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Last Minute Christmas Gifts for Geeks -- Great Ideas for Passionate Learners

These days, to be considered a geek is a real compliment - one who is passionate,book geek.jpg knowledgeable, super-into a topic or sub-culture, smart. Okay, maybe they are even goofy about it. 

Such single-minded experts are sometimes hard to buy gifts for.

So here ya go, some last minute suggestions for books for geeks.  Our store has a lot of what some might think a bit unusual; we curate the selection with passionate lovers of various topics in mind, in fact.  So here are some rather rare titles, mostly quite new, that are good for geeks.  Or anybody who enjoys a certain topic, or wants to.

Being well-rounded is a virtue, of course, and in older days it wasn't just the geeks who were called "well read."  So maybe these would make great gifts for anybody who is a life long learner, alive to the joys of non-fiction, attentive to books, attentive to the world. 


We don't have tall stacks of most of christmas-package1.jpgthese, so get 'em while you can.  20% off, while supplies last.

If you order today, we think we can get them to you before Christmas.  USPS's Priority Mail is much less expensive (for smaller orders, at least)  than UPS and quicker to most places as well, so we can pull it off.  All of these are on sale -- and may help you stuff those geeky, hard to fill stockings.  Enjoy. 

We gift wrap for free, too.  Just let us know.

So, here ya go.  Last minute just-in-time ideas for the uber-passionate, hard-to-buy-for.  Affectionately called geeks.  Who, naturally, love books.  

FOR A SCIENCE GEEK
Science in 100 Key Breakthroughs  Paul Parsons  (Firefly Books) $29.95  This is a way cool publisher that does fine popular science books with tons of color, quality paper,great photography -- perfect for the lay person who wants to know a lot, enjoys science, and, in this case, learning about discoveries that made a difference.  Something new will be learned, and it will be fun.  Guaranteed.


Mapping the Origins Debate: Six Models of the Beginning of Everything  Gerald Rau (IVP Academic) $18.00  This just arrived and the geeky guys debating intelligent design and such are going to love knowing about this!  Rau has his PhD from Cornell and was previously a professor at Wheaton, and at Trinity Christian College in Palo Heights.  This is very profound, trying to expose the underlying assumptions and philosophical strains underneath the major models of origins.  It has been called "calm and reasoned" and looks absolutely unparalleled.  Except in a parallel universes. Sorry, that was beyond geeky, that was dorky. 


FOR A MATH GEEK
Mathematics in Postmodern Age: A Christian Perspective edited by Russell Howell & W. James Bradley (Eerdmans) $36.50  I've made it clear that most of us are geeky about something, and there is no shame in being passionate about some aspect of God's good creation.  Too bad that many math-lovers have this reputation of also being a bit odd.  They aren't.  Well, maybe some are.  If you know anybody who is really, really into the philosophy and theology of mathematics, this Christian disucssion will blow them away.  Man, this is nerdy.  Thanks be to God.


FOR A MEDICAL GEEK
God's Hotel: A Doctor, A Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine Victoria Sweet (Riverhead) $27.95 This is an extraordinary book, the memoir of an exceptional woman, a beautiful writer, who tells us of rare faith-based hospital for the poor, Laguna Honda, perhaps the last of its kind.  As the state authorities plan to close it down, Sweet is working on a PhD on the healing practices of the medieval mystic, Hildegaard of Bingen, come to reconsider industrialized, business-oriented health care, realizing that medicine can be a holy vocation.   As one reviewer writes, "Sweet embodies the traits of a persevering and compassionate doctor, while conveying he wisdom of a philosopher, and the instincts of a storyteller."


FOR A THEOLOGY GEEK
Theological Trading Cards  Developed by Norman Jeune (Zondervan) $24.99  I'll admit it, I thought up this geek thing mostly so I could tell you about this, the ultimate geek gift, the coolest, weirdest, greatest, surprise gift item of the year. One theologically geeky, widely read, regular customer of ours -- whose name I will not reveal -- nearly peed his pants laughing when he first saw these.  Then he got all solemn and maybe misty-eyed.  Medieval mystics, modern Germans, ancient heretics? There are over 300 cards in this boxed set, and they are grouped in teams, groupings that mostly seem to make sense.  The back of the card contains good info, their time period, their most significant writings, and their significance. The picture on the front is almost as cool as a baseball card -- no, I'm not going to lie, they aren't quite.  Unless you are a theology geek; for them, this is way cooler.

