I’m sure you’ve heard that we just got back from the huge Jubilee conference where we serve each year by setting up a large book display for the nearly 4000 participants. Our Hearts & Minds Facebook page (and my own personal one) has featured some posts and pictures from the event and we’re grateful for the encouragement and prayers that sustained us. It’s always a bit stressful but it seemed harder than ever this year as we sensed the need for prayer. We cannot overstate how important this event is and how transformative it has been in significant ways for thousands over the years.

Just yesterday I got an email from a regular customer and a long-time friend, who recalled her first year at Jubilee and the first book she purchased from Hearts & Minds. She wrote:

I am thankful for my time at Jubilee. I remember going to my first one at the Hilton with Kristin Silva and getting a Ron Sider book with her. We read that book together the second semester of my freshman year. It changed my life: I got a mentor, I started reading more for the first time in my life, and it introduced me to a whole new world. I can’t imagine my life without good books from Hearts and Minds and the compassionate spirit of campus ministry staff.

One of the fun things I get to do is describe books from up front on the well-designed, creatively lit stage. The book spiel is in the format of an interview (which somebody apparently thinks is a good idea) and it was executed well by our good friends Tommy Scales and Emily Bingham. When I was getting passionate about the importance of books on racism, Tommy dug into his black church traditions and dramatically fanned me; I’m tellin’ ya, that wouldn’t have happened if I were up there on my own!  I’m glad Tommy and Emily (one of the most interesting and discerning readers we know) helped me get the job done. I wish you could have seen me tell about these books, up front, live and energetic.

ON SALE: ONE WEEK ONLY           30% OFF

Here’s what we’ll do: for one week only we’ll do a 30% OFF post-Jubilee sale. Until a minute before midnight, Saturday night March 7th, the following titles (which I described up front at the conference) are 30% off. While supplies last.

After that, they will remain at our more customary BookNotes 20% off.

Like at Jubilee, I’m on a time crunch to fit these in, so let’s dive in, quickly. I will explain a bit more here, to our dear BookNotes readers, than I had time to in my Jubilee book interviews. I try to explain why these books are so important to our event, and perhaps to you, hoping you will considering ordering them from us now. Here we go.


Faith for Exiles: 5 Ways for A New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon David Kinnamen (Baker Publishing) $21.99.  SALE PRICE = $15.39 I kicked off the first Jubilee book talk with this one for a few obvious reasons. If you followed my first review of this before it came out, or my comments when we named it a “Best Book of 2019” you may recall that it mentions the Jubilee conference (and the book buying that goes on there) as a window into effective young adult ministry. This is an ambitious and visionary generation and we simply must offer a full-orbed gospel that relates faith to vocation and shows how work matters to God and is connected to our life in God’s Kingdom.  A book about Jubilee themes that mentions CCO and even the Jubilee book display by an author that was in the house? A no-brainer. Beth and I are glad to have David’s encouragement, too; he is such a good friend to us. His Sunday morning talk was powerful, too, given some serious sorrow in his own life. (Pray, please, for his wife Jill who has brain cancer.)

Faith for Exiles was a big seller at Jubilee, and we are glad to get it into the hands of young adults and those who care about young adults. It’s a great read and really, really important.

It’s Not What You Think: Why Christianity Is about So Much More Than Going to Heaven When You Die Jefferson Bethke (Thomas Nelson Publishing) $16.99. SALE PRICE = $11.89  Students like the young pastor and author and YouTube star Jefferson Bethke who is wise beyond his years. This feisty, fun, book offers a handful of fresh insights about the Christian faith and I announced it as a great one for anybody who wasn’t sure why there were there at this religious gathering or who wanted to know more than Sunday school clichés or pop culture stereotypes about what Christianity is really all about. While maybe not a full-on, worldviewish, reformational/Kuyperian perspective, it helps ordinary beginners realize that Biblical faith is, as Bethke says, “not what you think.”

The Big Story: How the Bible Makes Sense Out of Life Justin Buzzard (Moody Press) $13.99  SALE PRICE = $9.79 I have highlighted this one at Jubilee the last few years for a couple of reasons. It captures the theme of Jubilee that the overarching Biblical story is the story out of which we are to live (and in this sense is an apologetic for the relevance of a big picture view of the Scriptures and their formative power) and it nicely explains the big “chapters” of the Christian story, the “acts” of the Biblical drama that the conference itself is so faithfully built around – creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. Buzzard is sharp and reliable and the book is short and sweet. Perfect for young students new to this approach.

Even Better Than Eden: Nine Ways the Bible’s Story Changes Everything About Your Story Nancy Guthrie (Crossway) $16.99  SALE PRICE = $11.89  Again, catch the sub-title illustrating that serious Bible study can be valuable for life, for our story. Not only does this resonant with young adults these days, but it is, we are convinced, the best way to approach the Scriptures – not as a law book (as fundamentalists and dogmatists might) or merely as old religious history (as some progressives and mainline liberals might) but as a historically redemptive, unfolding, Christ-centered, Kingdom story. Guthrie traces a handful of words or images or metaphors – garden, temple, Sabbath, city, clothing, and more – from Genesis to Revelation showing how these notions point to God’s faithfulness and as the gospel unfolds. Plus, it was nice saying this PCA woman is one of the best Bible teachers in America. Yup.

