Adorning the Dark
Making something beautiful in a broken world can be harrowing work, and it can’t be done alone.   Over the last twenty years, Andrew Peterson has performed thousands of concerts, published four novels, released ten albums, taught college and seminary classes on writing, founded a nonprofit ministry for Christians in the arts, and executive-produced a film—all in a belief that God calls us to proclaim the gospel and the coming kingdom using whatever gifts are at our disposal. He’s stumbled along the way, made mistake after mistake, and yet has continually encountered the grace of God through an encouraging family, a Christ-centered community of artists in the church, and the power of truth, beauty, and goodness in Scripture and the arts.   While there are many books about writing, none deal first-hand with the intersection of songwriting, storytelling, and vocation, along with nuts-and-bolts exploration of the great mystery of creativity. In Adorning the Dark, Andrew describes six principles for the writing life:  serving the workserving the audienceselectivitydiscernmentdisciplineand community  Through stories from his own journey, Andrew shows how these principles are not merely helpful for writers and artists, but for anyone interested in imitating way the Creator interacts with his creation.   This book is both a memoir of Andrew’s journey and a handbook for artists, written in the hope that his story will provide encouragement to others stumbling along in pursuit of a calling to adorn the dark with the light of Christ.  

Adorning the Dark Details

TitleAdorning the Dark
Author
ReleaseOct 15th, 2019
PublisherB Books
ISBN-139781535949026
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Language, Writing, Christian, Christian Living, Religion, Christianity, Autobiography, Memoir, Theology, Faith, Biography Memoir, Art

Adorning the Dark Review

  • Cindy Rollins
    January 1, 1970
    I am always a bit sceptical about these sorts of books. I generally like to read them after the author has died :) I have not been all that familiar with Andrew Peterson's works either. I had heard a few songs and my son Andrew loved his Wingfeather Saga very much. Even so this popped up on my radar and I decided to press "buy now." What a delightful surprise. I so related to almost every word out of his mouth from the angst of knowing you should not be writing anything to the demand of your I am always a bit sceptical about these sorts of books. I generally like to read them after the author has died :) I have not been all that familiar with Andrew Peterson's works either. I had heard a few songs and my son Andrew loved his Wingfeather Saga very much. Even so this popped up on my radar and I decided to press "buy now." What a delightful surprise. I so related to almost every word out of his mouth from the angst of knowing you should not be writing anything to the demand of your soul that you write. Andrew captured the craft of crafting in a humble and good way. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and telling "Alexis" to play the songs he referred to while I read.
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  • Kyle Rapinchuk
    January 1, 1970
    I can’t recall the first time I heard the name Andrew Peterson. I’m pretty sure it was from my friends Rusty and Sara Osborne who were already huge fans of his music and fantasy books. It was some time later before I ever listened to one of his songs. I didn’t like it. (Sorry Andrew, if I ever get the honor of meeting you, please don’t hold that moment against me). It was a while before I listened to Andrew Peterson again, and it was an altogether different experience. His voice became more I can’t recall the first time I heard the name Andrew Peterson. I’m pretty sure it was from my friends Rusty and Sara Osborne who were already huge fans of his music and fantasy books. It was some time later before I ever listened to one of his songs. I didn’t like it. (Sorry Andrew, if I ever get the honor of meeting you, please don’t hold that moment against me). It was a while before I listened to Andrew Peterson again, and it was an altogether different experience. His voice became more inviting, more sincere, more pleasant with every verse, with each new song. I found, moreover, that his lyrics were some of the most thoughtful, most poetic, and most beautiful words I had heard in my life. After a lengthy repeat cycle of his Resurrection Letters: Prologue, Resurrection Letters: Vol. 1, and Resurrection Letters: Vol. 2 this spring, I finally started moving on to some of his other music, and I’m hooked. I bought the Wingfeather Saga for my children and am preparing to read it soon. And last Friday I received his newest book, Adorning the Dark. I finished it on Saturday because I simply didn’t want to stop reading it. Much like Peterson’s music, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book. The subtitle, “Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making,” seemed an awfully big goal for a short book. Likewise, the Amazon summary had a significant emphasis on the writing process, which although fitting under the category of “the Mystery of Making,” nevertheless increased both my interest and my skepticism that someone could pull off so much in such a short span of pages. I was wrong. Again. Perhaps I should have expected this success from one who can pack so much truth, goodness, and beauty into a three-minute song. Moreover, when I began reading the book, I found that Peterson also tells a lot of personal stories as a way of elucidating his points. I found his transparent, sincere, and humble approach both helpful and inspiring. My short review is that writers of all kinds (not just songwriters) and Christians with all kinds of gifts (not just writers) should read this book, as it brings valuable insight into the Christian life, the human condition, the value of community, and the beauty and power of words. My long review, well, I don’t really want to write that one. It couldn’t do this book justice anyway. So instead, here’s my “medium-length” review, and in the style of Peterson’s book, it’s more personal than it is academic (hence my intentional use of contractions, which I normally loathe). Peterson’s book was the exact book I needed at the exact time in my life that I needed it. God often does these kinds of things. With my ever-growing reading list, I often really don’t know why I pick up a certain book and not another to read. Sometimes it’s perhaps coincidence, but I have no doubt that this time it was Providence. God knew I needed this book at this time. Of the many valuable insights in this book, a couple stand out as most notable, primarily because the margin of my book reads, “Wow! I needed to hear this!” and “I needed to hear this, too!” First, Peterson writes: “Wrench your heart away from all the things you think you need for your supposed financial security, your social status. Set fire to your expectations, your rights, and even your dreams. When all that is gone, it will be clear that the only thing you ever really had was this wild and Holy Spirit that whirls about inside you, urging you to follow where his wind blows” (2-3). I find myself in a difficult stage of life, and my wife and I have been deeply, frequently, and fervently praying for the Lord’s guidance. My own fear is that He has answered time and again, but my own fear of financial security has deafened my ears to His voice. As I read Peterson’s word, tears filled my eyes as I asked God again to speak, and I’m starting to hear whispers. Second, Peterson writes: “You can’t blame your equipment. You can’t blame your lack of time. You can’t blame your upbringing. Either you’re willing to steward the gift God gave you by stepping into the ring and fighting for it, or you spend your life in training, cashing in excuse after excuse until there’s no time left, no fight left, no song, no story” (125). Conviction isn’t a strong enough word for my feelings in this respect. My lack of time has been a constant excuse to hide the gifts God has given me under a basket and shove it under a bed. I won’t do it any longer. I’m ready to fight. I ready to get out of training and into the game. I ready for the story to get out of my head and onto the page. And I have Andrew Peterson to thank for that. So thank you, Andrew. To the rest of my readers, go buy and read his book, then please share your thoughts in the comments section or on The Classical Thistle Facebook page (website I run where I first published this review). I would love to dialogue about his book.
