Nelson publishes ‘Grace-Full Living’ of devotional writing

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Susan Shinn
You’ve read the Rev. David Nelson’s words on the faith page for many years.
Now you can read his words in the pages of a book.
Nelson, who lives with wife Mary Ann in Salisbury, has published “Grace-Full Living on Life’s Way.” It’s available locally at Literary Bookpost.
Nelson is a retired Lutheran minister who’s serving an interim position at Grace Lutheran Church. Next year, he’ll celebrate 50 years in the ministry.
He admits that writing a book was on his “bucket list.”
“I want to catch people where they are,” he says, “and still bring out the message of God’s grace.”
The slim volume with a bright blue cover would fit nicely on a bedside table. Nelson’s compilation of columns and essays serve as thought-provoking devotionals. It’s the type of book you and dip in and out of รณ and savor.
He’s endeavored to keep his entries conversational in style, while based in solid theology.
“Too often,” he says, “religious writing is so predictable and saccharine. It may not appeal to you. My hope is that the average person may look at this book and be drawn in.”
Nelson was an English major in college. He’s the son of a Lutheran minister, and his father lived to be 100.
“I never saw myself as a writer,” Nelson says, “but I’ve had to write all my life. I work at it.”Nelson says he doesn’t want an exposition of “big, heavy stuff.”
Rather, he offers a practical theology of grace.
“Theology invades our whole understanding of God,” he says. “But it’s not all grace. God’s expectations of us are there. We’re not off the hook for being his disciples. We live in the reality of God’s grace.”
The reality, Nelson says, “is that God is present with us.”
Over the course of a year or two, Nelson picked out his favorite columns, then organized them.
Each family at Grace has received a copy of the book, thanks to member Crawford Sloop, who provided them as a memorial to his wife, Eva.
The Nelsons have two sons, Ken-Erik, who lives in Indian Trail, and Vaughn, who lives in Salisbury with his wife, Eva. The couple has three grandchildren.
For Nelson, two columns stand out: “Ask Me if I’m Saved” and “Aging Gracefully.” The first is an essay in which Nelson recounts a harrowing car accident from which he and his wife emerged uninjured. The second is an essay about Cora Petrea, a family member who lived surrounded by things of the past but who looked toward the future.
Nelson wrote the columns to appeal to a wide audience, but you do notice some overall themes.
First and foremost, life is a gift. Second, Nelson, who’s 74, writes several times about aging, and again, the importance of aging gracefully.
“The world is full of people my age who are grabbers and not givers,” he says. “What in the world are they looking for?”
He also writes about God. People may be searching for God, but God is always there, he says. God finds you.
“People ask, are you right with God?” Nelson says. “Your rightness with God is accepting God. God is everywhere. He descended into the depths of hell to be where we are.”
Nelson says of his book, “I like to think people will learn some good theology.”After all, Nelson believes, learning is a lifelong process.