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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Book Reviews

Book Reviews
The Shallows, Nicholas Carr
In this very readable, very thought provoking analysis of electronic communciations technology and its impact on our brains and culture, Nicholas Carr brings together media theory (think Marshall McLuhan), history (think Gutenberg) and neuroscience (think discoveries in brain plasticity) to show how computer technology is shaping us in ways of which we are only dimly aware. He argues that such technologies reduce our capacity for deep, creative and sustained linear thought (or at least have the potential to do so) and predispose us to the fragmented, the cursive and the superficial. Worth the read.

Exclusion and Embrace, Miroslav Volf

Ecstasy and Intimacy: When the Holy Spirit Meets the Human Spirit, Edith Humphrey
A fascinating and engaging introduction to spiritual theology-- or the theology of spirituality, as the case may be. This book is a very scholarly, devotional, christo-centric, ecumenical and trinitarian overview of what it means for Christians to live in the Spirit and with the Spirit within. Bracing and enlightening.

Leading with a Limp, Dan Allender

five smooth stones for pastoral work, Eugene Peterson

From Darkness to Light: How One Became a Christian in the Early Church, Anne Fields

Life in the Ancient Near East, Daniel C. Snell
Snell's Life in the Ancient Near East offers a social history of the ANE, tracing the earliest settlement of Mesopotamia, the development of agriculture, first cities, ancient economy and the emergence of empire. Bringing together a rich variety of data gleaned both from the archaeological record and extant historical texts, he tells the history of this cradle of civilization with a special eye for the "human" element - focusing on the forces and factors that would have directly affected the daily life of the various strata of society. Worth a read generally, but all the more for someone with a particular interest in the biblical stories that find their setting and draw their characters and themes from the same provenience.

The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene

Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament, Richard Davidson
Davidson's Old Testament theology of human sexuality is stunning in its achievement, challenging in its content, and edifying in its conclusions. Davidson addresses every-- and I do mean every-- Old Testament text that deals (even obliquely) with human sexuality, and, through detailed exegesis, careful synthesis, and deep interaction with the scholarly research, develops a detailed picture of the Old Testament's vision for redeemed human sexuality. 700 pages of Biblical scholarship at its best.

Eaarth, Bill McKibben
Bill McKibben's Eaarth, is a call for us to wake up smell the ecological coffee...while we can still brew it. Unlike his previous work, or any writing on ecology I've yet read, however, Eaarth does not argue that catastrophe is pending. Instead, he argues that catastrophe has arrived, and that our all talk about "going green to avert disaster," "and "saving the planet" is woefully obsolete. In ecological terms, the planet as we once knew it is gone, he argues, and rather than trying to "avert" disaster, we need to start figuring out how to live in the disaster that's happened. Key themes he identifies as important for life on planet Eaarth resonnated with me as profoundly Christian ways of being (disaster or no). We must stop assuming that "bigger" is better; we must acknowledge limits on economic and technological growth; we must get reacquainted with the land; we need eschew self-sufficency and nurture community.

Love Wins, Rob Bell
So fast and furious has the furor over this book been, that any review will inevitably feel redundant or tardy. Given the crowd on the band wagon by now, I actually had no intention of hopping on myself, but my kids got it for me for Father's Day. About 15 pages in, I realized that I could probably finish it in on good push, so I got it over with. My thoughts: probably the most over-hyped book I ever read; I loved it and found it frustratingly under-developed at the same time; while he raises some important issues, his handling of them reads like a yoda-meets-Tom-Wright account of salvation; nothing C. S. Lewis hasn't already said more clearly and more cleverly; I'm glad he wrote it, and I'm glad the Evangelical world has errupted over it the way it has, and I hope a much more spirited and generous and optimistic understanding of soteriology and eschatology will infuse the evangelical church's mission as a result.

Rediscovering Paul, David Capes et. al.
Rediscovering Paul is a hepful overview of Paul's life, times and theology. While at times I felt it might have gone deeper, or expressed its ideas more clearly, it provides some interesting and inspiring insights into the man behind the letters. Among these is its discussion of the communal aspect of first century letter writing, and the influence of one's community on one's personal sense of identity, and how those issues might have played out in Paul's writings. Another challenging issue that it tackles is the whole process of letter writing in the Greco-Roman world, especially as regards the role a scribe often played in shaping the text, smoothing out the langugae or providing stock phrases, etc.

Lavondyss, Robert Holdstock
If you've read George MacDonald's Lilith, then think of Lavondyss as sort of a Lilith-for-Non-Christians. It's the convoluted labyrinth of a story about a young girl called Tallis and her adventures in a magical wood that brings the Jungian archetypes buried deep in our subconscious to life. Dense with questions about Jungian psychology, and the spiritually-thin-places of the world, and death and myth and magic and story, it's pretty tough slugging at times, but thought provoking and challenging. At times I felt like I was reading the Narnia book C. S. Lewis might have written if he had pursued the "stab of northerness" in directions other than the Christian Faith where he found it eternally satisfied.

