SOME MORE BOOKS FOR CHILDREN (for Easter gifts, maybe?) ALL ON SALE – 20% OFF

In the BookNotes that went out just yesterday, I listed some children’s books that are about Lent and Easter. It was a good list, some older, some newer. I forgot to list one that I really, really wanted to tell you about so thought I’d do another quick listing, another BookNotes recommending books for kids. These would make great Easter gifts as almost all are, in one way or another, about faith in the resurrected power of Christ. The first one is about Easter, but all the others are very special, too.

You can get our 20% off discount by using the order form at the end of the column. Just scroll on down and click that link which takes you to our secure order form. Thanks for your consideration. Enjoy.

The King of Easter: Jesus Searches for All God’s Children Todd Hains, illustrated by Natasha Kennedy (Lexham Press) $17.99                                      OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

This is a splendid children’s book explaining the story of Christ’s life, passion and death and resurrection. It is illustrated so well by Kennedy and, in a great move, Jesus looks nearly black. Better than the goof-ball European ones we more commonly see. Hooray.

As it says in the promo material: “Whether friends or enemies — if they are lost, Jesus came to seek and save them. At every step, he brings his new friends to join the search.” It ends, by the way, with the conversion of Paul who carries on the mission. It’s very thorough and great for family use.

This is part of the developing “FatCat” series, where a chubby feline helps with the story. Silly as that sounds, it is serious and thoughtful. The first in that series (see below) was the stellar one The Apostles’ Creed by Ben Myers, after his fabulous, small adult hardback.

The Apostles’ Creed: For All God’s Children Ben Byers, illustrated by Natasha Kennedy (Lexham Press) $17.99            OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

This was the first in the FatCat line (the second being The King of Christmas: All God’s Children Search for Jesus.) I hope there will be more. This one is fun and accessible as it invites children to visualize, memorize, understand and confess this important, ancient, unifying creed. After every line from the creed there is a simple reflection for young readers and families “to tuck into their hearts.”  There is a list of Scriptures for further learning and a family prayer.

Who Is Jesus? 40 Pictures to Share with Your Family Kate Hox, illustrated by Joe Hot (New Growth Press) $19.99                               OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99

I’ve been waiting for months to tell you about this stunning, provocative, interesting, clarifying book which is good for little kids or older ones, for that matter. As one professor from Westminster Theological Seminary puts it, “Kate and Joe Hox have produced a captivating and colorful mini-biblical theology.” The authors are graduates of Dordt College in Iowa.

It offers the gospel throughout Scripture, the gospel for all of life, by showing a picture (a symbol, an illustration, almost like a logo, not a full painting.) This whole Bible full of word pictures helps us come to know and love Jesus.

In Who Is Jesus? the husband and wife team combine illustrations and deep thoughts to teach simply about who Jesus is, what He did, what His Kingdom is about, the nature of the gospel.  It offers a great Biblical overview and is what graphic novelist John Hendrix calls “a gorgeous delight.” Every family with kids should have this on hand. Ideal for ages 5 -10 or so, I’d say 4 – 12. Yes, it is great for Lent and Holy Week, but useful all year long.


The Really Radical Book of Kids: More Truth. More Fun Champ Thornton, designed and illustrated by Scot McDonald (New Growth Press) $29.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $23.99

I hope you remember the game-changing extraordinary 2019 book The Radical Book for Kids which taught clear and relevant evangelical theology to middle-grade elementary kids with such robust gusto and strikingly vivid imagery that it was a book to share even with older ones. It was a blast to look at, a sincere bit of disciple-making to mentor kids into this vision of living for Christ.

Thornton is an acquisitions editor at Crossway Books and has done a number of gospel-based books for kids and families. This brand new sequel to The Radical Book, happily called The Really Radical Book has more imaginative plans to teach God’s Word. There are unusual foods to make, secret codes to break, fun crafts to try, and strange planes to fly. As it continues on the back cover, “You’ll also encounter exciting ways to read the Bible, factual reasons to believe, stunning truths about God, and incredible examples of “radical” men and women who trusted Jesus in challenging times.

We are really fond of this, even if they don’t run with the “radical” word in ways you might expect. That is, there is nothing about Dorothy Day or MLK or St, Francis, even; that is, it isn’t as radical as it claims to be. There is a great piece on Lemuel Haynes though, which is cool. Importantly, Scot McDonald is a whimsical and fun (and award winning) graphic designer whose wife is a children’s librarian. He knows his stuff. If kids really get this, maybe it will be subversive after all.

God’s Beloved Community Michelle Sanchez, illustrated by Camila Carrossine (Waterbrook) $12.99      OUR SALE PRICE = $10.39

I’m telling you, there is a lot packed into this succinct children’s book — one the adults sharing it with them will be challenged by, no doubt.

Michelle Sanchez is the exceptionally talented and visionary black woman who wrote Color-Courageous Discipleship for adults (as well as the adapted teen version, Color Courageous Discipleship Student Edition.) Here she offers for little kids, in lilting, rhyming text, a visionary invitation to build what Martin Luther King famously called the “beloved community” God calls us, she insists, from being “color blind to being color brave.” We can proclaim God’s own truth that all people are precious. God did, after all, create a world filled with vibrant variety and called it good! Hooray. As she puts it, “from flamingos and crows to shooting stars and rainbows, to all our different shades of hair, eyes, and skin, God declared it all very good.”

Ms Sanchez is the senior discipleship and evangelism leader of the Evangelical Covenant Church (with a degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a certificate in spiritual direction from Boston College.) Visual artist Camila Carrossine lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil and is a talented visual storyteller.

All Will Be Well: Learning to Trust God’s Love Lacy Finn Borgo, illustrated by Rebecca Evans (IVP Kids) $18.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40

I hope you know Lacy Finn Borgo who wrote the thrilling and deeply spiritual volume Spiritual Conversations with Children: Listening to God Together and the forthcoming — due in early May! — Faith Like a Child: Embracing Our Lives as Children of God. She is an expert curriculum writer and has done this lovely kids book drawing, of course, on the lines from St Julian of Norwich. There is a sick grandma, a worried child, the gift of a hazelnut (of course — Borgo obviously knows her Julian) and a new sense of knowing God’s love.

There is a nice note from the author to adults in the back about helping children process grief, teaching them simple spiritual practices (like breath prayer) and how to lean into the famous promise of Julian — all shall be well. Very impressive.

Sparrow’s Prayer Roger Hutchison, illustrated by Ag Jatkowska (Beaming Books) $17.99                              OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

This cute children’s book is powerful for its earnest and profound claim that “each life is a prayer.” Sparrow wakes up each morning ready to sing a prayer of thanksgiving. As it says on the back, “Not today. Today his words get tangled and knotted in his beak like old yarn and straw. When he asks his friends how they pray, he discovers he may not need any words at all.” Wow.

The animals in this busy book each offer a certain insight about praying — from singing to dancing to being silent. Hutchison gets this — he has written other books about more reflective and contemplative prayer (and a marvelous book about using the arts in processing grief called My Favorite Color Is Blue and The Painting Table.)

The little Sparrow raises his wings at the end in praise as the text gives us Psalm 139. There’s an afterword, too, with some questions and things to ponder and to try. Sweet.

When I Talk to God, I Talk About You Chrissy Metz & Bradley Collins, illustrated by Lisa Fields (Flamingo Books) $18.99                              OUR SALE PRICE = $15.19

We’re delighted that Chrissy Metz, the famous This Is Us star, has gotten some good buzz about her new book. We admire her very much and celebrate this book done by her and her partner — a leader in artist advocacy in Nashville. The book is colorful and evocative and sweet as it reminds children that their parents pray for them. What a true, true book, eh?

With large pictures of animals (babies and parents) the gentle rhymes honor the various fears and concerns of children, but reminds all that “When I talk to God, I talk about you.” And then, the big ending — “Did you know you can talk to God, too?” Hooray for this.

The Biggest Story Bible Storybook Kevin DeYoung, illustrated by Don Clark (Crossway) $29.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $23.99

I’ve highlighted this before and it stands out as one of the most colorful and well-crafted children’s storybook Bibles we know. We have a handful of favorites re-tellings — Libby Caldwell & Carol Wehrheim’s Growing in God’s Love: A Story Bible, Desmond Tutu’s Children of God Storybook Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (by Sally Lloyd Jones), and The Lion Bible for Children, among others.


This one is bright, very modern looking, well-designed, visually captivating. The story telling itself has something that is persuasive — it seems to get the big narrative, the grand plot of the big picture. It was inspired by a shorter (and equally vivid) book by DeYoung and Clark called The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden, which I am fond of. This bigger one is spectacular.

The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New Marty Machowski, illustrated by Andy McGuire (New Growth Press) $29.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $23.99

This is a hefty book, not as small or thin as many, and made with hefty paper, so it’s weighty and a keeper. The art is fairly conventional — very well done and appealing, if traditional in pastel wooden pencils, perhaps. There are flowers and butterflies and close up pictures of children studying, handsome drawings of ancient scrolls and crowns and trumpets, with some whimsical scenes, too — a squid holding a pencil.

This is essentially a theology for kids. It is about God and God’s redemptive story. It is honest about goodness, about sin, about redemption, about discipleship, about hope and glory. As they say on the back it offers “Deep Truth, Simply Told.”

No theology book (for adults, or the rare ones for kids) is complete and there are themes and notions that are left unexplored. But for the simple truth of the basic stuff of Christian conviction, this is a good start. I would suggest it for families of younger children, even though it is content-rich. Maybe ages 7 – 11.

See also their tremendously lovely, thick study of some of the Psalms called Wonderfull: Ancient Psalms Ever New (New Growth Press) $29.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $23.99

This one has a small plot as a boy named Oliver reads the Psalms and learns to use them in prayer with his aging grandfather. As Oliver and his grandfather read through the Psalms together, they learn about God’s love and pray for each other as the seasons change. Even when the leaves fall and Oliver’s grandfather grows weaker, the Psalms strengthen them both to put their trust in God” Whew. Wonder-full.

Discipleship for Kids: Helping Children Grow in Christ Rebecca Ruybalid Stone (NavPress) $9.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $7.99

I love this publisher but the cover is a bit of mystery. The subtitle on the top says “Helping Children Grow in Christ” which implies it is for parents or adult church leaders who are teaching children. The cover implies it’s for littler kids with the goofball art. The advance info says it is on a 3rd grade reading level, but it seems to me the good writing style, though, is for YA audiences, which is to say middle, school, maybe, or junior high, even? It’s brand new — wanna be the first to give this a try?

It looks really good, gracious and open-minded even as it invites youth to grow in a multidimensional and balanced way. The wheel on the cover shows up throughout the book as we circle around learning to pray and love, love and walk, walk and tell others, rooted in a love for God and the Bible and a clarity about Christ’s grace, among his community. The wheel is a teaching tool used by the Navigator’s disciple-making ministry all over the world, actually. It’s all very clearheaded and optimistic, if a bit truncated — it doesn’t cover all we do as followers of Jesus but it’s certainly some of the basics. We can do this. Let’s do this!

It does have a bit of Q + A throughout, short bits that imply some engagement from the reader; not homework, really, but some intentionality. Maybe that’s the point of the subtitle on cover — an adult may need to work through this with their child. Know anybody that needs a tool like this, one piece of the puzzle of whole-life formation?

Everything Sad Is Untrue (A True Story) Daniel Nayeri (Levine Querido) $17.99                                OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

In our years of bookselling there have been a handful of YA books that have such power — a magical story well-written with a profound moral center — that they become popular among children, parents, teens, older readers. You know the list of the truly great ones, the enduring books of the last 50 years. This, my friends, is doubtlessly one of them. We haven’t had such a buzz on a novel, let alone a youth novel, since, uh, maybe the hall icon days of Harry Potter.  This one is a masterpiece.

I’ve written before about having met Daniel a few times and our respect for his work as writer, thinker, a person of serious faith, and publishing leader. (He works professionally in the children’s book world.) His mother escaped house church persecution in Iran decades ago and she, along with Daniel and his sister — who wrote remarkably about her experience in the excellent memoir, The Ungrateful Refugee — landed, finally, in the US. This colorfully written children’s tale is, in a sense, his story, told with spiraling and interconnected pieces that recalls great Persian storytelling — some reviewers have linked it to classics like 1001 Arabian Nights.

Here is how the publisher has introduced it:

At the front of a middle school classroom in Oklahoma, a boy named Khosrou (whom everyone calls “Daniel”) stands, trying to tell a story. His story. But no one believes a word he says. To them he is a dark-skinned, hairy-armed boy with a big butt whose lunch smells funny; who makes things up and talks about poop too much. But Khosrou’s stories, stretching back years, and decades, and centuries, are beautiful, and terrifying, from the moment his family fled Iran in the middle of the night with the secret police moments behind them, back to the sad, cement refugee camps of Italy and further back to the fields near the river Aras, where rain-soaked flowers bled red like the yolk of sunset burst over everything, and further back still to the Jasmine-scented city of Isfahan. We bounce between a school bus of kids armed with paper clip missiles and spitballs to the heroines and heroes of Khosrou’s family’s past, who ate pastries that made people weep and cry “Akh, Tamar!” and touched carpets woven with precious gems. Like Scheherazade in a hostile classroom, Daniel weaves a tale to save his own life: to stake his claim to the truth. And it is (a true story.)

I have told you about this before and have cited some of the prestigious endorsements it has received. I’ve exclaimed how much, especially, Beth liked it. I’ll just say this more — a friend (who reads a lot) recently finished it and said he was so moved he wonders if he will be able to read another book any time soon. Whew!

The Many Assassinations of Samir, the Seller of Dreams Daniel Nayeri (Levine Querido) $21.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $17.59

Okay, this is the new one, Daniel’s follow up to his last bestseller, Everything Sad Is Untrue which the New York Times called “A modern masterpiece — as epic as the Iliad and Shahnameh, and as heartwarming as Charlotte’s Web.”

A week or so ago I posted at our Hearts & Minds Facebook page a free sample look at the first chapter of this new, sprawling tale, and then shared a link to the exquisite New York Times review of it. It isn’t every youth novel that gets taken this seriously and, fun as it is, one has a sense that it is also important. It is, at least, a story about stories, a reminder of the power of words, a look at the teller of tales.

Here is how the publisher indices us with a hint of the setting:

A mesmerizing adventure set along the enchanting silk road, where caravans of merchants carried spices, perfumes, furs, and in the case of one swindler named Samir, nothing but dreams.

A swindler carrying nothing but dreams. Who by the way, now calls himself Monkey. Oh my.

There are some classy, pastel art works to illustrate The Many Assassinations of Samir, the Seller of Dreams. There is adventure galore and wild characters, including, a band of troublesome figures that were hired by the villagers, including, “a Viking berserker, a Rogue legion, a Persian mystic, a Bedouin clan, a Mongolian gunner, a Chinese abolitionist, and, if that wasn’t enough, the most terrifying killer of all, a mythic figure only known as Cid.”

