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

Amos on Apple, and other thoughts

I try to read the Old Testament in Hebrew, as best I can, a little bit each day. I find that reading Scripture in the original language draws me into the text in ways I’ve never seen it before. This is partly because I’m just going so darn slow that I have lots of time to mull over what I’m reading, but it’s also because sometimes you come across little gems of expression that modern translations gloss over, but really sparkle when you take the time to dig them out of the original.

Amos 1:9 was such a gem the other day. Amos is pronouncing God’s judgment on the nations, and in 1:9 he says, “For the three sins of Tyre, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. Because she sold whole communities of captives to Edom, disregarding a treaty of brotherhood” (NIV).

What caught me in particular the other day was that last phrase: “disregarding a treaty of brotherhood.” In Hebrew it literally says something like: “they did not remember the covenant of brothers.”

Now, in OT theology, “covenant” is a vital aspect of both creation and salvation; God’s saving acts in history revolve around his making of and committing to covenant relationships, and covenant itself is the divine means by which God binds himself to his creation. And what’s more, in the Hebrew Scriptures, “remembrance” is a semi-technical term for keeping a covenant. So the language here is packed theologically tighter than the phrase “disregarding a treaty of brotherhood” suggests.

In selling their neighbors into captivity, Tyre has actually broken covenant and now faces divine wrath because of it.

And when I read it yesterday, my first thought was: I don’t remember there being a “brotherly covenant.” That is to say: most lists of the Old Testament covenants include the Noahic covenant, the Abrahamic covenant, the Mosaic, the Aaronic, the Davidic covenant and so on—but—what is this “brotherly covenant” of which you speak?

I don’t remember it.

And I think, maybe, that’s the point. My hunch is that the “brotherly covenant” here is a prophetic reference to the kinship of all humanity—the “sibling obligation” we all have as men and women made alike in God’s image, to be one another’s keeper. Amos is talking about the “brotherhood of man” (to use a borrowed and slightly dated term) that God established between us all when he made covenant with his whole creation in the beginning.

And remembering this covenant—remembering it in the technical sense of “keeping it,” but also in the general sense of “remembering that it does indeed exist”—is vital to our life with God. If Tyre had remembered (i.e. “recalled”) the brotherly covenant, they would have “remembered it” (i.e. lived by its terms). That is: if they had acknowledged that there exists between all human beings a sacred kinship that transcends nation, tribe or tongue, they never would have done something so repugnant to God as selling their “brothers” into slavery.

And as that gem sits there, scintillating prophetically on the page before me, I’m thinking of my own infidelities to the “covenant of brothers.” Because it’s easy to forget the covenant without even knowing you’ve broken it.

As one example (and I only offer this here as grist for the mill): the other day my son mentioned in passing he heard that if Apple didn’t use sweat-labor to make them, ipads would cost, like, $23,000 a piece. I’m not sure where he got that number itself, but this article suggests that he’s probably not too far off.

And this interview suggests that it’s not just the people of Tyre who forgot that we’re all in covenant together before YHWH.

1 comments:

d. miller said...

It looks like the basis for the article has been retracted: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/460/retraction