The Song Became a Child

The Song Became a Child
A collection of Christmas songs I wrote and recorded during the early days of the pandemic lockdown in the spring of 2020. Click the image to listen.

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

random reads

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 Story of Christianity, Justo Gonzalez

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

Screwtape Proposes a Toast, C. S. Lewis

The Great Divorce, C. S. Lewis

The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis

Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis

The Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis: A Life, Alister McGrath

Planet Narnia, Michael Ward

Transitions, William Bridges

The Architecture of Heaven, a devotional thought

In Revelation 21 we come to one of the most mysterious and beautiful passages in the whole book, John's vision of the Heavenly Jerusalem, descending from heaven and opening up in all its transcendent splendor. 

I find every detail of this celestial city fascinating.

We’re told, for instance, that it has 12 gates guarded by 12 angels, inscribed with the names of the 12 Tribes of Israel; and the wall of the city has 12 foundation stones, each one inscribed with the name of one of the 12 apostles. In other words: the New Jerusalem, the Heavenly City of God, is founded on the work/witness/ministry of the Apostles, and entered into through the Story of Israel. This Heavenly City is seamlessly consistent with the Old Testament story of God’s acts on behalf of Israel, and the New Testament story of his work in Jesus Christ.

And then, notice, that the foundation stones are each precious gems: jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, and so on. This, of course, recalls the 12 precious stones in the priest’s breastplate from the Book of Exodus (though they are not identically correlated). And what’s more, the city itself is a cube, as long and high as it is wide, which is the same shape as the Holy of Holies in the OT Temple/Tabernacle. 

On the one hand, all of this suggests that the description of the Tabernacle in Exodus, which many readers skip over because it seems so tedious—with its intricate priestly garments and careful temple measurements—are meant actually to give us a tiny little microcosm of Heaven. And on the other hand, it suggests that when we finally get there, these intricate, symbolic details, which seem so tedious, at times, to modern day readers, are going to be foremost among the mysteries we ponder (for eternity), as we press further in and higher up, for ever, into the beauty and glory and goodness and wonder of God.

A Journey through the Book of Job (Part 14): Job 42:1-17

Our Angelic Brothers in Arms, a devotional thought

In  Revelation19:10, there’s this brief but moving exchange between John, the author of Revelation, and an angel who has been telling him what to write. The angel tells him  he is to write, “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb,” after which John, apparently overcome with awe in the presence of this heavenly emissary, falls down at his feet to worship him. 

In Greek, the word for worship doesn’t always have to mean “religious worship, offered to a deity.” It can also simple mean, “to give due honour” or “pay obeisance” to someone. In this case, though, it seems like it’s the former meaning, because the angel raises him to his feet and says, “Don’t worship me, I am a servant of God just like you. . . . Worship only God.” 

 Like I say, it’s brief, but also moving. Because biblically, angels are not the chubby little harmless cherubs that adorn St. Valentine’s Day cards. They are heavenly warriors (He makes his angles flames of fire (Heb 1:7)), ministering spirits from the heavenly realms that pretty consistently leave humans flat on their face in abject terror whenever they come into contact with us.

So let it sink in: this angel lifts John to his feet, shoulder to shoulder, eye to eye with him, and says, essentially, “You and I are comrades, colleagues, and co-servants in the Lord’s Kingdom.” Follower of Jesus , be inspired today: you are a comrade-at-arms with the angelic warriors of the Heavenly Host, who mark you as peers as together you serve the Lord Jesus with them.

A Journey through the Book of Job (Part 13): Job 41:1-34

Jacob after Peniel, a poem


Did anyone ever tell you
your limp was beautiful
or that it's going to be?

Other men stride into
rooms with all the raw
confidence and numb vigour of
bulls in China shops
(breaking more than
dinnerware with their
untried horns).

But those tender, stumbling
tentative steps of yours
on healing legs and broken heart
they tell a story
more beautiful than words:
of wrestling with the un-nameable
One,
clinging in darkness desperate
till he touched youblessed
you on the hip
and you walked away
transparent,
shining in the final knowledge
of who you are.

Did anyone ever tell you
the ungainly gait he
left you with
was beautiful?

They will.

The Roar of Heaven, a devotional thought

In Revelation 19:6, John the Seer is overhearing the praise of God in Heaven, and he says, “I heard something like the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunder, saying Hallelujah! For the Lord God Almighty reigns.”