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  • Reagan
    January 1, 1970
    This book is about how sorrow and joy are intertwined; so are hard work and harder faith; so are homesickness and belonging. Read this book if you want your laughter to turn into tears, and tears to laughter. Read this book, and plant berries.
  • Bryn
    January 1, 1970
    An interesting, honest exploration of the journey and processes of one of the most revered song/story writers of our time.
  • Ivan
    January 1, 1970
    A delightful and deeply personal book from an artist I’ve long appreciated.
  • Ben Palpant
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a pure pleasure to read. It's a casual stroll through Peterson's life, exploring the why and the how of creativity along the way. The underlying premise of the book is that creativity is an act of worship. "Since we were made to glorify God, worship happens when someone is doing exactly what he or she was made to do." In other words, our creative work is a doorway through which an audience walks and encounters whatever or whomever we worship. Peterson is a humble guide which makes This book was a pure pleasure to read. It's a casual stroll through Peterson's life, exploring the why and the how of creativity along the way. The underlying premise of the book is that creativity is an act of worship. "Since we were made to glorify God, worship happens when someone is doing exactly what he or she was made to do." In other words, our creative work is a doorway through which an audience walks and encounters whatever or whomever we worship. Peterson is a humble guide which makes his wisdom all the easier to swallow. I've underlined far too much in this book, but I'm convinced that it will encourage and direct young artists while reminding veterans of their first love. Like all of his music, this book will resonate with those who feel an ache for home that this life can never satisfy. "We carry with us a quiet hollow in the heart, an unsung bell that waits to sound with the final note of the reappearing of the Lamb of God."
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  • David Schroeder
    January 1, 1970
    Rarely does a book serve as beautiful writing as well as a practical guide to accessing the creative person God has intended you to be. Andrew Peterson has done it. This has been an impactful book to help me in my times of being stuck creatively. It is helping me to let go and allow God to work through the ideas He has given me. For those who read "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield, this books picks up on where and what this "Resistance" is in our lives and helps us practically in how to Rarely does a book serve as beautiful writing as well as a practical guide to accessing the creative person God has intended you to be. Andrew Peterson has done it. This has been an impactful book to help me in my times of being stuck creatively. It is helping me to let go and allow God to work through the ideas He has given me. For those who read "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield, this books picks up on where and what this "Resistance" is in our lives and helps us practically in how to tackle it. It is not a book merely for the Andrew Peterson fan but it should sit on your shelf accessible at any moment with "On Reading Well" by Karen Swallow Prior, "On Writing" by Stephen King, "STORY" by Robert McKee, and "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield.
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  • Monica
    January 1, 1970
    Writing a story, a poem or a song is hard work. Yes, we may feel called to do one or more of those things but it is still work to answer that call. Andrew Peterson in Adorning the Dark presses in to the creative process and shares some of his insights and his personal life.Adorning the Dark is part memoir and part encouragement and invitation to the creative process for all of us. He tells about how he has struggled to write songs and music and poetry and even to creative beautiful gardens on Writing a story, a poem or a song is hard work. Yes, we may feel called to do one or more of those things but it is still work to answer that call. Andrew Peterson in Adorning the Dark presses in to the creative process and shares some of his insights and his personal life.Adorning the Dark is part memoir and part encouragement and invitation to the creative process for all of us. He tells about how he has struggled to write songs and music and poetry and even to creative beautiful gardens on his property. He pulls from musicians and writers in the past and present and shares advice and stories that leave you nodding, Um Hmm, yes, that is how it feels, at times.I would encourage anyone who is a writer or creator in some area to read Adorning the Dark. It is insightful and full of hope and beauty for those who wish to create. At the same time, he also tells it like it is and that it is work to create. As Peterson shares in this book, there are struggles and there are times you feel lost but God can use it all. In fact, Peterson encourages us to tell others in a way that is honest and down-to-earth and then we are certain to touch more lives than trying to put on airs. He writes from his heart and it is inspiring, encouraging and interesting to those of us wanting to write or create in some other fashion. I would encourage anyone to read Adorning the Dark with an interest in writing. While the whole book was good, the Afterword (Nuts and Bolts) section is worth the price of the book alone. If you are familiar with Andrew Peterson's music, books or poetry, it will likely be even that much better.I received Adorning The Dark from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
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  • Noah
    January 1, 1970
    Reads like an autobiography of Andrew Peterson, but with an emphasis on content creation. As a preacher the application is very practical.