Is this an epic tapestry or a buddy comedy? It is said to be “a heartfelt tale of what makes a family, the expansive nature of love, and the precise market value of a good story.” Ha.



It is very helpful if you tell us how you prefer us to ship your orders.

The weight and destination of your package varies but you can use this as a quick, general guide:

There are generally two kinds of US Mail options, and, of course, UPS. If necessary, we can do overnight and other expedited methods, too. Just ask.

  • United States Postal Service has the option called “Media Mail” which is cheapest but can be slow. For one typical book, usually, it’s about $3.85; 2 lbs would be $4.55.
  • United States Postal Service has another option called “Priority Mail” which is $8.50,  if it fits in a flat rate envelope. Many children’s books and some Bibles are oversized so that might take the next size up which is $9.20. “Priority Mail” gets much more attention than does “Media Mail” and is often just a few days to anywhere in the US.
  • UPS Ground is reliable but varies by weight and distance and may take longer than USPS. We’re happy to figure out your options for you once we know what you want.

If you just want to say “cheapest” that is fine. If you are eager and don’t want the slowest method, do say so. It really helps us serve you well so let us know. Just saying “US Mail” isn’t helpful because there are those two methods, one cheaper but slower, one more costly but quicker. Which do you prefer?



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Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown  PA  17313

Sadly, we are still closed for in-store browsing. COVID is not fully over. Since few are reporting their illnesses anymore, it is tricky to know the reality but the best measurement is to check the water tables to see the amount of virus in the eco-system. It’s important to be particularly aware of how risks we take might effect the public good. It is complicated for us, so we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family, staff, and customers.) The vaccination rate here in York County is sadly lower than average. Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation, so we are trying to be wise. 

Please, wherever you are, do your best to be sensitive to those who are most at risk. Many of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, congregants, and family members may need to be protected since more than half of Americans (it seems) have medical reasons to worry about longer hazards from even seemingly mild COVID infections. Thanks for understanding.

We are doing our famous curb-side and back yard customer service and can show any number of items to you if you call us from our back parking lot. It’s sort of fun, actually. We are eager to serve and grateful for your patience as we all work to mitigate the pandemic. We are very happy to help do if you are in the area, do stop by.

Of course, we’re happy to ship books anywhere. 

We are here 10:00 – 6:00 EST /  Monday – Saturday. Closed on Sunday.


I know some of our customers are looking for gifts for Easter baskets, for grandkids, nephews and nieces, for neighbors or Sunday school classes. Heck, some of you just like children’s books for their beauty and interest. You can check some previous BookNotes here or here, of course, and if the books are still available we can send them to you. Below are a few special ones, a few are brand new; most are recent. All are 20% off. Scroll to the bottom to see the link to our secure order form page — or call. We love to chat.

Thanks for caring.

God’s Holy Darkness Sharen Green & Beckah Selznick, illustrated by Nikki Faison (Beaming Books) $17.99    OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

This is one we promoted in the dark days of Advent as it just seemed to capture that season of longing and lament. It is, as we said, one of the most amazing children’s books in many a year, powerful, aesthetically stunning, exceptionally well done. I highly recommend that you get it out if you had purchased in last season and if not, now truly is the time, even though it is not a Lenten title, per se.

There are two important threads of import in this striking picture book. Firstly, it is (obviously) about darkness. That in itself resonates with themes of Lent, doesn’t it? We really appreciate how artfully it shows this and how vital and captivating this book is, inviting us to “celebrate the beauty of God’s holy darkness.” (Perhaps you recall the wonderfully written memoir exploring this by the exquisite Barbara Brown Taylor called Learning to Walk In the Dark: Because Sometimes God Shows Up at Night; this children’s book is a good companion for that.)

The second theme is wanting to redeem the notion of blackness. Too often we hear, or assume subconsciously, that black is bad, that dark times are irredeemably bad, that night and dark are scary and troubling. We needn’t overstate the case but some black friends have said this can be hurtful or confusing, so we need to think this through. God’s Holy Darkness is, in a sense, an anti-racism book.

As it says on the back cover of God’s Holy Darkness:

From the darkness at the beginning of creation to the blackness of the sky on the night when Christ’s birth was announced, this captivating picture book deconstructs anti-Blackness in Christian theology by exploring instances in the story of God’s people when darkness, blackness, and night are beautiful, good, and holy.

We often talk about how the liturgical calandar draws us into the flow of the unfolding drama of the history of redemption. That is, we should frame our seasons by the whole story of God as portrayed in the big story of Scripture. This artful book does just that allusively, simply, walking us through the pages of Scripture. This is redemptive, nearly subversive, Biblical theology for children and I could imagine it being used during Holy Week and certainly on Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

Bare Tree and Little Wind: A Story for Holy Week Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Khoa Le (Waterbrook) $15.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $12.79

We highlighted this as one of our favorite picture books last year at this time and for those who missed it, it is a gem. Creative, lyrical, honest, the palm trees tell Little Wind that the Real King is coming. But who is this Quiet Man he sees instead? Perkins is a National Book Award nominee and a splendid writer. The art is both creatively and aesthetically pleasing while just a touch whimsical. Look for the pair to reunite for a Christmas book later this fall to be called Holy Night and Little Star: A Story for Christmas.

Darkest Night/Brightest Day: A Family Devotional for the Easter Season Marty Machowski, illustrated by Phil Schorr (New Growth Press) $21.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $16.80

I love this idea and the execution is fabulous — it’s one of these fun books that you read from front to back but halfway through you turn it around and upside down and read a different book through. The first half offers seven devotionals about the darkest days of Jesus’s last week (starting with Psalm Sunday) while the second half is the glory of the resurrection, offering seven lessons from Thomas’s doubts through breakfast on the beach to Ascension and Pentecost — there are fourteen Bible stories (again, seven in each “side” of the book.) Each side has a big die-cut hole showing some of the vivid art underneath. Cool!

There is a lot of text, gospel-centered content, good Bible discussion questions, and intense, modern, clear pictures. This is informative and passionate, serious, glorious.

They say the reading and comprehension level if for families with kids maybe as young as 5 up to about 11. It’s 64 pages.

Twas the Morning of Easter Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Elena Selivanova (Zonderkidz) $17.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

I love the good art in this one, the playful rhyming that isn’t too cheesy — Glenys Nellist should be well known as she has done a number of excellent children’s books — and find this to be a splendid telling of the good news of resurrection. (You may know the companion one called Twas the Evening of Christmas.) I was glad for the “whole creation” rejoicing and struck by how the artist portrayed Mary as so very young. Brings tears to my eyes…

The Garden, The Curtain, and the Cross: The True Story of Why Jesus Died and Rose Again  Carl Laferton (The Good Book Company) $16.99                                     OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59

There are nearly a dozen of these very playful, interesting, and theologically robust stories in the “Tales That Tell the Truth” line, most connecting an Old Testament story with a New Testament one; they wonderfully show the gospel in all of the Scripture and the broad vision of the redemption of all thing, through Christ alone. The artist for almost all of them is Catalina Echeverri and she is energetic and whimsical, vivid, but with drawings all over the page that are often small.  Sometimes the printing is sideways, even. What fun!)

In this case the “garden” in the story is the Garden of Eden and it describes the goodness of creation, the fall and sorrow that came about, and the long hope for some answer to their mess. Jesus shows up, the story of the cross is very well told (with a bit of a side story of the curtain in the temple tearing) and the happy news that we can be one with God again as all things are being transformed. It is solid and Biblically astute, yet really, really engaging. I love all of the books in this “Tales That Tell the Truth” series. This is one of the best Easter books we know for ages 3 – 7 or 8.

Most have been made into board books, smaller and a bit cheaper but I think they are abridged a bit… The board book sells for $9.99; OUR SALE PRICE = $7.99.

Goodbye to Goodbyes: The True Story of Jesus, Lazarus, and an Empty Tomb Lauren Chandler, illustrated by Catalina Echeverri (The Good Book Company) $16.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59

By the way, this one in the “Tales That Tell the Truth” series is really useful, too, for yet another way into the Easter story, for young or old. Again, this series is playful and smart, creative and passionate about the gospel. They say it is for ages 3 – 6 but it is so interesting and Biblically astute that I’d say old little kids would be interested.

Goodbye to Goodbyes is about Jesus rolling the stone away from the grave of his friend Lazarus and saying goodbye, an allusive way to explain death. It shows how we all have to say goodbye sometimes. But then when his own death and resurrection are explained (with the disciples sad about saying goodbye) we learn wonderfully about Christ’s defeat of death — and the celebration that great news causes. They have Jesus saying, “There is a day coming when we will say goodbye to saying goodbyes forever. Do you believe that?” Goodbye to Goodbyes: The True Story of Jesus, Lazarus, and an Empty Tomb is just wonderful.

(This one does not come in a board book edition.)

Faithful Families for Lent, Easter, and Resurrection: Simple Ways to Create Meaning for the Season Traci Smith (Chalice Press) $12.99     OUR SALE PRICE = $10.39

I appreciate that Tracie is an ordained PC(USA) pastor and is published, here, on the Disciples of Christ publishing house. This is upbeat and clear with bunches of ideas, somewhat framed by her mainline denominational Protestant orientation (even as she draws on ecumenically liturgical insights and points us towards some very nifty rituals and experiences.)

Everyone who helps children grow in faith will appreciate this hands-on resource designed to help children through the Lenten season, full of ideas, suggestions, prayers and blessings (Faithful Families: Creatine Sacred Moments at Home is the more general book; she has yet another called Faithful Families for Advent and Christmas: 100 Ways to Make the Season Sacred and one about praying as families. She has a colorful, small-sized book for little ones, too, published by Beaming Books called Little Prayers for Everyday Life; $12.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $10.39.) This is handy, holy stuff.

A Jesus Easter: Explore God’s Amazing Rescue Plan Barbara Reaoch (Good Book Company) $12.99    OUR SALE PRICE = $10.39

As many who know her have said, Barbara Reaoch (who served with Bible Study Fellowship for many years as the Director of their Children’s Division) is a master-teacher. She knows how to engage the imaginations of littles and she knows how to be clear about the gospel. This book —  not unlike the A Jesus Christmas which we mentioned in December — is rich and thoughtful and easily able to be adapted to a range of ages and needs.

There are 30 fun, thought-provoking devotionals covering Old and New Testament passages. There are miniature drawings throughout, clever and interesting — and even space for family journalling.

BOARD BOOK: Make Space for Jesus: Learning About Lent and Easter Laura Alary, illustrated by Ann Boyajian (Paraclete Press) $11.99    OUR SALE PRICE = $9.59

This is the adapted small sized board book with chunky pages of Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter which is a lovely paperback picture book that we also carry. I really like how Laura (who lives in Toronto) described Make Room — she explains that

the book has two aims. The first is to re-interpret the three traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, and alms giving in a way that is meaningful, practical and accessible for children. The second is to root those practices in the larger story of the life and ministry of Jesus, so they aren’t just activities or more things to do, but a part of a life of discipleship. Make Room is a positive presentation of Lent as a special time for following Jesus along his path of openness, hospitality, and of making known the expansive love of God.

BOARD BOOK Holy Week: An Emotions Primer Danielle Hitchen, art by Jessica Blanchard (Harvest House Publishers) $12.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $10.39

I love these “Baby Believer” primer on central tenants of the Christian faith (from Let There Be Light which uses notions of opposites; Psalms of Praise, which uses ideas of movements, or From Eden to Bethlehem which shows various animals, and several more. This one is remarkable, naming various emotions that people might have when hearing the story of Jesus.

Of course it is for the very young and is simple, but may help little ones learn words — “exited” is the first word (for Palm Sunday) and there is “angry” and “loved” and “thankful” and “overwhelmed” and “frustrated” and “sad” and “joyful.” This is really interesting.

BOARD BOOK My Easter Storybook Laura Richie, illustrated by Ian Dale (David C. Cook) $8.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $7.19

This is a small book, illustrated with a fairly realistic style (unlike so many that are just too goofy in my view for this important occasion.) This has some cute questions for babies — point to the sandals, how many animals do you see? Can you say ‘Jesus is alive’?) It has several scenes from Holy Week and, interestingly, the one were the people wanted to “hurt Jesus” shows the cross and crucifixion only in the background with a solider in the foreground saying Jesus is the son of God.  Nicely done.

The Easter Fix Steph Williams (The Good Book Company) $4.99         OUR SALE PRICE = $3.99

This is a very colorful colorfully drawn paperback — just 24 pages — that is in this UK publisher’s popular “Little Me – Big God” series. We’ve enjoyed these, each with a unique, playful angle. This is the story of how God sent someone to fix everything. “Yes everything!” They say. That someone was Jesus.

As they say on the back, “Discover what Jesus came to fix, how he did it, and why it makes everything better.”  Wow, this is strong. Ages 2, maybe, up to 4 or 5. Short and simple, with some funny pictures alongside the important words.


The Art of Holy Week and Easter: Meditations on the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Sister Wendy Beckett (IVP) $17.00                               OUR SALE PRICE = $13.60

We sold a number of these last year and certainly many have enjoyed the extraordinary Art of Lent. This one has 30 wonderfully reproduced (in a small format, compact) art piece on glossy paper offering both ancient, medieval, and more recent, even modern-era artworks that captures something important of the Biblical story. Some are old and familiar masterpieces and a few are not well-known at all. All are superlative.

As the back cover notes, it is “brimming with Sister Wend’s irrepressible wisdom and enthusiasm.” It offers “a chance to hear again the voice of Sister Wendy as she leads you gently into a deep appreciation of all that these paintings convey to the discerning eye.

An Easter Book of Days: Meeting the Characters of the Cross and Resurrection Gregory Kenneth Cameron (Paraclete Press) $18.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $15.19

We’ve highlighted this before, the daily reader designed to awaken your spirit by way of engaging your imagination this Lent and Easter-time. Gregory Kenneth Cameron offers 25 meditations accompanied by beautiful full color illustrations.

The small paintings here (like his Christmas one, An Advent Book of Days) are made to look somewhat like icons, making them seem weighty and reflective. Cameron is an Anglican Bishop in Wales. This is compact sized with French folded covers, very, very nice.

Poetry of Redemption: An Illustrated Treasury of Good Friday and Easter Poems Leland Ryken (P&R Publisher) $17.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

Dr. Ryken is a well-respected evangelical and Reformed literature prof, with emeritus status at Wheaton College. He has expertly pulled together a number of grand anthologies and is known for his great love of poetry and classic literature, and explaining their value with such gracious vigor. You may recall our celebration of his handsome Crossway hardback that came out a year ago, The Heart in Pilgrimage: A Treasury of Classic Devotionals on the Christian Life ($34.99 – OUR SALE PRICE = $27.99) or the important co-authored paperback volume Recovering the Lost Art of Reading: A Quest for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful ($21.99 – OUR SALE PRICE = $17.59.)

In any case, this is about how God’s redemptive plan came to fruition in the events of a tumultuous handful of days. As he notes, “in the two thousand years since, believers have sought to express the horror of Christ’s crucifixion, the joy of his resurrection and the wonder of the personal and eternal implications of both.”

