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

The Uncanny Valley

And while I blog through thoughts, observations and lessons learned regarding pastoral burnout (see last week's post), I thought I'd also take some time to blog through my most recent musical project, inversions.  This is a collection of songs I wrote during the dark time, many of them efforts to process what I was going through, others expressing hope for healing on the other side.  You can check out the whole recording on Bandcamp [click here].  

In the field of aesthetics, "the uncanny valley" describes the vague repulsion that people experience when something "unreal" is extremely close to life-like, but not quite alive.  The idea is, if you could graph people's comfort level on the y-axis, with an object's life-likeness on the x, the line would ascend until it reached the just-about-but-not-quite-life-like point, at which point it would drop off sharply into the "uncanny valley."


To me, the concept of the "uncanny valley"--being in an emotional valley because what you're experiencing is only life-like enough to cause distress--was a pretty vivid image for my burn-out experience.  It's like wandering this realm where things seem real, but the vitality and vividness is missing from it all, so it's only real enough to be vaguely disturbing.  I wrote "The Uncanny Valley" early on in my burn-out time, trying to get some handles on it all.

The Uncanny Valley



You’ve been wandering around the uncanny valley
Looking for a place to crash
Like a stolen purse in a blind back alley
Your story is out of cash
And it’s a long way up
Climbing straight to the top

There’s flooding down here in the uncanny valley
And the levee’s about to break
Like a cardboard sign in an occupy rally
The truth is hard to fake
And it’s a long way down
Better try not to drown

And if I had the choice I’d build on higher ground
Where you can see blue sky for days (and days and days)
And if I knew the way I’d bring you with me too
We’d stand there blinking blind beneath her sunny rays
But it’s a long way up
Climbing straight to the top

La la, la la la la la la, la la la la la la la la
Soon we’ll be standing in the the sun, singing
La la, la la la la la la, la la la la la la la la
Just one more ridge and we’ll be done

You’ve been hovering around the uncanny valley
Looking for a place to land
Like a Don Giovanni in his grand finale
You’re standing on sinking sand
And it’s a long way home
Fingers worn to the bone

And if I had the choice I’d build on level ground
Where there is room to spare for miles (and miles and miles)
And if I had a plan I’d build a room for you
Where you could hang your hat and rest there for a while
But it’s a long way home
Fingers worn to the bone

La la, la la la la la la, la la la la la la la la
Soon we’ll be standing in the the sun, singing
La la, la la la la la la, la la la la la la la la
Just one more ridge and we’ll be done

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