This week, I begin a new year-long adventure: “Listening Closer.”

Thanks to the imaginations of the folks at Christ and Pop Culture, I will write about one song every week, opening it up to consider what’s inside, where it came from, what it might mean, and why it has caught my attention and stayed on my mind.

When I first started writing about art, I was just a kid, and I was just as interested in writing about music and literature as I was about movies. In time, the movie-writing drew an audience, and so I invested myself more heavily in that.

But I’ve missed music-reviewing.

Ideally, I’d love to host actual listening parties. Wouldn’t it be fun to explore these things together in person? I’m hoping that someday I’ll get to exercise the disciplines that I developed as a student at Seattle Pacific University in an actual classroom, adventuring into an exploration of the intersection of faith and art. Even as a high school student, I fell in love with the experience of investigating texts, movies, and music with students. (I’m so grateful to the schools that have invited me to share with students in this way — Northwestern College, Judson University, Biola University, Lee University, Valley Christian High School, and especially Covenant College, where Anne and I had the joy of serving as Writers-in-Residence. I’m looking forward to visiting Houston Baptist University to speak about faith and fiction-writing in 2015.)

But for now, I’m enjoying opportunities to explore art and faith through writing — and I’m thrilled for the chance to get back to a vigorous investigation of music once again.

Thanks especially to Richard Clark and Mary Elizabeth Baggett, who will — much to the benefit of all of you — monitor my behavior and, more importantly, edit me.

Here is the first installment of Listening Closer.