This new one, slightly oversized in paperback, offers words of dozens of poets and hymnists alongside Scripture, full color paintings, strong graphics and a handsome, compelling, modern design. Helpfully, there are informative and devotional reflections on the images in word and painting, helping us take in the work “designed to fix our thoughts on God and the spiritual life and to awaken our religious affections.” What a book!



It is very helpful if you tell us how you prefer us to ship your orders.

The weight and destination of your package varies but you can use this as a quick, general guide:

There are generally two kinds of US Mail options, and, of course, UPS. If necessary, we can do overnight and other expedited methods, too. Just ask.

  • United States Postal Service has the option called “Media Mail” which is cheapest but can be slow. For one typical book, usually, it’s about $3.85; 2 lbs would be $4.55.
  • United States Postal Service has another option called “Priority Mail” which is $8.50,  if it fits in a flat rate envelope. Many children’s books and some Bibles are oversized so that might take the next size up which is $9.20. “Priority Mail” gets much more attention than does “Media Mail” and is often just a few days to anywhere in the US.
  • UPS Ground is reliable but varies by weight and distance and may take longer than USPS. We’re happy to figure out your options for you once we know what you want.

If you just want to say “cheapest” that is fine. If you are eager and don’t want the slowest method, do say so. It really helps us serve you well so let us know. Just saying “US Mail” isn’t helpful because there are those two methods, one cheaper but slower, one more costly but quicker. Which do you prefer?



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Sadly, we are still closed for in-store browsing. COVID is not fully over. Since few are reporting their illnesses anymore, it is tricky to know the reality but the best measurement is to check the water tables to see the amount of virus in the eco-system. It’s important to be particularly aware of how risks we take might effect the public good. It is complicated for us, so we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family, staff, and customers.) The vaccination rate here in York County is sadly lower than average. Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation, so we are trying to be wise. 

Please, wherever you are, do your best to be sensitive to those who are most at risk. Many of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, congregants, and family members may need to be protected since more than half of Americans (it seems) have medical reasons to worry about longer hazards from even seemingly mild COVID infections. Thanks for understanding.

We are doing our famous curb-side and back yard customer service and can show any number of items to you if you call us from our back parking lot. It’s sort of fun, actually. We are eager to serve and grateful for your patience as we all work to mitigate the pandemic. We are very happy to help do if you are in the area, do stop by.

Of course, we’re happy to ship books anywhere. 

We are here 10:00 – 6:00 EST /  Monday – Saturday, closed on Sunday.

New Books — wow, what a list! ALL 20% OFF from Hearts & Minds.

Sometimes at BookNotes I want to go into detail telling you a lot about a great book. Sometimes, like here in early March, we have so many incoming titles that I want to let you know about that I’m just going to announce most of them pretty quickly. I’ll try to be brief, but we’ll see. A few I have to explain, so it’ll take a few paragraphs. In any case, they are all 20% off and we’d be grateful to help you out if you want any of them. Gotta keep up, ya know. Busy as we are, reading is a crucial discipline and a great joy. Do it!

Depending on the device on which you are reading this you may have to scroll down to see to the very end of the column. And that’s where the links are to order. Click those buttons at the end to either inquire or to actually order. We’re here and eager to serve. Thanks.

The Great Story and the Great Commission: Participating in the Biblical Drama of Mission Christopher J.H. Wright (Baker Academic) $23.99    OUR SALE PRICE = $19.19

I announced this quickly a bit ago, but it is so new, and so important, and from what I can tell from a quick skim, so fresh and imaginative, that it simply must be mentioned again. How we read the Bible matters, and seeing the unfolding drama that offers a trajectory of ultimate healing and wholeness for all creation is essential. If you love the Bible, if you are glad to be following Jesus the King, if you care about the relevance of faith in the modern world, this work bringing the Bible’s big story to life and thereby reframing the concept of mission is for you.

As Mike Goheen puts it, “Wright continues to produce important books for the church.” Right!

A Body of Praise: Understanding the Role of Our Physical Bodies in Worship W. David O. Taylor (Baker Academic) $26.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $21.59

Another remarkable book out of Fuller Theological Seminary with their study of theology and culture  — amazing! I respect David Taylor so much (besides being a scholar and prof, he’s an art critic and priest He’s also the guy who did that great video documentary with Eugene Peterson and Bono talking together about the Psalms.) I know there have been other books that have approached this in Catholic scholarship, within mainline Protestant circles, and some evangelicals. But I do not know of anything that looks this good, this nuanced, this solid and passionate. Blurbs on the back include ravens from Rowan Williams, Constance Cherry, Joel Scandrett, Simon Chan, Beth Feller Jones and more.

As Taylor creatively argues, within the context of worship “there is something for our physical bodies to do that decisively forms Christlikeness in us.” A Body of Praise is, before pages of fascinating footnotes, about 160 pages. You should do this!

Redeeming Vision: A Christian Guide to Looking at and Learning from Art Elissa Yukiko Weichbrodt (Baker Academic) $29.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $23.00

If you were following our social media output during Jubilee a month ago you maybe saw a  photo of this book, the first spotted edition out there in the book wilds, posted by a friend of the author who was browsing our huge arts section there. We were so thrilled (and learned that the author, from Covenant College in Tennessee, was near us here in central PA that weekend, visiting with the Square Halo Books folks at their own event with poet Malcolm Guite.) Small world.

Here’s what I’ll say quickly: Elissa is a rising rock star, a great teacher and a very good writer. This book is exquisitely produced and, yes, it cites Calvin Seerveld. His Rainbows for the Fallen World and Bearing Fresh Olive Leaves are plumb line items; if a book on aesthetics doesn’t cite them, I know something is missing, maybe off. In any case, she’s on top of her game, thinking Christianly and delightfully helping us all see what we should, and explaining happily why it all matters. As Bruce Herman puts it, “Redeeming Vision is an erudite and yet wonderfully hospitable invitation…”

Weichbrodt, as another reviewer puts it, provides “a useful toolbox of interpretive tools and frameworks for faithful and generative engagement with a great diversity of artworks.” Look: we are formed by the images we view and (as it says on the back cover) “from classical art to advertisements and from news photos to social media, the images we look at mold our ideas of race, gender, and class. They shape how we love God and our neighbor.” Hallelujah!

My Body and Other Crumbling Empires: Lessons for Healing in a World That is Sick Lyndsey Medford (Broadleaf) $26.99


What an allusive title and cover. There have been lots of books coming out in recent years about the nature of the human body (some astutely theological) and about our many chronic illnesses and autoimmune disorders and painful conditions. I am glad for them, helping us to (in the words of Marva Dawn in her splendid book from years ago) “being sick well.” My Body… looks to be exceptionally profound, mature, prophetic, even. The great Shannan Martin says it offers a deft mix of “gentleness and fire.”

K.J. Ramsey wrote the forward and her three books are all exquisite and solid. Her introduction to this new book is very, very good. I’m glad the two women are connected.

Our friend J. Nichole Morgan, author of Fat and Faithful, says about it,

Medford weaves through the ways our lives are pushed and pulled in a system that is not set up to teach us to have a relationship with our body, just to conquer and tame it. She reminds us that self-care without community care, without centering and acknowledging those who are marginalized, misses the bigger picture. I highly recommend this beautiful guide to living in a body.

The Least of These: Practicing a Faith without Margins edited by Angie Ward (NavPress) $16.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59

This brand new paperback is the third in Missio Alliance’s “Kingdom Conversations” series. We shared about the others (When the Universe Cracks and Kingdom and Country) and one adopts the same good format. There are edgy evangelical authors, multi-ethnic, missional and wholistic, Kingdom people, weighing in on various aspects of the topic. In this case there is a wide range of topics (and in this sense it reminds me a bit of the important recent book by Shane Claiborne Rethinking Life which offers a consistent ethic of life.)

In this fascinating discussion we have Dennis Edwards and Danielle Strickland, Aubrey Sampson and Christian Rice. Lisa Rodriguez-Watson asks “Who Is My Neighbor?” And David Hionides we are “Created in His Image.” Brandon Washington offers a “Comprehensive Gospel.” There is a chapter on “multi-ability” and a wonderful piece on being people of “(Glad) Hope.” Very nicely done.

Learning to Love: Christian Higher Education as Pilgrimage Alex Sosler (Falls City Press) $18.99    OUR SALE PRICE = $15.19

Okay, I love this book. I love it! Sosler is a customer (and I helped a tiny bit with some of the editing of this one.) You may know we have a bunch of books about higher education, about reforming college education, especially about the small but important topic of distinctively Christian higher ed. As an alum of the Higher Education Degree program at Geneva College, how could we not? We have a number of BookNotes readers who do campus ministry, too, so caring about the context of higher learning is vital. Anyway, this new volume is a gem, and, believe me, we’ve read a number of similar sorts of books.

Granted, this is pitched to students going to a Christian College. Dr. Sosler is himself a professor at Montreat College in the Black Mountains of NC. (He is also an Assisting Priest at an Anglican Church in Asheville NC.) But I truly believe that it would be of use to anyone going off to college in any sort of school. It is, to be clear, an invitation to think about college as a time and place to grow in God’s grace and love. It is, oddly, still a bit radical to invite kids to ask “why go to college?” To ask all involved “what is the purpose of college” is urgent. Students are often bored and disinterested because they’ve never been given a vision of education worth pursuing with much vigor. As it says on the back properly, “In Learning to Love, Alex Sosler provides a rich vision of higher education by rooting education in love and affection.”  (Yep, they are swiping that word from Wendell Berry — it all turns on affection, as he puts it — and is influenced by Jamie Smith’s (post-modern) Augustinian reflections.)

Sosler quotes the wonderful Esther Lightcap Meek who teaches (in books like Longing to Know) that we love in order to know. And we know by loving well, appropriately. If words like joy and longing, desire and hope, renewal and human flourishing aren’t on the tongue of your young adult, buy them this book. College should help them become the kind of people who think and talk in these terms, who want to study in order to grow in charity and wonder, wisdom and service. I know that isn’t what their guidance counselor said. Most likely their church didn’t say much at all about the reason for going to college. The book is winsome and chatty but truly profound, saying things that somebody must say. I think your young adult friends will like it and, in time, they will thank you. Kudos.

The Digital Public Square: Christian Ethics in a Technological Society edited by Jason Thacker (B+H) $34.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $27.99

There are plenty of books about being responsible and ethical and wise in using technology. I’ve raved here about titles like The Tech Wise Family by Andy Crouch and his richer, more eloquent The Life We’re Looking For — a must read, I’d say! Thacker himself has done the prescient The Age of AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity in 2020 and just a year ago released the small sized, potent, Following Jesus in the Digital Age. Here he has edited a volume of serious folks thinking about what Matthew Kaemingk (in his back cover blurb) calls “the principalities and powers of the digital public square.”

This big book offers a “constructive public theology that can guide that engagement.” From public issues and policy questions from online censorship to hate speech, religious freedom questions to sexual ethics, various scholars (from David French to Bonnie Kristian, Patrica Shaw, Keith Plummer and many others) weigh in with the best collection of such work I’ve yet seen. Other blurbs on the back are from Dru Johnson, Ben Sasse, Russell Moore. This is surprisingly rich, thoughtful, weighty, even. Wow.

Reason to Return: Why Women Need the Church and the Church Needs Women Ericka Andersen (NavPress) $16.99                                   OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59

A while ago I noticed — not surprisingly, I suppose — a number of books that were specifically about women’s experience of the church. Not just about abuse and toxic relationships with patriarchal structures in some denominations, but more broadly. There have been several books like that over the decades, understandably so. But with titles like Prey Tell: Why We Silence Women Who Tell the Truth by Tiffany Bluhm (Brazos) or the academic The Struggle to Stay: Why Single Evangelical Women Are Leaving the Church by Katie Gaddini (Columbia University Press) or Buried Talents: Overcoming Gendered Socialization to Answer God’s Call by Sean Harris Howell (IVP Academic) it was obvious that more attention was finally being paid within the publishing world to tell these kinds of stories.

Ericka Andersen (host of the popular Worth Your Time podcast) has written in important venues such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Christianity Today and World. She has had her eye on this stuff for years.

Many women have a complicated relationship with the Church. As it says on the back cover, “Statistics show that women are leaving their churches in droves. Although these women desire a close relationship with God, the imperfect churches of their paste hinder them from having their deep spiritual longing met today.”

Of course, that’s the back cover copy. Her writing is more glowing and more nuanced. But she does explore deeply the many reasons why many women are leaving their local congregations. She offers thoughtful analysis and gentle insights.  She offers lots of stories, and tells some of her own. I think many will appreciate her candor. She invites women who have left the church to “rediscover an important piece of their faith that has been missing.”

I don’t know why some have drifted from faith communities (although I sure know that if one is not respected or able to serve well in a overly authoritarian church there are plenty of others to try that will gladly welcome your gifts.) If it is apathy or the pandemic or past hurts, this book may help. She holds out hope that the church of your past does not have to be the church of your future. Sound good?

My friend Traci Rhodes, a spiritually ecumenical and happily wandering/wondering writer who knows a thing or two about all of this says:

Church is always and forever both highly personal and highly communal. In this book, Andersen boldly encourages us to keep asking Jesus for the right church balance in our lives. I found her arguments for being in church both convincing and encouraging. Traci Rhoades, author of Not All Who Wander (Spiritually) Are Lost and Shaky Ground: What To Do After the Bottom Drops Out

Resisting the Bonhoeffer Brand – A Life Reconsidered Charles Marsh (Cascade) $14.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $11.20

I read this short book in one long sitting and I am still pondering it, glad for this intellectual exercise, despite the awful cover typography and design. Who doesn’t want to know more about Bonhoeffer and how to apply his courageous faith and writing to our lives today? This isn’t a typical Bonhoeffer study, so you may not need it, but I couldn’t put it down. I love nerdy footnotes and this one wins the award — some of the lengthy footnotes cite articles in German! Whew. I have said that I’d read anything Charles Marsh writes and this one didn’t disappoint.

Here’s the backstory. Years ago Charles wrote one of the most engaging books on Bonhoeffer that has yet been done, the creative and energetic (and very well informed) biography Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It came out a few years after Eric Metaxas’s best-selling Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.

I’ll admit I liked and defended most of Eric Metaxas’s Bonhoeffer and was glad so many read it. (Before that, the standard bio was one that was bone dry, and Eric’s was, at least, engaging and captivating and full of evangelical inspiration, even if some in Bonhoeffer scholarship circles hated it.) It seems that Charles (who had done his PhD thesis on Bonhoeffer, but was known for writing brilliantly about civil rights stuff) didn’t appreciate some of Metaxas’s speculations and tone. (This was before Eric went off the deep end into a bizarre Trumpian cult and conspiracy stuff.) So Marsh finally wrote the long-awaited Strange Glory.

Alas, some in the guild didn’t like it. They thought he was pushy, speculative, inappropriate. (Especially in suggesting that Dietrich had a homosexual relationship with his colleague Eberhard Bethge.) A German scholar named Ferdinand Schlingensiepen was especially critical of Marsh’s methods and content and he raged quite fiercely on both sides of the Atlantic.