  • Samson Kubicek
    January 1, 1970
    beautiful storytelling, moving, simply great.
  • Elijah
    January 1, 1970
    Not just because of the amazing cover, but because Andrew Peterson wrote one of my favorite series ever was the reason that I bought it before it even came out. I was not disappointed. I love and agree with so much of Peterson's philosophy on life and creativity that I just felt refreshed reading it. Each chapter was episodic and taught me something in itself, so that the whole book is just a wonderful take on creating with God. It felt a little rough around the edges, but I don't think that's a Not just because of the amazing cover, but because Andrew Peterson wrote one of my favorite series ever was the reason that I bought it before it even came out. I was not disappointed. I love and agree with so much of Peterson's philosophy on life and creativity that I just felt refreshed reading it. Each chapter was episodic and taught me something in itself, so that the whole book is just a wonderful take on creating with God. It felt a little rough around the edges, but I don't think that's a reason to knock any stars off. Peterson even said he likes to leave some drafts as they were purely written to preserve the atmosphere of sincerity that he felt in writing it. While I don't disagree, I think it could have used some touching up. Overall, just amazing, go buy it.
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  • David Jordan
    January 1, 1970
    Adorning the Dark is an Andrew Peterson memoir, and is certain to be a hit with fans of Andrew's music and books, especially if they want to know more of his story and the events that led him to where he is and helped him become the artist they know and love. But this is also a book about creativity, a handbook for singer/songwriters, authors, poets, and musicians. The author uses his life as the basis for helping his readers understand the joys, challenges, and hard work of creating and Adorning the Dark is an Andrew Peterson memoir, and is certain to be a hit with fans of Andrew's music and books, especially if they want to know more of his story and the events that led him to where he is and helped him become the artist they know and love. But this is also a book about creativity, a handbook for singer/songwriters, authors, poets, and musicians. The author uses his life as the basis for helping his readers understand the joys, challenges, and hard work of creating and sustaining a vocation in the performing arts.Andrew is a devout Christian, and he performs music of faith, usually for Christian audiences and often in churches or at religious events. Those readers with a particular interest in the Contemporary Christian Music scene of the last two or three decades will find much here to excite and entertain them, as the author narrates the highs and lows of a musical life lived in the interest of glorifying God in the name of Jesus Christ. Included in the narrative are stories and mentions of a lot of well-known (in Christian circles) musicians and writers and how they influenced and interacted with Andrew throughout his career. Fans of Christian musician Rich Mullins will be delighted to discover that Andrew Peterson might just be the world's most fervent devotee of the deceased artist's work. Mullins' influence and artistic output is mentioned in almost every chapter. When Andrew claims to have been deeply affected by Mullins' body of work, he isn't fooling around, and reminds us every chance he gets. (Side note: I had a friend twenty years ago who was almost as rabid in his adoration of Rich Mullins as Andrew Peterson is. My friend never listened to any other singer and talked endlessly about his musical idol. I wish my friend and this author could meet.) As a reader and music fan for whom Mr. Mullins appeal was decidedly less pronounced, I came closing to being disappointed with the continual references to him and his work.Andrew tells his own story well. He is a gifted writer, a good storyteller, and a talented musician. Personally, I was especially pleased to note that he and I had similar misgivings concerning the rise in popularity of worship music in the Christian radio world in the early 2000s, as it displaced so many talented singer/songwriters from the airwaves and charts. If you are a creative type who is interested in some practical advice from someone who has spent decades honing his craft, there is a lot of good content in this book related to creating music and to writing. I was reminded of books like The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard, A Poetry Handbook, by Mary Oliver, and Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. Andrew Peterson has added another title to the long list of creativity handbooks that are worth a look.Thank you to Netgalley and B&H Publishing Group for the electronic Advance Reader Copy I used to read this title.
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  • Daniel Ligon
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Peterson's book Adorning the Dark is not at all the kind of book that I normally read. I found it very enjoyable though; Peterson is a talented and transparent writer. I first heard of Andrew Peterson through his wonderful song "Is He Worthy?" and have listened to more of his music since then. I read the book simply because I recognized his name and wanted to hear more of his story. This book is part loose memoir and part semi-organized philosophizing on Christian artistry and creativity. Andrew Peterson's book Adorning the Dark is not at all the kind of book that I normally read. I found it very enjoyable though; Peterson is a talented and transparent writer. I first heard of Andrew Peterson through his wonderful song "Is He Worthy?" and have listened to more of his music since then. I read the book simply because I recognized his name and wanted to hear more of his story. This book is part loose memoir and part semi-organized philosophizing on Christian artistry and creativity. I missed a number of the references and connections in this book, and I would probably find it more practically helpful if I were a songwriter or author. That being said, it's still a fun book to read and I have no regrets that I picked it up.Peterson makes his case that all of us are called to create, that Christian creativity requires large doses of humility, service, and dependence upon God, and that we all create better as part of an encouraging community.If you're interested in Peterson's music, if you enjoy creating content, or if you just want to read an enjoyable, thought-provoking book, give this one a shot. I received a digital copy of this book for free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.
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  • Gabrielle Daigle
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully written, in the same kind of personal tone and authenticity that you’d expect from Andrew Peterson. I loved his discussion of art, writing, and being creative, but it was the memoir element of this book that I found myself enjoying most of all. I bought my first AP album somewhere around 2000 or so, as a college kid (note that it wasn’t a Napster download, as he discusses in the book). Anyway, as a longtime fan, I loved reading about the ups and downs of his career and how Christ was Beautifully written, in the same kind of personal tone and authenticity that you’d expect from Andrew Peterson. I loved his discussion of art, writing, and being creative, but it was the memoir element of this book that I found myself enjoying most of all. I bought my first AP album somewhere around 2000 or so, as a college kid (note that it wasn’t a Napster download, as he discusses in the book). Anyway, as a longtime fan, I loved reading about the ups and downs of his career and how Christ was glorified in every bit of it. I could not keep up with his ongoing book recommendations—I kept adding them to my Goodreads only to turn the page and find more books quoted and recommended! Imagine my delight to find an entire book list at the end of the book. Good books nearly always inspire me to read more good books, and this one is no different.
