Maybe you saw our Facebook allusion to a harrowing drive to our last big gig a few days after Thanksgiving. There was a toxic gas leak that shut down the Delaware Memorial Bridge on the busiest driving evening of the year. I’ll spare you the tedious details of getting our big van into Philly and back down to South Jersey and how the darned delay allowed us to see the sun rise over the Atlantic as we worked all night to get ready for a large book display for an Episcopalian clergy conference. To take a few of our wares on the road and serve priests and deacons and church staff at this annual event is always a great joy. Thanks to Bishop Daniel Gutierrez and others at the Diocese of Pennsylvania. 

(By the way, this is a Diocese that brought in Rev. Fleming Rutledge (presenting on her magisterial volume Crucifixion)  last year and has Miroslov Volf coming in the Spring. One parish is hosting notable author and scholar Alan Jacobs and another is doing a C.S. Lewis conference. It’s nice to see such energy around Christian growth, theological dialogue, and on-going education.)

Sometimes when we do these things we order big stacks of books to sell and in some cases, afterwards, it dawns on us it is better to offer an extra-good deal to our mail-order friends than to pay to send back our over-stock. So, it’s a three-day clearance sale, right here, right now, and you benefit from good savings and a free gift from us. If you act now.

Hey, this could solve some of your perplexing gift giving problems, I bet. Just sayin’.

For THREE DAYS ONLY (this deal only lasts until Thursday night, December 6th 2018, at midnight) we’ll give you a free book by the fabulously energetic and funny and serious speaker, Thistle Farms founder, Becca Stevens, who spoke at the Episcopalian event. What a joy to finally get to met her — Beth and I have promoted her books for years and long respected her important work. And now we’ll give some away to you.

Here’s the dealio: buy two/get one free.

If you buy any two of the books listed down below, we will give you absolutely free a copy of Becca Stevens’ book Funeral for a Stranger: Thoughts on Life and Love (Abingdon Press, a $13.00 value) OR an earlier Becca Stevens book, Sanctuary: Unexpected Places Where God Found Me (Abingdon Press; $14.00.) These are the two free ones we are offering.

Funeral for a Stranger is a wonderful collection of some excellent miscellaneous essays. Becca is an excellent writer, a master of the short form, a good writer and born storyteller… some of her other books are devotional in nature, collections of short reflections and strong, prayerful meditations. Funeral… covers all sorts of territory and is sure to thrill anyone who likes good writing, spiritual ruminations on life and times, love and life. As a justice activist she brings a bit of bite at times but as a pastor and congregational leader she knows how to offer good words for the spiritual journey. It is an excellent book. And you can get it free.


OR, if you’d rather, as we’ve said, we can send for free an earlier book, Sanctuary: Unexpected Places Where God Found Me. Again, this is Becca Stevens in her wheelhouse, offering artfully written creative meditations, short reflections that bring us into that quiet place of soul sanctuary with God. It is a great read with each entry a story of a place (often a surprising place) where she discovered God’s presence afresh. The Funeral for a Stranger one includes various sorts of thoughtful essays and they are a delight to read and very insightful. Sanctuary has equally moving stories and meditations but the pieces are shorter and arranged as a daily devotional, each one about the spirituality of the ordinary and meeting God in some particular episode or place.

So, choose any two of the ones listed below and then pick one of these two (just mentioned) as your free choice. Just type it in when you order — we’ll take care of the rest. (Or, if you want both of the ones listed, you can pay for one and have that count as one of the two you are purchasing, and get the other as the free one. And, hey, if you order four below, you can get both of these for free. See, we’re easy to get along with, yes?)

Got it? Buy two from the following list ( below) and get one of the ones listed (above) for free. For. Free. Offer is good while supplies last and just until Thursday night.


Here are just a few of the thousands that we displayed at the Episcopal event in New Jersey. A few of these were tremendous sellers; others maybe could have been, but we didn’t push them from up front in my little book talks. All are great, and up for grabs in order to get a free one.