Jesus and Money, Ben Witherington III
My friend John Vlainic once ranked Ben Witheringon as one of the strongest Biblical scholars in the Wesleyan tradtion working today. This thin but powerful volume is evidence to support such an accolade. I opened it expecting (judging by the cover) either a how-to book on Christian finances, or (judging by the other books I've read on Christ and Money) a hodge-podge of Bible verses taken out of context and mushed together as proof texts about the tithe. I got neither; instead, Ben Witherington walks slowly, thoughtful and exegetically through the breadth of Biblical teaching, with special sensitivity to the cultural context of the various texts, the tension between Old and New Testament teaching on the topic, and the differences between modern and ancient economies. If I were to recommend one book to develop a biblical theology of money, it would be this one.

The Gravedigger File, Os Guinness
My first taste of Os Guinness, and, if you don't mind a mangled metaphor, it went down like a bracing pint of... well... Guinness. Grave Digger file is sort of a "Screwtape Letters" project on a church-wide scale. In concept, the book is a series of "training files" for an undercover agent attempting to undermine and ultimately sabotage the Western Church, delivered from the pen of a seasoned saboteur to a young agent recently assigned to Los Angeles. In plot, the young agent ultimately defects, and delivers the "Gravedigger File" into the hands of a Christian, urging him to alert the Church to the operation. It is bursting with "things that make you go hmmm..." and deserves a second, careful read with pen in hand, ready to mine it for its scintillating and eminently quotable lines.

Looking back on some God moments: 2014 in Review

Yesterday we did a church service at the local long term care facility that our church, The FreeWay, partners with.  I spoke about Psalm 105:5, where it says, "Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered"; and I said something about how there is strength for the here-and-now, in remembering the ways God's been at work in our lives in the past.  Today, the day after, I'm having one of those preacher moments where you sort of hear the words coming out of your own mouth as you said them, and it's like they're being preached directly at you (any preachers in the room will know what I'm talking about).  Anyways, I thought it wouldn't hurt to put my money where my mouth is a bit, and spend some time reflecting on the unique and particular ways God met me, and ministered to me this last year.

Here, then, is a brief look back on some of the important God-moments of my 2014:

January 5:  A three-month medical leave from ministry begins.  In what would mark one of the lowest points of my life in ministry, but also one of the most formative, I went through a period of burn-out and emotional exhaustion at the start of 2014.  I've shared a bit about it before, and intend to talk more specifically about it in the coming months, but for now I'll just say that this was one of those walking-through-the-valley-of-the-shadow kind of experiences where sometimes it felt like God was the only strong thing in a violent storm of instability, and other times I couldn't see him for trying.

April 1:  My first official day back at work.  So, after 3 months of finding out that I wasn't really who I thought I was, and discovering who I was after all, 3 months of healing and rebuilding and self-discovery, it was time to get back in the saddle.  The first day back at the FreeWay after such a dark time, and the embrace and encouragement and care of God's people that I felt that day, was an object lesson in all the best things about Christian community.

April 10: S.A.S.S. Club Recital:  One of God's big gifts to me in 2014 was the opportunity to get involved as a parent volunteer in a song-writer's club at my daughter's elementary school.  I'd go and listen to these talented kids sing songs they wrote, then help them set them to music.  The April 10th recital was where the kids invited friends and family to hear their work.  They say that volunteering will increase your life expectancy and lower your risk for a whole slough of diseases.  I expect this is true.  If my experience can be taken as a case study, it will also broaden your heart and open your mind and take you outside of yourself in profoundly healing ways.

May 18:  Participating as a Speaker at the FMCiC General Conference.  I had the honour of speaking this year at our denomination's General Conference, at a session called "Love is an Orientation."  I won't say much about it here, except that it was a deeply moving experience, one of those times speaking where you become profoundly aware of the Holy Spirit's presence, in the moment, saying through you what you could never say on your own,.  If you're interested, you can read the paper I presented here.

June 6:  The 20/40 Concert.  This year was both mine and my wife's 40th birthdays, and also our 20th anniversary (yes, we really were only 20 when we got married).  To celebrate, we held a concert of some of the songs I'd written during my leave (the inspiration to start writing songs again was another gift that came along with volunteering at the song-writing club).  Good friends, good food, good music and lots of fun.

June 15:  Reading The Book of Awesome.  I've already blogged about this one here, so I won't repeat myself, except to say that God really ministered to me through this (almost embarrassingly) frothy book and the repentant glimpse of my profound ungratefulness it left me with.

August 12, 2014:  Whale Watching in the Bay of Fundy.  I was surprised how awe-inspiring and serene these majestic creatures were, when you get close to them.  It had me re-thinking Jonah a bit-- perhaps the whale swallowed God's wayward prophet out of loving care, not brute hunger or blind obedience.  At the same time, the sight of those whales kept drawing my mind to the last chapters of Job, where God describes Leviathan and then says, essentially, "and he's just a guppy in a fish bowl, to me."

October 7, 2014:  A New Sign for the FreeWay.  This probably shouldn't have been as big a God-moment as it was; but then again, for all its being a spiritual temple, not a physical one, still, the church is a concrete community and these concrete signs of our life together are important. We've been trying to establish a ministry centre in Oshawa for a while now, and seeing that sign go up, it felt like a new chapter was starting for the FreeWay.

December 30, 2014:  Releasing inversions.  You can see this post for the details, but recording this project with a group of talented musicians and good friends, especially given the circumstances of the writing, ministered to me on a number of levels.  God is good, and he's able to bring all sorts of beauty out of broken things.