Three things quickly happen in Resisting the Bonhoeffer Brand. First, right out of the gate, we realize that there are general methodological principles to be considered and Marsh cites a handful of literary critics and artists and writers about the process of doing biography. How do stories get told? Who interprets whom and based upon what data? What is the relationship between the teachings of a person and their life, their character? Exploring that is a huge matter but in a few pages and a few well placed quotes, Marsh raises foundational questions about literary criticism and writing and storytelling and the art of biography. I loved the section called “Theology and Biography” even though I had to read a few sections twice.

Secondly, we learn still more about Bonhoeffer, filling in some stuff that you might not recall, even if you’ve read a few biographies or articles. When critics say this or that about Marsh’s telling in Strange Glory he pushes back, documenting why he wrote what he did, appealing to the research he has done on primary sources, on location, which is to say, Bonhoeffer’s life and times. For instance, he makes a compelling case just how passionate Bonhoeffer was during a season in Barcelona. That season is actually discussed a lot in the Bonny academic literature, but Charles reports from the Spanish field by studying the sermons Bonhoeffer actually preached there. In a few pages a whole lot came into view.

Thirdly — and this is the heart of the book, I suppose — he replies to his critics, argues back, takes exception, and doesn’t back down. (Oh, there’s a few errors in Strange Glory which he quickly concedes, like calling a place a “hunting lodge” rather than a “foster’s lodge.” He called one historic German city Chamby, not Chambry. Got it. His mea culpa is sincere, but it also sort of sets the stage for the fight to come: he doesn’t say that Schlingensiepen is a jackass, but, geesh.)

And so it goes, page by page, topic by topic, accusation and rebuttal. It’s informative and fascinating, if a little bit odd. Whose life is being “reconsidered” here? Bonhoeffer’s, of course. But the two authors, too, perhaps. If only they could have just chatted over a good German brew and schwarzwälder kirschtorte.

Even if the conversation could have been more congenial, Marsh contends that “Bonhoeffer scholarship desperately needs the revitalizing energies of the theologian’s life story revisited and uncensored.”  And he’s right about that. Which is why Heath Carter of Princeton says, “Charles Marsh’s latest book is essential.”

Here is an endorsement by a sharpt pastor-writer-leader I deeply respect, Winn Collier, biographer of Eugene Peterson:

Bonhoeffer warned against being infatuated with a self-made idea about Christian community but not loving the actual community as it is: gritty and human, complex and wondrous. What a turn then — now we need Marsh to offer the same warnings about how we read Bonhoeffer himself. We like our saints to fit tidy boxes and rubber-stamp our presumptions. Marsh, with his historian’s eye and novelist’s pen, won’t let us make this mistake.  — Winn Collier, Western Theological Seminary

Don’t Hold Back: Leaving Behind the American Gospel to Follow Jesus Fully David Platt (Multnomah) $25.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $20.00

You may recall Platt’s book a decade ago, Radical, which invited gospel-centered, mission-minded evangelicals to focus less on the American dream and more on the cost of commitment. It created quite a stir —even though not that radical for those who grew up reading Ron Sider or Jim Wallis or Dorothy Day — and even made it into a quick scene to the popular TV show Madam Secretary. It was fine, and he was a serious-minded preacher.

Alas, he took a call to a large well-known, conservatively evangelical church near Washington DC and in no time at all he was being criticized. He was straight as could be on the hot button issues that most evangelicals care about but something about his passion for outreach, for meeting people where they are at, as we used to say, for grace and justice and kindness didn’t sit well. It has been a hard road, there for him.

Don’t Hold Back is his report back, Radical more than tens years later, wondering what it means to renounce the idols of the age in order to be a faithful evangelical in North America. He calls us to “leverage our lives” and to “rectify the great imbalance.” He’s hard on what he calls “the American gospel” but is boldly Christ-centered and conventionally Biblical, exhorting us to seek God through Scripture with intensity and boldness.

Living Resistance: An Indigenous Vision for Seeking Wholeness Every Day Kaitlin B. Curtice (Brazos Press) $21.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $17.59

I would very much like to write more about this but I am only part-way through it. I am sure you know Kaitlin Curtice from her lovely Glory Happens published by Paraclete and her indigenous vision, Native, that came out a few years ago from Brazos. Here she is reflecting on how as a native woman she has learned just how important the language of resistance is. She says it is our basic human calling and we each have a role to play. I appreciate her very much.

She describes four “realms” of resistance — personal/inward; communal, which entails social reform work; ancestral (exploring one’s roots); and what she calls integral (resistance that involves all parts of the self).

If it helps you place it a bit, this timely call to a socially aware and principled spiritual life is endorsed by Glennon Doyle (who calls it a “lifeline”) and Rev. Dr Jacqui Lewis who says she “fiercely and gently calls us home…” Rabbi Tanya Ruttenberg says it “forges a path to a more whole now and a more whole tomorrow.” Impressively, Latinx poet and storyteller Joel Leon says it is a “clear and beautiful path that feels accessible to all.”

Asha Frost (an indigenous medicine woman and bestselling author of You Are the Medicine) says it “reminds us of a fire we hold in our bellies and the spark we carry in our souls.”

Healing Conversations on Race: Four Key Practices From Scripture and Psychology Veola Vazquez, Joshua Knabb, Charles Lee-Johnson, and Krystal Hays (IVP Academic) $24.00                       OUR SALE PRICE = $19.20

This is another gem that I should write more about — it’s very impressive. There are bunches of books on racial justice and truly helpful and fruitfully honest conversations these days. This publisher, IVP and IVP Academic, has done excellent ones for many decades now. So this has integrity, vetted as it is, and emerging from a thoughtfully evangelical worldview. The authors are young scholars, all colleagues in the College of Behavior and Social Sciences at California Baptist University.

Race complicates our relationships, even when we reject racism and seek to walk a better path together. They are offering this research to see how we can get our thinking (and our conversing) “unstuck from entrenched patterns.” They are a team of experts in psychology and social work, so know social realities well. They interpret things in light of the grand narrative of Scripture, of course, and they do this well. But their genius is also in their Biblically-guided insights about social psychology and solid science which can help us learn skills to better discuss ethnicity.  From attachment theory to specific relational skills, Healing Conversations offers much. Highly recommended.

Hope for American Evangelicals: A Missionary Perspective on Restoring Our Broken House Matthew Bennett  (B+H) $17.99                               OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

This book is easy to describe and it will be fascinating for many of our customers, I’m sure. Here’s the thing: one need not be a card carrying evangelical to appreciate much of this. And, in fact, I think he is wrong and/or shallow about a number of important topics, and I am less than thrilled with a few lines here and there. But, no matter: this book is a major contribution that needs to be discussed because it is almost exclusively one man’s interpretation of the vast body of work by the great missional thinker Lesslie Newbigin. As such, it’s really a great read.

A Church of Scotland missionary to India for most of his adult lifetime, Newbigin has quite a story and I won’t rehearse it here, other than to say he is a key figure in the broader body of Christ, respected and even revered (if sometimes fiercely debated) in mainline denominational settings, Reformed and Catholic and Lutheran and more, and within missional and evangelical circles. This author, Matthew Bennett — with a PhD from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary — was a cross-cultural missionary in North Africa and the Middle East and came back to teach missiology at an evangelical college and, perhaps like his hero Newbigin, was shocked by how things had developed in his homeland. And applied what he learned as a missionary to our post-Christian culture, here, now.

Bennett loves his evangelical tradition, the conservative values, what he sees as a Biblical approach, but, yet, this home needs some serious touching up and renovation. He goes “room by room” looking at what Newbigin’s insights might offer as we address so many aspects of our congregational and theological lives. Consider this an intro to how Newbigin’s work might be applied today, even if you are not convinced this telling gets it fully right. What a fabulous and provocative little book!

Trauma-Informed Evangelism: Cultivating Communities of Wounded Healers Charles Kiser & Elaine Heath (Eerdmans) $19.99                            OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99

This just arrived and I am very eager to study it more. The first chapters were very captivating to me with Kiser telling his story about doing a church plant in a hip neighborhood in Dallas and coming to painfully realize just how much hurt and resistance there was to the church. Heath, an author of many good books, was his teacher at Duke and together they establish how toxic theology can wound and how bad evangelism has turned so many off.

I have some concerns these days about how many people are using the word trauma, as if it is any bad feeling or comes from any hurtful experience. This is not to deny that there really is trauma and that we desperately need “trauma informed” practices, but I worry about being cavalier or glib.

Trauma-Informed Evangelism, I am confident, is not simplistic about trauma studies nor is it overstating the severe woundedness experienced by some from church folks. Given that, how do we talk about faith, what witness do we bear? As Tiffany Yecke Brooks (author of the intriguing Gaslighted by God) says, “it is not enough to merely apologize for harm done in the name of Christ; we must work to change our own behaviors, attitudes and practices.” This book, she says, will help.

It is for anyone who cares about doing effective ministry in this cultural moment when so many are becoming more and more aware of abuse, wounds, privileges and slights, some of which lead to religiously-caused trauma. Heath, by the way, wrote a fascinating book several years back called The Mystic Way of Evangelism so crafting new ways to think about our calling to share the gospel and be agents of good news isn’t new for her. The guidelines here should be helpful. Let’s at least talk about it, shall we? It is urgent.

Reading for the Love of God: How to Read as Spiritual Practice Jessica Hooten Wilson (Brazos Press) $24.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99

We highlighted this almost a half a year ago at BookNotes and took some pre-orders and now we are very glad to announce that we have it in stock and are happy to send more. Believe me, if you are a book lover, a reader, a hobbyist or scholar, you are going to want to get your hands and eyes on this as soon as possible. It is brilliant, wonderful, useful, wise, and fun.

I speak and teach on this kind of stuff a lot and while I bring different strategies, use some different Biblical texts, cite other authors and storytellers, our vision is similar and our hope to motivate better, wiser reading among people of faith is strong. In the first chapter, here, Jessica asks “What kind of reader are you?” It is a great question.

Hooten Wilson is a scholar of these things so she goes deep. The book is more serious in tone and more dense than our much-touted The Pastor’s Bookshelf by Austin Carty that we raved about last year. But for those wanting to go deeper, this is fabulous.

There are what she calls “bookmarks” after several chapters with titles such as “Reading Like Julian of Norwich” and “Reading Like Frederick Douglas” and “Reading Like Dorothy Sayers.” Each offers answers to typical questions of many readers (how to remember what you read, for instance, or — get this! — “What does the Trinity have to Do with the art of reading?”  Okay, maybe you haven’t ever asked that, directly, but she provokes in us the right sort of desires and offers these excursions into important readers and writers to show how it is done.

My, my, what a book. From the questions about “using” and “enjoying” books to the appendix on two ways to read a Flannery O’Connor story, to practical questions about using our four senses to read well, Reading for the Love of God is a gem. It will help you enjoy a good book, it will introduce you to many authors and titles you may want to explore further, and it will give you strategies to deepen your “spirituality of reading.” BookNotes friends, take note! This is for you.

I like the practical tone of this great endorsement by the lovely writer Tsh Oxenreider:

Jessica has the remarkable gift of making intimidating subjects accessible. Reading is one of those for many folks, and yet what a gift they’re leaving unwrapped if they keep the act of reading in the basement of ‘things done in high school’ or in the hallowed halls for only the enlightened. This helpful, encouraging guide is both for those who already know they love to read and for those who want to be someone who reads. We all benefit from Jessica’s winsome words on these pages, words that inspire us to pull more books off the shelf and ask, ‘How might this next one change my life?

Revelation for the Rest of Us: A Prophetic Call to Follow Jesus as a Dissident Disciple Scot McKnight, with Cody Matchett (Zondervan) $26.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $21.59

Whenever Scot McKnight does a new book you know we will have it. Whether it is his heavy scholarly work, his lesser known liturgical spirituality, or his popular new Bible study series, we’ve on it. We so appreciate his work and this new hardback, informed by excellent scholarship but written for ordinary readers, is just the kind of book we love to highlight. It is a bit edgy, politically counter-cultural, altogether serious about being Biblical, and theologically and historically aware. It is deeply inspirational and somewhat practical. And a little funny.

As it says on the back, “How can a book about dragons, lambs, and strange beasts help us follow Jesus today?”

When scholars who love the church and have written important volumes (including on Revelation) like Michael Gorman endorse a book, alongside Lynn Cohick and Miroslav Volf, you know it’s a winner. One reviewer says it is “the most powerful interpretation of Revelation I have ever read” which, while we don’t know how many such books this reviewer has actually read, seems to ring true to me and is quite striking. I’ve read a lot, believe me! Beth Allison Barr says it “reorients us from bizarre prophecies and fiction bestsellers back to the truth of the gospel.”

I’m thrilled just glancing through the footnotes and books cited in this rigorous, broad-minded study. McKnight, a solid evangelical, is fluent in all kinds of research and he here cites feminist scholars like Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza and black liberationists like Brian Blount and classic evangelicals like Craig Keener.  He knows the work of Anabaptist anti-militarists and Presbyterian pastors like Eugene Peterson and, of course, Richard Hays and Michael Gorman and Richard Bauckham, the important work of Adela Yarbro Collins and nearly anyone else who has written responsibly on the apocalypse and being “dissident disciples.” He draws in Barman and reflects on gender stuff, reminds us of the formative importance of worship and he cites, wisely, Christopher Lasch. I didn’t see that coming. What a book.

The Lives We Actually Have: 100 Blessings for Imperfect Days Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie (Convergent) $25.00                             OUR SALE PRICE = $20.00

If you know who Kate Bowler is, you surely know her two extraordinary memoirs Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved) and No Cure for Being Human (and Other Truths I Need to Hear) Both are very well written, amusing and poignant as she explores her faith and her serious diagnosis with deadly cancer. Following those two bestsellers she joined with Jessica Richie to do a small daily devotional called Good Enough. Ms Richie runs the Everything Happens Project at Duke Divinity School and is the producer of the Everything Happens podcast. This new book is a follow up to their devotional, offering poetic prayers and blessings for a range of struggles in our daily lives.

The wording of these prayer-poem blessings are sometimes elegant but then again, they can be witty and surprising. (“Blessed are you, the strange duck. You with the very intense hobbies… you are a marvel.”)

The theme of the Good Enough devotional was to rest in God’s acceptance, rejecting the cultural pressure to be relentlessly perfect, happy and successful. Here, they wonder what to do if “our actual lives don’t feel very #blessed? They continue, “Might our everyday existence be worthy of blessing, too? Even an average Tuesday?”

Yep. Formatted a bit like a real prayer-book, these are real blessings on the full range of human activities, from garbage days to grief-stricken days, from ordinary stuff to hard stuff. Very, very nice.