All Things New: Joining God’s Story of Re-Creation Pete Hughes (David C. Cook) $17.99 SALE PRICE = $12.59  If I were speaking to a baby-boomer crowd I would have said “who is that masked man?” I never heard of Pete Hughes or his spiffy church but I’m telling you, this is one of the best books of the year! And it is spot-on for the Jubilee vision, a perfect Biblical overview of the big story, of God’s work in the world, of our missional invitation to be agents of God’s own reconciliation and reformation.  That two Jubilee home-run hitters from previous years (Jon Tyson and John Mark Comer) both eagerly endorse it with rave comments on the back assure us that I’m not dreaming here. This is a fresh new take on a full-orbed Kingdom vision and a fine Biblical overview of God’s plan of restoration and hope. Join in, please! Spread the word.

Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling Andy Crouch (IVP) $24.00  SALE PRICE = $16.80 Andy was our main-stage Friday night speaker. Here is a fabulously interesting previous talk he did at Jubilee a few years back which was similar, although he sang more this year, and did a four-way graph which not only affirmed a Biblical cosmology but nicely critiqued the mechanistic worldview and the resultant reductionism that emerged from the secularizing Enlightenment era. Anyway, I suggested we read all of Andy’s wise and well-written books – if you haven’t read him, you are in for a literary treat. We highly recommend Culture Making, Playing God, Strong and Weak, and his must-read, very insightful, handy-sized The Tech Wise Family.

Andy’s great talk Friday night set the stage for the rest of the conference, affirming the Biblical doctrine of creation which surely isn’t only about the mere act of creation ex nihilo (let alone a literalistic reading of the days of Genesis 1 that would oppose evolution) but a vision that this world is made, loved, that it is good, is ordered, and that we, made in God’s own image, have a task, a calling, a cultural mandate to open up and steward well God’s good creation. A robust, orthodox vision of creation and of our human calling as culture-makers is simply foundational for any faithful or sustainable Christian lifestyle. The lack of knowing this stuff is, in my opinion, one of the great weaknesses of contemporary Christianity (liberal, progressive, evangelical or Catholic.) I nearly shouted at the room – read Andy Crouch!

Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation Fred Bahnson & Norman Wirzba (IVP) $18.00 SALE PRICE = $12.60  If we live in a good creation that God so loves and our calling includes making something of it all, then surely tending the land itself and developing uniquely Christian views and coherent practices of growing food and eating is simply essential. I’m amazed how rarely we sell books from our “theology of food” section and how, most ordinary days, religious book buyers seem not to care about nurturing a faithful perspective on land, farming, food or feasting. This book is written by a Duke Divinity School professor and creation-care scholar and activist (Norman Wirzba) and a farmer (Fred Bahnson; we loved his memoir of visiting church-based garden projects called Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith.) This is, I said to the students, just one example of the implications of the sort of stuff that Andy was sharing. (I happen to know Andy loves Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection by Father Robert Farrar Capon and I admit that his chapter on onions is laden with as much good doctrine of creation as nearly anything since Gerard Manley Hopkins “dappled things” poem.) So, Making Peace with the Land is a fine introduction to creation and creation care but, truly, it is mostly about food and eating. You should read it. Enjoy!

Beyond Colorblind: Redeeming Our Ethnic Journey Sarah Shin (IVP) $17.00 SALE PRICE = $11.90  Ever since the days Beth and I worked with CCO in the 1970s, the organization was largely white, but eager to proclaim a multi-ethnic Kingdom vision as the Scriptures demand. We’ve talked a lot about racism within the organization and at the conference over the years and Jubilee is a beautiful example of how an organization and event can be intentional about amplifying the voices and perspective of people of color. Yet, as I explained up front, we sometimes view conversations about race (understandably) about the injustices of racism; that is, we seem to mostly talk about the sin and brokenness and ugliness of it all. By highlighting this book as a part of an evening exploring the doctrine of a good creation I wanted to frame our thinking about race and ethnicity by their essential goodness and validity. God made this world to be a world of color and diversity; our heritages, developed through the unfolding of history, though tainted by sin, are, indeed, a good thing.

So this fabulous book by Sarah Shin, without being glib about the great sorrows connected with racism, invites us to get beyond a Gnostic sort of dismissal of the facts of our ethnicities, and to honor who we are and our physical and cultural features as part of the good creation. The good creation which we are called to celebrate and steward well. I hope describing this book on Friday night helped; a number of people appreciated this, and I know they will find the book very, very useful. You too?

Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human John Mark Comer (Zondervan) $16.99  SALE PRICE = $11.89  For several years this has been a big seller at Jubilee and it captures well this teaching about the centrality of the cultural mandate, our call to exercise dominion by creatively opening up the goodness of God’s creation — by working and resting; this is what it means to be human. Comer is fun and easy to read, serious but playful, and due to the popularity and appropriateness of this book for our Jubilee event, he was asked to speak last year. His other books are all good – we sold out of his recent The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry – but this is a distinctively Jubilee-ish resource, a true must-read. What a joy.

The Seamless Life: A Tapestry of Love & Learning, Worship & Work Steven Garber (IVP) $20.00  SALE PRICE = $14.00  If you want to see a beautiful description of the Jubilee conference this year (with a lovely nod to our big book display) see Steve’s recent Facebook post where he honored us so. Steve directed the Pittsburgh Jubilee conference decades ago and in his Facebook column he noted that there is, still, simply no other event like it anywhere in the world. With that connection to Jubilee and his love of learning and his passion to gently help others see a coherent and integrated lifestyle of Christian discipleship, even in public matters, he embodies so much of what the CCO ministry is to be about. As I said when I first announced this before it came out in late December and as I explained when I named it one of the very best books of the year, the chapters are short but eloquent, the vision big and beautiful, and the insight nothing short of profound.

