Book Review: Adorning the Dark

Book Review: Adorning the Dark

About the Book:

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 work
  • serving the audience
  • selectivity
  • discernment
  • discipline
  • and 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 the 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.

My Thoughts: GET THIS BOOK

Honestly, I had pre-ordered a copy before I had an invitation to review this book and I want to buy copies for all my friends. This is a beautiful book on life and beauty and community and the creative process.

I’m not a songwriter or an author. I’m a visual artist who loves beauty and art and adorning the dark. And this book is entirely relatable to me.

I have been moved by the discussions of place-making (even as I continue to wrestle with the transient life of “sojourner” that God has called me to). I have journaled chapters about what it looks like to root myself in the soil of the kingdom and in the uncertain spaces of rented flats. I wept over the beauty of a life that wants to declare the dominion of God to every place within its reach and I spent a whole week re-reading just one paragraph. This book has sparked so many thoughts!

I’m reading this book slowly and I have no qualms about reviewing a book I haven’t quite finished, because the portion I have read has been filled with seeds of beauty planted in the soil of my heart. This is not a book to be rushed, nor is it a book to be shuffled off to a specific group of artists. This book is beautiful and I think it has worth for every reader and especially for those who have chosen a Creative vocation.

I bought the book first, but I also got a free copy for review. All my opinions are my own.

And if I haven’t convinced you to buy the book yet, here is a fabulous interview by The Cultivating Project that you should read.

Link to Interview

That anyone at all in the world would set their sad heart and tired hands to working beauty out of chaos is a monument to Grace. It reminds us of light and high beauty, and it laments the world’s great sorrow. It gives the heart language to rejoice and language to mourn.

Creation groans like a woman in labor? Even so. And we know every birth is a tight-wound cord of fear and joy, pain and pleasure, striving and surcease. Let those who can, tell that story. Let those in Christ whose hands paint worlds, whose tongues limn loveliness, whose ears hear astral strains–let them make, and make, and make. And let the made things adorn the dark and proclaim the coming Kingdom till the King himself is come.

Andrew Peterson – Adorning the Dark: An Artist’s Benediction