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

random reads

The Girl Queen, the Captive Conqueror: A devotional commentary on Esther (2:11-20)

When I read about all the "beauty treatments" the candidates for Queen Vashti's replacement were subjected to--a six month oil of myrrh treatment followed by a six month perfume and cosmetics treatment--I can't help but think about the way our own culture objectifies and consumes human beings (and in particular, women) like that. Subjecting a helpless girl to a year-long beautification ordeal on the off chance that she might please the tastes of a decadent (seemingly insatiable) Emperor, who is himself the embodiment of a decadent (seemingly insatiable) culture, doesn't seem that different from our own culture's obsession with female beauty and body-image. Think of the "use" of the female body in advertising media; think of the multi-billion-dollar-a-year cosmetics industry (or the thinness industry, or the plastic surgery industry); think of Hollywood's sexist cult of celebrity; think of the increasing pornographication of our culture and the implicit (often explicit) misogyny it expresses. The author of Esther, of course, didn't have any of these things in mind when he or she wrote this story down, but at the very least, not much has changed.

This is why verse 2:15 was particularly haunting for me. When it's Esther's turn to "go in" to King Ahesuerus, she "asked for nothing, except what Hegai the king's eunuch suggested." The idea here is that each contestant in this insidious "contest" was allowed to bring anything she wanted into the King's chamber with her, to increase her chances of gratifying his desire (v.13). And Esther chose to go in "unarmed" (so to speak, more or less). I've mentioned before how the Book of Esther quite clearly has the story of King Saul and King David playing in the background, so when I read that, my mind went immediately to the story of David and Goliath. When David is about to square off against Goliath, he tries on Saul's armour, then specifically chooses to go into battle with nothing other than his sling. He goes up against Goliath, that is, "unarmed" (so to speak, more or less).

Maybe, I'm reading too much into this, but Esther seems to be doing the same thing here, as David did when he faced Goliath. If it's true, it would mean that, for the author of Esther (and for God), King Ahasuerus’ “beauty contest" is as pernicious an evil as Goliath was, back in the day; and that ultimately, God intends to overthrow this evil as unexpectedly and as decisively as he did Goliath.

You can make up your own mind on that one, but for me, it speaks a prophetic word against all the “Ahasuerean” tendencies of our own culture to objectify and dehumanize and consume human beings (and again, women in particular; see above). It sort of hits you like a sling-stone to the forehead: when the powerful objectify the vulnerable, God in his Messiah stands on the side of the objectified, and decisively against the objectifiers.

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