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 Girl Queen, the Captive Conqueror: A Devotional Commentary on Esther (1:11-20)

King Ahasuerus orders the beautiful Queen Vashti into his presence, with the express purpose of showing her off to the nobles, as though she was just one more "thing" in the long list of treasures we read about in verses 1-10. Vashti refuses, presumably on her dignity as a human being, and the King gets furious. And here's where it gets especially interesting, because when he asks his counselors what to do about it, they start waving red flags all over the place: if Vashti gets away with this, they warn, all the women in the empire will think its okay to buck the system and stand up for themselves, too. So they advise Ahasuerus to take Vashti's "royal position" away and give it to another, more worthy than her (read: more docile).

And this is the point where the text grabbed me, because in the Hebrew it says, "give her 'rule' to a 'neighbour' better than her"; and the wording here is almost exactly the same as what Samuel said to Saul in 1 Samuel 15:28, when the Lord took the kingdom from Saul and gave it to David: "YHWH has taken the kingdom from you and given it to a neighbour who is better than you." Considering that Saul lost the kingdom because he didn't follow through on YHWH's directive to destroy King Agag of the Amalekites, and Haman, the villain of Esther is a descendant of King Agag (see 3:1), this parallel can't be coincidence. Just like Saul lost his royal place and it went to his neighbour, King David, Vashti lost her royal place and it went to her neighbour, Queen Esther. And just like David is a saviour of God's People who foreshadows God's true Messiah, Jesus Christ, so, too, is Esther.

Once all those wires connect, a light bulb goes off and scintillating light starts to shine on something important going on in the Esther story. The reason Ahasuerus gives Vashti's Queenship to Esther is because he wants to underscore the status quo, reinforcing everything his culture says about power, and wealth, and gender relations (after all, what will the other women do or say if Vashti gets away with this?); and the irony here is that this is exactly what Esther doesn't do.

By the end of the story, roles will be reversed, powers will be upheaved and the status quo will be hanging from the 75-foot gallows it built for the necks of the vulnerable. And if Esther is a pattern for the coming Christ, then some difficult but important conclusions seem unavoidable here: just like Esther didn't underwrite the cultural staus quo, Christ didn't, and won't.

Well, that's a pretty round-about way to say just this: I've been thinking a fair bit this morning about how I might be sitting a bit too comfortably with the cultural status quo when it comes to things like wealth and power and gender relations, and worse, if maybe deep down I'm hoping the Messiah will simply underwrite it for me-- the status quo--instead of doing what he does do, and turn it on its head.

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