FOR A HISTORY GEEK
Short Night of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis  Timothy Egan (Houghton Mifflin) $28.00  Egan is a remarkable and respected historian and a truly engaging writer (he won the coveted National Book Award for his stunning book on the dust bowl, The Worst Hard Time, and another for a riveting book of an infamous 1910 wildfire, The Big Burn.) In this new book he studies the life and times - and important work - of the legendary photographer who took the most iconic photos (and over 10,000 audio recordings) of aging leaders of American Indians.  Edward Curtis was a charismatic leader, what one called "the Annie Leibovitz of his time," and was friends with presidents, vaudeville stars and leading thinkers of the late 1920s.  He was backed by Teddy Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan but, more importantly, befriended some of the most amazing tribal leaders our nation has known. The photos are hauntingly beautiful, as is the very thorough book.  A must for anyone interested in Indians or our conception of the American West."

FOR A CHRIST & CULTURE GEEK
Incarnational Humanism: A Philosophy of Culture for the Church in the World Jens Zimmermann (IVP Academic) $30.00  Any book that has common good and incarnation on the back has got to be of interest, and this new "strategic initiative" is thoroughly evangelical, deeply thoughtful, and offers a robust, thick, substantive theology of culture.  He is learned, he is insightful, and he's all about forging a renaissance of Christian humanism, grounded in a righteous sense of our common humanity and the possibilities of theologically-informed cultural flourishing.  His ruminations on what it means to be human, and why the incarnation mattes are brilliant. Very, very impressive.

FOR A BIBLE GEEK
And God Spoke to Abraham: Preaching from the Old Testament  Fleming Rutledge (Eerdmans) $30.00  I've reviewed this before, and once again want to suggest it for anyone who likes good sermons, serious study of the Scriptures, or great theological writing.  Reverend Rutledge is a renowned Episcopalian priest in New York city - called "one of America's finest preachers" by Patrick Miller.  Andy Crouch called the book "magnificent." A big paperback, it includes dozens of eloquent sermons -- 421 pages.

The Bible Study Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to an Essential Practice  Lindsay Olesberg (IVP) $18.00 This new book is just fabulous, offering oodles of fresh ways to approach the text, to do good study, to lead Bible studies.  It offers, too, the first major treatment of the legendary "manuscript" study that Inter Varsity chapter camps use, walking people section by section, through a careful writing out and close reading of Mark.  Wow.

FOR A CURIOUS/SKEPTICAL/CHARISMATIC/CHURCH HISTORY GEEK
Miraculous: A Fascinating History of Signs, Wonders, and Miracles Kevin Belmonte (Thomas Nelson) $24.99  Belmonte is a fabulous writer, one who should be better known in our circles.  Decades ago he wrote what was surely the definitive book on Wilberforce.  He has an English degree and a couple of MAs in history.  This is a tremendously written and tremendously interesting study of miracles.  "For thousands of years," he writes, "the hope of heaven has called to people through miracles.  When we stop to consider their stories, God's voice calls to us as well."  There is a moving, eternal sort of quality to this study, with moments of deliverance, mercy, glory.  Episode by episode, Belmonte gives us historical background, fascinating people, and solid reporting of wonder.  Wonder-full.

FOR A TEACHER GEEK
What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World  Taylor Mali (Putnam) $19.95  Most teachers are pretty proud of what they do, but a couple are over-the-top geeky, with special pins and sweaters and neckties announcing their profession.  If they aren't like that, they will be after they read this!  A few years ago, spoken word/poetry slam artist (and public school teacher) Mr. Taylor Mali had a youtube video that went viral - it was a fast-paced and hard-hitting recollection of a dinner party question, responding to a mocking question about the salary of teachers.  "What do I make?" Ooo, does he let it fly as he tells of the things he makes students do, and it is inspiring!  That piece is the opening chapter in this fine collection of short essays. This compact hardback offers more of his insight, in wonderfully written prose,  powerful manifestos about quality teaching and vibrant, meaningful education..  Any teacher you know will thank you for this upbeat reminder of their high calling.


FOR A HIPSTER GEEK
The Road Trip That Changed the World  Mark Sayers (Moody) $14.99  Well, it isn't just the eccentric hipsters who are influenced by the bohemian vision of Jack Kerouac and his legendary novel On the Road, and I wouldn't trust many Christian writers to examine his influence, for better or worse, than this important Aussie author.  (Saylor wrote the excellent The Trouble with Paris on consumerism and The Vertical Self, about what happens to our sense of self in a materialistic age.) If your friends or kids love Kerouac, or are talking about the movie, they will love this fair, discerning look at this common desire to be part of something meaningful and big, but not be bound by it. Saint Jack K fans are going to dig that you've offered them this.