The Power of Love: Sermons, Reflections & Wisdom to Uplift and Inspire Bishop Michael Curry (Avery) $20.00  What a great little gift book this would make, ideal to give to unchurched folks, even. Who didn’t hear about the extraordinary sermon preached at the 2018 Royal Wedding? It certainly went viral. That sermon about Christian love is here along with other important messages delivered by this energetic black preacher. Rev. Curry (who has a little paperback about robust discipleship called Crazy Christians and a memoir called Songs My Mama Taught Me) is the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.  One of the great talks reproduced here is a message he gave to their annual conference called “The Good Life” and it is good for anyone!  Another was given at the National Cathedral – “Welcome to the Movement.”

The book is small and has purple end papers, some gold ink, and a presentation page. It’s a nice little collection, but the “Power of Love” sermon preached for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is what will make it of interest to some. It was fun announcing the release of this brand new book to Episcopalians who were gathered with Becca Stevens whose own tag line is “Love Heals.” Do you believe there is power in love? This book will remind you of the truest truths about this very thing.

On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity & Getting Old Parker J. Palmer (Berret Koehler) $19.95 What a handsome, compact, beautifully written, nearly serene study of wholehearted living as we move into older age, becoming mentors and guides to others. Parker Palmer is nearly a public intellectual and has written about contemplative living, about public civility, about higher education. I hope you know his book about education, and certainly his wonderful book about vocation. As the Quaker gentleman and activist ages, gracefully, he is ruminating on the lightness of being and yet the gravity of the era. If you liked Rohr’s Falling Upward this would thrill you, I’m sure. Rohr, in fact, calls it “a generous gift to all of us.”

The Magnificent Journey: Living Deep in the Kingdom James Bryan Smith (formatio/IVP) $22.00 We love having especially attractive books to prop up on a nice shelf when we’re out and about, and we featured this, right next to Smith’s previous one called The Magnificent Story, which also has a striking die cut cover. You may know of James Bryan Smith who writes books about spirituality and spiritual disciplines – think Ruth Haley Barton or Richard Foster or Dallas Willard. His previous trilogy continues to sell well (The Good and Beautiful God, The Good and Beautiful Life, and The Good and Beautiful Community) and these two new ones are equally good.

Smith’s insight and eloquence about the journey we are one, an excellent supplement to his previous insight about the storied nature of our faith experience is superb and helpful. A spirituality write we admire, Ken Shigematsu, says:

Deep and accessible, profound and personal, James Bryan Smith offers the very best writing in spiritual transformation. He’s the ideal guide for this magnificent journey. Walk with him and you will become the good and beautiful you that God created you to be.

Moral Leadership for a Divided Age: 14 People Who Dared to Change Our World David Gushee & Colin Holtz (Brazos Press) $25.99  What a great, urgent read – informative and inspiring – and what a great gift this would make. Who among us doesn’t desire to have greater capacity to offer moral guidance in whatever space we find ourselves? Who doesn’t want to know a bit about how great change has happened in the past and how leaders have marshaled their leadership abilities to speak to the issues of the day? There are books about leadership and there are books about social change and there are books about character formation but this bring it all together as Gushee – himself an ethicist who has learned to speak out and pay up with integrity in aces – and his co-writer studies great moral leaders, their character and their ability to lead.

From William Wilberforce to Elie Wiesel, from Ida B. Wells to Malaya Yousafzai, Gushee & Holtz explore how these formative agents of transformation learned to stand up and learned to appeal to others to join them in their campaigns for betterment. The study of Lincoln is very nice, their thrilling look at Florence Nightingale is insightful, and who doesn’t need to learn a bit more about the fascinating journey of recently canonized Oscar Romero, murdered by US-trained assassins in El Salvador? These two authors have given us a great gift in this hefty hardback. Highly recommended.

Adam Hearlson (Eerdmans) $24.00 Hearlson is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and I thought these pastors who tend to be progressive politically would love this reminder that to say “yes” to God in worship necessarily means a “no” to other rulers, other regimes, other claims on our ultimate allegiance. Surely we can’t forget (or think we know enough about) Barman and Bonhoeffer and others who worshipped well with a high Christology and saw the subversive power of that worship to delegitimize the principalities and powers.