Describing this during my interview the first night at Jubilee was to be my big ending for the night, quickly shouting out that this was a Jubilee book if ever there was one, and that he deserves our attention, our support, our gratitude. The Seamless Life is a truly handsome little book with full color pictures, too, giving it a “report from the road” feel with Steve telling about his work and friends and projects in many different places around the world. Here, in short, accesible pieces, he fleshes out the perspectives found in his seminal Fabric of Faithfulness: Weaving Together Belief and Behavior and the spectacular Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good. All three are on sale, here, now – 30% OFF. Each are profound, significant volumes.


The Louder Song: Listening for Hope in the Midst of Lament Aubrey Sampson (NavPress) $15.99 SALE PRICE = $11.19 Since the Saturday morning session at Jubilee was designed to explore the Biblical teaching of “the fall” – which is theological short-hand for the reality of sin and brokenness, of tragedy and sorrow, of idols and rebellion – I thought I’d start off with this exquisite story of significant loss and how the author grew closer to God by hearing the music beneath the sorrow, the music of God’s presence in suffering and, particularly, God’s response to our cries of protest and lament. This is a book of deep anguish and yet good hope, not because of any glib “God willed it” cliché but because of the sturdy (if not nearly known enough in many churches) Biblical practice of crying out in lament. Students, like everyone, everywhere, are hurting and all of us live East of Eden, so I thought this was a good suggestion. We’ve reviewed The Louder Song at BookNotes and we were glad to get to give it a hefty shout-out at Jubilee. Thanks, Aubrey Sampson, for using your considerable writing gifts to share this hard stuff with such prophetic imagination.

And Yet Undaunted: Embraced by the Goodness of God in the Chaos of Life Paula Rinehart & Conally Gilliam (NavPress) $15.99 SALE PRICE = $11.19 I almost announced this on Friday night as a great book to help explain the whole “creation-fall-redemption-restoration” story. These four themes are the four big units of this new book and I am so jazzed about it. (Although they use this precise language of these four high-points of the Biblical narrative, just like the four main-stage/plenary talks at Jubilee, they also put it this way (borrowing from CCO/Jubilee friend Mike Metzger of the Clapham Institute: What Ought to Be, What Is, What Can Be, What Will Be.) Oh my, this is a brilliant way to arrange a book of short readings of daily Christian living, shaping our discipleship by these suggestion-rich frames. We highlighted And Yet Undaunted here during the Saturday morning session because – as you can get from the title – it offers this big, hopeful, vision of God’s redemptive and restoring work to those who are hurting or confused. We may feel overwhelmed and that our lives are daunting, but we are, with this Jubilee vision of the Bible’s coherence, yet undaunted.  We named this as one of the Best Books of 2019 and I was thrilled to tell the Jubilee kids about it. Do you feel daunted? You need this lovely, conversational guidebook. On sale at 30% off, now, until March 7, 2020.

The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism Jemar Tisby (Zondervan) $19.99 SALE PRICE = $13.99 I think this is one of the very best books for people to understand the complicity of the Christian religion in protecting slave holders and compromising the gospel for the sake of white supremacy. America is doubtlessly a great country, but this stuff has to be reckoned with. Our compromises must be acknowledged and this book was ideal to hold up as an example of how things go so very, very wrong because of our sin and idolatrous ideologies. In the Bible, sin is more than being naughty and the consequences of our unbelief and rebellion to God’s ways are often structural and systemic. This history book is a must read.

The rave recommendations continue to accumulate for this book, from various quarters, including Jubilee friend hip hop star Lecrae, the important Latisha Morrison, Calvin University’s Christina Edmundson, the always reliable Thabiti Anyabwile, and more. It just came out in paperback (although we have the hardbacks, too, on sale, if you’d rather. Those are usually $21.99; at 30% off they are $15.39, while supplies last.).

Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience Sheila Wise Rowe (IVP) $17.00 SALE PRICE = $11.90  I’ve written about this before, but thought you might want to know that this, too, is one we held up during Jubilee in the session designed to teach about sin, rebellion, alienation, and the grim facts of the human condition. We are glad that racism is more widely acknowledged than it maybe has been in our culture and in our churches; owning up to the hurt and complexities of racism means we have to understand some of what this book describes. Discussing everything from living with overt discrimination to routine micro-aggressions, from hosting fear and anxiety about things like police abuse or just the angst of being a minority in any majority culture group (even religious or church groups, by the way) Sheila Wise Rowe has given us all a great gift. To be offered a window into the lives of those who have been deeply hurt – she is not the only one who uses the phrase racial trauma – is so important in this damn fallen world. We who are white must “go there” if we want to really understand our friends and neighbors who suffer.

Interestingly, the book is upbeat at times, with good stories told in inspiring prose, even as it offers insights into trauma studies and provides coping mechanisms and healing options that move towards resilience. Unafraid to dwell in this hard space, Healing Racial Trauma is vital and highly recommended. Students at Jubilee were by turns baffled, intrigued, and very, very grateful. Glad to offer it to you here.