FOR A MISSIONS GEEK
Christ Our Reconciler: Gospel - Church - World  edited by Julia Cameron (IVP) $18.00 With opening greetings from Billy Graham and John Stott the Third international Congress on World Evangelization began a year ago, and we are so grateful that the plenary  talks and reports are published here.  With powerful talks and papers from world-renown evangelical leaders, there was much on the agenda - the shifts in the postmodern world, globalization, the demand for social justice, questions of the role of women, and, of course, the much-discussed matter of the role of nationals and non-Westerners in global missions.  There are thrilling and important chapters here by Tim Keller, Chris Wright, Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Os Guinness, Lindsay Brown, Becky Pippert, John Piper, Ajith Fernando and many from throughout the world, names you may not know, from Egypt to Singapore, Nigeria, Rwanda.  Wonderful.

FOR A BONHOEFFER GEEK                                                                                       Meditating on the Word  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, translated and edited by David McI. Gracie (Cowley Publications) $17.95  You know there are many who have come to appreciate the famed German martyr, especially due to the popularity of Eric Metaxas' riveting biography.  I suspect if they are all geeky about Bonny, they know his Cost of Discipleship and Life Together.  Maybe they don't know this, a rich, wise, good study of the need to reflect deeply on the Word of God.  More than half of the book is a handful of Bonhoeffer sermons on the Psalms, including his famous one on Psalm 119


FOR A  GENERALIST,  CHRISTIAN THINKER GEEK
Life, God, and Other Small Topics  edited by Eric Metaxas (Penguin) $17.00  Some of our readers are just geeks for good, thoughtful, Christian insights - apologetics, worldview, cultural engagement, writers who make a case that God matters, that society can be reformed, that truth can shape our thinking and our living.  Metaxas hosts such speakers in his New York forum "Socrates in the City" and he here offers in a handsome paperback (with his own clever introduction to each world-class scholar) pieces by speakers he had there.  You'll read the likes of Sir John Polkinghorne, Alister McGrath,  Jean Bethke Elshtain, Dr. Francis Collins, N.T Wright and more.  These conversations are splendid, and somebody on your shopping list will love listening in.

FOR AN APOLOGETICS GEEK
The Swedish Atheist, the Scuba Diver and Other Apologetic Rabbit Trails Randal Rauser (IVP) $16.00  Look.  You don't have to get it.  This is about how to build bridges with our wacky culture, how to discuss with atheists, how to witness to Christ in ways that are reasonable and yet not beholden to simplistic rationalism. This is philosophy and evangelism and the quest for truth through earnest dialogue, told in a narrative style that will appeal to anyone who likes to engage in this sort of debate.  This is not your fathers "Evidence That Demands a Verdict" though.  It offers a good long look into a long, caffeinated conversation where Rauser talks with Sheridan, the atheist (who knows the work of Dawkins, Dennet and Hitchens.)


FOR A SPORTS GEEK
Men of Sunday: How Faith Guides the Players, Coaches and Wives of the NFL Chris Eichelberger  (Nelson) $15.99  One doesn't have to be a super sports geek to want to know about the faith of players, and even casual fans will get a kick of of learning about these good testimonials which are often quite uplifting.  It is always interesting to see how those who are so very good at their game come to realize that they, too, need God.  Inspiring.

The Long Snapper  Jeffrey Marx (HarperOne) $15.99 We have often touted Marx's wonderful book Season of Life where he tells the story of a former Baltimore Colt, Joe Ehrmann.  This one is just as good, now out in paperback, telling the inspirational story of Brian Kinchen, who was a thirty-eight-year-old husband, father of four, and seventh-grade Bible teacher whose professional football career had been over for three years when the New England Patriots called to invite him back on the field. Marx is an award-winning Sports Illustrated writer, and the subtitle of this tells it all: "A Second Chance, A Super Bowl, A Lesson for Life."

FOR A MOMMY/DADDY GEEK
99 Ways to Raise Spiritually Healthy Children  Kathleen Long Bostrom (WJK) $14.95  We have a strong section of serious, wonderful, helpful books on marriage, parenting, family life, from baby care to parenting during the teen years.  Some are so great, but they are either a bit big, or maybe so instructional that they don't quite feel like a very romantic gift.  So, here is the thing that will bless anybody who's super-into being a mom or dad.  (Or, who aren't, really, and may need that extra bit of non-judgmental encouragement.)  A bright cover, nice green ink through-out, a short lesson, a short verse and a very (very) good "to be continued" idea at the end of each facing page. Really nice, gentle, kind, upbeat.  A great gift for parenting aficionados and beginners alike.