Brian McLaren wrote a very sensible foreword to this little book, in which he says it is — get this:

“As brilliant an exploration of the act of worship as I’ve ever seen.”

Important names such as Liz Theoharis, Luke Powry, and the eminent Tom Long give it a big endorsement for being provocative and, at times, fun. It is intense and serious and thoughtful and vital. It is not the final word on worship renewal or the public implications of our creeds and confessions. But in this era when idols and the pride that goeth before a fall is palpable, this should appeal to many. Check it out, give it to a thoughtful pastor or worship leader you know.

Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) $16.99 Okay, we announce this everywhere we go, tell folks about it hither and yon, and love explaining that it is fun and funny and adventurous and full of capers and stories and some pretty clear-headed ideas about God’s love and follow Jesus, bit by bit. Since Becca Stephens was doing heavy talks about the prophetic power of love and justice work, it seemed more than appropriate to shout out to Goff. It’s a great book for older Christian who need fresh shot in the arm, recalling what it’s all about, and it’s ideal for those not quite up for heady theological reading. Like his wonderful, popular Love Does, the new Everybody Always is a great book for anyone.

Love Heals Becca Stevens (Thomas Nelson) $15.99 Do you recall us sharing about this fabulously artful, very handsome book? It was one of our grand titles that we pushed when it first came out and we were so pleased to be able to say it was lush and lovely – full color photos of flowers and dishes and natures scenes – and, yes, thistles – and yet it has exceptional substance. Her work at Thistle Farms – offering dignity and jobs to women off the street, freed from domestic violence or trafficking or drugs – animates her deep, deep conviction that love is the answer. Yes, their teashop and Thistle Farms essential oils and hand lotions and international gifts are branded with the saying “love heals” but for them it is gospel truth. This book is about hope and community and justice and grace and goodness and beauty.

The principles explained here have transformed lives, leading those who are broken towards self-acceptance and compassion and faith. We loved selling this book at the Becca Stevens event and would love to sell a few more now. It would make a really great gift, so why not buy an extra?

Snake Oil: The Art of Healing and Truth-Telling Becca Stevens (Jericho Books) $15.00 What a read! This is her memoir, a ground-breaking story about her own life, losing her father (a beloved Episcopal priest himself), her abuse in the church she now loves, and her transformation as she learned to serve others and live in hope. Yep, she speaks truth, here, and it is a very good book.

In fact, the late, great, Phyllis Tickle said:

Snake Oil is one of the best reads I have had in a very long time. Stevens is a consummate storyteller…poignant, persuasive, witty, wise and, ultimately, a passionate lover of God.


The Way of Tea and Justice: Rescuing the World’s Favorite Beverage from Its Violent History Becca Stevens (Jericho Books) $16.00  I wished Becca could have been at the clergy retreat longer as I’d have loved to hear her tell some of this story. We read – and promoted (hear! hear!) – this book when it first came out. It’s a nice paperback now. As I announced in my little book pitch at the clergy event last week, there are a number of good books on fair trade coffee which has sort of lead the way to helping consumers think about ethically sourcing their shopping choices. But there hasn’t been as much written about what we might call fair trade tea and here Becca tells a story both inspiring and daunting. What a story, how informative, how interesting – a justice-oriented travelogue.

Here is how the publisher describes this riveting read:

What started as an impossible dream-to build a café that employs women recovering from prostitution and addiction-is helping to fuel an astonishing movement to bring freedom and fair wages to women producers worldwide where tea and trafficking are linked by oppression and the opiate wars.

Becca Stevens started the Thistle Stop Café to empower women survivors. But when she discovered a connection between café workers and tea laborers overseas, she embarked on a global mission called “Shared Trade” to increase the value of women survivors and producers across the globe.

As she recounts the victories and unexpected challenges of building the café, Becca also sweeps the reader into the world of tea, where timeless rituals transport to an era of beauty and the challenging truths about tea’s darker, more violent history. She offers moving reflections of the meaning of tea in our lives, plus recipes for tea blends that readers can make themselves.

