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 Thursday Review: Rimbaud and the Resurrection (February 1, 2009)

I started this blog back in 2009, as I was finishing off my Master of Divinity studies at Briercrest Seminary and before I knew what my next steps were going to be for me in ministry.  I was mostly looking for a way to keep me creative and thinking through sort of a lull in my life-trajectory.  Seven years and 593 posts later, I have covered all sorts of ground in my efforts to reflect on God, life, faith, love, words and spirituality: from the theology of Halloween, to advice on pastoral burn-out, from the theology of video games to the meaning Gravity Falls.  

As I look ahead to another year of blogging, I'm also realizing that there is a lot of rich material in the terra incognita archive that could bear revisiting, stuff I'd forgotten about, material that new visitors to my blog may never have seen before, ideas that, for all their being 7 years old, are still worth mulling over.  With that in mind I've decided that this year, Thursdays at terra incognita will be dedicated to reviewing and re-posting old posts.  

So whether you're a long-time reader of brand new to my blog, let me welcome you here today with an oldie but a goodie, the very first thing (after my obligatory introductory post) that I ever posted on the blog.  


Rimbaud and the Resurrection (first posted February 1, 2009)

I’ve been trying to brush up on my French these days, and, as my daughter’s Caillou books were starting to leave me flat, I slugged my way through Arthur Rimbaud’s Une Saison en Enfer (this is partly so I can drop pretentious sounding references to Rimbaud at my next cocktail party; but mostly because my niece and nephew have been blessed with a bilingual home, and as they grow older, I’m seeing that my facile conversations with them about colours and numbers won’t cut it much longer. Maybe by the time they’re old enough to discuss Rimbaud, my French will be sharp enough give it a try…). Anyways, I didn’t take a lot from it, but the last phrase of his extended poetical rant has been haunting me for a while now: il me sera loisible de posseder la verite dans une ame et un corps. “It will now be permitted to me to possess truth in one soul and one body.”

Here’s the thing (I think): Most of us could probably get how we might possess “truth” "in the soul.” Most of us are Platonic dualists at heart—what’s truly true is not the touchable matter out there (in the body)—to find the “truly true” you have to journey inward (in the soul). I used to teach this with great enthusiasm when my English classes studied Heart of Darkness. I read the same thing in Wal-Mart yesterday when I happened to thumb through a popular-level book on eastern meditation in the discount bargain bin. But I think that way lies madness (of sorts)—and I think Rimbaud knew it. And so he denounces all such dualisms, and ends with a vision of truth “in one soul and one body” together.

And I’m left wondering, in what way can truth be possessed in the body. Can this actual flesh… these hands, these senses, this coursing blood… can it somehow be said to be somehow true? For Rimbaud, the journey away from spirit/matter dualism led him through a hell of futile debauches and empty sensuality.

But there is a different path.

It’s an inevitable path that leads down from a skull-shaped hill to a burst-open tomb, gaping wide and empty one Sunday morning. And the resurrected body that steps out of that tomb—the one who claimed before they murdered him that he was the truth incarnate—he reaches out his resurrected hand to us and says: “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” With a sweep of that nail-pierced hand, Jesus brushes aside Plato and Rimbaud together. And he points us outside of ourselves, to the Creator’s world broken and labouring, but now claimed by its maker and promised redemption.

And as we touch his glorified body—our hope and our promise—we can really say, in a way that Rimbaud never could: il me sera loisible de posseder la verite dans une ame et un corps.

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