It’s a vivid image when you think about it. The loudest crowd I’ve ever been in was probably the time I saw team Canada play team Brazil in an exhibition soccer game in Edmonton. Canada only scored one goal against the Brazilians, but when they did the 20,000+ packed stadium erupted. It was exhilarating. Makes me wonder what the roar of the crowd in heaven really will be like when we hear it, when the literally billions of men, women and children who have put their faith in him roar in one voice with the praises of the Lamb.

Somehow, “the sound of many waters” seems like an understatement.

Your Jonathan, My David, a song


If you would be my David
Then I’d be your Jonathan:
I’d take off all the trappings
Of the glory I got on;
And I’d remove my armor
And I’d offer you my crown,
If you would be a David
To my lonely Jonathan.

And I would stand before you
Unclothed and unashamed
And I’d show you all my secrets
Just to hear you whispering my name
And if it meant I could no longer
Be my father’s son
Still I’d let you be my David
If I knew that I could be your Jonathan

      Cause there’s a friend who sticks closer
     Than any brother could
      There’s a water that is thicker
     Than the purest drop of blood
      There’s a love that is more wonderful
     Than any I have known
      So hold me to your heart my Holy David
      And I swear that I will be your Jonathan
      O I swear that I will be your Jonathan
      I swear that I will be…

And when the night is lonely
And the shadow’s running high
If I shot my bow into the dark
Would you swear to never leave my side
And when my journey stumbles
And I’ve fallen on my sword
If I swore to be your Jonathan
Would you swear with all your heart to be my Lord?

      Cause there’s a friend who sticks closer
     Than any brother could
      There’s a water that is thicker
     Than the purest drop of blood
      There’s a love that is more wonderful
     Than any I have known
      So hold me to your heart my Holy David
      And I swear that I will be your Jonathan
      O I swear that I will be your Jonathan
      I swear that I will be…


A Journey Through the Book of Job (Part 12): Job 40:1-14

celebration, a poem

for Walt Whitman

and I will celebrate with you,
am honoured to partake of this
your glorious noble design:

I will sing and I will dance and
share your cells, your ions, atoms,
fill my lungs with our biology.

and like you, madman, would I could
unveil the crystals of the snow,
or surge, an atom on the wind:

open wide the stained-glass gates of
morning dew drop on the grass, to
find within a silhouette of life.

and I shall be a pedagogue
of all humanity—a tear
of crystal on the face of joy:

I will sing and I will shout and
rend the morning air with razor
words, ephemeral, a vigil in the night.

and so this gift of language is
to celebrate, indicative
of inarticulate, our humanness:

we are but a passing of the
myst’ry breathed upon the soil of
earth—a blade of grass, a wisp of cloud.

and fire at dawn awakes the dome
of azure life, shall greet us as
we revel in our passing breath:

with bells and cymbals, tambourine,
the clamoring gift of language,
psalms to wake the dawn and fill our lives.

and ‘till the passing passes me,
and offers up His ions to
the next, I celebrate with you:

ripples of concentric joy, the
pebbles of our soul shattering
serene the glinting lake of life.

Thistle and Thorn, a poem


When I was just a little boy
My father taught me how to work with him
Breathing life out of the dust
Till my hands were bruised and torn.
Somehow his love redeemed the curse
Because just so long as he was there with me
I didn’t notice it was thistle
Or that they were his thorns.

And then when I was twenty-one
I waited tables for my schooling
Serving life in smoky rooms
Till the wee hours of the morn.
Somehow a joy redeemed the curse
Because with all the laughter we had there
I never guessed that was my thistle
Or that they were my—

     thistle and thorns, thistle and thorns
     Watered by the sweat of my brow.
     It isn’t much to give,
     The simple work of simple hands
     But what I have I give to you now.

And then a child was on the way
So I stood up in a classroom
Learning life out of my books
Till the lessons were well-worn.
Somehow his call redeemed the curse
Because with all the lives that I touched there
I didn’t know that was my thistle
Or that those were my—

     Thistle and thorns, thistle and thorns
     Watered by the sweat of my brow
     It isn’t much to give,
     The simple work of simple hands
     But what I have I give to you now.

Now child, you’re almost all grown up
And the world's spread out before you:
Will you build or will you heal?
What feats will you perform?
O, let his love redeem the curse
And just so long as it is done for him
He’ll make sure they’re never thistles
And they won’t just come up thorns.