In this journey of triumph for impoverished tea laborers, hope for café workers, and insight into the history of tea, Becca sets out to defy the odds and prove that love is the most powerful force for transformation on earth.

Letters from the Farm: A Simple Path for a Deeper Spiritual Life Becca Stevens (Morehouse Publishing) $18.95 What a great idea for a book. These are letters Rev. Becca sent out to various folks; to be honest, I don’t know (or even care) if they are real letters or a device to arrange a book of spiritual guidance. It’s a classic form – you know, even the always wise and eloquent Eugene Peterson has such a book, which, frankly, isn’t as substantial as this. So it’s a set of letters all about encouragement in the way of love. Some of these are about social issues – extolling the reader to greater care and action – and others are gentle, luscious, lovely.

Each letter includes Biblical texts and adds some questions for discussion and reflection, making an ideal sort of devotional for once who just can’t quite take a “page a day” devo, or for small groups who need short, artful pieces to discuss. It’s a great book inviting us to cultivate deep Christian practices for the life of the world. There’s lots of stories and lots of advice and lots of sense for you in Letters from the Farm and you get to learn a bit about her good work. It’s a nice cover, too. Yes!

Bathed in Prayer: Father Tim’s Prayers, Sermons, and Reflections from the Mitford Series Jan Karon (Penguin) $20.00  When we announced this a month ago a few customers were just tickled – what fun! This is a collection of various sermons and prayers by the fictional Father Tim of the beloved Jan Karon Mitford novels. Ms. Karon adds some of her own reflections about the inspirational parts of the stories and her own hopes and prayers. This is a lovely, real, book of devotion and prayer, even if from the pen of a storyteller. What fun.

Father Tim is, of course, a very good guy and his prayers and Bible studies and sermons are well worth considering. This compact-sized hardback would make a great gift for anyone, but certainly for those that love Mitford. Nice.

Why Religion?: A Personal Story Elaine Pagels (Ecco/HarperCollins) $27.99 Maybe this didn’t sell that well at the Episcopal gig because I didn’t push it as much as I might have; I guess we assumed they would naturally be interested, especially after that fascinating NPR Fresh Air interview a week or two ago. I suppose I’m just not that interested, to be honest, about her admittedly significant work on everything from Adam and Eve to the history of ideas about Satan. She’s known as a scholar of Gnosticism (a heresy I despise) and here she tells her own faith journey, such as it may be. She is a major intellectual in our time, so the book should sell well.

The reviews on the back are notable, from Madeleine Albright to Jon Meacham to Harvard colleague Karen King to, of course, Bart Ehrman. As he says this is “a deeply personal memoir by one of the truly eminent scholars of our generation.”

Even novelist Joyce Carol Oates says:

An extraordinary memoir of loss, spiritual struggle, illumination, and insight – emotionally heartrending, intellectually exciting, a model of what a memoir should be.

Holy smokes, I think I’m going to read this soon, after all. Wow. Want to join me?

Why Study the Past? The Quest for the Historical Church Rowan Williams (Eerdmans) $18.00  I suppose I shouldn’t assume that every Episcopalian or liturgically sensible, globally-minded Christian likes the former Archbishop of Canterbury, but, man – this shoulda flown off the shelves!  What a great little book — rich, deep, mature, about history and historiography, about why the past matters, about how older eras of the church should be informing us in some way (but maybe not others?)

We used to carry the British edition of this book and loved its simple outline, his intellectually astute, learned but gracious vocabulary. After a few opening chapters on “what we expect from the past” and why we should study church history, he offers a chapter called “Resident Aliens: The Identity of the Early Church” which leads to “Grace Alone: Community and Novelty in the Reformation Era” and then “History and Renewal: Records of the Body of Christ.” The Christian Century opined, “others would turn such a topic into a bone-dry lecture, but Williams’ Christological vision is thrilling.” Another reviewer says his prose is “lucid and often beautiful.” Come on, people!