FOR A GREEN ECO-GEEK
Making Peace With the Land: God's Call to Reconcile with Creation  Norman Wirzba & Fred Bahson (IVP) $15.00 You know we have dozens and dozens of excellent books about creation care, ecology, taking care of the land, humane views of animals and the like.  For any Christian, at least, rooting these significant concerns in a foundational, basic vision of God's call for us to be agents of reconciliation, even with the creation itself, is essential.  This book ought to be on the shelf of anyone with even mild interests in the fate of the Earth, and is a must for those for whom going green is more than a fashion choice.  Excellent.

FOR A POSTMODERN, CULTURAL STUDIES GEEK
Changing Signs of Truth: A Christian Introduction to the Semiotics of Communication  Crystal L. Downing (IVP Academic) $24.00  I will be awarding this one of the "Books of the Year" awards soon, so you might as well get it now.  Semiotics?  If you have to ask you aren't a cultural-studies geek, but maybe you should pay attention anyway.  Surely you know somebody who watches Mad Men, or is intrigued by Antonio Gramesci or follows discussions about (de)construction. Or they want to consider the deep ethics of, say, evangelism.  Or maybe they like Ms Downing's fine film reviews in Books & Culture.  This wild book has rave endorsements by everyone from Calvin College communications professor Quentin Schultze to evangelical uber-thinker Mark Noll. It is geeky as all get out. Deconstruct that!  Then order this book, asap.


FOR A LITURGY GEEK
Salt of the Earth: A Christian Seasons Calendar 2013 ($15.95) It may have been our friend Christine Sine who pointed us to these, but we were happy to pay a bit extra to get them here from Canada.  Each month includes contemporary full color art (including a famous metal piece by Sandra Bowden, a very moving Lenten piece by Tim Steward, and one by the talented Jan Richardson.  There are 12 full sized pieces, and lots of liturgical comment, the lectionary readings for the Revised Common Lectionary, and some highlighted information about key holy seasons and days. This is not a well known item, and would make a neat gift for somebody wanting to pay attention to the church year, but also who appreciates original religiously-themed contemporary art.

  
FOR A REFORMED THEOLOGY GEEK
The Great Work of Providence: Jonathan Edwards for Life Today Rachel S. Stahle (Cascade) $24.00  Oh, my, how geeky can Reformed types be?  Very.  And there are so many different sorts, from global Barthians to English Puritans, from the new, young and restless Reformed to the neo-Calvinist Dutch Kuyperians, and all sorts of Presbyterians.  Everybody esteems Edwards, though, truly one of the most profound thinkers in American history.  Ms. Stahle has given us here a fine introduction, an overview that anyone could enjoy -- geeky, Reformed, or not -- one that offers helpful insights about church, faith, and life, for today.  You learn a bit about Edwards, examine some of his work, and apply the truths of the Great Awakening to ordinary congregations, today.  Rachel graduated from Gordon Conwell, and is ordained in the PC(USA) and is, I might add, a long-standing friend of the store, from right here in Dallastown.  This book will get any theological geek all fired up.

FOR A SPIRITUALITY GEEK
Honest to God Prayer: Spirituality as Awareness, Empowerment, Relinquishment and Paradox  Kent Ira Groff (Skylight Paths) $16.99  You know the type, who get all geeky about labyrinths and centering prayer and go off to monastic retreats,  talking about Richard Rohr and Henri Nouwen and Joyce Rupp, and are always busy gently discerning stuff, in silence, no doubt.   Kent studied under Tilden Edwards, founded Oasis Ministries, and has published many books and has been a pioneer in the last 30+ years doing this work.  This rumination on spiritual openness offers practical guidance into 26 prayer practices, and is sure to please the well initiated, as well as serving as a helpful guide for ecumenical beginners.


