The God of the Garden: Thoughts on Creation, Culture, and the Kingdom by Andrew Peterson. B&H Books. 209 pages. 2021
In this wonderfully written, and vulnerable book, Andrew Peterson takes us on journeys – from Illinois to Florida to England to Scandinavia to Nashville to the Abbey of Gethsemani to the Holy Land in Israel. He writes about his depression and being mad at God, his love of footpaths in England and his not so much love for American subdivisions. Along the way he writes about trees – two maples, the Thinking Tree, the Big Oak, an olive tree, and others – and books that are important to him – Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry and The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
Each chapter begins with a quote from William Wordsworth’s poem “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”. Some of Peterson’s song lyrics and drawings are sprinkled throughout the book, which was written at his home in Nashville called The Warren, in the Chapter House.
The book addresses going back home, suffering and healing, the beauty of a garden and trees, and the emptiness of subdivisions. He writes that few things are more wonderful to him than a graceful integration of nature and culture, which is essentially what a garden is. He tells us that if we integrated the loveliness of creation with the flourishing of human culture, we would be that much closer to a vision of the New Creation. His hope is to see the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, even in the way we plan our streets and footpaths and communities.
Like his 2019 book Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making, this was a wonderful book that I didn’t want to put down and looked forward to getting back to.
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