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Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making

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4.65  ·  Rating details ·  667 ratings  ·  171 reviews
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
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by B Books (first published October 2019)
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Average rating 4.65  · 
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Cindy Rollins
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
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
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Kyle Rapinchuk
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jamie
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed listening to every minute of this book. It’s such a personal and honest book.

Do yourself a favor and get it on Audible. There is beautiful acoustic guitar music in between each chapter and Andrew Peterson plays the songs that are sprinkled throughout the book.
Ivan
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
For decades now, Andrew Peterson has combined the rare ability to write moving music that is at once thoroughly steeped in Scripture, personally honest with the weakness and sin that plague us all, and in awe of the gift we have in Christ. I can't listen to Peterson's music and not be freshly amazed that Jesus loves me—that even amid suffering, doubt, and sin, I'm part of a redeemed people who belong to him by faith, and he we will bring us home. I eagerly awaited his first foray into ...more
Bryn
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting, honest exploration of the journey and processes of one of the most revered song/story writers of our time.
raffaela
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Oftentimes in the daily grind of life, I forget why I'm doing what I'm doing when it comes to my creative work (mainly writing, DnD DMing, and sewing). At worst this means my motivation for it tends to leak, but usually it just means that I lose perspective of how it fits into my overall life as a Christian. This book helped me to remember that, and I'm especially grateful that I read it at this time of the year, just when I'm looking forward to next year. It's definitely a book that I really ...more
Reagan
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
Yolanda Smith
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So much to love about this book. Andrew Peterson gives us insight into his creative process, a bit of memoir throughout his career, and advice and encouragement for our own creative journey. The book was even more special because I got to see the twentieth anniversary Behold the Lamb of God concert in the middle of my reading. What a beautiful story and phenomenal presentation of the gospel.
Laura
Dec 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Andrew Peterson is generous enough to tell his story in Adorning the Dark. This book is mostly for fans of Andrew Peterson himself, who will enjoy his honesty about the songwriting process and the life he's built for himself outside of Nashville. He has some lovely insights about creating art in community and I enjoyed this read, I just don't think there is much in here that was new for me (after reading quite a bit in this particular lane already). If this is your first entry point into the ...more
David  Schroeder
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Justin Wiggins
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This evening I finished reading the writer and musician Andrew Peterson's powerful book Adorning the Dark Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making.
This book was very honest, funny, challenging, encouraging, spiritually nourishing, and deeply moving. I really appreciate how in it Peterson captures what it means to be a disciplined artists, how faith, daily life, and art all correlate, the false dichotomy of a sacred vs. secular either/ or, how important community is, and how he
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Ben Palpant
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Christine Eaton
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are at all creative (trust me, you are because you've been created by a Creative God) then you should read this. So yes, everyone should read this. Andrew is honest and shares stories of his struggles trying to make music and stories, but he is also encouraging.

Here's an example,

"I am convinced that poets are toddlers in a cathedral, slobbering on wooden blocks and piling them up in the light of the stained glass. We can hardly make anything beautiful if it wasn't beautiful in the first
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joel melton
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
the ingredients which made up the feast of this book.
- a healthy dose of textbook. so many lessons which beckoned my application. inspiring? check!
- a heaping scoop of story. the kind which warms your insides and leaves your tongue thirsty for more.
- a dollop of mentorship. for andrew felt like talking to that old guy at church with all the mind-blowing stories and all the needed wisdom.
- and a whole lot of conversation. i didn't read the book as much as i listened to it. i nodded in agreement,
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Amy
Nov 20, 2019 rated it liked it
My favorite part of this was how well Mr. Peterson conveyed the sheer insecurity and terror an artist can feel about their work. And how it's tied to our personhood. I also loved the pops of humor. Overall, a quick, inspiring read.
Abby Ophus
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Sometimes a book finds you when you need it. There are so many good things about this one, but I won’t spoil it for you. Just go read it.
Ginger
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tbg
I’ve remarked before that Andrew Peterson’s music makes me homesick in the best possible way. This is his story that explains why. I loved hearing the parts about the genesis of his career and the Square Peg Alliance (because I attended Union University, where he played one of his very first shows, I found out I had unknowingly been there quite early on, which was a treat I didn’t know at the time).

