Happy Birthday, Dear Church! (new CTW article about Pentecost Sunday)

Here’s the introduction from a new piece that just went up at CTW, in which I reveal the secrets of my family’s Trinity Handshakeand (more importantly) share what I’ve been learning about some of the hows and whys of observing Pentecost Sunday …

Why Pentecost Sunday is worth celebrating.

When my nephew Walker was little, I passed on to him a sacred ritual we call “The Trinity Handshake.” It involves greeting one another in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, while clasping hands in a manner corresponding to each member of the Godhead. For the Father, we employ a straightforward handshake. For the Son, we merge into an informal “hand hug.” And for the Spirit, we keep our thumbs interlocked while fluttering our fingers to the side like wings, raising our arms to launch our “dove.” Trust me, it’s cool.

For months, we faithfully observed our handshake every time we met. Then, one sleepy Saturday, I forgot to extend my hand. “Do the spooky thing!” he said.

“The spooky thing?” I asked, confused. “You know,” he glared, exasperated. “We need to do the ghost!”

Apparently, my attempts to catechize Walker had him picturing the third member of the Trinity more like Casper than the Spirit of the Living Christ. We needed help.

A Holy Ghost day

If you attend a church that observes the liturgical calendar, you know that there’s a day—Pentecost Sunday—set aside to remember a moment in history when it became clear that the Holy Ghost isn’t so much spooky as wildly powerful, creative, and unpredictable. However, if you attend a non-liturgical church, you may have no idea when Pentecost Sunday occurs. (Spoiler alert: This year, Pentecost Sunday falls on June 4.)

I’ve been attending non-liturgical churches my entire life. Even though many of these churches have begun to embrace many of the gifts of the liturgical calendar (Advent, Ash Wednesday, and Lent come to mind), I don’t recall observing Pentecost Sunday even once. So, I decided to do some digging.

The first thing I’ve discovered in my research is that …


An Earthy God (New FT column)




Long ago, when I was a senior in the psychology program at Trinity Western University, I took a course called “Physiology of Religion.” I remember how troubled my fellow students and I (most of us Christians) became when we saw the link between an individual’s …

Continue reading An Earthy God (New FT column)

I Was an Ash Wednesday Rookie (new CTW article)

Here’s an excerpt from a new piece that just went up at CTW, in which I document my first Ash Wednesday service (observed last year) and it’s connection to The Hunger Games …

My First Ash Wednesday

We’ve observed the 40-day (plus Sundays) season of Lent …

Continue reading I Was an Ash Wednesday Rookie (new CTW article)

Rudolph Live - A Yuletide Throwback Thursday

Most folks who know my music also know Spencer Capier–his contributions on violin, mandolin, mandola, bouzouki and vocals have helped define my work for pretty much my whole career. But some folks know I used to tour with not one but two “Spencers” (often referred to as “The Spenci,” …

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Confronting Our "Holy" Sins

I sadly was not able to attend the 28th Annual Word Guild Awards in Mississauga, but was so pleased and grateful to learn I had received two trophies. The first was for “Best Lyrics” for the song “Just Getting Started” (part of my 20th Anniversary digital release, available for …

Continue reading Confronting Our *Holy* Sins