I am outside on my front porch. The yellowed leaves are methodically falling from the black walnut in the yard, my breath is chalky visible in the recent cold snap, and lately I have been exploring the unpleasant nuances of the dark night of a soul – my own, to be exact. It is a strange passion we live out on this over-glorified orb of rock hurtling through space at some rate that I’m sure would astound me were I to know what it was. It is an odd series of days, I am realizing, when you question your own faith more than you question your own doubt. And, indeed, it is these nagging questions which have prompted me to share my thoughts on Andrew Peterson’s 2003 album, Love and Thunder.
So, why did Eric title this post, “Andrew Peterson: Love and Thunder”, when all he’s done so far is talk about himself? Because I want you to know, dear reader, why I like this album so much: I am richer for having been physically present when some of these songs were born “from the void of the wire and the wood”. I am humbled – sometimes a good thing, eh? – by the sheer grace and honesty of his words. I resonate with the album’s starkness and revel in its hope. I remember Andrew playing “Family Man” for us, his band, in a Wichita hotel room. I remember hearing “Silence of God” for the first time during a soundcheck. Andrew might remember things otherwise, but I have vividly fond memories from the tour all of which aided me in thinking and seeing better.
L&T is an album that is delicate in its haunting, beautiful in its sorrow, rich in questions, fertile in its proclamation of faith and doubt, and painstakingly glorious in its production. It is an album of songs that, no doubt, came from a dark night of Andrew’s own soul. And that, I suppose, is why I am drawn to write about it now. Misery enjoys company. No man or woman escapes this hurtling orb without suffering at the gates of pain, whether it is intense or minute, emotional or physical, faced head-on or avoided altogether. It is the condition of things as they are, but not as they one day shall be. I am grateful for the wisdom and insight of Andrew Peterson, as a friend, a songwriter and as a person who has possibly passed through the depths of earth (or hell) and returned a scarred, bruised and battered man, but all the more holy in his humanity.
*Of course, this very splendid album is available for purchase here in the Rabbit Room.*