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God Hides in Plain Sight: How to See the Sacred in a Chaotic World Paperback – September 1, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Seeing the Presence of God in Everyday Life

"Dean Nelson has a lively, conversational writing style, and this book has wonderful and valuable things to say. I won't soon forget them."--Frederick Buechner, author of Listening to Your Life

"In a world where so much miraculous is perceived as ordinary, Dean Nelson points out the places where we see God in our everyday lives, helping us understand that the mundane might actually be holy. In a wonderful narrative, Nelson weaves the sacred presence of God through his text and reveals that thread also running through our own lives. A lovely read."--Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz

"The church has long used the concept of sacraments--outward signs of inward grace--to name the spaces where God meets us in an especially present way. For many Christians, however, that language seems abstract, even (sadly) foreign. Dean Nelson lovingly explores those spaces of encountering God; his luminous book has helped me see anew the sacred in the ordinary."--Lauren Winner, Duke Divinity School, author of Girl Meets God

"Dean Nelson is God's spy, looking for God in all the times and places most of us would never think to explore. He doesn't miss much. Combining the readability of excellent writing and the reliability of sound scholarship, God Hides in Plain Sight is better than a spy novel."--Eugene Peterson, translator of The Message, Regent College, Vancouver

"Dean Nelson writes beautifully. And no less wonderful, he sees beautifully and knows how to help us see what he sees. God Hides in Plain Sight will help you spot what is most worth seeing (and very easily missed): the beauty of God camouflaged in the sacrament of your daily experience."--Brian McLaren, author and activist, brianmclaren.net

"If God is indeed hidden in the world around us, then we're blessed to have a warm, entertaining tour guide in Dean Nelson. He leads us through the sacraments with humor and creative insight, expertly pointing out the places--and the Presence--most of us miss along the way."--Jason Boyett, author of Pocket Guide to the Bible and Pocket Guide to the Afterlife

About the Author

Dean Nelson (Ph.D., Ohio University) is founder and director of the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California, where he serves as professor of journalism. He has written extensively for dozens of newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Boston Globe, and Christianity Today, and is the author or co-author of several books.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587432331
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587432330
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In his 1933 essay, "The End of Our Time," Nicholas Berdyaev writes: "Two attitudes, two completely divergent positions, are possible for man, and he finds the face of everything different accordingly as he chooses the one or the other. He can --- if he will --- put himself in the presence of God and the mystery of being. Then he has a clear conscience and a clean heart, revelation and intuition are vouchsafed to him, the true primordial spirit appears, he reaches to the very source of all."

It is precisely this posture toward reality and experience that Dean Nelson endorses in his new book: "God Hides in Plain Sight." Nelson, who reminds me of Leonard Sweet in person --- brilliant, quick on his feet, enormously well read --- writes here with the poetic grace of Anne Lamott or Thomas Merton, exploring the mystery and the meaning of Divine presence in everyday moments.

By day, Nelson writes op-ed pieces in The New York Times and other venues while leading the journalism department at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Yet in these pages he writes from a philosophical perspective. Using a skeletal outline from the Christian sacraments, Nelson traces the tiny, often unobserved specks of DNA evidence that establish God's paternity amid His creation, teaching us to be more attentive as we experience family, community and society.

Woven through these well-crafted pages are quotes from Henri Nouwen, Walter Wangerin, Frederick Buechner and others, including novelist Walker Percy. The result is a collection of tightly-written essays that command the reader's notice while rewarding it with perceptive and intriguing depth.
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Format: Paperback
It all started in India. Well, kind of. In retrospect, I'm sure Dean Nelson would agree that GOD HIDES IN PLAIN SIGHT is a book that has been in the making long before that trip. But it was in India, on a brief teaching assignment, where Nelson started to notice things that seemed unusual --- incidents that reminded him of his family. A piano player in the hotel lobby played songs two days in a row that his children had played at a recital the night before he left on the trip. A student, a missionary, in his class wrote a paper about a transformative experience with a pastor back in Wisconsin --- a man who happened to be Nelson's father-in-law. Nelson is quick to say that coincidences do happen. But he also saw in these events a kind of greeting from God.

He writes, "I believe that grace goes before us as a way for God to say, `Welcome! I got here before you. I've been expecting you.' That is exactly how I felt when I heard this missionary read his assignment in Bombay. I was alone, feeling like a Martian, a little bit afraid, and I sensed God saying to me, `See? You're with me, and you're going to be fine.'"

As Nelson tells it, that experience gave him courage, even amused him. And he started paying closer attention to his life. "What I hungered for was better vision so I could see God and his activity throughout my day. I believed that his grace and love and presence were all around me, but I wasn't seeing them. I wasn't living with that knowledge at my center. I wanted the blinders off. I wanted to catch the subtleties of God's activity."

Such vision doesn't develop overnight.
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Format: Paperback
So in the interest of fair disclosure, I know the author and think he is a great guy. Nonetheless, I am writing this because I truly loved his book and not to be polite. I found this book both both highly readable and profound. I enjoyed the stories, anecdotes, and quotes from other deep thinkers. More than that I loved the deeper sense of intimacy I felt with God after experiencing this book. This book was so good, I loaned it to a friend who was in agony she couldn't highlight and write in it. Needless to say, I went out and bought a copy for her. I hope you like it also.
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Format: Paperback
A previous reviewer of Dean Nelson's "God Hides in Plain sight" had this to say,
"Nelson's own fluid prose and keen observations are often bolstered with insights from not just Buechner, but from a wide array of writers and thinkers, including Anne Lamott, Philip Yancey, Eugene Peterson, Thomas Merton, Henri Nowen and Frederica Mathewes-Green. This rich contextualization is a delightful feature of the book that introduces (or perhaps reintroduces) readers to other authors whose work they will also want to explore."
My reaction to this masterful work is that future writers on this incredibly important topic will be widely quoting Dean Nelson.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nelson gives a practical, honest, yet profound guide for seeing and hearing God in the ordinary even boring stuff of everyday life. It's not a question of whether or not God is present. The question is whether or not we've learned to see and hear. God Hides in Plain Sight helps us get there.
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