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Dark Night of the Soul | Video Podcast with Steve Bell and Dr Bruce Hindmarsh

Join Steve Bell and Dr Bruce Hindmarsh for a video-podcast discussion of St. John of the Cross and Steve’s song “Dark Night of the Soul.”
St. John of the Cross (1542-1591)

Last week I released a simple lyric video of my song Dark Night of the Soul to my YouTube channel. It’s an older song and so I didn’t expect a lot of response to the release, but quite a few of you watched it, and many sent me personal notes which suggest that the song resonates out there still.

It still resonates for me too. I hadn’t thought about the song for a while, but while re-recording the vocal for the video, the song grabbed me in a way I wasn’t expecting and I found myself scurrying to my books to read the St. John of the Cross’ 16th-century poem and commentary that inspired my song. While reading the poem and commentary I suddenly felt the urge to call up my old friend Dr Bruce Hindmarsh who has studied and taught on both the poem and the commentary at Regent College in Vancouver. I knew he would be able to take me deeper into St. John’s life and legacy. And I also thought that several of you may be interested as well… so I recorded the zoom call and you are welcome to listen in:

Click above to join Bruce and I.

If you want to familiarize yourself with the song before watching the conversation above, click below:

If you found this post to be meaningful, perhaps you’d like to help share the costs of this work. Click below to make a small contribution. Thanks! – Steve

NOTE: If you enjoyed the podcast, please leave a message below. I’d be happy to do more if there’s an appetite for such things. 🙂


  1. Cathy

    Steve I loved the new video of that beautiful song.
    And also your conversation with Dr. Hindmarsh , learned a lot about St John of the Cross,had know no idea he had such a difficult life, being Catholic I was fascinated.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Cathy Hewson

  2. Jim Lyster

    Thanks for this, Steve. I’ve enjoyed listening to Dark Night of the Soul since it was first released, but your new presentation adds to my enjoyment. I really appreciated Bruce’s insights into St John of the Cross. Looking forward to your next release.

  3. Jack Heppner

    Steve: I was really moved by your dialogue with Your guest from Rgent. Reminds me of the time I spent at Regent in 91/92 and took a course with James Houston on prayer. He introduced us to some of the mystics. The older I get the more I appreciate their insights. I have been an academic most of my life but realize more and more how little I know. I attend Seeds Church in Altona and the spiritual journey with Ted and Darlene Enns-Dyck is such a wonderful journey! Your presentation of the song is so powerful. I am trying to move ever more into a contemplative world but I got started too late it seems. I am 74 and feel I am just a beginner. But Rohr says that is a good place to be.

  4. Selma Pauls

    I had just finished listening on line to two men share their recent experiences of imprisonment. This was sponsored by Voice of the Martyrs. Then I heard the story of how St. John of the Cross almost wasted away in prison. All of these suffered for Christ’s sake, not for wrongs they had committed. In this day and age, more than ever, we need to immerse ourselves in knowing these stories. The struggle to keep the faith in the midst of persecution and the power of God to manifest His glory in the midst of “the dark night of the soul.” Very powerful, thanks for that, Steve.

  5. Lyndsay Gingerich

    Thank you for sharing this conversation. I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially hearing the history. I would be interested in hearing more in this format with a piece of your music.

  6. Jacquie Loates

    I was given the promotional CD with this song on it. I listened to it on the way to a Brad Jersak retreat. It was a pivot point in my life transitioning from healing from the damage of domestic violence into helping others escape.
    I became a Christian 3 years into the domestic violence and remained another 28 years. Your song Dark Night of the Soul left me awestruck because every line spoke of my escape into the arms of the Holy Spirit.
    I was in solitary confinement in a sense for those 28 years because I could not attend church and there was no one to talk to of this overwhelming love of God especially the Holy Spirit … until I took a chance … “Oh happy chance.” “Through the darkest night … a house wrapped in sleep” I left behind the treasures, a big beautiful house, a new truck, yet the Holy Spirit clothed me with Lillies. “And there with my Love I rested … wounded by loves caresses.” At last I rested in the arms of my Love, at last I was free to gloriously worship unhindered.
    (The wounds of DV are now a salve for others in my role as a mental health counsellor)

  7. James Sloots

    Thank you so much for sharing your time with Bruce. As you pointed out this comes at a time when so many of us are coming to grips with the trauma of COVID, Trumpism (nativism) and authoritarian institutions.
    This interview will certainly assist us in our journey to better discern/distill a path forward; a journey that is grounded in a better asceticism, one that “extends availability” for the higher good, energized by love and joy.
    Please continue this good work of flourishing Steve. I find it so cool that these earlier works become your mentor too. Pure gift.

  8. Lise Struthers

    Thank you for this intimate and illuminating conversation. It felt like being in the room with caring friends. The story behind the song is powerful. And the song was so artfully and beautifully presented! Thank you. I was teary through the whole video. I enjoyed what Bruce added to my own understanding. My beloved husband died without warning of coronary artery disease two years ago. The second year of widowhood has been harder than the first, with deepening sorrow, and imposed solitary life due to the pandemic, I have found this past winter has been for me a dark night of the soul. I read “The Impact of God” by Fr. Iain Matthew and “Dark Night of the Soul, St. John of the Cross” by Mirabia Starr and both of these helped me relax, rest, and trust the process of this harrowing experience of the dark night. Thank you for putting this video and your song into the world. We need to provide this to people in such a place that they too can open to the dark night and not allow fear and pain to twist and interfere with the Lord’s good work. Trinity bless and keep you.

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