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  • Jen H.
    January 1, 1970
    This book is an excellent book for any Christian who has a desire to create. Andrew is very forthcoming with his own story, and I found his examples of his own struggles encouraging. Creation takes work. Creation isn't easy. But creation is imperative because of whose we are.There were times throughout the book where I felt his prose fairly sang, as when he said,"Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor too, by making worlds and works of beauty that blanket the earth like flowers. Let your This book is an excellent book for any Christian who has a desire to create. Andrew is very forthcoming with his own story, and I found his examples of his own struggles encouraging. Creation takes work. Creation isn't easy. But creation is imperative because of whose we are.There were times throughout the book where I felt his prose fairly sang, as when he said,"Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor too, by making worlds and works of beauty that blanket the earth like flowers. Let your homesickness keep you always from spiritual slumber..."The grand narrative of this book is that we were all created to create because we have been created in the image of our Creator God, and we each have a true, beautiful and honest story to tell that is unique and needed in a world darkened by Satan and his lies.
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  • Olivia
    January 1, 1970
    Fresh Wind in My SailsI decided upon reading this book that I must meet Andrew Peterson some day. I’ve already listened to several of his lectures or whatever you wanna call them, and every time I replay them (and I’ve replayed them a lot) my heart burns. Something about the way he describes writing resonates very deeply with my soul and makes me want to blaze through every story that is still baking in my head. This book was no different. This book is like Andrew sitting down with you and Fresh Wind in My SailsI decided upon reading this book that I must meet Andrew Peterson some day. I’ve already listened to several of his lectures or whatever you wanna call them, and every time I replay them (and I’ve replayed them a lot) my heart burns. Something about the way he describes writing resonates very deeply with my soul and makes me want to blaze through every story that is still baking in my head. This book was no different. This book is like Andrew sitting down with you and sharing his story and the things he’s learned along the way. Different principles for what it means to tell the truth and tell it as beautifully as possible. Different thoughts on what it means to be creative in a sin-cursed world.Most of the book was not new to me because of what I’d heard and read from him already. What was new was the way he invited me as a reader into his story. This book felt very personal, almost like he’d written it to me. Especially when we described so many things he’d gone through and I was like, “THAT’S ME.” Haha. :)I’d recommend this book to those who want to think through what it is to adorn the dark with the light of Christ. But it will be a special treat to fans of Andrew Peterson, or to those who don’t just want advice, but want to also connect with the person that advice is coming from.
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  • Kara
    January 1, 1970
    This book started slowly for me and I found myself wondering if maybe Andrew should have stuck to fiction (since I loved the Wingfeather Saga). But, somewhere around chapter 5, he fell into a rhythm and I started to warm to it and ended up really enjoying it. I’m not a songwriter by any means, but there is creative application for any type. Also, there’s a book list at the end which is always a win for me.
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  • Joey Tomlinson
    January 1, 1970
    One of the most encouraging books I've read this year. Beautifully written, very honest, gritty, and practical.
  • Beth Anne
    January 1, 1970
    I will be thinking about this book for years to come.
  • Rick Lee Lee James
    January 1, 1970
    As good as you would expect from Andrew Peterson, but better.This amazing book is one part autobiography and another part advice for writers. There is a lot to think about in these pages and it’s hard to describe a book that is both simple while at the same time beautifully poetic. If you’re a songwriter, a singer, and author, a teacher, or a person who is interested doing anything creative in life, I recommend this book to you. It’s much less a how-to manual as it is a memoir from a fellow As good as you would expect from Andrew Peterson, but better.This amazing book is one part autobiography and another part advice for writers. There is a lot to think about in these pages and it’s hard to describe a book that is both simple while at the same time beautifully poetic. If you’re a songwriter, a singer, and author, a teacher, or a person who is interested doing anything creative in life, I recommend this book to you. It’s much less a how-to manual as it is a memoir from a fellow traveling companion.