FOR A LATE '60s HIPPIE GEEK
Lost Sheep: Aspen's Counterculture in the 1970's: A Memoir  Kurt Brown (Condundrum) $14.99  When a literary-type buddy of mine bought the Colorado-based indie publishing house, this is one of the first books he told me about.  Everybody knows the late 60s really blossomed in the early 70s, and this memoir begins with a road trip and hitchhiker ending up in the hippy-dippy town of Aspen. They stay.  It becomes quite the bohemian center with fun times, lots of bars, poetry readings, alternative energy, and people like Hunter Thompson and Steve Martin and Jack Nicholson making early appearances.  It becomes a bohemian center,  Brown starts a lit mag, and Aspen eventually ends up a yuppie haven, now a commercial destination for millionaires and well-heeled wannabes.  How did this happen? Aspen's own transformation, as seen through the eyes of one who stayed, mirrors much of the shift of the culture at large.  Some of you hitch-hiked around in the late '60s.  Some of you want to know what happened in this iconic town of "Rocky Mountain Highs."  Not so far out, just a fine, honest story, well told.


FOR A FOODIE GEEK
The Spirit of Food: 34 Writers on Feasting and Fasting Toward God edited by Leslie Leyland Fields (Wipf & Stock) $30.00  Sounds like a contradiction in terms, since most foodies are cool and sublime, well-fashioned and quite articulate.  But, oh my, get them started and it's all kind of chatter about recipes and preferences and things they know about ingredients and cooking styles and strategies and gear.  Well, let's keep them grounded by doing the whole "Christian perspective" thing --  exploring a deep spiritual basis for food and eating. This is the very best collection of essays I have ever read about this topic, and although I named it a book of the year two years ago, it is still the best surprise under the tree for anybody who cares about this topic.  Geek or not, everybody eats, and most of us have to cook a bit.  Some do it as a major part of their calling. This book is a precious, important, great gift.


FOR A WENDELL BERRY GEEK
It All Turns on Affection: The Jefferson Lectures & Other Essays  Wendell Berry (Counterpoint) $14.95  If you have any Berry fans who are nearly geeks, you know it: they won't quite citing Jayber Crow and want to grow into an elderly woman like Hannah Coulter, and they realize that abuse of the Earth is implicated in all manner of other social problems.  They talk about "a sense of place" and, well, you know.  Berry fans were gaga when it was announced that he was giving the prestigious Jefferson Lecture earlier this year.  Most haven't quite heard yet that is has been released in this handsome small paperback.  True Berry geeks know about  A Place in Time: Twenty Short Stories of the Port William Membership (Counterpoint; $26.00.)  Give a Berry book to a Berry lover and you will respect you for life.


FOR A COMMUNITY LIVING GEEK
The Intentional Christian Community Handbook: For Idealists, Hypcrites, and Wannabe Disciples of Jesus  David Janzen (Paraclete Press) $19.99  Been there, done that.  I'm a geek, who still talks about "community" as if it is nearly a commune, some intentional living, neo-monastic household.  And, yes, there are idealists out there who are sharing lives in new (not so new) ways.  Janzen helped form "New Creation Fellowship" in Kansas and eventually moved to Reba Place.  Don't worry if you don't know those names -- your geeky friend who lives in or wants to live in a community will get it.  They've read Life Together.  They've waded through Vanier.  Now, they need this.  The best.  They will be amazed.  Forward by Shane Claiborne & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.

 
FOR A HOMILETICS GEEK
Rewiring Your Preaching: How the Brain Processes Sermons Richard Cox (IVP) $16.00  Talk about a geeky book -- this guy has a PhD and a DMin, is a professional psychologist, teaches at Duke Medical School, and is an ordained PC(USA) preacher himself. With endorsements from a few serious homiletics authors, this looks like just the best, truly surprising new book for those who keep up on preaching scholarship. As the title suggests, it looks at preaching taking into consideration what we now know from the latest research into neuroscience. This is a "unique blend of theology, medicine, and psychology."  Purposeful preaching, he explains, can actually produce new neural pathways.  And who doesn't want new neural pathways?  Somebody out there is going to be amazed, and really dig this!  Your welcome.

FOR A YOUTH MINISTRY GEEK
Taking Theology to Youth Ministry  Andrew Root (Zondervan) $12.99  I know somebody who has a tattoo that looks almost like the cover of this book, but that is neither here nor there.  You know those youth ministry guys and gals who are gonzo for their work, going to conferences and all about the kids?  May their tribe increase.  This will help.  What a fine, short manifesto of why theology is important for kids, and for the way youth min is done. There are three other slim hardbacks in this series, too.  Important.

Dodgeball Theology: A Youth Worker's Guide to Exploring Play and Imagination Blair Spindle (Barefoot Ministries) $14.99  We stock almost everything Barefoot does these days but when I saw this title, I knew I had to have it.  And I'm not even on the youth min geek squad.   You just know that there is somebody you know you will just scream with delight when they see this.  It is, by the way, very well done, asking how serious ministry needs an appropriate theology of playfulness.  Sure we must balance the sacred and the silly, but is there is a way to combine them with integrity?  This is a seriously fun book about serious fun.  Imagine!


