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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 Halloween Files, Part III: Horror Movie Marathons and other Numinous Reflections

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I remember a Halloween night in my early teens, when my friends and I were too old to Trick-or-Treat anymore, but too young, yet, to give up on the festivities altogether, so we rented a movie-marathon's worth of B-grade horror flicks instead.  I've never done scary movies that well, but that night was especially terrifying.  After all my friends had gone home, I lay awake in bed, lights on and saucer-plates for eyes, while visions of zombie limbs danced through my head.

Which was kind of the point in the first place, of course. Fear is one of the central themes of Halloween; and whatever else is happening when hordes of ghoul-begarbed kids tramp around the block demanding treats at the threat of tricks-- whatever else that's all about-- it is an expression of our complicated relationship with that oldest of all human emotions:  fear.

Freud might argue that this harmless-seeming tradition is really a sublimation of our deepest cultural fears.  We are haunted by the suspicion that unseen "somethings" lurk beneath the surface--that something dreadful would happen to us if ever they did surface--that there really is more going on in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in our philosophy. This suspicion is very old and very dark, and still very real, even in our clean, well lit, modernized world.  In fact, the cleanliness and good-lighting of the modern world actually exacerbates our fear, because we no longer have the old channels--myth and ritual and unexplored regions on the map--that we once used to hang it on.  And because powerful emotions, bottled up, will find expression somehow, we still observe one day a year where these fears can be put on display.  It's all in playful good fun, of course; but then, what is play, if not a distorting, funhouse mirror, held up to those things we take most seriously?

Might all this play at being scared on Halloween Night actually be a venue--one of the few venues left to us, in fact--for acting out the spiritual Fear that still haunts us?

My hunch is that it is; and this is why, as a Christian, Halloween fascinates me. 

Because I think the hauntedness of the human condition is actually an important theme of the Christian Faith, too.  As a Christian, I believe that what people are most afraid of, whether they know it or not, is God.  He is the "unseen something"-- mysterious and terrifying--lurking beneath the surface with the threat of dreadful things if ever he were to come into full view. 

The fancy word for this is "The Numinous," which is a theological way of talking about the fear evoked by the divine presence:  the dread of the holy--the awful thought of the infinite--the crushing weight of glory. As Aldus Huxley puts it, "The literature of religious experience abounds in references to the pains and terrors overwhelming those who have come, too suddenly, face to face with some manifestation of the mysterium tremendum. In theological language, this fear is due to the in-compatibility between man's egotism and the divine purity, between man's self-aggravated separateness and the infinity of God."

This is where C. S. Lewis starts, incidentally, in his classic case for the existence of God in The Problem of Pain:  not with reasoned philosophical syllogisms or scientific evidence that demands a verdict, but with the Numinous--the haunting fear that humans have always had, that there is something terrifyingly other, present and holy and at work in our day-to-day.

It's where God starts, too, incidentally.

Re-read how God makes his covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15 if you want to get a biblical glimpse of the Numinous.  If you recall, Abraham butchers a heifer, a ram, a goat and two birds. He arranges them into two piles opposite each other, and keeps this surreal vigil, scattering the vultures whenever they get to close to the carcases.  Then, the Bible says, "As the sun was setting a thick and dreadful darkness overcame him."  And there, on the edge of dream at the threshold of reality, a numinous vision engulfs him: a smoking "something-or-other" passes between the bloody pieces of the sacrifice, and from the depths of that thick darkness, the dreadful voice of God himself speaks, binding himself on oath to Abraham, swearing to be his God forever.

Not for nothing did Jacob call God "The Fear of Isaac" (Gen 31:42).  It's enough to keep a young man awake at night with lights on and saucers for eyes.

But this brings me back to Halloween and my hunch that it's a modern-day sublimation of our age-old fear of the Numinous.  Because the conclusion of Abraham's story is Christ; and in Christ we find that our fear of the Numinous has been both affirmed and transformed.  After all: when the Fear of the Lord turns us to the Cross of Christ, we discover there that atonement and purity and eternity now defines our life with God--that perfect love has indeed driven out fear--that anyone who fears the Lord in this way, has nothing, now, to fear.

That's good news.

And it may be that on Halloween, when the neighbourhood is collectively sublimating its Fear of the Numinous with candy apples and monster-masks--it may be the most wondrful time of the year to remind ourselves of this good news.