The Jesus Heist: Recovering the Gospel From the Church C. Andrew Doyle (Church Publishing) $18.00 Okay, I dig this guy, and I like this book. I wish I had pushed it harder among my mainline denominational friends this year – we announced it when it came out a year ago and have taken it to various events. Look, we need to own up to this weird place we are in these days. (I don’t mean to caricature or offend.) When I was coming up into Christian leadership – the last quarter of the 20th century — the debate was between liberal theologians who created boring churches that didn’t believe much of anything, certainly nothing worth giving one’s life to, and evangelical churches that were passionate and sure and earnest and right about the first things of the gospel but too often dumb and shallow and oddly politically reactionary. Alas, now the books coming out of “liberal” theological traditions are more Biblical than much coming out of the hip evangelical culture. Oh, how the times have changed. So here, a progressive Bishop of a liberal denomination asks us to flip the script of many Bible stories and see what Jesus is really doing, inviting us to come to a deeper trust in His revolutionary Kingdom. This is what is good about mainline churches – they can preach a non-fundamentalist call back to Jesus and bitch about how we’ve missed Him in all our religiosity and get away with it. Yep, on both the right and left, evangelical and mainline, it seems Jesus has been too often ignored, the gospel domesticated, Jesus hijacked, if not stolen. I love the title of this.

And I love the irony that a mainline progressive is the one telling us we need revival, to focus on Jesus, to read our Bibles (if in creative, generative ways.) Ho!

And guess who has a big endorsement blurb on the back of this feisty book?

Becca Stevens, who says this:

Andy Doyle is an ecclesiastical breath of fresh air!  His writing is insightful, witty, and formative.  Read this book if you have found yourself questioning tradition, bored by Sunday morning routines, or wondering how to bring new life into any congregation. Andy knows the church is broken and invites us all to accept that lostness so that we can be found. Through his writing Andy grounds us in the fellowship of Jesus, does an analysis of where we wandered away from the Sinai traditions, and then cuts a path by which we can find our way back.  We can let go of useless structures that don’t lead us to love the world with eyes wide open.  We can live again as a motley crew of Jesus who are present in the world, loving their neighbors!  This book will free you to reimagine how you spend your time, talent and treasures for the coming kingdom.

Today is a Baptism Day Anna V. Ostenson Moore, illustrated by Peter Krueger (Church Publishing) $13.95  Not sure how this happened but I intended to rave about this from up front at our retreat and celebrate Church Publishing (an Episcopalian publishing house) doing great books just like this. Alas, we forgot to take it and left a whole big stack of them back at the shop. So, we announce it here, wanting you to know it is really interesting, a captivating, poetic sort of read full of mainline church theology, innovative, creative pictures (of all kinds of people and all kinds of families, thanks be to God!)

As a Canon to the Ordinary at the Diocese of Bethlehem says it “unfolds a theology of baptism within an expansive vision of who we are as members of the Body of Christ.” Cheryl Minor, Director of the Center for the Theology of Childhood at The Godly Play Foundation calls it (of course) “wonder-filled.” The author is known in Episcopalian family faith formation circles (she writes for “StoryPath” and their “Daily Devo.” This colorful kids book is good for any faith tradition that baptizes children. Nice!

Home By Another Way: A Christmas Story Barbara Brown Taylor, illustrated by Melanie Cataldo (Flyway Books) $18.00 I’m sure you know we’ve touted this before – it came out earlier this fall and we were just thrilled to see a popular sermon by the always eloquent Barbara Brown Taylor re-told as a children’s sermon, and lavishly illustrated with an amazing, creative, whimsical, passionate artists.

This, as you might guess, tells the story of the wise men, the confrontation with Herod, the suggestion that Mary, Joseph, Jesus become exiles (refugees? immigrants? as they escape. There’s some clever wit in here, the wise men are a bit eccentric, and the story unfolds with the preacher/theologian allowing the story to stay front and center, without moralizing. What fun! The artwork is fabulous.







Hearts & Minds logo




order here

this takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want

inquire here

if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know

Do feel free to tell us if you prefer any particular shipping methods. Media mail is cheap but slow; “Priority Mail” is as quick (or quicker) than UPS but less costly.  Which do you prefer?

Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown  PA  17313