Intensional: Kingdom Ethnicity in a Divided World  D.A. Horton (NavPress) $15.99 SALE PRICE $11.19  Horton has a bunch of books and years of experience as a part Latino ministry leader; he’s a good voice to listen to. His own journey of learning to cope with his own mixed ethnic background and identity and also to address the (subtle and not so subtle) racism in our society is so very well told, I wished I had time to hang out more with this book on the main stage. I was hurrying and making the case that these books on race are but examples of the bigger teaching we were going to explore (with speaker and hip hop artist Jackie Hill Perry, author of Gay Girl, Good God) who expertly unpacked the primal narrative of “the fall” in Genesis 3.

Intensional is a lively and approachable book on racism written by a leader on multi-ethnic reconciliation. I noted how the title is a bit of a play on words – we are to be intentional about all this, even if we’d rather not, but it is spelled with that playful and important “s.” We are in tension, to be sure. This stuff ain’t easy. Filled with the love of God and guided by the Spirit or not, these conversations and this work can be tense. If you think otherwise I’d suspect that you haven’t gone very far into multi-ethnic friendships. We must be intentional and in-tension-al. Horton helps. On sale now at 30% off!

Better Together: How Women and Men Can Heal the Divide and Work Together to Transform the Future Danielle Strickland (Thomas Nelson Publishing) $18.99 SALE PRICE $13.29 I was so excited to highlight this brand spanking new book and I’m really eager to tell you about it here, now. I chose to highlight it Saturday morning, categorizing it under “the fall” since sexism and patriarchy – of the harsh, violent kind seen in rape culture or the subtle, softer kind found in many churches that marginalize women leaders — is, in fact, according to the Bible, an outgrowth of sin and sinful ideologies and attitudes. That the apostle Paul has to often remind us of “mutual submission” and that we men and women are one in Christ and that we should honor the women leaders he names is a reminder that in that Greco-Roman culture, women were demeaned and often casually abused and that the new community of Christ-followers were to have none of it.

(As Brian Walsh & Sylvia Keesmaat explore in their powerful commentary Romans Disarmed: Resisting Empire/Demanding Justice, domination is part and parcel of the Roman empire that much of the New Testament was written to counter. As an aside – they are speaking about the message of justice in Romans when they speak here about their book at the shop on March 24th. Stay tuned.)

Had we had enough time I would have also held up the remarkable The #MeToo Reckoning: Facing the Church’s Complicity in Sexual Abuse and Misconduct by Ruth Everhart (IVP; $17.00) since that is a gritty study of pain caused by male church leaders and the sinful cover-ups.

The brand new Better Together seemed the right choice for Jubilee since it wasn’t just about sexual violence and #metoo abuse, but was more general about how our sinful assumptions about gender and leadership cause otherwise good men and woman to be ineffective and too often unfaithful in Kingdom mission. That kind of sexism is less dramatic, perhaps, but it is still sinful and stupid, and Diana delightfully calls us to own up to the problem and move towards a bigger, better vision. She did a main-stage talk at Jubilee a few years ago and it was spectacular (I’ve read a couple of her books including one called A Beautiful Mess: How God Re-Creates Our Lives and another using the book of Exodus as a guide for personal liberation and a British one about empowerment of Christian women. Oh yeah, and The Zombie Gospel: The Walking Dead and What It Means to Be Human.) She has worked in dramatic ways with the Salvation Army in Canada and is a spokesperson for Compassion International. Here Danielle brings her feisty, fun, evangelical feminist style to call us to work together and (as the subtitle says) “transform the future.” Jubilee favorite Bob Goff wrote the tremendous forward. This is a fantastic, new book and we highly recommend it. On sale for 30% off, remember, this week only.

I See You: How Love Opens Our Eyes to Invisible People Lester Terence (IVP) $16.00 SALE PRICE = $11.20 With the rapid-fire shout out of the above books I made the case for Jubilee students on Saturday morning that there are many Christian books that look at the hard stuff of contemporary culture, that disarm the principalities and powers, that expose injustice, that give voice to those who are harmed by sin and idolatry. I knew that Jackie Hill Perry, as a solid, black, Reformed Bible scholar, would be very clear about personal sin and our individual need for repentance and return to God’s supremacy, but that she would also point us to the fact that our individual sinful dispositions yield a society in disarray. Our disordered loves lead to disordered cultures. And so, I highlighted books about racism and sexism. In this recent book, I See You, we back up to a very personal and very consequential sort of disposition: preferential blindness. That is, most of us are skilled – perhaps we are trained to be this way in school and by our entertainment – to block out the things that make us uncomfortable; indeed, the people that make us uncomfortable. The wonderful writer Lester Terence gives us a great gift with his new book about this, how it works and how God can help us overcome this tendency.

I See You might be a book that could be listed under “redemption” because it takes a God-given miracle to have the scales removed from our eyes and the hardness of our hearts softened. However it happens, the Bible calls us to this: to behold, to see, to know, to care. I See You is particularly about seeing (really seeing) the outcast and the hurting and how we rarely see (really see) the faces of those in need. I suppose this is mostly a book about poverty and about persons with financial insecurity, including the homeless.) Yes, it might take a miracle, but our self-centeredness, benign as it may seem, is sin, so I named it here by way of highlighting this good book. Can we repent of our attitude and posture towards otherwise “invisible” people? Can we be more hospitable to those who are on the margins, those who are outcast, lonely or alone? This book names our problem and offers great, great insights about how to be more loving. Who wouldn’t want a book that makes that promise? Who wouldn’t want a book that shows us the power of love? I See You by Terence Lester is on sale, now. Why not get some for your group to study?

