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

Three Minute Theology 3.7: Justice for All



In 2007, after years of irresponsible lending practices and unethical mortgage trading had inflated it to unsustainable levels, the U.S. housing market finally collapsed. Global stock markets fell and millions of people lost their jobs, in an economic disaster that cost the world trillions of dollars.

The causes of the 2007 economic crisis are complex, but many attribute it, at least in part, to fraud and corruption among the financial institutions that rated and sold mortgage bonds. Because of the unethical practices of a few large, rich banks, in other words, a lot of ordinary people lost their homes and their livelihoods.

Something that has enraged many people since, however, is the fact that none of the CEOs of the financial institutions seemingly responsible for this situation were ever brought to justice for their part in the mess. Instead, when the crisis threatened to bankrupt many of these banks, the US Government provided a financial bailout, essentially giving them billions of tax-payer dollars to keep them afloat.

To the extent that it is the exact opposite of what happened on the cross, the way these banks were “forgiven their debt to society” without any recourse to justice, it provides us a helpful way for thinking about an aspect of the atonement that is sometimes difficult for us to wrap our heads around.

It’s something called “Penal Substitution.” Penal Substitution refers to the idea that Christ satisfied the demands of God’s justice, by taking onto himself the punishment for our sins, in our place, on the cross.

If it’s misunderstood, Penal Substitution can leave the impression that the Christian God is some petty, vengeful deity who can’t be satisfied until someone suffers to appease his wrath, which is in flat contradiction of the Bible’s own description of God, that he is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Penal Substitution starts to make perfect sense, however, if we think about it in relation to the 2007 financial crisis.

The US government’s decision to bailout the banks—to forgive them their debt—was based on the assumption that the banks themselves were too big to fail, and, if they went under, the whole economy would collapse. In their view, forgiveness was necessary.

But what leaves us with a justifiably sour taste in our mouths is the travesty of justice here—that no one was held to account, and justice was not served.

To grasp how this relates to the cross, we must first consider that, when he created the world, God was after a world where things like fairness, and right relationships, and harmony, and holiness, where all the things we think of when we think about justice, obtain.

Human beings, of course, have not lived up to the Creator’s intention for us; the global economic crisis of 2007 is only one of a million examples of this. We sin.

And herein lies the dilemma.

For us to be included in his plan for the creation (and because he loves us passionately, he passionately wants this for us), God must forgive us our sins. But if he were to forgive us without somehow satisfying the demands of justice, it would sort of be like a government that forgives the debt of a bunch of corrupt banks without just regard to the plight of the ordinary people hurt by them.

From God’s perspective, both undeserved forgiveness and genuine justice are necessary if his plan for the creation is to be accomplished.

And this is the dilemma that he resolves for us through the cross.

Penal Substitution is not about Jesus pacifying the rage of an angry Heavenly Father. It is about a loving God who, in the person of Jesus Christ, suffers the full consequences of our sin, for us, and in our place, so that God can forgive us with just regard for the severity of sin, and so that he can deal with sin in all its severity, without excluding us from his plan for the creation.

Like it says in one place: he made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we could become the righteousness of God.

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