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  • Conrade Yap
    January 1, 1970
    Seeking God in our lives is a daily practice of intentionality. Seeing God clearly comes about with an awareness that His presence is always with us. If we take our time and pay attention to the way others have done it, we would learn a great deal. The great song composer Bach is acutely aware of the presence of God as he writes the initials "S.D.G" (To God be the Glory) at the bottom of his manuscripts written for church. Eric Liddell runs for God and feels His pleasure. Instead of getting Seeking God in our lives is a daily practice of intentionality. Seeing God clearly comes about with an awareness that His presence is always with us. If we take our time and pay attention to the way others have done it, we would learn a great deal. The great song composer Bach is acutely aware of the presence of God as he writes the initials "S.D.G" (To God be the Glory) at the bottom of his manuscripts written for church. Eric Liddell runs for God and feels His pleasure. Instead of getting stuck with mere admiration for these spiritual giants, author Andrew Peterson boldly writes essays, music, and various thoughts to express his devotion to God. The title of this book is exactly about that. While initially, he may seem to be in the dark about what to write and how to go about adoring God, faith is essentially about taking the first steps to be creative. Don't let the ways of the world hem us into its mold. Instead, grow our relationship with the divine through a recognition of our identity in Him; our calling from Him; and our living for Him. Peterson shares details about how he writes music. Overcoming the writer's block is essentially about a battle of fear and a leap of faith. Writing a song is essentially telling a story. Putting songs together into an album strings together stories according to a certain theme or focus. Peterson recalls his first college album which he calls "Bible album." Incredibly, this album became a tour and more importantly providing him with a platform to connect community, family, and his devotion to God.Peterson shares about his creative moments through simple things. His Yamaha scooter became a way for him to venture into back roads and least populated areas of town; and to arrive at places where he could feel "wonderfully alone." Those were also times for him to seek God amid in the dark unexplored territories, both physically and metaphorically. In these moments, he seeks God through creation of words and song. Just write something. Don't wait for the perfect everything. Then he reminds us that art is not simply for "self-expression or self-indulgence." It is about being everything for our Creator. It is also an opportunity to die to self and to live for God. He shares about his longing for a sense of belonging after reading Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and CS Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. The place we are in is more meaningful within the context of a community. After completing a wall one spring, he wrote a sonnet of praise that comes from that experience. From imagination to discovery; reading Madeline L'Engle's Walking on Water to standing in front of an audience; Peterson weaves together an array of artistic expressions with thoughts on faith and spirituality. Thankfully, the author does not simply tells us to write anything down. He shows us the next thing to do: Selectivity. Not everything we write about how we feel or think will appeal to the masses. There is no point in trying to share something that would not interest the audience. Like plants, we need discernment to know when to prune them or when to let them grow wild. Like writing a sermon, we begin not with the syrup but with the sap. We need to boil it own and to hone down to the most salient points.My ThoughtsFirst rule of thumb in creativity: Humility. While there is a lot to learn about creativity and art from the author's musings, I applaud his humility to point us to other resources he deemed more beneficial. In doing so, he reminds us that creativity requires a heart of humility and openness to learn. In truth, many of our so-called creations are inspiration by other works of art. Whether it is a beautiful portrait or a melodious song, art often fits the "1% inspiration and 99% perspiration" maxim. Once an idea becomes a seed, the rest is the work of cultivating the idea into works of art. Learning from others could very well be that seed of inspiration. His reading list alone is a whole project by itself and could spawn many more creative projects.Second, art is more perspiration than perfection. One of my professors always say: "Good writing is re-writing." This more or less sums up the work of art. Whether it is music or essay, a book or a poem, if one is stuck on waiting for the most perfect word or tune, we might never create anything. Peterson teaches us well right from the start to remind us the importance of putting something down. Like a spark that gets the fire going, we all need to have something to create art. We need to beware of the temptation toward perfectionism which often delays or deny our creative opportunities. Perfectionism is often a self-deceiving target. So why wait for that to happen?Third, whatever art we create, we need a sense of direction. We need an art compass. Just like the Scriptures declare: "The heavens declare the glory of God." God created the heavens and the heavens declare the glory of God. Likewise, God created the earth and we are called to declare the praises of God in all the world. Peterson shows us the way to do so via art and creativity. Peterson concludes with the picture of what it means to be home. Home is where love is. Love is where God is. Art illuminates this search for home and for God.In summary, adorning the dark is about waiting for that inspirational moment in the midst of our ordinary encounters with things, people, and events around us. Once that happens, we adorn that spark with enthusiasm and diligence. As we do that, may we adore the God of light more each day through our creative works.Andrew Peterson is a singer, songwriter, author, filmmaker, and founder of "The Rabbit Room," a non-profit ministry dedicated to fostering spiritual formation and Christ-centered community through story, art, and music. The Rabbit Room is a "creative community" as well as a repository for art, music, spiritual resources, podcasts, book and music store, etc. Peterson has also written hundreds of songs and played at multiple concerts. This book is like his "love song" about his appreciation for God's love for him.Rating: 4 stars of 5.conradeThis book has been provided courtesy of B & H Publishing and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
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  • Bill Pence
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Peterson is a talented singer, songwriter and author. I heard parts of this book, which I couldn’t put down, and he refers to as a “barrage of thoughts and anecdotes” at his breakout sessions at the 2018 and 2019 Sing! Getty Worship Conference in Nashville. He writes that the book is a glimpse into his own faltering journey as a songwriter, storyteller, and Christian. He calls it a love song about the life that God has given him, and it’s one of my favorite books of the year. As you read Andrew Peterson is a talented singer, songwriter and author. I heard parts of this book, which I couldn’t put down, and he refers to as a “barrage of thoughts and anecdotes” at his breakout sessions at the 2018 and 2019 Sing! Getty Worship Conference in Nashville. He writes that the book is a glimpse into his own faltering journey as a songwriter, storyteller, and Christian. He calls it a love song about the life that God has given him, and it’s one of my favorite books of the year. As you read this book you feel like a friend is casually talking to you. The book includes biography - he refers a lot to failure, being a poor student and not applying himself, reading fantasy and science fiction, attending Bible College, being dropped by his record label, and getting a break by opening for the band Caedmon’s Call. He writes about the influence of Rich Mullins, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, the Rabbit Room community he is a part of, researching his family ancestry, the now 20 year Behold the Lamb of God tour, moving to a woodsy corner of Nashville which his wife and three children refer to as “the Warren” and where he built a stone wall, gardening, beekeeping, as well as the creative (songwriting, book writing, painting) process. He tells us that we are all creative and that there is a lot of similarity in process no matter what our discipline is. He references a number of books and includes them (and others), on a helpful “Reading List” included at the end of the book. I highlighted a number of passages as I read this book. Below are 15 of my favorite quotes: 1. That calling, as I understand it, is to use whatever gifts I’ve been given to tell the truth as beautifully as I can. 2. This is part of my calling—to make known the heart of God. 3. The best thing you can do is to keep your nose to the grindstone, to remember that it takes a lot of work to hone your gift into something useful, and that you have to learn to enjoy the work—especially the parts you don’t enjoy. Maybe that’s the answer to a successful career.4. Since we were made to glorify God, worship happens when someone is doing exactly what he or she was made to do.5. The Christian’s calling, in part, is to proclaim God’s dominion in every corner of the world—in every corner of our hearts, too.6. If you wait until the conditions are perfect, you’ll never write a thing.7. Once again, Jesus was right all along. We are most ourselves when we’re thinking least about ourselves. 