be received without thanksgiving. And perhaps the strongest evidence of our commitment to the doctrine of creation (even more, maybe than what we say about the best way to interpret Genesis 1) is the degree to which we move through this creation with deep gratitude for everything the creator has made.

At any rate, I’m working on gratitude this fall. It is, after all, a very good world; even marred by the worst of human ingratitude, it still bears the fingerprints of a perfectly wise, breathtakingly artistic and even, at times, beautifully playful Creator who deserves only praise and thanksgiving. Adrenaline (#934) and and the sun (#66) and the smell of freshly cut grass(#838) were all in his mind before any of them came to be, and are each awesome if for no other reason than that.