God The Bestseller: How One Editor Transformed American Religion a Book at a Time Stephen Prothero (HarperOne) $32.99          OUR SALE PRICE = $26.39

Today is the official “street date for God the Bestseller and I just spent time with it last night. I wanted to skim the intro to understand more what the heck could be so important about this biography of one Eugene Exman, a guy most of us, I dare say, have never heard of. Late into the night I was still turning pages, amazing, gulping, stunned almost. What a story.

Prothero is a religion scholar who has done a few very good books showing (in grace and with liberal leanings) that all world religions are not alike, as some scholars in the 20th century have insisted. It’s just goofy implying, say, the Christian notion of heaven or new creation is the same as nirvana or paradise. Like a touchdown is a different thing than a home run, our distinctive matter if we are going to honor different religions as they are actually taught.

In the preface of this book Prothero tells of a serendipitous meeting of an old gent who had a huge library of his father-in-law’s books. Prothero sees first editions of everything from Martin Luther King’s first book (Stride Toward Freedom) with a note inside from Coretta, to other such seminal titles from the 20th century, from Abraham Heschel to Albert Schweitzer to Harry Emerson Fosdick to Aldous Huxley to Howard Thurman to the founder of AA, all with photos and intimate correspondence. Exman seemed to be, like Zelig, in the thick of the major religious questions of the world for decades and decades of the mid-twentieth century, from reforms in Judaism to the popularization of Buddhism to mystics and reformers around the globe.

As a young man in the Roaring Twenties Exman got a job as a new editor in New York for one of the most important publishing companies of our time, eventually Harper Brothers. As Prothero shows, Exman, a former fundamentalist bound for a revivalist seminary, brought religious publishing to the broader reading public at a time when it was largely sectarian and insular. He traveled around the world, meeting people who he thought might have something to say and got them published.

The story of this exciting man’s adventures in the world (and in the world of generally religious publishing) is itself worthy of a biography. Prothero, though, shows the influence — which, doubtlessly, Prothero thinks has been by and large a good thing — that Exman’s actors have had. He brings his sociology of religion lens to the projects and concludes two major things: there has been a shift towards the experiential (rather than the creedal or dogmatic) and there has been a shift towards a celebration of the spiritual seeker.

Exman knew everybody, various folks from various religions, races, genders, sexualities, classes. He knew Niebuhr, the Zen popularizer Alan Watts, AA co-founder Bill Wilson and his wife, Lois.  Prothero discovered endearing letters from Jaroslav Pelican, the famous guru Krishnamurti, and Dorothy Day. The books he brought to the world and the remarkable network of friends he collaborated with left its mark, for better or for worse, helping the world engage religious studies in new ways. That Prothero links him to William James (The Varieties of Religious Experience) is no surprise.

As an evangelical thinker and Presbyterian congregant, I have my issues with this whole shift in the zeitgeist, a shift that this remarkable man helped nurture. As a bookseller, I am delighted just to think of how books, for good or ill, can influence the world so very, very much. I’m captivated by stories of those who have been promoters of books and ideas and how those ideas have been adopted, passed on, taught, believed. This is a grave matter, of course, but we know well the rise of “nones” and “spiritual but not religious” believers, so there is nothing to be gained by being snide about it all. Exman must have been an amazing person; his inter-religious mystical bent (even leading him, as a church goer his whole life to experiment with LSD years before Timothy Leary) and fascination with the paranormal charged his impressive intellect with finding authors that shaped the 20th century and beyond. What a story!



It is very helpful if you tell us how you prefer us to ship your orders.

The weight and destination of your package varies but you can use this as a quick, general guide:

There are generally two kinds of US Mail options, and, of course, UPS. If necessary, we can do overnight and other expedited methods, too. Just ask.

  • United States Postal Service has the option called “Media Mail” which is cheapest but can be slow. For one typical book, usually, it’s about $3.85; 2 lbs would be $4.55.
  • United States Postal Service has another option called “Priority Mail” which is $8.50,  if it fits in a flat rate envelope. Many children’s books and some Bibles are oversized so that might take the next size up which is $9.20. “Priority Mail” gets much more attention than does “Media Mail” and is often just a few days to anywhere in the US.
  • UPS Ground is reliable but varies by weight and distance and may take longer than USPS. We’re happy to figure out your options for you once we know what you want.

If you just want to say “cheapest” that is fine. If you are eager and don’t want the slowest method, do say so. It really helps us serve you well so let us know. Just saying “US Mail” isn’t helpful because there are those two methods, one cheaper but slower, one more costly but quicker. Which do you prefer?



Hearts & Minds logo


20% OFF



order here

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

inquire here

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

Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown  PA  17313

Sadly, we are still closed for in-store browsing. COVID is not fully over. Since few are reporting their illnesses anymore, it is tricky to know the reality but the best measurement is to check the water tables to see the amount of virus in the eco-system. It’s still bad, and worsening (again.) With flu and new stuff spreading, many hospitals are overwhelmed. It’s important to be particularly aware of how risks we take might effect the public good. It is complicated for us, so we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family, staff, and customers.) The vaccination rate here in York County is sadly lower than average. Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation, so we are trying to be wise. Thanks for understanding.

Please, wherever you are, do your best to be sensitive to those who are most at risk. Many of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, congregants, and family members may need to be protected since more than half of Americans (it seems) have medical reasons to worry about longer hazards from even seemingly mild COVID infections.

We are doing our famous curb-side and back yard customer service and can show any number of items to you if you call us from our back parking lot. It’s sort of fun, actually. We are eager to serve and grateful for your patience as we all work to mitigate the pandemic. We are very happy to help do if you are in the area, do stop by.

Of course, we’re happy to ship books anywhere. 

We are here 10:00 – 6:00 EST /  Monday – Saturday, closed on Sunday.


On Getting Out of Bed: The Burden and Gift of Living (by Alan Noble) and others… ALL ON SALE

On Getting Out of Bed: The Burden and Gift of Living Alan Noble (IVP) $20.00 – OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00

Life is what you make it. I used to despise that sort of self-help bromide, as if we are all Horatio Algers, able to Make Things Happen, especially for ourselves.

We do not, actually, in God’s good but broken world, make something of ourselves but are in a web of formative relationships, families, schools, jobs, neighborhoods. I do not have to tell most readers of BookNotes how all this plays out. (Just think of, as random examples, the book How Neighborhoods Make Us Sick or The Color of Law or any number of riveting memoirs, from Charles Marsh’s spectacularly written and deeply insightful Evangelical Anxiety or the lovely, important recent release of the long-awaited memoir by Beth Moore, All My Knotted-Up Life.) Most of us are pretty knotted up and it isn’t always easy to carpe diem your way through a hard and complicated life.

Americana singer-songwriter Bill Mallonee sings on “Shake Down,”Everyone I know carries a heavy heart.” And you know he’s not wrong.

And yet, for the record, there are authors and teachers who are well aware of hurt and obstacles, pain and injustices, who nonetheless offer good hope about making the most of what God gives us to do. Justin McRoberts, for instance, a poet and visionary, raw and honest and caring, writes in the hilarious book It Is What You Make of It that it isn’t true that, as we say, “it is what it is.” Things hardly ever just are; they are what they are when we make something of them as stewards of our days. As what nowadays we call a creative, Justin is a masterful guide (and a fun one) to help us make something of the stuff we are given with some personal grit and creativity and verve.

More foundationally, Andy Crouch explains with eloquent diligence and care in Culture Making that, again, we are made in God’s image, reflecting God’s own care for His world, with capacities for creativity and the ability to work and craft things out of what we. So many authors these days are reminding us of the very essence of being human, our embodied ways in the world and our glorious calling to reflect God’s image in the world.

And yet.

Sometimes it is hard, for many of us or for somebody we love, to even get out of bed.

We joke about those who are morning people or those who hit the ground running (because we are wired that way or out of sheer duty and the dizzying amount of work to be done.) But not everyone can hit the ground at all, some days. Whether used somewhat metaphorically or quite literally, some days it is hard to get out of bed.

You have heard me speak of Alan Noble in these BookNotes pages before. He is a young scholar (with a PhD in literature from Baylor) and college professor who we have admired since he founded the web ‘zine God and Pop Culture and eventually wrote his first highly acclaimed paperback book Disruptive Witness: Speaking the Truth in an Age of Distraction and his second award-winning You Are Not Your Own: Belonging to God in an Inhuman World. It is a marvelous book riffing on the famous line from 1 Corinthians 6:19 and that phrase from the Heidelberg Catechism. It is one of the best books of last year and serves as a fabulous framework for this brand new one, On Getting Out of Bed: The Burden and Gift of Living.

This new compact-sized hardback book is short, plainspoken, direct, offering wise council about those who cannot make much of things as they are too struck by depression, anxiety, inner turmoil, or what he calls (quoting a wise ancient) “mental turmoil.” Whether one is diagnosed with some sort of named mental illness or struggling with hard times, the book offers advice and encouragement and non-sensational care. It is, in an odd way, one of the best books I’ve read lately, having devoured in it a couple of sittings. Every page had me sighing or underlining or calling out to Beth to read a sentence or two. It was a beautiful, if sobering, reading experience.

A handful of things stand out about this great little book that I want to note so you can determine who you might buy it for.

First, you should buy it for yourself. You may not struggle to get out of bed; you may even hit the ground running, but as Noble predicts, almost everyone in this fallen world hits seasons of something akin to depression, perhaps a “dark night of the soul”, or more likely just a debilitating sadness. It is important to know a bit of what to expect and his no-nonsense, matter-of-fact theology of how the world really works is reassuring.

Of course, God loves us and that is a major subtext of the book and is proclaimed throughout. Also, most likely, many others do, too. But hard times are going to hit and our mental anguish is going to weigh us down; there will be understandably sorrow and there may be inexplicable sadness. Even the most chipper among us and those most grounded in a spirituality of belovedness should not be caught off guard. Do consider reading this, if only to be prepared. If Alan is right, you will need it, sooner rather than later.

Secondly, you should know that this wise and practical book offers encouragement about seeing professional counselors and doctors and mental health caregivers. He affirms medication and talk therapy. But he also knows that most of us (in those networks of families and friends and congregations and neighborhoods that I mentioned above) need to allow ourselves to be cared for. There is no shame in needing others – it is how we are built and a Biblical truth – and depending upon the assistance of others is a sign of wisdom and theological maturity. To lean on others, though, we must be honest about our hurts and foibles and needs.

Alan is a very funny guy. His wit is dry and subversive, and his cleverness does show up here a bit. But this is mostly a no-nonsense book, direct and to the point. He exhorts us about the need for honesty, for vulnerability, about being communities of care for one another, belonging to each other as we do. It is pretty profound, actually, simple sentences carrying tons of valuable theological freight. He tells us over and over to be honest about our limits and fears and needs and to not be ashamed to rely on the graces of others. As he said in his early book, we are not, after all, our own. We belong.

Thirdly, there is intense guidance for those who are plagued with suicidal ideation. Again, this tragic tendency is more common that we may realize and there are those who are near the edge. This book can help you be alert to how you can help (and how not to help.) It isn’t exactly a book about suicide prevention, but we will put one in that section of our store. It literally could save lives, and we commend it. His honest realization about how hard it is to hear good news when hurting is palpable, but he says it anyway: life is a gift and it is worth living.

Fourthly, I will tell you (without spoilers) that he incorporates interesting citations from pop culture, from movies, rock songs, but mostly, from literature. He does not overdo this (and some quotes are merely used as an epigraph at the start of a chapter) but it is cool. He does tell you about the powerful will to live seen in the father in Cormac McCarthy’s devastating novel, The Road. Like that dreary novel or not, he uses it very well (and may make you want to read it. Or not.) Personally, I loved that he quoted an old song by the indie rock group Pedro the Lion about this very existential question about suicide and the reason to live.

Next, you may find it interesting that Alan knows a bit about these heavy things. He writes with significant, hard-earned insight, but he doesn’t make much of that. More than once he says that the book is not about him, and it matters not if he has faced such darkness or not. He notes that those who know him well know about his struggles and those that do not, don’t need to. Again, this models a non-sensational, principled approach that many will find reliable. There are memoirs that give a passionate inner look at a person’s pain or depression, and they have their place. This is not one of them.

Lastly, I want to circle back to where we began, our human calling to make something of what comes to us, to use our gifts, to steward our capacities, to be culture makers. Alan knows that literature well and he proclaims those Biblical teachings. In this book he mostly summarizes this grand Kingdom vision the way Jesus does, namely that our primary calling is to love God and love others. Nobody gets a pass on this, although in God’s grace, we do not have to worry about how well we accomplish such a huge mandate. But attempt it we must. All of us, or nearly all of us, must, most of the time.

Alan is very good at this point, so very sensitive and aware, and believes that most who struggle with anxiety or depression or other kinds of mental anguish are still able to have what the scholars call (and he calls, a bit annoyingly) agency. That is, we can make choices, do stuff, have a say, take advantage of the opportunities to show up and care for others the best we can. He is careful – not at all shaming or demanding – but firm. It is our vocation to love others and, in most cases, there are those who depend on us whom we must love the best we can. He has some stories of a depressed father who simply couldn’t come out of his room until he was struck by how badly his little ones needed to see him. They knew that “daddy was sick” but of course didn’t know the debilitating state of mental illness. The stories he shares are inspiring in a quiet way, naming how those who can hardly lift a leg can somehow find a way to fulfill their duties to their family, colleagues, friends, neighbors, and fellow church members. Even when it is hard there is something healing about loving others the best we can.

Sure, there are times when those plagued with mental health disorders simply cannot rise to the occasion. Justin’s fine, upbeat, stories or Andy’s formative teaching and Alan’s previous books notwithstanding, there are times when people are just too sick to do much. However, most of us, most of the time, no matter how anguished we may be, can show some sort of care to others, use our Spirit-given capacities to rise to some occasions. Maybe not at our best, maybe not doing all we wish, but we can show up, be present, do something. I found this theme of the book nearly startling and frankly a rousing gift. It is a bit risky of him to say all this, but I hope many will find it motivating.

This is not to say we must man up or put on our big girl pants or do any of that self-helpy sort of push-through-things on our own willpower, but it does remind us that as humans we have callings and vocations and duties; and we all have assets at our disposal. We have the help and gifts of others and we have our God-given abilities, such as they may be, and we have the incomparable power of God available to us somehow. I like his sober, Biblical reminders of this, something many of us might learn a bit about from our charismatic friends. Alan isn’t given over to cheap optimism but I liked his sensibly faithful reminders of Biblical promises about the power of God in our lives.

So, the short On Getting Out of Bed is for everyone, anywhere, no matter how self-confident or how broken you may feel. There is something here for nearly everyone within this needy human family of ours and I suspect more people will find it immediately helpful and reassuring that most of us may realize. I hope you order one  from us today and read it soon.

Further, it is for everyone who wants to understand those who are currently going through depression or mental hardships, understandable grief, or inexplicable sadness. There are people you know who are right now bearing heavy loads (some of which you may not even realize.) Everybody has to know a bit about how to care for the hurting, and this is an intelligent guide that is inspiring, theologically rooted, clear-headed, and helpful. It is mostly written to those who find it hard to get out of bed, but we still recommend it for capable pastors, teachers, youth workers, campus ministers, parents, and anyone who wants to befriend and gently encourage those who are hurting. You might need it for yourself someday, but even if you are happy and strong, you, especially, need to understand what it is like for those who are not.