Christian Worldview: A Student’s Guide Philip Ryken (Crossway) $11.99 SALE PRICE $8.39 Oh my, we had to switch gears up front during that book interview from describing books about the consequences of the fall into sin and our personal and social brokenness to remind students of resources that would be germane for the workshops they would be attending later that day. There too they would explore the implications of the “creation-fall-redemption” Biblical story, but applied to their major and their studies.

Much of the original vision for the conference and a part of it still today decades later is this outrageous idea that God cares about what some call our “academic faithfulness.” (CCO leader Vince Burens used the phrase in his welcome to the conference Friday night and I wondered how many students had heard that fabulous phrase or knew what it meant.) To think faithfully and in Biblical categories about the arts and sciences, about majors and classes and papers perhaps written (like Bach’s music) Soli Deo Gloria is part of the task of any Christian college student. Students are called to be faithful not just in the dorms and frat parties but in the classroom and library. (The very nice book King of the Campus by former CCO staffer Steve Lutz places the development of the Christian mind and the project of academic faithfulness in the broader context of honoring Christ as Lord over all of campus life. It’s really, really helpful; it is amazing to me how many publishers have released books for college students that don’t even mention their vocation as students!) CCO workers are not always able to broach this subject with as much depth as they’d wish with all their students – many young adults don’t even realize God likes them and couldn’t find the gospels in the Bible if they tried, let alone the minor prophets – so Jubilee is a time when this call to righteous academic rigor is held up as an ideal for students, integrating faith and learning, as we sometimes say. This is a strong suite of the Jubilee book table as we curate a display of titles in categories including Christian and normative perspectives on art, math, education, nursing, business, engineering, culinary science, psychology, law, politics, science, outdoor education, film making, fashion design, urban planning, sociology, special ed, economics, computer design, farming, sports, architecture, music, gender studies, history, environmental studies, marketing, and more.

But how does a 19 year old respond to some wild call to think Christianly and find a Biblical perspective on technology or art or biology or business when he or she has been taught – sometimes subtly, sometimes even overtly – that God doesn’t care about this world (you know, it all supposedly grows “strangely dim” in that “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” song)? How does a college student boldly develop what we call uniquely Christian scholarship when they’ve been told – sometimes subtly, sometimes even overtly – that in our society we’re supposed to keep religion to our private selves, that faith isn’t welcome in serious public discourse?  Yep, from both the church and the world, we’ve been told to disregard this very Raison d’être for the Jubilee conference.

No one book can undo the damage done by this double whammy — a privatized faith in a secularized culture — but this short little paperback could be a little stick of dynamite to blow up the dichotomies and dualism between sacred and secular, between faith and reason, between head and heart, between personal piety and public life.  I dared students to read it.

For some, by the way, the phrase “worldview” sounds too much like right-wing apologetics, as if it is merely an arguing tool to expose the deficiencies of other religions. Conversely, others think the concept of “worldview” is nearly postmodern with the tacit understanding that every idea is actually socially constructed, that pre-theoretical beliefs, such as they are, are most formative for any theory or fact. Neither assumption about worldview studies is fully fair, but both are somewhat true, I suppose. Being intentional about thinking about worldviews helps us understand other worldviews and what makes others tick, and it is, indeed, a move away from mere logic as determinative for how people see the world. (Pete Enns has a book called The Myth of Certainty which is actually pretty germane, here, but I didn’t mention it at Jubilee.)

The popular and respected James K.A. Smith has done great work on this, showing how our “social imaginaries” and stories (that is, our worldviews) are informed by our deepest loves, not firstly our ideas. Worldview studies are fascinating and generative – see, just for instance, Smith’s excellent Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview and Cultural Formation (Baker Academic; $24.99) or Rethinking Worldview: Learning to Think, Live, and Speak in This World by the novelist Mark Bertrand (Crossway; $22.99) or the big, definitive book by the great DBU philosophy professor Davey Naugle called Worldview: The History of a Concept (Eerdmans; $37.50) and, then, the provocative collection of deeper discussions called After Worldview edited by Matthew Bonzo (Dordt College Press; $13.00) for a deeper dive into the subject. Al Wolter’s Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview (Eerdmans; $15.00) is a classic in the field, cited by all of the above. Anybody who follows us carefully knows that we think The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian Worldview by Brian Walsh & Richard Middleton is the cream of the crop of these kinds of books (and it has a great couple of chapters at the end on how worldview funds the notion of communal Christian scholarship, a chapter every campus minister should read and re-read.)

The word, new to and rare in the English language in those years when the Jubilee conference began, (we then used the clunky phrase world-and-life view, a Dutchie rendering of the German weltanschauung) is, in a way, what got CCO going on the whole Jubilee vision thing. Before we came up with the idea of naming the conference Jubilee (from John Howard Yoder’s Politics of Jesus, by the way) we who were on the committee sometimes called it the “world and life conference.”

It simple wouldn’t be the Jubilee conference if I didn’t suggest to the crowd that they buy a book on the notion and nature of world and life views.  So Worldview: A Student’s Guide by Ryken it was.

This little book shows how the foundational notions of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation are not just keys to unlocking the unfolding, over-arching drama of the Bible narrative, but are world-and-life-viewpoint shaping. In Ryken’s little guidebook, students can learn to see this coherent vision of the nature of things as a pair of glasses. Through this lens we can increasingly see as God wants us to see. Faith is not just a compartment or as aspect of our lives, but the very heart of our seeing and making sense of the world around us. Worldview: A Students Guide is a gem of a little book, even if not nearly enough for a full exploration of this notion, so pregnant with meaning and loaded with implications. It’s a good start and I highly commend it to you for a quick but generative read. At 30% off, you can’t go wrong.

