Book Review | Adorning the Dark

Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson was recommended to me by a friend. She recommended that I wait to read it until I had time to read it slowly and truly appreciate it for all it’s worth. And I’m so glad that I heeded her advice! I’m not a songwriter and I’ve never written a book…but I do know that as a Christian, I am called to create culture in the name of Christ. This book was good for my soul. I started reading it as the COVID-19 pandemic was just hitting the US and I found that the book pointed me to Jesus and helped my heart find peace in the midst of the craziness taking place on my newsfeed.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • “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.” Location: 351
  • Since we were made to glorify God, worship happens when someone is doing exactly what he or she was made to do. Location: 365
  • Psalm 16:6 says, “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” Location: 439
  • We need not look anywhere but to the eyes of our Savior for our true identity, an identity which is profoundly complex, unfathomable, deep as the sea, and yet can be boiled down to one little word: beloved. That’s it. And that’s why it’s so silly (and perilous) to use your gifting to clothe yourself with meaning. Those clothes will never quite fit. Location: 466
  • All you really have is your willingness to fail, coupled with the mountain of evidence that the Maker has never left nor forsaken you. Location: 634
  • We’re not invited into this because God needs us, but because he wants us. Location: 641
  • We’re invited to join with all nature in manifold witness to his great faithfulness—and since creation is going to declare it either way, we might as well jump in with our half-finished songs and join the chorus. Location: 643
  • If you wait until the conditions are perfect, you’ll never write a thing. Location: 718
  • The Kingdom is coming, but the Kingdom is here. That’s why we’re homesick, and it’s also why we might as well get busy planting. Location: 981
  • Somewhere out there, there’s another Tolkien. Somewhere out there, men and women with redeemed, integrated imaginations are sitting down to spin a tale that awakens, a tale that leaves the reader with a painful longing that points them home, a tale whose fictional beauty begets beauty in the present world and heralds the world to come. Location: 1,141
  • Agenda is bad when it usurps the beauty. Christian art should strive for a marriage of the two, just as Christ is described as being “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Location: 1,278
  • I’m not usually one for jamming, but sometimes someone discovers a chord progression or a melody or a rhythm that’s like a magic key. It opens a door to a wide field of inspiration and beauty. It’s a rare occurrence, and I imagine it feels quite a bit like the Holy Spirit descending on the house, and we’re suddenly speaking the tongues of men and angels. Location: 1,364
  • I read an article about Yo-Yo Ma’s struggle with stage fright, in which he explained that he overcame it by imagining the concert as a dinner party that he was hosting. He noticed that whenever he had a party at his house he was never nervous because he knew he was the host. He was there to serve his guests. So if he treated his concert like a dinner party, he knew his role, which was in many ways to make his guests feel at ease. Location: 1,456
  • Selectivity means choosing what not to say. It means aiming at the bull’s-eye. Location: 1,630
  • 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. Location: 2,187
  • Art just seems to draw people together. C. S. Lewis famously said that friendship is born in that moment when one person says to another, “You too? I thought I was the only one.” Location: 2,258
  • 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. Let your homesickness keep you always from spiritual slumber. Remember that it is in the fellowship of saints, of friends and family, that your gift will grow best, and will find its best expression. And until the Kingdom comes in its fullness, bend your will to the joyful, tearful telling of its coming. Write about that. Write about that, and never stop. Location: 2,489

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