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Summary

Making something beautiful in a broken world can be harrowing work, and it can’t be done alone.

Over the last 20 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 firsthand 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
  • 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.

©2019 B&H Publishing Group (P)2019 B&H Publishing Group

What listeners say about Adorning the Dark

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Creative beauty!

This book has resonated with me on a deep level. In a short book, Peterson has managed to articulate something so beautiful and profound. I’ve read a lot on creativity, both Christian and not, and this has uniquely bridged the gap between fantasy and the beauty of what God’s doing in our world.
I finished it a few days ago and I’m still thinking about it almost constantly!
Thank you for this book!

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Excellent thought provoking book, well narrated

I had already read the book in paperback but wanted something to listen to while working from home. I'd tried other audiobooks and most of them the narration is so wooden that I find them very difficult to listen to. It was great to listen to this narrated by the author, read in a natural way - and as a bonus where songs are quoted in the book, on this they are sung.

As for the content, it is really challenging and inspiring for any Christian involved in any sort of creative work - professionally, as a hobby, as a friend of someone. It is not an academic text: he writes as a storyteller - telling stories and painting pictures with his words. Primarily he is speaking from his experience and the lessons he has learnt.

The challenge is then how to apply some of the lessons he has learnt in his career as a singer/songwriter/author/etc. and apply them in our own different lives.

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a wonderful wayside Inn

Lovely narration of a moving and soul-enriching book. So valuable for artists who love Jesus and who are putting together the pieces of themselves and their work, whether for the first time, mid-work or as an encouragement to pick up the pen (or brush etc) again. A cracking listen.

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  • Matthew Wang
  • 06-01-20

Humble Wisdom

Andrews thoughts about songwriting and creative work for the Kingdom are full of humble wisdom. It's also a special pleasure hearing his warm, friendly voice reading his own words with all the inflection and laughter you would feel from the words on the page. Icing on the cake is having several songs sung as well.

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  • April Kyle
  • 27-04-20

Sacred.

Tremendously honest. I’m moved and stirred.
Andrew was the best narrator. Applicable even if you’re not a writer, nor consider yourself an artist.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Marshall Coleman
  • 12-01-20

Read This

If you wish to do anything to shine the Light that’s been bestowed upon you, read this book and then share it!

3 people found this helpful

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  • E.F.B.
  • 29-05-21

I've found a kindred spirit

I didn't previously know much about Andrew Peterson. His songs have crossed my path here and there, ("Dancing in the Minefields" is a personal favorite) but not as much as some other Christian artists. But as a writer myself, I love a good book about the craft and about creativity as a whole and had heard many good things about this one. I couldn't get a physical copy just yet, but was so curious I ended up using my monthly Audible credit on the audio version, and I'm so, so, SO glad that I did. Peterson's love of Christ shines through every chapter. I enjoyed learning about him as a person, but also learning from his experience and wisdom. So much of this book had me nodding along realizing I'd found a kindred spirit. I especially appreciated how he addressed the desire to serve God in some way with your talents and that good art by Christians doesn't necessarily have to be explicitly Christian in theme to serve God's kingdom or reach people in a positive way. (But it also can be Christian in theme and both types of art have their place.) The things he said about agenda vs. message and putting quality and beauty of art over pushing an agenda was especially salient as I'm sure we've all read, watched, or listened to some form of art that had a blatant agenda and, whether we agreed with the agenda or not, we could acknowledge that the quality of the art went completely by the wayside because of it.

I loved that he addressed failure, and when friends and family don't read/listen to/watch your work, and when it feels like the beauty you're trying to capture in story or song is always behind the veil, just beyond your reach. There were just so, so many gold nuggets like that in this book, I can't even list them all, but it was all so encouraging and inspiring to me.

His personal stories about life and family also had me smiling (and sometimes crying) as well as they helped me see that he knows about the things he's talking about because he's experienced them first hand and shares them unflinchingly, mistakes and all.

Something I loved on the technical side of the audiobook is that several times when he references one of his own songs, he actually stops and sings that song so you more fully appreciate everything he's just said about the inspiration for it and how lyrics and music all came together. While I definitely want to get my hands on a physical copy of this book so I can more easily find and reread all those gold nugget passages, I can see myself re-listening to the audiobook as well for those special additional touches.

In conclusion, this is one of the best and most relatable books about creativity and serving God through art that I've ever read and I know that I will return to it again and again when I need encouragement on the path of God's calling for my life. I wholeheartedly recommend it. Just go and read it now, please. 🙂

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  • David Helmer
  • 11-12-19

Adorning The Dark pays off right from the 1st page

There is so much real life information that is related to the experience of creating. The book was both inspiring and helpful to realize that great creators like Andrew Peterson struggle with the same things many of us do also. He provides the ingredients to help, understand, and punch through to finalize the creative process.

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  • LYNNE
  • 18-04-21

Thoughtful and honest

I have been a fan of Andrew Peterson for 20 years. I’ve listened to his music, read the Wingfeather Saga and also listened to the whole set on audible. That’s why I had to read Adorning the Dark. I wanted to know a little more about the mind behind “toothy cows” and the Sock Man. I was not disappointed. I found this work thoughtful, honest and even inspiring for any artist who wonders if they should carry on. I also appreciated his promotion and recommendation of authors, musicians, and song writers as I’m always looking for a good book to read and listening to music is the best way to calm this savage beast. “After that meal down at the mission, there is love.” ~Andrew Peterson~

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  • Nancy
  • 09-07-20

Encouragement for the creative in all of us

I loved listening to this book. The clips of mentioned music were a welcome gift.

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  • Jeslyn
  • 07-05-20

oh, just splendid

I found a kindered spirit in this book, he said so many things about art and life that I could never quite find the words for. His genuine temperament and love for God are what make this book an absolute treasure.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 16-12-21

Such a helpful book!

Such great information and inspiration. As usual, Andrew Peterson shares transparently from his heart. His honesty and practical tips have inspired me to finally start writing that book that's been swirling around in my head for years.

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  • bookjunkie
  • 23-11-21

So very inspiring!

Andrew Peterson, in his own delightful voice, reminds us once again why it is we live.