I admit it. I like to go Christmas shopping. I really enjoy finding a special gift for someone else. Some years, my Christmas shopping goes exceedingly well. But, like many others in academia, end-of-the-semester festivities such as writing exams, grading essays, marking papers, entering grades, etc. too often derail my plans for shopping and other holiday merriment. Most years, I feel like I am caught between Arnold and Sinbad in Jingle All the Way. If you feel the same way, I would like to help you out.
So, as a service to you (and an effort to get my blog post finished on time when I have a pile of papers to grade), I offer a solid gift recommendation for the ministers and ministry leaders on your gift list.
Earlier this year, I had a chance to preview Rob Moll’s recently released What Your Body Knows About God (IVP, 2014). IVP generously printed a portion of my endorsement as a blurb in the book, but I have included a (slightly) longer version here, in order to help you round out your Christmas shopping.
We have all seen stories and read about recent research that links developments in brain science to religious practice. Rob Moll goes beyond individual studies, merging scientific analysis, biblical teaching, a host of interviews, and anecdotal accounts to pen What Your Body Knows About God. In it, Moll draws on the work of neurologists, anthropologists, philosophers, evolutionary and cognitive psychologists, sociologists, and molecular biologists to affirm the orthodox Christian understanding that we are designed to connect with God and others. In the same vein, he effectively demonstrates the power of classic Christian practices to affect change in practitioners, employing scientific discoveries in the field of neuroplasticity, for example, to explain how spiritual disciplines lead to transformation. Moll’s knack for presenting thought-provoking material in easy-going conversational style makes What Your Body Knows About God a pleasure to read. Further, although replete with scientific information, discussions such as the “neurological costs” of worship as performance and the transformative benefits of multisensory liturgy leave little doubt that Moll’s concern is practical, not theoretical. As such, it is a must read for pastors, ministers, small group leaders and anyone else concerned with the transformation of people.
Thus, if you are looking for something to buy for someone who serves in ministry, buy him/her a copy of What Your Body Knows About God. It is one of a rare handful of books that is simultaneously ministry-shaping and enjoyable.
Don’t tell him, but my pastor is going to get a copy from me. If I can find one. As of today, Amazon had run out of stock. So you better hurry!