Art, Music, Words, Work, Faith (Peterson)

 I’m one of those people who absolutely love music. It goes back to my childhood when I was messing around with radios and speakers trying to get my dad’s old Beach Boys 8-tracks to play (loudly!).  Although today I can play a handful of instruments (badly!), I always tell my kids I’d trade my Jeep to be able to play “lights out” piano! I love it that much!   I’ll spare you more details, but music makes my life sweeter, more enjoyable, and brings color, hope, and cheer to my days.  I agree with Luther that music is the next highest art next to theology!

At some point, I hope to list some of my favorite albums here.  I have mentioned a few in the past, including Andrew Peterson’s songs (and his Wingfeather book series). For now, I’d like to point out Peterson’s new book, Adorning the Dark, which is an autobiographical discussion of music, writing, fellowship, and faith.  If you’ve heard Peterson’s excellent music, many parts of the book will give you some background to his lyrics.  Even if you haven’t heard his music, the book is a worthwhile read.

Adorning the Dark is a different sort of book.  If I had to make a “theme-cloud” of the book, it would include these: words, imagination, creativity, songs, poems, love, stories, writing, creating, hope, and heaven.  The book is primarily about writing – music, stories, poems, or sermons  – but it’s not a “how-to” manual.  Instead, it’s an invitation to Christian creativity that Peterson writes about using his own examples, experiences, successes, and failures.

I liked the section where he talked about serving the audience or listener.  When we work with words in writing or in speaking, as Christians we serve and love those who are reading or listening.  Peterson’s advice is: “write it like you say it.”  Yes! Simple but spot on.

I also appreciated his emphasis on using imagination to speak to people about something Great.  I think I have a pretty decent imagination; images from The Yearling still flood my mind even though I read it years ago. However, I have a very hard time speaking or writing that with imagination.  In this book, Peterson pushed me further to write and speak in ways that excite the imagination.

Anyway, I do recommend listening to Andrew Peterson’s music if you haven’t.  Many of his songs have stirred up my faith in a deep way, brought tears of joy to my eyes, and opened my mind and heart to the greatness of God and the world he’s made.  And get this book if you want an interesting take on writing, art, imagination, faith, and fellowship: Adorning the Dark

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI