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

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.


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