FOR A POP CULTURE GEEK
Popologetics: Popular Culture in Christian Perspective  Ted Turnau (P&R) $19.9  You know the type.  And they are right -- we are called to find God in popular culture, to learn to be wise "in but not of" the world,  and to at least build bridges with our surrounding culture. Of course we must exercise considerable discernment about what is helpful and good and what isn't, in the music, movies, games, and trends of our entertainment and in our common language as a society. There are plenty of books about movies, music and sports and digital culture, but few with such a comprehensive, theologically attuned perspective. Our friend Denis Haack (Ransom Fellowship) says "Turnau recognizes the vitality of popular culture and knows that because God ha;s spoken in Scripture we have a plumb line by which to uncover the idolatries that seek to seduce us away from the truth."  There is more than this, though -- jazzman Bill Edgar, in facts, calls it "a tour de force."  If you know anybody into this whole field, they need this book.


FOR A POPULAR MUSIC GEEK
Personal Jesus: How Popular Music Shapes Our Souls  Clive Marsh & Vaughan Roberts (Baker Academic) $29.99 Okay, rock and roll fans, I'm gonna shoot straight.  This isn't for everyone.  It is heavy, academic, brilliant, and takes the discourse about faith and music theory to a new, significant level. Marsh has a philosophy degree from Oxford and Roberts is a vicar.  He is a scholar of religion and contemporary culture, and is, I gather, quite the geek.  Brand new.

FOR A CLASSICAL MUSIC GEEK
Reinventing Bach  Paul Elie (Farrar, Straus Giroux) $30.00  This is surely one of the best nonfiction books of the year, by the author of the widely respected study of four Catholic writers, The Life You Save May Be Your Own.  It is a big book and, as one reviewer noted, is "intelligent, wide-ranging." It "brings Bach's eternal music into conjunction with the forces of history."  Yet, great music changes... as the title implies, it is about this change -- "how one composer precipitated two revolutions in music and technology."

The First Four Notes: Beethoven's Fifth and the Human Imagination Matthew Guerrieri (Knopf) $26.95  This handsome book, with a medieval German-looking font, and deckled edges, is sure to delight serious book lovers.  But more so, it will cause classical music lovers to get all geeky.  Ba-ba-ba-baaaaam! Ba-ba-ba-baaaaaaam.  Yep. If you know anybody who loves the Fifth, this will thrill them.  As musicologist Alex Ross says "A bit like Beethoven himself, Guerrieri find a cosmos in four notes."

FOR A CHRISTIAN COLLEGE STUDENT GEEK
Philosophy: A Student Guide  David K. Naugle (Crossway) $11.99  I don't mean that this is a gift for a mal-adjusted kid, the socially awkward one that needs some relational intelligence.  No, I mean the kid who is all about relating faith to learning, wanting to honor God even in her classroom and papers, who has read Making College Count and The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness -- maybe more than once.  They go to Jubilee, maybe, and they are all about being a Christian college student, not just a college student who happens to believe in God.  Well, if they are all about "thinking Christianly" they need this little book, and they will be glad you helped them ramp up their good intentions.  This is a gem, a wonderfully written and sorely needed intro to why young scholars should think well about philosophy.  Truth be told, we all need this, even though it is called "a student's guide."  I'm sure you know somebody who can use it!!  Professor Naugle, by the way, is a dear friend, a good, good man, and a fine teacher at Dallas Baptist University.  Funny, he's so well-rounded and pleasant that he doesn't even come across as a geek himself, although -- come on, he's a philosophy professor.

FOR A WRITER GEEK

Acceptable Words: Prayers for the Writer  compiled by Gary D. Schmidt & Elizabeth Stickney (Eerdmans) $16.00  Most writers are geeks.  They sit at the coffee shop for hours.  They love the line by one famous writer who said he spent all morning putting a word in, and all afternoon taking it out.  Poets, memoirsts, the gal working on her novel, the scholar, the preacher.  You and me -- we need God's blessing for insight, stamina, wisdom, that we would exercise our wordy gifts well.  These are truly wonderful prayers, gathered from a wide theological spectrum of Christian thinkers and prayer books, offering words of wisdom and guidance.  Endorsements from the pack are from fine writers such as Walter Wangerin, Scott Cairns, Lillian Daniel, and John Wilson, of Books & Culture.  This is a very fine book.

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