By David Werther.
Andrew Peterson, After All These Years: A Collection (Centricity, 2014)
The Rabbit Room first came to my attention via a video of N. T. Wright playing guitar and singing Bob Dylan’s “When the Ship Comes In,” a song Wright describes as being “full of biblical imagery.” I love Wright’s rendition of Dylan and was overjoyed to discover that the Rabbit Room’s invitation to Wright included two other performances available online: N. T. Wright doing the Beatles’ “Yesterday,” renamed “Genesis,” with new lyrics co-authored with Francis Collins; and “Friday Morning” by Sidney Carter.
Andrew Peterson began the Rabbit Room online site as a place for Christians in the arts to come together, and that virtual gathering has led to some off-line get-togethers. Peterson took the name from a room in the Oxford pub, “The Eagle and Child,” where the C. S. Lewis and his fellow Inklings used to meet.
In addition to founding the “Rabbit Room” Peterson has written a series of fantasy books, The Wingfeather Saga, and has recorded more than a dozen CDs, including a collection of children’s songs Slugs & Bugs & Lullabies with Randall Goodgame. After All These Years: A Collection while primarily a retrospective, also includes “After All These Years,” ”Romans 11 (Doxology),” and “To All the Poets,” the latter co-written with Gloria Gaither.
Peterson, an admirer of Frederick Buechner, quotes the writer, “The story of one of us is in some measure the story of us all.” That line rings true to me as I listen to “Nothing to Say,” a song describing a road trip and the beauty of God’s creation. I also appreciate Peterson’s realism about the work of marriage, “Dancing in the Minefields,” which brings to mind some of G. K. Chesterton’s remarks about vows.
Peterson tackles some of the toughest topics, not least the silence of God and the sacrifice of Isaac. He deserves credit for his willingness to go into that terrain, though the latter performance was perhaps too sentimental, in places, for the subject matter. That said, the artist’s authenticity is stamped on every track and one cannot but admire Peterson’s willingness to bare his soul for the benefit of others whose stories overlap with his.