Books and Writing

No Perfect Time: Brief Essays on Life and Faith
2022

Smashwords
Barnes and Noble
Apple Books

A young pastor walks into his first church, and immediately begins discovering what it means to do ministry among an imperfect community while being imperfect himself. In this series of essays, he processes some of what he’s learned along the way about leading a spiritual life, parenthood, writing, and theology.

Author and minister Jeff Nelson shares his earliest memories of the church’s ugly side, his struggle to process the death of a college friend, his first experiences as a father, and his unfolding understanding of faith and discipleship. He does so with an honesty that seeks the spiritual while acknowledging the mess.

No Perfect Time is not a book of hard and fast answers, but of experiences that serve as glimpses into what life and faith are meant to be about.

The Doctor and the Apostle: Intersections Between Doctor Who and the Letters of Paul
Wipf and Stock, 2020

What could a 1st Century church planter and tentmaker who helped forge the earliest years of a new religious movement possibly have in common with a British time traveling alien who first appeared in the 1960s to teach children about history?

Doctor Who has been a beloved science fiction franchise for over 50 years. Paul’s letters have been around for quite a while longer, with the earliest ones that he wrote dated less than a generation after the life of Jesus. Both have inspired and instructed people on how to live and have stoked the imagination for what individual and communal life can be in their own way. And both were or are deeply flawed, sometimes struggling against their own tendencies or those of others in order to help bring about something greater for their respective worlds.

The Doctor and The Apostle explores the similarities and differences between Doctor Who’s title character and Paul of Tarsus, comparing and contrasting the stories of each. Whether a fan of one or the other or both, the reader will gain a greater understanding of the possibilities of a life of faith, as well as a deeper appreciation of how pop culture and scripture may help inform one another.

Prayer in Motion: Connecting with God in Fidgety Times
Apocryphile Press, 2018

Apocryphile Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords

Does your daily schedule make setting aside time to pray difficult? Do you feel too distracted even in those rare times when you can finally sit down to pray? Learn spiritual practices to seek God’s presence even in your busiest moments.

Jeffrey Nelson is a pastor, spiritual director, author, and blogger who has been speaking and writing about ways for busy people to deepen their spiritual lives for years.

Prayer in Motion is an accessible commentary on how to weave spirituality into one’s entire life, where it was always meant to be. Grounded in wisdom from some of the great Christian spiritual thinkers, Prayer in Motion offers easy-to-use spiritual practices while at work, exercising, doing chores, during one’s daily commute, and more.

In this book you’ll learn:

• Stories from the Bible where people discover God’s presence in ways besides sitting in stillness or silence;

• Personal anecdotes and stories that help illustrate what spirituality in everyday activities looks like;

• Insights from classic spiritual practices such as walking the labyrinth, using prayer beads, and making a pilgrimage adapted and applied to everyday activities;

• Real-life application through thought-provoking questions and useful suggestions for prayer at the end of every chapter.

Prayer in Motion not only gives you permission to move while praying, but tells you how to do so in easy-to-use, concrete ways. This is the practical guide you’ve been looking for to carry spiritual practices out of retreat centers and houses of worship and into the places where you spend most of your time.

Get Prayer in Motion and start using its tips to connect more deeply with God in the midst of fidgety and frantic days.

Wonder and Whiskey: Insights on Faith from the Music of Dave Matthews Band
Wipf and Stock, 2018

Wipf and Stock
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Cokesbury
Books-A-Million
Christianbook

Dave Matthews likes Jesus, but not dogmatic beliefs about him. He openly wonders about God’s existence while singing of showing love to each other as life’s highest ideal. His songs celebrate making the most of each day’s pleasures because we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, but also caution against overindulgence. His music wrestles with deep questions about identity and mortality, while proposing that upholding others’ worth is one of the most important roles we can fulfill. Wonder and Whiskey is an exploration of the lyrics of Dave Matthews Band as a multilayered call to be present in the moment, both for oneself and others, as well as how these ideas intersect with the highest aspirations of a lived Christian spirituality.

Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday
Noesis Press, 2016

The Davies Group, Publishers
Amazon

Through anecdote, engagement with scripture, theological reflection, and practical application, Coffeehouse Contemplative explores concepts of spirituality, prayer, and spiritual direction for those who are either unclear about these terms’ meaning, or haven’t considered them despite a lifetime of religious participation. Over the course of this book, the reader will be introduced to a variety of thinkers including Ignatius of Loyola, Brother Lawrence, Karl Rahner, and Teresa of Avila. Their writings and traditions will help shape a definition of spirituality as seeking a deeper connection with God and understanding of self, wherever we are and in whatever we do. To encourage further consideration of the subject matter, each chapter will include a list of questions for reflection in an individual or group context.

Books (Contributor)

From the Psalms to the Cloud: Connecting to the Digital Age, ed. Maria Mankin & Maren Tirabassi, Pilgrim Press, 2013

An (un)Common Book of Hours – Advent Christmas Epiphany Year A, ed. Peter Watkins, 2013

Ordinary Time: Year B Devotions for June to November, ed. Theresa Coleman, St. Thursday Press, 2006

Online

Shalem Institute contributor page

Christian Century CCblogs Network contributor page

New Sacred contributor page

Shaped By the End You Live For (book review), Englewood Review of Books, September 2020

For All Who Hunger (book review), Englewood Review of Books, July 2020

The Good Place and Philosophy (book review), Englewood Review of Books, October 2019

A Sin By Any Other Name (book review), Englewood Review of Books, August 2019

But First, Breathe, Defy the Trend, October 2018

Anti-Social Media (book review), Englewood Review of Books, October 2018

The Zombie Gospel (book review), Englewood Review of Books, December 2017

What Churches Can Learn from Doctor Who, Holy Experiments, September 2017

Why I Left, Why I Stayed (book review), Englewood Review of Books, February 2017

Desperately Seeking Spirituality (book review), Englewood Review of Books, October 2016

This is How we Eat: Ethics in the Zombie Apocalypse, Super Hero Ethics, July 2016

The Spirituality of Wine (book review), Englewood Review of Books, June 2016

Experimenting with Spirituality (book excerpt), Holy Experiments, April 2016

Our Means for God’s End, The High Calling, May 2015

The Emerging Church in Rural Ohio, Next Wave, August 2007

“Exciting” Christianity, Next Wave, December 2006

Print articles

“God, Improv, and the Art of Living (book review),” Englewood Review of Books, Spring 2018

“Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God (book review),” Englewood Review of Books, Fall 2017

“Ice Age 2: Christian Meltdown!” The Wittenburg Door, September/October 2006