Your Minds Mission Greg Jao (IVP) $8.00 SALE PRICE $5.60  Oh my, how I wish we could give every person at Jubilee this handsome little staple-bound booklet. It is at once a worldview book, a book inviting us to use our minds well, a call to read widely, and a fabulous, upbeat, inspiring reminder that we can worship God as we think well about whatever we are studying. Our mind has a job to do, and we must learn to, as the Bible says, “take every thought captive.” Greg works with college students through IVCF and is a dear, dear brother in the Lord. He’s a friend of booksellers and a supporter of our work, so much so that he mentions Hearts & Minds in this little book. I sometimes forget that, and want to assure you that that isn’t why I push it everywhere I go. Although it is kinda cool that he so gets what we are trying to do here, what the Jubilee conference is about, and why reading, studying, learning, and becoming wise, more astute agents of social transformation is so very important. We are grateful for the things he cares so deeply about.

I know I circle back to this from time to time and some long time readers of BookNotes may tire of me asking you to consider this booklet. I wish somebody would buy a dozen for their youth group. I wish young adult groups would get it for their college-age folk. I wish pastors would master it so they know what the heck they should be calling their congregants to – thinking worldviewishly, multi-culturally, Biblically, for the sake of making a faithful difference in the world, across all zones of culture. What a rich vision is hinted at in this little volume! And what a critical piece of the puzzle it is.

I quickly told the Jubilee crowd that we can’t make a difference for God’s Kingdom in transforming the culture by good intentions or religious zeal alone. We have to think about this stuff, long and hard. Before anyone buys a book on Christian perspectives on nursing or pop culture or marketing or counseling or chemistry, they should read this little powerhouse on the role of thinking in an integrated and faithful manner. It is written for college students but I think many of our BookNotes readers will love it. On sale!

Learning for the Love of God: A Student’s Guide to Academic Faithfulness Derek Melleby & Donald Opitz (Brazos Press) $17.00 SALE PRICE = $11.90  Okay, I’ll be brief. I had to be brief in my one-stage interview last week as my allotted time was nearly up. I have touted (as I did at Jubilee) a little, easy to read book on worldview (Ryken’s) and a little easy to read book on the missional mind (by Greg Jao.) Both are jam-packed with implications but are necessarily brief. These are daunting subject and few folks take up our challenge to tackle worldview and the Christian mind as a topic of study as such. For those who do and want the “next step” or for those who think Worldview: A Student’s Guide or Your Minds Mission are too brief, then Learning for the Love of God is the next necessary step. I have raved about it before and I have held firm in my conviction that it is one of the few essential reads for any Christian college student. There are plenty of more rigorous texts but for undergrads, but start here.

Derek and Don are among my best friends and Beth and I are always delighted – truly – whenever we are in their presence. They care about young adults so can be light and whimsical but both are highly educated. (Derek has a Master’s degree from the Geneva college Higher Ed program and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon Conwell; Don has an advanced degree from Gordon Conwell and a PhD from Boston University, taken up under the tutelage of the sociologist Peter Berger. He is also ordained in the PC(USA) and serves as the chaplain at Messiah College near us here. Both of these gents are those rare breeds of super smart scholars who can be funny and gregarious and are always having a good time. Their whimsy and joy are on every page of this call to academic discipleship as they guide students to find greater meaning in their experience of higher education by honoring Christ in their classroom studies, in their homework and papers, in their life of learning across their collegiate experience. They translate heavy thinking – for those that care, they’ve read Dooyeweerd and Kuyper and Walsh & Middleton and Al Wolters and Nancy Pearcy; they cite Walt Brueggemann and Mark Noll and George Marsden (think of this as a youth version of his Oxford University Press book The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship) and all sorts of interesting primary source stuff – into a guide for becoming critical thinkers, living worldviewishly, and using the categories of creation/fall/redemption as keys to understanding the learning that goes on in college. They even have a helpful “Student’s Creed” in the back and some learning liturgies included. The book is dedicated to me, which is one of the great privileges of my life.

I wish we could get more people to buy Learning for the Love of God for their college bound students. I wish every church with a college outreach used it. I wish every Jubilee student got it. Alas, we have some left in our post-Jubilee boxes, just for you to take advantage of so they are for this week going for 30% off. You know what? Even if you aren’t in college, I think you’ll understand Hearts & Minds better and see your own efforts of being a life-long learner more clearly if you pick up this exciting little book. I would be personally grateful if you ordered some. Shouldn’t we all want to be “learning for the love of God”?


(re)union: The Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Saints, and Sinners Bruxy Cavey (Herald Press) $16.99 SALE PRICE = $11.89  Bruxy is a pretty darn cool Brethren pastor from Canada, a kindred spirit to Shane Claiborne, maybe… a little less political, but all about being an incarnational community following the radical way of Jesus. I love this book in which he says one can summarize the gospel in one word: Jesus! But he means by that all that the Scriptures suggest – the saving work of the cross and the ethical necessity of following that same Savior into the world that so badly needs rescue. I love the clever writing, the high Christology, the strong ecclesiology, and non-conformist lifestyle (all traits of the Anabaptist heritage that Bruxy updates for our times.) This book is user-friendly in a helpful way because he doesn’t presume a devout reader – the subtitle is for real; it’s ideal for seekers. Beth and I like it a lot.