8. Being a writer is more like being an architect or a soldier or a nurse than most people realize. It’s a craft that you’re constantly learning, a craft that is shaped by a bit of talent in submission to a great deal of work. 9. Serving the work doesn’t mean we don’t have an agenda, but that the agenda works in partnership with the wild, creative spirit—not as an overlord. Agenda is bad when it usurps the beauty. Christian art should strive for a marriage of the two. Christian art, then, might be defined as a work that is, like Christ himself, full of grace and truth. Where we go wrong is when we tilt the scales away from grace, or beauty, or excellence, as if truth were all that mattered.10. You have to remember that the God the song is about knows more than you do about songwriting. 11. The creative act is profoundly spiritual, and therefore profoundly mysterious.12. Selectivity means choosing what not to say. It means aiming at the bull’s-eye. It means making sure the song is about one specific thing. 13. If you want to be an artist, you have to cultivate artistic discernment. 14. Aesthetic discernment also drives you to work that much harder when you’re making your own art. 15. That’s community. They look you in the eye and remind you who you are in Christ. They reiterate your calling when you forget what it is. They step into the garden and help you weed it, help you to grow something beautiful.
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  • Vonda
    January 1, 1970
    I was giddy to read this book. The title alone piqued my interest. Adorning the dark is what we do in the deepest part of winter, illuminating the dark with Christmas lights. In the same way, we can illuminate the darkness spiritually. I recently read an interview in Christianity Today, where Andrew said, “As Christians we can either be afraid of the darkness or scatter stars across it.” This expresses perfectly what this book is about. I have recently been delving into writing and knew that I was giddy to read this book. The title alone piqued my interest. Adorning the dark is what we do in the deepest part of winter, illuminating the dark with Christmas lights. In the same way, we can illuminate the darkness spiritually. I recently read an interview in Christianity Today, where Andrew said, “As Christians we can either be afraid of the darkness or scatter stars across it.” This expresses perfectly what this book is about. I have recently been delving into writing and knew that Andrew Peterson would have something unique and interesting to say about creativity, writing, and art in general. I wasn’t wrong. I love that he doesn’t chase success, but chases the giver of all good things (even if one of his early songs says, “All I ever seem to chase is me.”)Key takeaways: 1. Everyone of us is creative.2. The beginner must stop reading about how to be creative and get to work. 3. “Think about the creative act as a kind of worship.” 4. “The Christian’s calling, in part, is to proclaim God’s dominion in every corner of the world—in every corner of our hearts, too.”5. Community is important. Friends will encourage you when you want to throw in the towel.Andrew and his friends prayed this beautiful prayer as they began work on a new record, “Jesus, you’re the source of beauty: help us make something beautiful; Jesus, you’re the Word that was with God in the beginning, the Word that made all creation: give us words and be with us in this beginning of this creation; Jesus, you’re the light of the world: light our way into this mystery; Jesus, you love perfectly and with perfect humility: let this imperfect music bear your perfect love to every ear that hears it.” This would be a beautiful way to begin work on any new project.My favorite quote from the book was this, “When you cast all mystery out the window because you want to make a point, you’re in essence declaring yourself the master and not the servant. Be humble. The creative act is profoundly spiritual, and therefore profoundly mysterious. It’s like in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when Indy says, “The penitent man shall pass,” and realizes at the last moment that if he doesn’t duck he’s going to lose his head, only in this case you won’t lose your head, you’ll lose the song. Bow to the Lord of music, ask him to help you make the song what it’s supposed to be—not what you want it to be. Drink from that well, then maybe you’ll have some water to give to the thirsty.”This book was so encouraging. In spite of being a beginner, I’m excited to keep creating. Even seasoned artists doubt themselves. So I’m in good company. You are in good company. .
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  • Journey FAITH
    January 1, 1970
    If you don’t know who Andrew Peterson is, go look him up, not only a book author (The Wingfeather Saga and a few others), but a talented song writer and singer (Go buy his album Behold the Lamb of God, I promise you will thank me). I have been reading his blog The Rabbit Room for a few years. I was excited to see him come out with this book, which is part memoir, but also is about writing, community, focusing on truth, beauty, and goodness (which is something we focus on in learning and why I If you don’t know who Andrew Peterson is, go look him up, not only a book author (The Wingfeather Saga and a few others), but a talented song writer and singer (Go buy his album Behold the Lamb of God, I promise you will thank me). I have been reading his blog The Rabbit Room for a few years. I was excited to see him come out with this book, which is part memoir, but also is about writing, community, focusing on truth, beauty, and goodness (which is something we focus on in learning and why I homeschool). Also, I just finished another book that shared about truth, beauty, and goodness, I see a theme here and the Lord getting my attention too! I find his writing encouraging, as he shares the good and the difficult in his journey as a Christian singer-song writer. So much of it I could relate to as a homeschooler and mother. He talks about being creative and there are many layers to this, not just artists. Here is one section worth sharing, though I have many other notes and highlights in my book. One I will keep to reread and shared. The Christian’s calling, in part, is to proclaim God’s dominion in every corner of the world – in every corner of our hearts, too. It isn’t that we’re fighting a battle in which we must win ground from the forces of evil; the ground is already won. Satan is just an outlaw. I have been to desecrated places, and have sensed a brooding darkness without knowing why. I have, at times, had to speak aloud what I believe to be true about God’s presence in and around me in order to silence the voices of fear that clamored in my head. Wrench your heart away from all the things you think you need for your supposed financial security, your social status. Set fire to your expectations, your rights, and even your dreams. When all that is gone, it will be clear that the only thing you ever really had was the wild and Holy Spirit that whirls about inside you, urging you to follow where his wind blows. Truth without beauty can be a weapon; beauty without truth can be spineless. We are most ourselves when we’re thinking least about ourselves. Sometimes you start with nothing and hope it all works out. Not sometimes – every time. All you really have is your willingness to fail, coupled with the mountain of evidence that the Maker has never left nor forsaken you. The point is to love where you are.