Asking “What gets you up in the morning?” is a rhetorical question we sometimes use to invite folks to ponder their passion, what they find motivating, what they are driven to or by. It’s not a bad question but I think I will never again use it glibly, having read Professor Noble’s reminder of how very hard it actually is for many people to literally get out of bed or to literally go out the door. I love and believe in books that help people dream big dreams and (as with the incredible Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good by Steve Garber) navigate with fidelity a broken world full of hurts and sorrows. (Garber is known well in the culture-shaping, made-to-flourish, faith at work circles, but I think admits to the personal hardships and social brokenness in this fallen world as honestly as anyone writing about making a difference in our vocations in the world.)

Alan Noble, too, is one of those visionaries who sees deep truths and invites us to live robust lives for the Kingdom reign of Christ, glorifying God in all things. But, as he knows, for many, this call can be nearly debilitating and must be ramped down a bit. Maybe just getting out of bed, putting one foot in front of the next, doing the next thing is really the best thing. On Getting Out of Bed will help, I’m sure. Thanks be to God.


Oooh, sometimes a book shows up just in the nick of time and we are eager to give a shout out about it. I haven’t had time to look through it, really, but I’m thrilled to add on this quick announcement about the brand new book by Aundi Kolber. It fits nicely with the theme of this BookNotes and Alan Noble’s book.: Strong like Water: Finding the Freedom, Safety, and Compassion to Move through Hard Things–and Experience True Flourishing (Tyndale Refresh; $17.99 – OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39.)

Strong Like Water officially releases near the end of the month but we just got our shipment and we are allowed to sell them early. It is a rumination and guide to new ways to think about strength. Kolber wrote the 2020 best-seller Try Softer: A Fresh Approach to Move Us out of Anxiety, Stress, and Survival Mode–and Into a Life of Connection and Joy. Because so many of our customers (perhaps more younger woman than anyone) had asked about it, we read it and agreed that it’s really, really good. I’m told this new one will be even better. Looks good, eh? Order it today at our discounted price.



It is very helpful if you tell us how you prefer us to ship your orders.

The weight and destination of your package varies but you can use this as a quick, general guide:

There are generally two kinds of US Mail options, and, of course, UPS. If necessary, we can do overnight and other expedited methods, too. Just ask.

  • United States Postal Service has the option called “Media Mail” which is cheapest but can be slow. For one typical book, usually, it’s about $3.85; 2 lbs would be $4.55.
  • United States Postal Service has another option called “Priority Mail” which is $8.50,  if it fits in a flat rate envelope. Many children’s books and some Bibles are oversized so that might take the next size up which is $9.20. “Priority Mail” gets much more attention than does “Media Mail” and is often just a few days to anywhere in the US.
  • UPS Ground is reliable but varies by weight and distance and may take longer than USPS. We’re happy to figure out your options for you once we know what you want.

If you just want to say “cheapest” that is fine. If you are eager and don’t want the slowest method, do say so. It really helps us serve you well so let us know. Just saying “US Mail” isn’t helpful because there are those two methods, one cheaper but slower, one more costly but quicker. Which do you prefer?



Hearts & Minds logo


20% OFF



order here

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

inquire here

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

Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown  PA  17313

Sadly, we are still closed for in-store browsing. COVID is not fully over. Since few are reporting their illnesses anymore, it is tricky to know the reality but the best measurement is to check the water tables to see the amount of virus in the eco-system. It’s still bad, and worsening (again.) With flu and new stuff spreading, many hospitals are overwhelmed. It’s important to be particularly aware of how risks we take might effect the public good. It is complicated for us, so we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family, staff, and customers.) The vaccination rate here in York County is sadly lower than average. Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation, so we are trying to be wise. Thanks for understanding.

Please, wherever you are, do your best to be sensitive to those who are most at risk. Many of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, congregants, and family members may need to be protected since more than half of Americans (it seems) have medical reasons to worry about longer hazards from even seemingly mild COVID infections.

We are doing our famous curb-side and back yard customer service and can show any number of items to you if you call us from our back parking lot. It’s sort of fun, actually. We are eager to serve and grateful for your patience as we all work to mitigate the pandemic. We are very happy to help do if you are in the area, do stop by.

Of course, we’re happy to ship books anywhere. 

We are here 10:00 – 6:00 EST /  Monday – Saturday, closed on Sunday.




I’m grateful for the good feedback on the last BookNotes — we’re glad that customers care about what we do here at the shop and especially our involvement in the big, hectic, and, frankly, visionary college age conference, Jubilee, run by the CCO out in Pittsburgh. People know that there is, with Jubilee, in the words of Bob Dylan, a “tight connection to my heart.” The CCO was influenced early on by those calling for a Christian worldview that would fund a movement for the reformation of scholarship, nurturing habits of heart and mind that would “think Christianly” in light of the grand story of the Bible (from creation to new creation)  and, in some low-key and ecumenical way, that is the genesis of our bookstore, too. It’s why we carry books on nursing and art, engineering and politics, urban planning and neuroscience, education and business, law and agriculture. It was fun showing you just a few of the many books we had at Jubilee, an example of the good literature available to help ordinary folks serve God across every sphere of life.

Here is the link to three 7 or 8 minute book announcements I made at Jubilee, captured live by a good friend. Order these at 20% off, too. Whew.

I mentioned how enthusiastic young adults can be when they hear this full gospel proclaimed, when they hear in a compelling way that God truly takes delight in their love for science or wilderness backpacking or creative writing or health care or sports. The arts and sciences, the trades and careers, are not secular or sequestered off from our spirituality and discipleship, but are, as Steve Garber sometimes says, “integral, not incidental.”

Although this week I’m reading Lent: The Season of Repentance and Renewal by Esau McCaulley and The Good of Giving Up: Discovering the Freedom of Lent by Aaron Damiani and Malcom Guite’s poetry-driven devotional Word in the Wilderness, I can’t get Jubilee’s holy hubbub out of my head. So, for your enjoyment, here are a bunch of other very random selections of a few of the books we showed at Jubilee. Part two, so to speak.

It’s a random list, but coheres in that, for each topic, it must be said that Christ Himself holds it together (Colossians 1:17.) And that these are urgent books of the sort that many religious bookstores may not feature. All are 20% off.

Heaven Is Not My Home: Living in the Now of God’s Creation Paul Marshall (Thomas Nelson) $15.98  OUR SALE PRICE = $12.78

One of my all time favorite reads, this is whimsical and profound, upbeat with great stories, but rock-solid, offering a reformational worldview’s implications for science, politics, work, rest, art, play, technology, and more. There’s a good overview of the “creation/fall/redemption” Biblical narrative and a great chapter on worship and another on evangelism within this “all of life redeemed” perspective. For decades this has been one I’ve recommended to illustrate how distinctive a Kingdom vision for living out faith in all areas of life can be. It’s a blast, by a playful but serious-minded political scholar. Kudos to the great Lela Gilbert for helping turn this book into a masterpiece of enjoyable prose.

Call this nearly a Jubilee handbook but, to be honest, truly, it will be good for you!

A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology J. Richard Middleton (Baker Academic) $31.99   OUR SALE PRICE = $25.59

If Marshall’s book, above, offers a delightful introduction to a realized eschatology where God isn’t rapturing us to some ethereal heaven but it returning to judge and renew the good creation, renewing it into a livable creation laden with shalom, the Richard Middleton’s volume is the scholars best study of this topic from this perspective. I am sure you recall us raving about Richard’s excellent (if always somewhat provocative) works, from the magisterial The Liberating Image to his recent, ground-breaking Abraham’s SIlence. Two of the most important books in the history of the CCO and their Jubilee conference were co-authored by Richard, 1985’s The Transforming Vision and 2000s, Truth Is Stranger Than It Used to Be. He gave a great main stage keynote presentation at Jubilee when this A New Heaven and A New Earth came out.

Besides his almost tedious explication of hundreds of Biblical texts and his careful connecting of so many Scriptural dots, there is a closing pair of chapters on how Jesus, in Luke 4, preaches on Isaiah 61, drawing on the Year of Jubilee in Leviticus. These are under the rubric of the “ethics of the Kingdom” and while the book may be more meaty than some young students are used to, it is a must-read resource for anyone needing this corrective or want a Biblical reason to care about the flourishing of all creaturely life.

Not Home Yet: How the Renewal of the Earth Fits into God’s Plan for the World Ian K. Smith (Crossway) $15.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $12.79

Maybe life is too short for you right now to wade through the big Middleton book, listed above. It is your loss, of course, but I get it — we can’t all afford major volumes and may not have the capacity to work through such a hefty tome. Okay. No worries –  try this one. Not Home Yet offers, in the words of ethicist Scott Rae of Biola University, “a vivid picture of how this earth matters to God — our work, our communities, and the physical world.”

In fact, the great Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman (who knows a thing or two about all of this) says:

“I have never seen such a clear articulation of the theme of creation and re-creation anywhere.” Tremper Longman III

Okay, then. This book’s discussions of the covenant promises and the future hopes and how it all matters now sounds a lot like the theme of the Jubilee conference. How our understanding of our future restored home in a renewed creation influences us now is a key matter and Smith (a Greek professor in Sydney, Australia, by the way, who has worked in the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu) explores it succinctly and persuasively. Three big cheers for this small book.

What Are Christians For? Life Together at the End of the World Jake Meador (IVP) $22.00          OUR SALE PRICE = $17.60

Jake spoke at Jubilee a few years ago and he was a fabulous speaker, a good guy to be around, and a fine example of a young, excpetionally orthdoox thinker who has an open mind and a passionate heart. He knows the importance of the creational realities — “thick” Keller calls it — and how we can (we must!) find an alternative to the predictable polarizations of the left and right. In personal faith and public theology, in deep spirituality and robust civic commitments, Jake seems to truly live in a better way than this fragmented world has to offer.

The book title, of course, is a bit of a double entendre. What are we “for” (as in, we should be known for what we are for, not what we are against) and, the bigger question — what’s the point of it, all. Why does God call us to mission in this world and what difference does all that make?

I love that this wise young scholar talks about his embeddedness in his Kansan home and struggles with the powerful work and trenchant critique of whiteness found in Willie Jennings, in light of the neo-Calvinsim of Herman Bavinck. Who does that? Who reads that widely?

A voice in the wilderness of current culture wars, Meador has written a provocative and unsettling Christian critique of modernity. Deftly incorporating an arresting selection of voices, many far too lightly dismissed by Christians as their ideological antagonists, Meador presents an inspiring, bracing, and rigorously orthodox vision of Christian life, thought, and community as a hopeful response to its challenges and possibilities.  — Alastair Roberts, adjunct senior fellow, Theopolis Institute

By the way, don’t miss his first book, which I loved (and had at Jubilee, naturally) called In Search of the Common Good: Christian Fidelity in a Fractured World. 

Post-Truth? Facts and Faithfulness Jeffrey Dudiak (Wipf & Stock) $12.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $9.60

This thin book, co-published by ICS (The Institute for Christian Studies) in Toronto and their Center for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics, is a gem, but it was hard to navigate conversations towards it. We had it under philosophy proper (the smallest book in that category) and under cultural analysis. The book has only 50-some pages and they are edited transcripts of three lectures given about the nature of truth in our society.

As a reformational worldview philosopher, he has some keen insights into what we mean by truth and what “facts” are. Naturally, he notes that all facts are understood within the contingencies of human creatureliness. Everybody sees and interprets things in light of their own point of view. You know the C.S. Lewis quote about that, I’m sure. So he doesn’t just drill down on an Enlightenment epistemology to counteract the so-called “post truth” era. It’s better than that.

Further, he “eschews the kind of easy response that trades pluralistic solidarity for tribalistic certainty.” Okay, that’s a mouthful, but this succinct book really is a joy to read, very interesting, underline-able. He looks at what and how we know, what social trust is and why it is fraying, and how we can find a deeper vision based on a Biblical worldview, not just a simplistic “correspondence” theory.

Three rave blurbs are on the back, from Curt Thompson, Gayle Beebe (of Westmont College who says Dudiak writes “with the depth of Dallas Willard and the clarity of C. S. Lewis”) and James K.A. Smith, who calls Post-Truth “a manifesto for the university.” Curt Thompson notes:

Dudiak delivers wisdom that startlingly overtakes us . . . and kindness, the depth of which in many respects is the very vehicle that carries it so compellingly. . . . Our author has tossed our world, drowning as we are in the deep end of the pool of late and postmodernity, a life vest that, should we dare to put it on, will not simply keep us from dying. It will teach us to live.

That We May Be One: Practicing Unity in a Divided Church Gary B. Agee (Eerdmans) $19.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99

I have to say a thing or two: unchurched or even most churched college students are pretty clueless when it comes to the variety of congregations and denominations that make up the Body of Christ. If they are nondenominational or Baptist or go to a Community Church, they don’t know what that implies. They may be United Methodist or CM&A and not know that; many Presbyterian Churches, for instance, don’t even say on their website whether they are PCA, PCUSA, EPC, ECHO, or whatever. (And don’t get me started about historic black churches or Protestant Latino congregations.) I think Roman Catholic kids know they are Catholic, at least.

And so, CCO’s bold tradition of being interdenominational, challenged as it sometimes may be, remains a passion of ours and we always take books to any church or faith gathering on being ecumenical. Indie Bible guys like Francis Chan have weighed in (many collegiates know him, so his Letters to the Church and Until Unity were happily noticed.) We always carry the books by our friend John Armstrong (such as his must-read Tear Down These Walls: Following Jesus into Deeper Unity but, I know, it’s a hard sell to college kids, whether they are Anglican or Lutheran or Reformed or Orthodox.)

This one seemed fairly simple, full of amazing content, by a Church of God pastor from Ohio. He has written about racial reconciliation, and has an amazing book on a Roman Catholic publisher (Liturgical Press) on the black Catholic leader Daniel Rudd. (How, you ask, does a white Church of God guy come to know so much about a black Catholic. Good question. It says something about the author’s integrity and experience, knowing a bit about different denominations and theological traditions other than his own.)

Anyway, this book offers what Doug Pagitt (director of Vote Common Good and fiesty author) calls “the ideal guide for faith leaders and people of faith who take seriously Jesus’s call for unity that goes beyond simply ‘getting along.’” Enough said?

Here’s more, from Curtiss Paul DeYoung:

Gary Agee issues a bold call for unity to a highly polarized church. He honestly deals with the challenges facing a church divided by race, politics, gender, sexual orientation, denomination, and the like. Yet Agee invites readers to embrace a posture of unity and implement a hermeneutic of inclusion. That We May Be One is hopeful, practical, and compelling–a must-read for twenty-first century Christians!

I don’t think any of these sold at Jubilee at all, despite all the leaders from partnership churches that were around. We try. Maybe you should give it a shot? It’s a good one!