So, before the presentation late Saturday afternoon at Jubilee that would explain Christ’s atoning death and the spirit of adoption where God receives us as His children, into relationship with Himself and each other in a new family, I wanted to offer a book that was clear about the gospel but a bit different. Reunion explores that sense of adoption, that reconciliation, the happy re-uniting of lost ones with a heavenly Father. This is good news and it explains the Good News in ways that are personal and public, individual and communal, offering a nice glimpse of how the gospel re-union includes forgiveness and salvation and the joining of a missional movement empowered by the Spirit to allow us to follow Christ into the world. Bruxy gets it, and I am grateful for his work. A nice, fresh take.

Faith On the Edge: Daring to Follow Jesus Paul Tokunaga, Kevin Blue, Amy Brooke, Bobby Gross, and others (IVP) $20.00 SALE PRICE = $14.00  I give a hearty recommendation about this every year at Jubilee because it was first designed for new, youngish followers of Jesus who want short readings, nice reflection questions, and some guidance about many aspects of living well with Christ. The first few chapters are about knowing God, the next batch are about relationships – from parents to church members to neighbors, exploring new relationships with housemates and friends, the poor, the unchurched and more. The third part follows the trajectory from knowing God to serving those around us to rocking the world for Christ—there are chapters on global concerns, world missions, living out ones faith in the marketplace and more. Between the handful of chapters in each of these three sections, Faith on the Edge is one of the best little readers to introduce Christian views and beliefs and habits we know of. I’ve been impressed with this for years and it isn’t at all outdated. Wholistic, multi-faceted, solid, not daunting, written by a multi-ethnic team of women and men. I really recommend this.

In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character Jen Wilkin (Crossway) $12.99 SALE PRICE= $9.09  Before a message about re-uniting with God through His initiative to redeem and adopt us, I figured it would be useful to suggest a book about the attributes of God. Who is this God that loves us so? Bruxy Cavey’s Reunion makes the case that we are invited into relationship with Jesus and called to follow him, together, into the world. Faith on the Edge gives us insights, wisdom, teaching, and very practical guidance on how to do that. In His Image tells us two big things: who God is, based on Bible teaching about God’s character and ways, and teaches us how we are to image God by reflecting those characteristics. Some of God’s attributes, of course, we do not exactly reflect (we are not omnipresent or all powerful, after all.) But there are attributes of God we can be infused by and Ms. Wilkin explains all this with depth and charm and is exceptionally useful for those wanting to deepen their faith. I’d say it is very good for beginners, but really good for any who want to live into their discipleship with more Biblical depth.

Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life Tish Harrison Warren (IVP) $20.00 [the new hardback edition] SALE PRICE = $14.00 I’ve raved about this often and it was a special delight at Jubilee to have Tish and her daughter and new baby shopping in our Jubilee bookstore. (A few local Pittsburghers who were not at the conference came by to browse. Thanks to Jon & Kathy at WORD FM for helping with that.) Long before I knew Tish was showing up, though, we knew we’d feature this great book. I announced that Liturgy of the Ordinary is a perfect book for those wanting to accept their new status as redeemed and adopted children of God; with her great prose and vivid storytelling, Tish does two big things that not enough authors do: she reminds us that God is with us throughout the live-long day, even during seemingly mundane moments and certainly in hard moments. And, secondly, she does that by linking our Christian practices of being open to God’s presence to moments of worship. That is, she links liturgy to life; she explores how the formative practices of worship, liturgy and the practices of spiritual disciplines can equip us to be more faithful in the ordinary stuff of life. One of our favorite Jubilee speakers from the previous year and one of our all-time favorite books.  Lovely, thoughtful, wise and very well written… it is now only available in hardback, in part to celebrate its significance, but also to prevent Amazon from pirating it. Get it from us now on sale!

Do Something Beautiful: The Story of Everything and a Guide to Finding Your Place In It  R. York Moore (Moody Press) $13.99  SALE PRICE = $9.79  Oh man, what a handsome little book, with a striking cover and some full color design touches inside; it’s a fine-looking book. And, more importantly, it offers a beautiful vision and I highlighted it at Jubilee 2020 not only because York has been a staff trainer for CCO in the past and a keynote preacher at Jubilee (where he guided many into a new, saving relationship with Christ) but because this notion of doing something good and beautiful seemed such a fresh and good way to describe the response to the call to commitment that would be given in that hour. My friend Rev. Dean Weaver is a great communicator and solid preacher so I was glad he’d be presenting the truth of the redemption chapter of the Biblical story and I wanted to recommend a book that was clear about salvation and clear about the wholistic, good response we can make, heading into the world shaped in decisive ways by the Biblical story. York’s call in Do Something Beautiful for us to be agents of social change is wonderful, gracious, balanced, although it is delivered with urgency. (He is particularly passionate about fighting sexual trafficking and has done good, good work on that.) It is an honor to amplify his message and to highlight him as an evangelist who knows that salvation must bear fruit of justice and public righteousness and social change, colored by beauty. What a lovely, energizing book. Highly recommended