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  • Chris MacLeavy
    January 1, 1970
    Adorning the Dark isn’t like other books on writing. Peterson’s natural gift for storytelling translates his toolbox of tips into real-world application, as he shares his journey of releasing four novels and ten albums, making the book equal parts handbook and memoir.Peterson is quick to remind me that while we’re not all songwriters or novelists or painters, we’re all creative and can benefit from honing our craft, whatever God-glorifying work we put our hands to. Peterson encourages us to Adorning the Dark isn’t like other books on writing. Peterson’s natural gift for storytelling translates his toolbox of tips into real-world application, as he shares his journey of releasing four novels and ten albums, making the book equal parts handbook and memoir.Peterson is quick to remind me that while we’re not all songwriters or novelists or painters, we’re all creative and can benefit from honing our craft, whatever God-glorifying work we put our hands to. Peterson encourages us to surround ourselves with the right kind of people; those who will build us up while correcting us in love; those who get where we are and can see where we desire to go. Peterson shows how you will find a garden in which your gift can not only grow but be appropriately pruned and made to flourish.Peterson also writes of discernment regarding what art we consume. There’s plenty of bad art in the world, and Peterson reminds me that being a ‘movie buff’ or even a ‘wide reader’ sometimes is anything but a compliment because it can mean I’m willing to consume the junk food and wholesome food without any thought for the benefit (or lack thereof) to my body.Finally, in the afterword, Peterson offers several pithy pointers to aspiring creatives of all kinds. My favourite of these is about honesty, truth, and beauty; which he calls the trifecta of Christian art. Ironically (or perhaps not) this is exactly how Adorning the Dark could be summed up. Peterson is real in sharing his struggles, honest in his self-awareness, and presents the beauty of his all-sufficient Saviour in a way that continually pushes the spotlight away from himself and on to Christ.Adorning the Dark is an insightful, helpful resource wrapped up in an engaging story told by a master craftsman. The book can be read in a neat couple of hours, but the principles inside can be perfected over a lifetime.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    I felt lucky to receive a complimentary pre-release copy from B&H Publishing, and eagerly waited for it to arrive.I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but sometimes it's an invitation to the journey inside. Not only would I love to have a print of the cover art to hang on my wall, but this cover, in its beauty and care for detail, embodies the message of the book in a way I've rarely seen. (If you have a copy, take it into a dark room and see what happens.)And inside, well...* I felt lucky to receive a complimentary pre-release copy from B&H Publishing, and eagerly waited for it to arrive.I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but sometimes it's an invitation to the journey inside. Not only would I love to have a print of the cover art to hang on my wall, but this cover, in its beauty and care for detail, embodies the message of the book in a way I've rarely seen. (If you have a copy, take it into a dark room and see what happens.)And inside, well...* Andrew Peterson refreshed my sense of wonder. As a bookworm and a writer, I remembered the joyful power of writing, and how amazing it is that little people like me get to do it!*He reminded me of the way God rescued me, too, from self-consciousness.*He tells the best story of how gently and humorously we're bumped off our writer pedestals and find out it's much nicer that way.*He called me back to the discipline necessary in the artist's life.*He told the fascinating and completely unexpected tale of his journey into making and sharing art as part of a community.*He made me laugh. And even though I didn't think it was possible, he made me even more homesick for my family's homeland than I already am.Having reached the end of the book in just two days, I discovered that not just the cover, but the entire text is an invitation -- a doorway -- into the life of creativity, which is manifested in as many ways as there are human beings on earth.And somehow, I'm not exactly sure how, it helped vanquish the "stage fright" that's been plaguing me as a writer. I put down Adorning the Dark and picked up the project that I've been simultaneously fearing and longing for over the last months. -- and even years.