Your Calling Here and Now: Making Sense of Vocation Gordon Smith (IVP) $18.00                      OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40

We have bunches of books on calling and vocation and some are quite profound. Some are upbeat and practical, a few more are theologically serious. Gordon Smith (an author whose books I would read on any topic) has a classic in this genre, Courage and Calling. His small Consider Your Calling is very short, a guide to praying about discernment for one’s sense of call. Both are superb.

Your Calling Here and Now is a lovely blend of both his more foundational book about calling and his short books on praying. This does a bit of both, showing how our vocation is “more than a job” but how to understand the notion well. He expands his book about prayer, knowing that for many, God may call us to different places and jobs in different seasons of our lives. The question posed in this book is what are we to do at this time and place. Who are we meant to be and what are we called to do — here and now.  As Mark Buchanan puts it, “this book is both a primer and compendium.” Lots of good insight and lots of good stories, too. Yay.

The Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith Barbara Brown Taylor (HarperOne) $16.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59

When I am doing talks on vocation or calling or sensing God’s presence in the ordinary, I often quote long passages from Barbara Brown Taylor’s first memoir, The Preaching Life. It never gets old. This one is another of my favorite books (ever) and while it doesn’t seem to attract interest among the evangelical college student set, their leaders and other older folks in the room noticed. (And also the companion, Learning to Walk in the Dark, another personal favorite.)

I liked that the Dallas Morning News reviewed this saying, cleverly, “Not a page-turner, it is a page-lingerer.” As Barbara puts it, it is exploring the turf “where our feet hit the floorboards.” Lauren Winner (another Jubilee veteran speaker) says, “I have been reading Barbara Brown Taylor for years now, and nothing she has written has stirred and inspired me quite as much as An Altar in the World.

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work Matthew Crawford (Penguin) $17.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $13.60

Although this best selling book may be a bit academic for some in the blue collar trades, there is always an expertly run conversation or panel with dozens of trade school guys at Jubilee — this here they interviewed a famous ecologically-aware, creatively-minded builder whose clients rave about his vision of stewardship — and, as expected, this wise book came up.  It is the eloquent story of a white-collar philosopher type who got tired of what seemed to be the ambiguous meaninglessness of his pushing papers, who left it all and set out to open his own motorcycle repair shop. As a mechanic, now, he offers — in really glowing and at times even funny prose — a lament for the loss of shop classes, and reminds us of the benefit and joy of working with one’s hands.

I hope you know this extraordinary book, and the amazing follow up, The World Outside Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction and his most recent, Why We Drive: Toward a Philosophy of the Open Road. He may not identify himself as a follower of Jesus but he not only gets a sense of purpose and care about the world, but he is so obviously rooted in and attentive to the particularities of a real world, what we at Jubilee call “creation.”  This book about the connections to our work and our bodies and our world is nothing short of brilliant.

The Missional Disciple: Pursuing Mercy & Justice at Work – A Six-Session Course Redeemer City to City (Redeemer City to City) $14.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $11.99

We are thrilled to stock this extraordinary, handsome, unique study guide for those wanting to go a step deeper into the project of relating faith in the workplace. As disciples of Jesus, our workplaces are often our primary place of mission — this missional vision arising from a high and holy view of vocations in the workweek is increasingly well known. But, as they suggest even on the back cover of this great resource, “We sometimes fail to recognize two key dimensions of our work — mercy and justice.”

This is designed around short videos presented by leading practitioners and theologians (with links to the videos in the book), The Missional Disciple explores this very matter, how mercy and justice are not only central to the biblical story but are also at the heart of God’s character. It’s created for small group use (but you could do it yourself, of course) it is “packed with case studies, community discussion questions, simple practices and prayer prompts” and “will help you discover a holistic paradigm and equip you to become a restorative presence in your everyday workplace.

Whether tending to beds in a hospital or starting a business, sitting at a call center or waiting tables in a restaurant, this workbook invites you to grasp hold of your identity as a missional disciple and to integrate mercy and justice within your industry.

There are case studies from education, finance, filmmaking, hospitality, the commercial arts and more.

The Missional Disciple: Pursuing Mercy & Justice at Work Six-Session Course doesn’t presume you’ve read Keller and Leary’s magnum opus on this, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work but it doesn’t hurt. We pushed that at Jubilee, of course.

The Power of Place: How Our Surroundings Shape Our Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions Winifred Gallagher (Harper Perennial) $14.99          OUR SALE PRICE = $11.99

At Jubilee students and others are nicely interested in our sections about place, about urban planning, even architecture and design. General titles like this (and her lovely previous one, House Thinking) — or the more rigorous Poetics of Space — show, quite practically, why place matters to us. Drawing on research in behavioral and environmental sciences, Gallagher explores our reactions to light temperature, the seasons, and other natural phenomena, and our interaction with the built environment. What fun.

It goes alongside more theological books like Finding Holy in the Suburbs by Ashley Hales or The Suburban Christian by Albert Hsu, say, or books we have about small town life or rural ministry. Naturally, we had a stack of the wonderful The Power of Place by Daniel Grothe. We love Eric Jacobsen’s Sidewalks of the Kingdom (including Eugene Peterson’s brilliant forward) and his exquisite The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment. We love the short book by old Pittsburgher Lee Hardy, The Embrace of Buildings (a “second look at walkable city neighborhoods.”) I seriously think Walsh & Bouma-Predigar’s Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement is a very serious must-read in this whole area of home and place, exceptional and formative. It’s hefty and a truly great book.

Technopoly:The Surrender of Culture to Technology Neil Postman (Vintage) $15.95         OUR SALE PRICE = $12.76

We often sell Postman’s remarkable Amusing Ourselves to Death and we are glad. What a combo of history, cultural studies, observations about mass media, and the need for a renewal of reading and thinking well. This one is in many ways a follow up and it is riveting. Is it dated? Perhaps. But yet, I think it’s stirring call to be “loving resistance fighters” seems resonant with Romans 12:1-2 — the things we do, literally, with our bodies are, in fact, worship. But we dare not be conformed to the ways of this world, must have a renewed Christian mind, as we show forth God’s good plans for life in the world. Can this (now deceased) Jewish scholar help us? Yes, yes, indeed. As one reviewer put it, this provocative book is “a tool for fighting back against the tools that run our lives.”  Whether it is in politics or health care or entertainment or religion, we’ve given over many aspects of our lives to a realm of technology. What an indictment!

The quote isn’t too sexy, but the important New York Times Book Review highlights how well written and cogent this book is:

Mr. Postman puts his ideas across with energy, conviction, and considerable verbal dexterity. His illustrations of how new technologies can alter society are vivid and thought-provoking.


Techne: Christian Visions of Technology edited by Gerald Hiestand & Todd Wilson (Cascade) $34.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $27.20

We so appreciate the thoughtful Center for Pastor Theologians (co-founded and directed by Todd Wilson) and their ongoing series of books from confabs they pull together for working pastors with intellectual chops, combining scholars, practitioners, and clergy to figure out how the church can help folks navigate the peculiar quandaries of our contemporary culture. They’ve done thoughtful and edifying books on sexuality, or creational theology, on ecumenism and the sacraments. This is a major contribution (from a 2019 conference) asking about our increasingly complex (and often conflicted) relationships with technology. It is very new and we are thrilled to commend it. It isn’t, by the way, a guide to using screens in worship or directly about how digital culture affects congregations or being hybrid in our church meetings. It’s more foundational and philosophical.

There are 15 mature chapters coming in at about 250 pages. I do not know most of the contributors (except Andy Crouch, whose chapter I read immediately, Karen Swallow Prior, who has a good word on the technologies of reading, and Christian sociologist Felicia Wu Son, author of Virtual Communities: Bowling Alone, Online Together, which we stock, and her extraordinary volume Restless Devices: Recovering Personhood Presence and Pace in the Digital Age.)

I’m not sure who I thought would buy this at Jubilee — engineers and computer sciences had the good books by Derek Schuurman [see last week’s post, for instance] and others, and church leaders had lots of choices more directly engaging congregational ministry. Still, this is really good. I think it should be widely read.

God and Gadgets: Following Jesus in a Technological Age Brad Kallenberg (Cascade) $22.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $17.60

We promote this each year at Jubilee, but it is burned into my brain from the year Jamie Smith was a keynote MainStage speaker, riffing on the goodness of creation that can be distorted by the idols and ideologies and habits and practices of the age, and he had this book on the big screen. He was citing it, saying that we should all read it. Bookseller that I am, I was thrilled. And then the beeping started, what I thought was a fake fire alarm that Smith had contrived to go off as part of his spiel about distrusting our technologies. Nope. A first in Jubilee history, it was the real fire alarm and all 2500 of us had to evacuate the building. Over an hour later we reconvened and Smith heroically tried to start again, only to have the darn mis-firing alarm start up again — beep, beep, beep, all the way through his call to “occupy creation.”

Anyway, as Smith would have said, this is a very good book, asking how technologies are embedded in the modern West. Drawing on his engineering background (and, admittedly, schooled by Wittgenstein) and informed by his study of theology, Kallenberg (of the University of Dayton) invites us to see “the blind spots of modern, technological culture.” It will help you ask better questions, redemptive questions, even.

Why Study History? Reflecting on the Importance of the Past Joh Fea (Baker Academic) $22.00   OUR SALE PRICE = $17.60

This short book is not the shortest call for Christian students to take up history studies but it is by far the best and at about 175 pages, is very, very readable. We really respect Dr. Fea’s good work (he teaches at Messiah University near us here) and his love of the craft of being a historian is (as history prof from Geneva College, Eric Miller, put it) “infectious.” Miller continues, Fea’s “knowledge is inspiring. Serious readers of Why Study History? will find their own love and knowledge of history deepened in satisfying and fruitful ways.’

You may know Fea from his online work with the popular Current journal or his award-winning Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? Or his co-edited volume (with Eric Miller and Jay Green) called Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian’s Vocation. That big text is published by the University of Notre Dame and is also highly recommended. But everybody should consider Fea’s Why Study History? Yes!

The Mind of the Maker Dorothy L. Sayers (HarperOne) $17.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

Every year at Jubilee we try to sell a few of these, a quintessentially important book written by the esteemed Oxford graduate, friend of Lewis and the Inklings, playwright, mystery novelist, Dante scholar, and reluctant Christian apologist. Her Anglican reflections on the creativity of God, the meaning of art, the call to do good work, and to reflect in our very lives the redemptive purposes of the Triune God are foundational, important not only as a historic, evangelical manifesto, but truly wise and useful for each of us today. Three very big cheers that this is still in print and that the Inklings-related authors are still viable.

The introduction to this fine collection is my none other than Madeline L’Engle.  For a nice collection including an overview of her various sorts of writing, by the way, see her Plough Publishing volume The Gospel in Dorothy Sayers expertly edited by Carole Vanderhoof. We had that whole series at Jubilee, of course.

Dear Doctor: What Doctors Don’t Ask, What Patients Need to Say Marilyn McEntyre (Broadleaf Books) $16.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59

I’ll admit that this didn’t fly off the shelves at Jubilee. Knowing that many young adults aren’t concerned about speaking honestly to their primary care physician (they may not even have a relationship with a primary care physician) we thought this book would be of interest to those going into health care fields. Certainly every doctor (as I have said before when I reviewed it two years ago) should read it as professional training, but so should nurses and physical therapists and others who have authority over the bodies and lives of patients. It is really, really good and very, very important.

So we put it next to other books offering up a faith-based perspective on medical matters and the reform of health care, from Attending Others: A Doctor’s Education in Bodies and Words by Brian Volck to Called to Care: A Christian Worldview for Nursing by Judith Shelley and Arlene Miller and Care: How People of Faith Can Respond to Our Broken Health System by the great urban doc from Memphis, Scot Morris.

Marilyn, you may know, is someone who we read earnestly and recommend regularly; her day job is teaching literature in a med school, helping those preparing to become doctors know well the literature of illness, the memoirs of chronic pain, the poetry of grief. Her (faith inspired) view of the humanities as being helpful to med students is inspiring and good. So she has a lot of first hand experiences with medical professionals.

This, though, is written from the point of view of a patient, and each fairly short chapter reads like a memoir or maybe a devotional. She evokes so much, insists on our agency and integrity, and calls on well-paid doctors to pay attention. So good. So important.

Disability and the Way of Jesus: Holistic Healing in the Gospels and the Church Bethany McKinney Fox (IVP Academic) $30.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $24.00

As we said in the last BookNotes, we have a hefty collection (in the store and showed off at Jubilee) of books about disabilities, special education, being inclusive in the church, and living well as a person with particular disabilities. From Same Lake, Different Boat to Disability and the Gospel: How God Uses Our Brokenness to Display His Grace to On the Spectrum to My Body Is Not a Prayer Request and so many more, we are glad for the many books coming out. If only we could sell some, getting them out there.

This is a major work, a blending of Biblical studies, ethics, and disability studies, all with a practical eye to congregational life. She interviews doctors and disability scholars and pastors to more fully understanding Jesus’s own healing narratives and why “Christian communities are better off when people with disabilities are an integral part of our common life.” Bill Gaventa called it “a joy to read.” There is a major foreword by John Swinton. Keep an eye on Bethany McKinney Fox — she is amazing.

Completing Capitalism: Heal Business to Heal the World Bruno Roche and Jay Jakob (Berrett-Koehler) $19.95  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.96

We have followed these guys for years (and one has been to Jubilee, in fact.) Our good friend and Hearts & Minds fan Steve Garber writes about them in his lovely collection of short, eloquent essays, A Seamless Life: A Tapestry of Love and Learning Worship and Work. (Steve has also explained this business book by saying it is “Neither charity nor corporate social responsibility, but rather a way for sustained profitability, Completing Capitalism argues for making money in a way that remembers the meaning of the marketplace.”

Bruno Roche has been the chief economist for Mars, Inc. since 2016 and Jay Jakub has been the senior director of a research project — he links it to the Bible’s teaching about shalom within the year of Jubilee’s vision, actually — to help Mars (yes, the world famous candy company) could be more faithful, stewardly, wholistic, caring for land and workers, supply chains and processes, even while turning a profit. Can a global business corporation really find different metrics for measuring success, putting the goal of maximizing profit for shareholders in a broader, better context?

Driven by an astute sense of Christian values, the book doesn’t present their work as a “Christian perspective” but is making a major contribution for the world at large. We have been very glad to promote this kind of book whenever we can. Bruno and Jay are heros, and this book is vital.