Made for These Times: A Start-Up Guide to Calling, Character, and Work That Matters Justin Zoradi (Zondervan) $16.99  SALE PRICE = $11.89        I like to tell the story that the first time I heard of this guy and his book, a CCO staff person had heard him speak somewhere and asked me about him. He sure sounded a lot like a Jubilee keynote speaker, she said, and did I know him? I did not. I picked up the book and on the first page it mentions – as it does a few other times – my best friend, Ken Heffner, then of Calvin College, in Grand Rapids. Ken and Gail are former CCO staff, Jubilee conference fans, and bear witness with every ounce of their being this very good news that God’s Kingdom is restoring all things in the creation, that we need to think Christianly about engaging the good and bad in everything from pop culture and music to ecological issues and public policy. Justin was mentored as he worked for Ken and was offered Heffner hospitality in GR, learning much about this whole-life sort of Kingdom discipleship. He went on to start a global non-profit, to deepen his passion about justice work and redemptive efforts in the nonprofit space as an award-winning social entrepreneur. Made for These Times passionately tells about his passion and honestly informs us how to move towards more intentional kinds of service in the world. My friend was right: Justin Zoradi would make a perfect Jubilee speaker! And his book is a great, inspiring read to become the kind of people who can (as Steve Garber might put it) live into visions of vocation for the sake of the common good. Yes, yes, yes! On sale at 30% off, now, this week only. Check it out!

Whatever You Do: Six Foundations for an Integrated Life edited by Luke Bobo (Made to Flourish) $7.99  SALE PRICE = $5.59 Made to Flourish is a classy church-based network founded by our friend Tom Nelson (who has spoken at Jubilee and the for-adults pre-conference called Jubilee Professional) teaching from his wise and useful book Work Matters. After diving into the work of pastoring in ways that equipped his congregants to be salt and light in their workaday jobs, he moved increasingly to equip other pastors with this vision, helping others to enhance their own missional footprint in the marketplace. This engagement with work and calling and vocation and business led him to think more about economics, and he wrote a lovely little primer to help churches move towards being agents of shalom for their needy neighborhoods (see his The Economics of Neighborly Love: Investing in Your Community’s Compassion and Capacity published by IVP; $18.00.)

Made to Flourish does amazingly good work and we were honored to be among the first booksellers to carry their own in-house materials such as this reader on wholistic integrated discipleship that gives an account of our call to serve God with our vocations. There are several great chapters by fabulous leaders in the faith/work movement in Whatever You Do, a compact and concise book about which I can’t say enough. Most of the contributing authors have spoken at Jubilee and Jubilee Pro over the years and I can affirm them without hesitation – authors such as Amy Sherman, Michael Goheen, Vincent Bacote, Greg Forster, Gary Black, and Tom Nelson. What a blessing to have Luke and his colleague Paige Wiley with us at Jubilee, and what a joy to tell you about these books that I suspect you may not know about.  Luke has written several other books which we stock, by the way, including Living Salty and Light-Filled Lives in the Workplace (Resource Publications; $16.00, but just $11.20 at our extra sale price), Race, Economics, and Apologetics: Is There a Connection? (Resource Publications; $9.99; on sale price = $6.99) and a nice and very helpful little guide to Bible reading called A Layperson’s Guide to Biblical Interpretation (also Resource Publications; regularly $22.00; on sale for $15.40.) We have them all here, and of course, have them at the special 30% post Jubilee discount.

Worked Up: Navigating Calling After College edited by Luke Bobo and Paige Wiley (Made to Flourish) $9.99 SALE PRICE = $6.99  This is a very cool- looking, thin but slightly oversized book that is so wonderfully designed with colorful graphics and print touches that I just want to tell everybody about it. There are pull quotes and sidebars — you really have to see it. Alas, it is a specialized market, but you should know about it. This is a workbooky sort of journal that asks very perceptive questions for the recent college graduate about discerning more about their calling and careers. We have bunches of books like this (drop me a note for a larger list including books like the energetic Your Vocational Credo by Deborah Koehn Loyd (my personal fav) or the more contemplative Consider Your Calling by Gordon T. Smith) but Worked Up offers two very important things: it includes space for writing in response to wise prompts and provocative questions and it is rooted in this all-of-life-redeemed, worldviewish vision that honors the high calling of a Biblical vision for work.  There are only a few faith-based vocational guidebooks and this is as solid on the framework for vocational discipleship and authentic flourishing than any tool I know. And it is honest, inviting some pondering about anxiety and discernment and such. It’s very nice for anyone, really, and ideal for those in transition, thinking afresh about their jobs, callings, work, and careers. Kudos to Made to Flourish for this fine, fine resource.

Serious Dreams: Bold Ideas for the Rest of Your Life edited by Byron Borger (Square Halo Books) $13.99 SALE PRICE = $9.79  Okay, can you blame me? This was my own contribution and I truly wouldn’t have announced it in our limited time up front at Jubilee if I didn’t earnestly belief it was great to this crowd.  I’m happy to remind you of it here, now. It’s a volume I edited, a collection of commencement speeches from Christian colleges that sounded a lot like big and motivational main-stage Jubilee-talks. Some chapters are literate and tender (I adore the one by Calvin College’s Claudia Beversluis quoting Wendell Berry poetry) and some offer Biblical explorations (my own reflections on being “sons and daughters of Issachar” for instance.)

This little volume is one I am really proud of and it seems like a perfect follow up to the Jubilee conference. Serious Dreams is designed for college grads, but we know that others have enjoyed its chapters – from authors like Richard Mouw, Amy Sherman, John Perkins, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Steve Garber and more. I did a long introductory chapter and our friend Erica Reitz Young (of Leaving College fame) did a short afterword. I think the discussion questions are pretty good, too. You could use this, you really could. And I’d autograph ‘em if you ask. How’s that?  Happy reading!



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