AP is so generous. I’m not a “creative” (and you’ll learn why he hates that term). Every year I’ve
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Charity Craig
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A work of art about making art. This is the Andrew Peterson we've all wanted to know better after listening to his music and reading his books and posts. This book is as much memoir as it is practical guide, which is as it should be for a man whose led a several-decades-long creative life--inspiring us and glorifying God.
Shelley
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
I came to appreciate Andrew Peterson through reading his Wingfeather Saga, a quartet of fantasy novels featuring a spirited trio of siblings who discover their family’s true identity while reclaiming their homeland from a race of evil, colonizing lizard-men. My kids adore the novels for their action, humor, and pathos. I’ve been reading the quartet aloud to them for the better part of a year and have come to expect a mini battle each night when I close the book at bedtime. (Copping a ‘tude is ...more
Allison
More than a memoir, more than a "how-to" book for writing a novel or songwriting, Andrew's first non-fiction book is a clarion call to create in our lives honesty and truth and beauty. Whether it be through making a delicious meal, sculpting a marble bust, writing a song, teaching a child to read, penning the next great American novel, or decorating a home so that is is lovely and welcoming, we are all called to create.

So much of this book --though it is Andrew's story--felt like it was my
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Monica
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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Matt Pitts
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have loved Andrew Peterson's music for some time, been to many of his concerts, and enjoyed his Wingfeather Saga. So I knew I was going to enjoy this book. What I didn't know is how much it would be like his music: honest, personal yet pointing to the talents of others, moving, stirring, hopeful, and beautiful. You definitely don't need to be a songwriter for you heart to be stirred and helped by this book.
Erin
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of those books you finish and close the back cover and weep both for joy and sorrow. Andrew Peterson does a remarkable job writing a personal memoire alongside a “how to” for writing. Loved every chapter, but particularly the end. I won’t spoil it for you. Just pick it up and finish saying, “Come, Lord Jesus, come”.....for heaven awaits those found in Christ.
Drake
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Probably the most enjoyable book I've read this year. In addition to being a gifted storyteller, Peterson is also extremely insightful on the subject of Christian art and creativity. The wit, humility, and wisdom on every page was wonderful.
Christine Kindberg
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful, beautiful, and inspiring, this provided fresh wind by reminding me of the importance and purpose of creative endeavors. It felt like Walking on Water (which the author references), but this might be a little easier to read. I enjoyed it immensely!
Abby Jones
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I truly wanted to adore this book with all my heart, and there are some beautiful, beautiful moments, some good and honest moments about writing, storytelling, songwriting. There are moments in this book that I'm very thankful for... but his theology is way off point and honestly dangerous. Art isn't God speaking to you. The Scriptures are. Many times he came close to basically treating art as a means of grace. It isn't. As a writer who doesn't really fit in Christian writing circles and doesn't ...more
Noah
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reads like an autobiography of Andrew Peterson, but with an emphasis on content creation. As a preacher the application is very practical.
Samson
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
beautiful storytelling, moving, simply great.
Elijah
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jen H
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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1,426 followers
Hey, folks. If you're just discovering me or any of my work, it can be a little confusing because there are several facets to it. Here’s the rundown:

• I write songs. I also record them to these cool things called CDs and put on concerts around the country. (And beyond! To my great delight, I get to play in Europe every year or so.)

• I write books. I’ve written a four-part fantasy series for young
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“See how the questions of career choices and demo CDs and relocating diminish in the light of God's Kingdom?
Sail by the stars, not the flotsam.”
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“O God," you pray, "I'm so small and the universe is so big. What can I possibly say? What can I add to this explosion of glory? My mind is slow and unsteady, my heart is twisted and tired, my hands are smudged with sin. I have nothing—nothing—to offer."
Write about that.
"What do you mean?"
Write about your smallness. Write about your sin, your heart, your inability to say anything worth saying. Watch what happens.
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