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.


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.

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

Polishing Up My Proverbs 16 Crown of Glory (Part V): Christian Community as the Fountain of Youth?

They say that Okinanwa, a small island off the southern coast of Japan, has the highest rate of centenarians in the world. Proportionally, that is to say, more people in Okinawa live beyond the age of 100 than anywhere else on the planet. Not only do people live longer in Okinawa, but they also enjoy relatively good health into their centenarian years, with the lowest rates of age-related disease—coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer and so on—of any people-group in the world.

So remarkable is the Okinawan life-expectancy, that the island has become something of a tourist attraction for the Japanese, who visit it not to lounge on the beaches or to see the sights, but specifically and expressly for a first-hand encounter with a genuine Okinawan Centenarian.  Imagine photo albums full of pictures of Japanese tourists doing the say-cheese-finger-V-thing, next to a bunch of Okinawan senior citizens, and you’ll get the idea.

Scientists have been scratching their heads over the phenomenon of Okinawan longevity for a while now. What, in particular, do the Okinawan people have going for them, that they are able to live so well for so long, well after the rest of the world, on average, has succumbed to the aches and pains of old age?

There are probably a number of active ingredients in the Okinawan elixir of youth. Caloric restriction and healthy diet seem to play a role (Okinawans simply eat less food than most Westerners, and what they do eat is mostly plants).  Genetics and lifestyle are also factors (Okinawans are much more active throughout their lives, well into their senior years).

But in a study of Okinawan longevity that I read recently, a crucial factor stood out to me for special consideration, especially as it relates to my interest in developing a theology of aging. Put simply: Okinawan culture places a high value on old age. Rather than seeing it as the beginning of the end, Okinawans see old age as a badge of honour and a cause for celebration. Rather than shuffling the aged off to out of the way “homes” where they are left to live out their final years with other seniors, Okinawans make all kinds of space for the elderly in their communities, their families, their society. Rather than being treated like an inconvenience, the aged are cherished, respected, and, above all, embedded in the broader community.

Okinawans who have passed their 100th birthday, in particular, are given a great degree of freedom, respect and license.  The centenarian years are viewed as a “second childhood”; and not in a condescending way, but in a permissive way, similar to how young children are humoured and admired and cherished as a vital part of the community.  As I understand it, it’s not uncommon for the younger generation actually to vie with one another for the honour of getting to care for their centenarians in their old age.

Could it really be that growing old happens best in cultures that wisely embrace aging, that view it with healthy respect, even appreciation, that warmly and ungrudgingly welcome the fact of getting old, and have learned to celebrate the simple achievement of living long and well?

The mystery of Okinawan longevity suggests it’s so.

And so, of course, does the Bible.  It’s not for nothing  that the Torah instructs us to stand in the presence of the elderly (Leviticus 19:32).  And it’s not for nothing that the New Testament instructs the young to cherish the old with special deference (See: 1 Timothy 5:1, 1 Peter 5:5) and further instructs the old to share the gifts of their age and experience generously with the young (see 1 John 2:13).

In the broadest strokes, the Bible paints a picture of a community where old age is seen as a profound spiritual resource, and where the bonds between young and old are strong and rich and reciprocal; and in that picture we see the spiritual flourishing of young and old alike, the thriving of community as a whole, a little glimpse of shalom.

A church with a robust, biblical theology of aging, I think, will adopt an attitude towards old age more like that of the Okinawan people—where the community makes much space and affords much dignity to the old—and less like that of the West—where the practice is, by and large, to remove the very old from community whenever the realities of old age become too great an inconvenience.  To “stand in the presence of the elderly,” today, as a Christian, is to resist this modern, Western impulse to segregate by generation, and to do all we can to maintain those strong, rich, reciprocal bonds between young and old that are so vital to a shalom-oriented community.

We may actually find, in doing so, that our own experience of growing old becomes one filled with health and wisdom and vitality and joy.

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