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Anything I say about Andrew Peterson's work is bound to fall woefully short of the praise it deserves. Andrew's voice and talents are of another age, and thus, I feel profoundly blessed that God has placed them in this one. His yearning to make beautiful things for God's glory speak to such deep places of my soul that it's hard to describe. And, simultaneously, he is humble and loves God and others with such joy and abandon. I'm so thankful for his work and for this book where he's written down Anything I say about Andrew Peterson's work is bound to fall woefully short of the praise it deserves. Andrew's voice and talents are of another age, and thus, I feel profoundly blessed that God has placed them in this one. His yearning to make beautiful things for God's glory speak to such deep places of my soul that it's hard to describe. And, simultaneously, he is humble and loves God and others with such joy and abandon. I'm so thankful for his work and for this book where he's written down so much of his journey. I will be referring to it often, I'm sure. "I want you, dear reader, to remember that one holy way of mending the world is to sing, to write, to paint, to weave new worlds. Because the seed of your feeble-yet-faithful work fell to the ground, died, and rose again, what Christ has done through you will call forth praise from lonesome travelers long after your name is forgotten. They will know someone lived and loved here."Whoever they were, they will think, they belonged to God. It's clear that they believed the stories of Jesus were true, and it gave them a hope that made their lives beautiful in ways that will unfold for ages among the linnea that shimmers in the moonlit woods."This is why the Enemy wants you to think you have no song to write, no story to tell, no painting to paint. He wants to quiet you. So sing. Let the Word by which the Creator made you fill your imagination, guide your pen, lead you from note to note until a melody is strung together like a glimmering constellation in the clear sky. Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor, too, by making worlds and works of beauty that blanket the earth like flowers." (Ch. 16, Home is Real)
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  • Bob Priest
    January 1, 1970
    This is a great book.!!! At first thought you may think this is for artistic, creative types. And you'd be right as well as very wrong. This is a book for everyone and anyone who creates, appreciates or is a wannabe like me searching for beauty and truth. Peterson does a great job encouraging us that we are all creative, and we are made in the image of a creator God.If you think this is for the religious, Christian world you'd be right and very wrong at the same time. Peterson is spot on when he This is a great book.!!! At first thought you may think this is for artistic, creative types. And you'd be right as well as very wrong. This is a book for everyone and anyone who creates, appreciates or is a wannabe like me searching for beauty and truth. Peterson does a great job encouraging us that we are all creative, and we are made in the image of a creator God.If you think this is for the religious, Christian world you'd be right and very wrong at the same time. Peterson is spot on when he says good non religious art beats bad religious art hands down. In fact, for the Christian artist, musician, writer, poet, accountant, pastor, blogger, etc. I think there is a challenge here to create the best, not the most popular or marketable art.This is not a how to book (although the last chapter of pointers is great). It is a look at Andrew Peterson's journey. Not just an autobiography but a stream of encouragement to keep going. Someone, somewhere, at sometime, needs to hear what you have to say, so say it. And after listening to quite a few of Andrew Peterson's recordings all the pieces fell into place. I have always loved his music, and now I can see the influence of Rich Mullins on his work, without being a Rich Mullins copy.If you appreciate honesty, truth, and beauty this book is for you. If you want to communicate honesty, truth and beauty this book is for you. If you have every enjoyed a song, book, painting, sculpture, a delicious meal or a sunset, this book is for you. And if you have never enjoyed any of those things this book is here to open you up to a whole new world.And thank you Andrew for reminding me that generic store bought chocolate chips cookies are ok now and then, but nothing beats fresh, warm, homemade toll house cookies.
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  • Krysten Hager
    January 1, 1970
    I love books on creativity and reading about artists reflecting on their work and craft, so I was eager to read this book. Andrew Peterson is a Christian songwriter, musician, and author and in the book he shares his beginnings in songwriting and the music industry. We see his thoughts on writing and creativity and he shares his inspirations and other books that helped him along his path such as Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. He talks not only about his I love books on creativity and reading about artists reflecting on their work and craft, so I was eager to read this book. Andrew Peterson is a Christian songwriter, musician, and author and in the book he shares his beginnings in songwriting and the music industry. We see his thoughts on writing and creativity and he shares his inspirations and other books that helped him along his path such as Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. He talks not only about his experiences getting started as a songwriter, but in touring, dealing with being dropped from his label, and using his music as a ministry.Some of the topics he covers are: serving the work, serving your audience, selectivity, discipline, discernment, how art nourishes community and vice versa. He shares advice for creatives, humbling experiences, and lists of books that will help the reader.I enjoyed his sharing his own experiences and how his faith pulled him through. I also liked that he included book suggestions as well as poetry that has inspired him. One part of the book that stood out was his sharing how other artists can inspire you to keep going. He cited C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as examples as Lewis encouraged Tolkien to keep writing his series when he started to doubt himself.I sometimes underline passages in books, but I rarely write in the margins and I found myself both underlining and jotting notes in the margin. This is definitely a book I will be reading again and again. I wish I could get every writer I know to read this book. This is a terrific book for anyone who is pursing the arts in any form.
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  • Caitlin Eha
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Every songwriter and writer—and really anyone who enjoys art in any way—needs to read Adorning the Dark. (And I say that as someone who doesn’t usually enjoy reading nonfiction.) Not only is there a wealth of great advice in its pages, but this book is extremely encouraging, as if Andrew Peterson sat down across the table from you to have a talk about creativity and to share some of his own experiences on the topic. Reading this book was like water to my weary writer soul. (Fun side note: I Wow. Every songwriter and writer—and really anyone who enjoys art in any way—needs to read Adorning the Dark. (And I say that as someone who doesn’t usually enjoy reading nonfiction.) Not only is there a wealth of great advice in its pages, but this book is extremely encouraging, as if Andrew Peterson sat down across the table from you to have a talk about creativity and to share some of his own experiences on the topic. Reading this book was like water to my weary writer soul. (Fun side note: I already thought the cover was great, but I accidentally discovered a cool feature last night. The moon symbol on the front and spine of the cover actually glow in the dark!! Talk about a nice touch.)When I originally read the back cover description and got to the part about the “six principles,” I worried that the book might be preachy, or yet another one of those “you must follow these steps to be a good artist.” Nothing could be further from reality. Each chapter in this book unfolds so organically that I only became consciously aware of being taught these “six principles” because they’re the themes for some chapters. I can’t stress this enough: read this book. It’s beautiful, encouraging, and honest. Your art-loving soul will be uplifted with each page as you learn (and consider for yourself) what it means to follow God and create art in this world.
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