Andrew Peterson on Why Artists Aren’t Much Better Than Everybody Else

For decades now, Andrew Peterson has actually integrated the uncommon capability to write moving music that is at as soon as completely steeped in Scripture, personally honest with the weakness and sin that plague all of us, and in awe of the gift we have in Christ. I can’t listen to Peterson’s music and not be newly surprised that Jesus enjoys me— that even amid suffering, doubt, and sin, I belong to a redeemed people who come from him by faith, and he we will bring us house. If you’re unfamiliar with Peterson’s music, simply take a listen to “ Is He Worthy?” to get a sense of this:.

Does the Father truly love us? (He does)

Does the Spirit relocation amongst us? (He does)

And does Jesus, our Messiah hold permanently those he enjoys? (He does)

Does our God plan to stay once again with us? (He does)

This year marks the 20 th anniversary of the Behold the Lamb of God trip— where the redemptive story of Scripture, from the pledge of a deliverer to the coming of Jesus, is set to music. Trevin Wax calls it Peterson’s “masterpiece,” which isn’t exaggeration, because for 20 years now countless people have actually made the show tour part of their Development ritual. And to mark this anniversary, Peterson will release a brand-new recording of Witness the Lamb of God on October 25

In Peterson’s most recent and first non-fiction book, Embellishing the Dark: Thoughts on Neighborhood, Calling, and the Secret of Making( B&H), he shows on his life making music, the neighborhood that has nourished art, the nuts and bolts of composing, and more. In this memoir of sorts, we see Peterson at his vulnerable finest– sincere with his imperfections and anchored to the bright side that the gospel of Christ is truly real.

I referred Peterson about how we’re all imaginative, the most handy composing suggestions he’s gotten, what he wants every Christian knew about artists, how the annual Behold of Lamb of God trip has affected him, and more.


You argue that every Christian is an innovative, not simply those who make music and art. For the Christian who doesn’t see him or herself as an imaginative, why do you worry this point so much? What difference does it make?

Well, for beginners, I don’t like calling anyone “an innovative”– however yes, I believe everyone is creative. It makes a difference, because that language implies there’s an unique class of person who’s somehow more innovative than everyone else. That’s simply not true. Mathematicians are profoundly creative, as are designers and pastors and homemakers. It’s just not handy to draw that line. Yes, there are artists, but as my good friend Jonathan Rogers states, the arts only comprise one slice of the pie of human imagination– and not the most essential piece, either.

What if a pastor thought of his preaching composing through the lens of imagination? What if whoever cooks in the house for the family thought about Tuesday night supper an expression of his/her God-given, Spirit-led creative life? There’s something highfalutin about referring to oneself as “an imaginative,” and I ‘d be fine if we stopped doing that altogether. We sometimes describe the yearly Rabbit Space conference as “a conference for everyone.” Part of the point is to remind people of that soul-deep impulse all of us have, as image-bearers, to make the world around us more lovely.

You write that “neighborhood– specifically Christ-centered community– nourishes art and art nurtures neighborhood.” How have you seen this at work in your life?

When I relocated to Nashville 20 years back, I had no idea what I was in for. I hoped I would grow as a songwriter. What I didn’t visualize was the community that emerged around those people battling to follow our occupations. I took a look around a couple of years after we moved here and recognized that I had made long-lasting good friends, co-laborers for Christ, and those relationships far outshone whatever creative enhancement I experienced. But the cool thing was that, on the other side of the coin, being a part of a neighborhood truly did make all of us better at the craft.

So there’s a symbiotic relationship between neighborhood and art. The fact that it was a Christian neighborhood brought a kingdom-hearted thriving to both.

There’s a cooperative relationship in between community and art. The fact that it was a Christian community brought a kingdom-hearted thriving to both.

What’s the most helpful advice on composing you’ve received? And what’s the most typical advice you provide?

The most freeing thing I ever read remained in Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird When I encountered her chapter on composing bad initial drafts, the awareness that the work constantly starts bad and is then enhanced, formed into something much better by the little community of editors, proofreaders, and pals, was enormously practical.

What I generally inform people is comparable: Simply get hectic composing. The only method to find out to write is to compose.

You call honesty, reality, and charm the “trifecta of excellent Christian art.” How so?

This idea came from trying to understand what it had to do with Rich Mullins’s finest songs that moved me so. They were honest and earthy, and when he sang, I believed him. But they were likewise crafted with quality, and it was clear he had an unusual genius for poetry. In addition to his sincerity and workmanship, since he understood and employed Bible, his tunes brought the weight of reality; they weren’t just his ideas– his songs were leaking with Scripture. If you get rid of simply one of those three components, you get something various.

For example, if you have art that’s honest and real, but isn’t stunning or well-crafted, you get a great deal of average Christian art (we all understand what I’m speaking about).

If you have art that’s honest and stunning, but isn’t always scriptural, you wind up with a lot of mainstream art (and to be clear, I’m not saying there’s not plenty of truth because kind of art– I’m just stating it wouldn’t be specified as “Christian,” since it isn’t articulating the gospel in the way, say, a hymn might).

And lastly, if you had art that was perfectly crafted and leaking with Bible, you ‘d have hymns. Hymns can be great, but it’s the ones that split open the heart because of the vulnerability of the author that I believe are the most reliable. I consider the line “Prone to roam, Lord, I feel it/ susceptible to leave the God I love” as a prime example. The hymn writer got down to the marrow with that line, and it took some guts to write it. This guideline isn’t set, however it a minimum of explains the sort of art that has actually moved and enlightened me one of the most.

What do you wish every Christian understood about artists? And how can the church serve artists in our midst?

Artists aren’t any better than any person else. I would not desire to tip the scales so that the arts were held to be somehow more crucial than any other gift a Christian gives their community. However if it holds true that paradise and earth have plenty of God’s magnificence, then it’s excellent and correct that we support those in the church who offer us new eyes to see that splendor brimming over in every corner of creation.

The church is the garden where all our presents grow best.

I hope the regional church is always searching for ways to invite the gifting of every member– even the ones like me who take place to geek out over motion pictures and books and poetry. I keep in mind Eugene Peterson stating he believes writers and poets need to be commissioned and sent by churches. I don’t know how all that works, however it would be great if the church discovered a way, for instance, to keep her traveling artists in their prayers, to incorporate the artisans’ work into the weekly service, to show the authors that they’re seen and supported. But I wish to restate that you could say the very same for the designers and medical professionals and teachers. The church, as I’ve stated, is the garden where all our presents grow best.

This year marks the 20 th anniversary of the Behold the Lamb of God trip, which focuses on the story of the coming Christ and the salvation he offers. You’ve stated in other places, “There is no story I ‘d rather hold true, no story I ‘d rather tell.” Twenty years now later on, how has this annual artistic routine impacted you? And what’s your goal for those attending one of the shows?

Every Minute Holy, Douglas McKelvey’s wonderful book of liturgies for daily moments, consists of “A Liturgy Before Taking the Stage.” We pray it on that tour nearly every night. Among my favorite parts of the prayer states, “Let these humble components, in your hands, become a real nutrition for those who cravings for you. And for those who have actually not yet wakened to their inmost appetites, let this short service to them be like the opening of a window through which the breezes of a far country might blow, stirring everlasting yearnings to life.” That’s my finest wish for both Behold the Lamb of God( at Christmas) and Resurrection Letters( at Easter): that the tunes would awaken a longing in those who do not yet understand Jesus, which it would stimulate the longing in those who do.

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Angie Ronson

Angie Ronson is Editor-in-Chief at THRS. She covers the transformative impact of new technology on all sectors.