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 Words of Zumisura, Priest of Ea (a short story)

British soldiers discovered this strange text in 2005, while on routine minesweeping exercises in south-eastern Iraq, west of the Tigris-Euphrates Delta. It was found on a strip of vellum, rolled tightly into an earthenware jar. Though the stratum of sandstone it was discovered in dates roughly to the late Miocene era, the script itself appears to be an extremely primitive from of Akkadian cuneiform, suggesting a date of ca. 2500 BCE, at the latest. It has been tentatively translated by the late Dr. Alan Kircher Ph.D., of Cambridge University.

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And now that the rains have ended the waters churn with the great beasts of the deep, unlike any we have seen before. They leap and they fall with terrible noise and much foam. Ugurik has said they will bring down our wicker boat with the pound of their mighty tails, but I say that we have placed our souls already into the hands of the gods, and if this is how they wish us to end, there is nothing to be done.

Who can resist their will?

I cannot say how long the rain has fallen. Surely it has been more than a moon, but it has been so many days since we have seen a moon that none can tell. Elinumelek, who is high priest of Enlil and knows the meaning of sacred numbers says it has been forty days, because forty is a number of heaven. Ugurik, who is recorder for King Gilgudur and can do sums, says that it must be more, because our stores are nearly gone, and we had food enough to last a hundred days when we began. Elinumelek struck him about the ears when he said this, and when the blood no longer flowed, Ugurik could not hear on the side of his strong right hand.

Ugurik has done the count and says there is food now for three men to eat seven days, and then it will be gone. All the waters of high heaven and all the waters of the great deep have come together as one, I believe, and if we sailed for seven moons together we would not find rest nor land. If we are the last three men, as Elinumelek has said, then when we are gone there may be none to speak the praises of the gods, and so I write these final words now in memory of Ea.

When I was a scribe in the house of Gilgudur I wrote on the eternal tablets of stone used by the priests of Ea, but there is no stone to inscribe here. I use this, my leather cloak, as my stone, and soot from the lamp mixed with wine for my words. Ugurik fought me when I took the last of the wine to write these the final praises to Ea. He is afraid to starve, he says, but I say that we have placed our souls already into the hands of the gods, and if this is how they wish us to end, there is nothing to be done. When the blood no longer flowed, I could not see from my eye on the side of my lesser left hand.

Ea, if you have brought this catastrophe upon us, as Elinumelek says, because the noise of the men you had made had kept you from sleep and ate up your peace, who can question your wisdom? But who will offer you then the sacrifices of smoke and fire that feed the gods and give them joy, when we are gone?

Can this be wise?

Elinumelek struck me when I asked you this, but even now that the blood no longer flows, the question burns within me. Will the gods not die with us, if we are swept away?

Utnapishtim, the builder of the great boat, said not. How many hearings with king Gilgudur he had before the rains came, I cannot say, but as scribe in the house of Gilgudur I heard them all.

He served the great Shaddai, he said, whom he named king over all the gods, but Gilgudur subjected him to many lashings when he said it. Even when the blood no longer flowed still Utnapishtim spoke the same. It is because of the hurt that lurks in the hearts of men, he said, the lust for hurting that springs from being hurt. Shaddai will wash away the hurting with water, he said, until all the earth is clean.

Utnapishtim’s boat was many years in making, and often Gilgudur heard him. Utnapishtim urged the king to stop the hurting that hurts Shaddai himself, and join him in building his boat. Elinumelek mocked. Shaddai’s great builder of sand-sailing boats, he named him. Hurting does not hurt the gods, he said; hurt is of the gods. We hurt because they made us to.

Utnapishtim said not, but Elinumelek struck him and Utnapishtim returned to the building of his boat. Gilgudur said he would not join him.

The last day before the rain, Gilgudur gave a great feast for all his priests and scribes. He gave his daughter Niqutu to the King of Uruluk in marriage that day, and married Uruluk’s daughter Hasis, at the same feast. There was much eating and much drinking, and many gifts of smoke for the gods.

And then the flood came out, roaring like a bull, screaming like a wild ass. Wind howled. Darkness thickened. There was no sun.

In the days when the first rains fell, before the water covered everything, Elinumelek said that if we offered sacrifices of smoke and fire the gods might relent. We slaughtered every beast of all the herds of Gilgudur, and still the gods did not relent. Elinumelek said that if we offered up the blood of men the gods might relent and so we did. When the blood no longer flowed, still the gods did not relent. Elinumelek said that if Gilgudur gave his new wife Hasis and Uruluk gave Niqutu, the gods might relent.

After this, Ugurik, who could do sums, said that the deep would soon cover even the palace of King Gilgudur itself. He had formed a boat of the wicker baskets from the storehouses of the king and provisioned it with earthen jars of bread and wine. The water had covered most of the land by then, but Elinumelek joined him, as did I.

The great waves swept away all the rest.

O Ea, mighty and inscrutable, did Utnapishtim speak true? Is there a god higher than the gods themselves, who sent this rain not to hurt, but to wash the hurt away?

Elinumelek will not allow me to speak such questions, but if he is right, Ea the unquestionable, and you have done this, then why did you form these, the men you made, when first you did? Does Elinumelek speak true when he says that the gods are but as the greatest of all the great men, and no thought of their hearts is better than the darkest thought of ours?

The deep now covers the whole face of the land. It floats with the debris of the house of King Gilgudur, and with the debris of all the great kings of the earth. But O Ea the inexorable, if every house of every king writhed with the same pain that writhed in the house of Gilgudur before the rains came, then I say the flood had wisdom in it. And if you too will pass away, because when the water is gone there will be none to feed you with blood and fire, that is wisdom too.

Ugurik bleeds again from the ear that Elinumelek struck. He sleeps now more than he wakes and when he speaks his words are dark with dreams and fear. I myself grow weak and see only through a great darkness. The end, I say, comes near.

I have told Elinumelek that when I am gone, and the stores are spent, he is to keep himself and Ugurik alive with my body.

Eat it, I say, as bread.

If Utnapishtim spoke true, and the flood has covered all the earth, this gift will not save Elinumelek and Ugurik from following me into the darkness, in the end. But if Utnapishtim spoke true, then in giving myself like this, instead of hurting, I may find the hurt washing from me, at last, even as the flood has washed it all from off the face of the earth.

O Ea, the terrible, I do not hope to speak your praise again, but if the Shaddai whom Utnapishtim serves has eyes to see, perhaps he will see this gift and be honored by it.

The wine is gone.

I will seal these words away in one of the jars that held our bread. We have no other need of it now. I will offer the jar to the waters of the deep. None live now, I think, to find them, but if any do, know that these are the words of Zimisura, who served once as the priest of Ea.

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