Doug McKelvey

Doug participated in the early work of Charlie Peacock’s Art House Foundation, an organization dedicated to a shared exploration of faith and the arts. In the decades since, he has worked as an author, song lyricist, scriptwriter, and video director. He has penned more than 350 lyrics recorded by a variety of artists including Switchfoot, Kenny Rogers, Sanctus Real, and Jason Gray. His newest book is Every Moment Holy (Rabbit Room Press). His other works include The Angel Knew Papa and the Dog (illustrated by Zach Franzen), The Wishes of the Fish King (illustrated by Jamin Still), Subjects with Objects (with Jonathan Richter), and Stories We Shared: A Family Book Journal (with Jamin Still).


Introducing (Whatever You Do, Don’t) Ask Doug!

By Doug McKelvey

Dear Ask Doug,

My grandparents are always gushing about some dude on the radio® named “Paul Harvey,” as if I should know who that is. Well, I don’t, and I never have. And when I tell them so they just make little huffing noises through their noses and turn to stare derisively into the middle-distance®.

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This Is How the Work Gets Done, Part 1: Community Calling

By Doug McKelvey

If an individual follower of Jesus might have—in addition to their general calling to imitate their Lord at all times—a more specific calling (or at least a more specific outworking of that general calling) that leads them to particular labors, specific good works, and the focus on meeting needs within or serving some segment of culture, then might specific communities of believers also have distinct callings? If so, how is such a calling discerned, and how do distinct individuals with varying personalities and skill-sets find their places within that larger community calling?

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Intersecting Lines

By Doug McKelvey

I imagined something once as a kid, and have pondered it every so often since. What I first imagined was a map on which all the travels I ever made in my life would be recorded. On the same map, all the movements of everyone I knew, had known, or ever would know, would also be recorded.

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For the Love of Layered Things

By Doug McKelvey

First—before you read any further—do yourself the mighty favor of watching this video of “Holemabier,” a new song composed, arranged and deftly performed by The Arcadian Wild. You’re welcome.

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As Weak

By Doug McKelvey

In the afterglow of Hutchmoot 2018’s dizzying cascade of several dozens of wonderful and meaningful conversations, I can no longer remember who requested copies of the poem I read during Rebecca Reynolds’ and my tag team session on “the holy, hidden potential of human weakness.”

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What I Told My Daughters

By Doug McKelvey

God was always reminding the Israelites of the story they were dropped into at birth. The story that began long before they were born, before their people were even a people; the story that would continue long after any individual had reached the end of his or her life span. Old Testament scripture records those repeated remindings of identity, calling, and sacred responsibility, until those scriptures themselves became a perpetual reminder.

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On These Our Works Being Works We Will Not Finish

By Doug McKelvey

Over a decade-and-a-half stint as a lyricist I began to notice a pattern: The songs that mattered most to me tended to also be the ones that record labels had no interest in. At a certain point, I quit even trying to pitch those sorts of lyrics in industry settings. Instead I wrote them for my own reasons and tucked them away.

One of those was a song I called “North Atlantic.” The lyric voiced the unfolding, final thoughts of a man on a ship going down in frigid waters without hope of rescue. He speaks to his wife words she will never hear:

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Rhyming Between the Lines

By Doug McKelvey

At Hutchmoot-most-recent I was delighted to join the company of N. D. Wilson and Helena Sorenson for a session on fictional world-building. More comfortable leaning on pre-thought thoughts than trying to formulate new ideas in public, I began by Read More ›

Common Trepidations Encountered in Collaborations

By Doug McKelvey

When you write a book it becomes somehow precious to you. Precious in the way that a child is precious.

Kind of.

Okay, not quite that precious. Read More ›

On the Possibility of Being Met in Winter

By Doug McKelvey

I experience winter, if not as a kind of death, then at least as a closing in of the margins of life.

The light grows shorter, the cold creeps in. The days betray, ending too soon.

I tend to take this personally. Read More ›

(Re) Remembering What We Mean

By Doug McKelvey

Author’s Note: Last May (2016) I enlisted Jamin Still’s visual genius and together we launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring our picture book, The Wishes of the Fish King, to print as a Rabbit Room Press project. Read More ›

The Origin of Every Moment Holy

By Doug McKelvey

Hutchmoot 2015 did not pass for me without effect.

More than a year later those changes are still evident.

It was during those four days that my vision for artmaking came into sharper focus Read More ›