A major breakthrough on creating an economy that works for all. The thinking is rigorous and backed up by careful research on how mutuality-based practices in social, human, natural, and financial capital can change the economic well-being of society. This work now sets the gold standard for how the private sector can go beyond lip service in making a major positive impact on the world. — Peter Block, author The Answer to How is Yes

Some endeavors require intellectual, emotional, or spiritual courage. Bruno and Jay have demonstrated all three in fleshing out this valuable piece of work on behalf of Mars, Incorporated, our associates, and all stakeholders, including the planet. I truly hope it evolves, as I believe it can and must, the dialogue regarding capitalism’s future and its crucial role in our world going forward. — Stephen Badger, Chairman of the Board, Mars, Incorporated

Kingdom and Country: Following Jesus in the Land That You Love edited by Angie Ward (NavPress) $16.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59

This is another in the “Kingdom Conversations” series and it is really, really good. Not exactly developing a uniquely Christian view of statecraft or an academic study of politics (and, boy, we have plenty of those) Kingdom and Country does what many really want, at least for starters. It explores our alliance to God’s Kingdom and asks how we can navigate the polarizations and stresses in our public life. The authors are mostly youngish, missional, a bit edgy, well-informed, vibrant. I’ve read every chapter and can’t say enough about it. Kudos.

In this we have excellent, inviting, conversational chapters by Rod Wilson, Mandy Smith, Alejandro Mandes, Juliet Liu, Sean Palmer and more. It’s highly recommended. See also, Ward’s edited volume When The Universe Cracks: Living as God’s People in Times of Crisis which we also had at Jubilee. We’re taking pre-orders for the third in this series which comes in early April, The Least of These: Practicing a Faith Without Margins. Jubilee’s dynamo Danielle Strickland will have a chapter in that one. Hooray. (NavPress; $16.99 – OUR SALE PRICE = $13.56.)

Living Resistance: An Indigenous Vision for Seeking Wholeness Every Day Kaitlin B. Curtice (Brazos Press) $21.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $17.59

Okay, I’ll admit it: we didn’t have this at Jubilee because it just came. But we sure would have; it releases officially any day now, and we are thrilled to just show it off, here. We had her first two at Jubilee (and sold at least one of each!) We adore her first Paraclete Press spirituality book Glory Happening: Finding the Divine in Everyday Places and her much-discussed Brazos Press book from 2020 which expertly explores more about her indigenous (Potawatomi) spirituality (Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God.) Living Resistance, in a way, picks up, it seems, where Native ends, carrying out a public theology and native Christian approach to resist the brokenness of the world.

‘Resistance’ has become “tokenized” these days and (as her friend Glenn Doyle put it) “while ‘resistance is a hashtag and ‘wholeness’ an industry, Living Resistance is a lifeline reconnecting us with our human calling.” It is a fierce book (in an era when that word is used too often, as well.) But she is gentle and fun, a great storyteller and activist.  She quotes fellow wordsmith poet Padraig O Tuama and Native writer Patty Krawec and others I’ve never encountered. Wow.

A Year of Playing Catch: What a Simple Daily Experiment Taught Me about Life Ethan D. Bryan (Zondervan) $18.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.19

A book written by one of our favorite people on the planet (and not his first, nor his last, we hope) Ethan Bryan’s book about playing catch with somebody new every single day for a year was put in two places in our big Jubilee display. First, obviously, we had it under sports and recreation. There are a number of very astute books (some pretty academic) about sports and play, including some that expose the idols and corruption in some of the big sport industry, asking how theologically-aware folks can be agents of transformation, in but not of, that big professionalized world. Others are maybe more devotional in nature, and there are some, like Game Day for the Glory of God, that are good not just for athletes but for anybody who is a sports fan, short, pointed, helpful.

Ethans’ book offers a delightful reminder of what we might call — he’s more eloquent and narrative driven, so he doesn’t quite say this — the normative principle for sport, and that is play. He enjoys tossing the ball back and forth and as his year unfolds it becomes its own kind of competitive match — can he do it? And my, oh my, what redemptive things goes on between the planning and the throwing and the catching. As one friend of his put it, between the dreaming and the coming true. So, yes, this is a book about sports and baseball, play and recreation. Is there a career in recreational planning or play therapy for adults? If so, this book is a must!

We also put it under memoir because it is, after all, a rip-rolling read about a guy spending a year doing this great project. Whether one is really interested in baseball or having a catch or not, the writing is captivating and his tender stories are sure to inspire. What a fun and wholesome and powerful book.

The Big Story: How the Bible Makes Sense Out of Life Justin Buzzard (Moody Press) $13.99           OUR SALE PRICE = $11.19      

Some years at Jubilee I promote this from up front, hoping to persuade many to consider it.  It covers some of the same “big story” around which the conference is organized but, also, it really is designed for beginners or even seekers who wonder if life makes sense. Does that story (of unfolding redemptive history) speak to our stories, now? Justin Buzzard is himself a great storyteller and invites us into the Bible’s dynamic plot, wondering if we can jump into it, or, better, whether it can jump off the pages and into our own lives? It is a great intro to the Bible, an apologetic for a truly Biblical imagination about life and times, and a call to embrace the truest story of all, which can make sense of both the beauty and the brokenness of our lives and our world.

I think we need to be reminded every single day that we are part of a Bigger Story, part of something greater than ourselves, and that each of our stories matter a great deal. To be reminded of that truth is to live in Hope.”The Big Story”gives the reader that gift of Hope. — Sally Lloyd-Jones, author, The Jesus Storybook Bible

The Bible is the story of God’s great love for His creation, what He once called very good. And this incredible story culminates in the coming of Jesus, and our being invited, throughHim, to find our true place in His story. My friend Justin captures this with earnestness, care and clarity as he paints for us the beautiful picture of what God is doing in the world, and where we find our place in His story. — Leonce Crump, Renovation Church, author of Renovate: Changing Who You Are by Loving Where You Are

Post-Christian: A Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture Gene Edward Veith (Crossway) $24.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99

Sometimes the best way to communicate the distinctives of a Christian social imagery, a Kingdom vision, as we say at Jubilee, is to use contrast. We are all called to be discerning and agile in our (gracious) critique of society’s formulations and ideologies and practices. This book is a guide to this practice, offering serious, historical, cultural analysis about things such as views of the meaning of our humanness, our roles as social institutions, our understanding of family and sexuality. In our rather barren culture — a secularized society with a dizzying array of wrong-headed ways to think and be — Veith offers a conservative, more-or-less Lutheran alternative. I don’t think he is fully right all the time, and I wish he’d have worded a few things a bit differently, but, still, it is what Karen Swallow Prior calls “a library in miniature” that should be on all our bookshelves.

Can a book offer undaunted hope in a post-Christian world? Can it give us some resources for distancing ourselves from the worst of our secularized worldview and invite us to a more robust and multi-faceted Christian mindset? This popular author (a lit proof and culture editor of World Magazine) can help. He likes the early reformation artist Lucas Cranach, so there’s that.

The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place Andy Crouch (with an afterword by Amy Crouch) (Baker) $16.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59

My Tech-Wise Life: Growing Up and Making Choices in a World of Devices Amy Crouch & Andy Crouch (Baker) $15.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $12.79

Andy, as I said in the last BookNotes naming his Culture Making and the superlative, recent The Life We’re Looking For, has been a speaker at Jubilee often. We’ve promoted his pocket-sized Tech Wise Family even for those who are not parents as it offered, in my view, some of the best insights and practical guidance for navigating this digital culture of ours, and we’ve highlighted it often. Written several years beore his exquiste The Life We’re Looking For it is still a fabulous little book and highly recommended.

Amy, his daughter, wrote much of My Tech-Wise Life while a student at Cornell. In a way it is a sequel to the previous book, showing how she, as a young person, experienced digital devices while having such conscientious parents. She attended Jubilee as a student and it was so, so good to have her back this year as a workshop presenter. Hooray.

My Tech-Wise Life incorporates a bit of recent research data from the Barna Group making it very interesting for anyone who works with youth or young adults (or anybody who has a smartphone, laptop or computer, for that matter.) This bit of data shows how urgent fresh thinking about all this is. But the heart of the book remains Amy’s good insights, down-to-Earth and practical, about growing up in these days and the technological choices she has made. After each chapter, dad Andy chimes in with some lovely affirmation, a little fatherly advice, a few choice stories, and the occasional scholarly push-back. Together, this daughter/father team has given us a truly great little book. We were happy to feature it at Jubilee and we are pleased to remind you of it here. Pick up a few, while our supplies last.

Jesus, Beginnings, and Science: A Guide for Group Conversations David A. Vosburg & Kate Vosburg (Pier Press) $14.95                                   OUR SALE PRICE = $11.96

Speaking of family projects, this duo includes a professor of chemistry at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California and an IVCF campus minister. Both, obviously, are deeply engaged in higher education, wanting to invite others into thoughtful engagement with academic discourse and Biblical truth.

This good volume — endorsed by the likes of Wheaton College Old Testament prof John Walton and Research Associate for the Faraday Institute on Science and Religion Dr. Ruth Bancewicz — offers various Biblical insights about creation’s enduring role in the Biblical narrative and invites open-ended conversation, even leaving room for gracious disagreement. They tend towards a theistic evolutionary view, but this conversation surely is useful for those with creationist impulses or those who are aware of the intelligent design school.

What does the Bible say about creation? About human origins? About science itself as a noble human enterprise? This is ideal for anyone wanting to have faith-based conversations about science and certainly should be in the tool kit of anyone doing campus ministry or working in science circles. With 12 sessions, this Bible study workbook is a treasure trove for interested and curious folks. The wide-ranging bibliography in the back is itself worth the price of the book.

Learning Our Names: Asian American Christians on Identity, Relationships and Vocation Sabrina S. Chan, Linson Daniel, E. David de Leon, and La Thao (IVP) $20.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00

I was deeply touched by a few quick conversations I had at Jubilee with Asian American students and also with several international students. (There were students from Africa, China, and South America that I chatted with.) This book — asking “what’s your name?” — is so very important and maybe the best evangelical resource we’ve yet seen about Asian American ministry. With ongoing violence and tension and marginalization and an array of cultural stories and backgrounds, this book is vital.

The authors are a team of East Asian, Southeast Asian, and South Asian backgrounds and they explore “what it means to learn our names and be seen by God as we are shaped by migration, culture, and faith.” There are tensions for all of us, but certainly the multiple tensions of being Asian American Christians there is much to discover and many ways to lean into God’s work.

Learning Our Names is a sorely needed reflection on how God is healing and setting apart Asian American followers of Jesus to be instruments of transformative hope.      — Russell Jeung, cofound of Stop AAPI Hate

On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts James K.A. Smith (Brazos Press) $24.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99

At our conference, Jamie Smith is well-known, at least among older Jubilee aficionados, and he has spent time with CCO staff talking about his essential book, You Are What You Love and the heady but important How (Not) To Be Secular: On Reading Charles Taylor. Students sometimes pick up his wonderful collection of short essays, Discipleship in the Present Tense: Reflections on Faith and Culture which I’d gladly press into anyone’s hands; it is so good.

We didn’t sell many of his most recent (How to Inhabit Time) but this one, man, this one is one every young adult should read. On the Road with Saint Augustine is about the patron saint of restless hearts and explores Augustine’s ancient journey to Italy in search of… well, Jamie and his wife retraced these steps and there are art pieces and more in this fabulously designed book. It is a spectacular read, highly recommended.

Sure, it’s a bit more than your typical Christian self-help book, and there are allusive lines on the back like this:

“This is not a book about Saint Augustine. In a way, it’s a book Augustine has written about each of us.”

On the Road with Saint Augustine is a learned, large-hearted, and quite lively introduction to Augustine, or to life by way of Augustine, or to God by way of both. The variety of Smith’s references is astonishing, as is the seamless way he moves among them. I expect many modern readers will find themselves–and, crucially, much more than themselves–in this book.  — Christian Wiman, author of My Bright Abyss and Every Riven Thing

Wild Things and Castles in the Sky: A Guide to Choosing the Best Books for Children edited by Leslie Bustard, Carey Bustard, & Thea Rosenburg (Square Halo Books) $29.99                                  OUR SALE PRICE = $23.99

I suppose we could have added this to our parenting section — we had plenty of titles shown, since, well, it’s never too early to help students think about this possible side of their lives (not to mention displayed for the many married adults in the space, including CCO staff, many of which have little kids.) But we featured it in our education section, since school teachers more than anybody care about good kids books.

I’ve highlighted this often before so won’t go on and one, but you know this great book had dozens of fine authors sharing about why a certain genre of kids books is important and suggesting things they particularly recommend. There are a variety of different sorts of authors (across the spectrum of denominations, races, ages) and the books they highlight are unique — some you’d expect, some that might surprise you, and some, I bet, that you’ve never heard of. This is a vision for “why you should want to help little ones see castles in the sky.” If you know a parent, a grandparent, a teacher, or anyone who cares for children, this book makes a great gift.

Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies Marilyn McEntyre (Eerdmans) $19.99                                 OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99

I can hardly think of an off site event, a conference or book show that we do not take this elegant collection of chapters about being good stewards of the words we use. This is what one reviewer called “a wonderfully composed treatise” and it is just that, what I might call an eloquent manifesto. This second edition is timely and enhanced, allowing a new generation of readers to apply McEntyre’s wisdom “in a world that struggles with truth and graceful language more than ever before.”

This truly is one of my most often-recommended books, strategies for being wise in this world of hype and spin and conflict. The discussion questions make it ideal for a book club. At Jubilee we displayed Caring for Words in the section about reading literature, we also had it in the section for writers, and we had one (next to her very literate Speaking Peace in a Climate of Conflict) in a section on engaging culture. Not many books get displayed in three different spots!

Turning of Days: Lessons from Nature, Season, and Spirit Hannah Anderson with illustrations by Nathan Anderson (Moody Press) $15.99             OUR SALE PRICE = $12.79

Hannah Anderson is a great writer and we had all of her books at Jubilee. In fact, I heard one workshop leader recommended her All That’s Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment. We had this slightly oversized, artful one, though, in our big section about appreciating nature, creation-based Biblical studies, and outdoor adventure stories, from John Muir to contemporary black mountaineer, James Edwards Mills. [Okay, that is two different categories at Jubilee, adventure education and appreciating creation.] Hannah’s lovely book fit right in,; Tish Harrison Warren says it “delights, mesmerizes, intoxicates…” and Sandra McCracken says it “captures my heart at the core.” It’s a real celebration of beauty and a call to pay attention to God who shows everywhere, even among the things you see and hear, season by season. Nice.

Discovering God through the Arts: How We Can Grow Closer to God by Appreciating Beauty and Creativity Terry Glaspey (Moody Press) $16.99           OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59

Terry has long been a good acquaintance and we’ve admired his many books over the years. We promoted this one when it first came out and named it as one of the Best Books of 2021. We had it all propped up at Jubilee, hoping students would take a look, see its beauty and good design, and realize it offers one-of-a-kind guidance on using the arts as a spiritual practice. Of course we Jubilee would say, and we would affirm (and so would author Terry Glaspey) that in terms of God’s call to be mature in our aesthetic life, we don’t need to “use” the arts; as Hans Bookmaker once put it “art needs no justification.” Granted.

But yet, there is this way in which — call it intersectional, maybe — that good art can be read in terms of our own spiritual formation and this book invites us to allow good paintings, sculptures, poems, novels, music, to invite us to pray, to care for the poor, to be aware of so much that directly impacts our discipleship. Can you grow closer to God and mature in your faith walk by learning to appreciate the arts? Yes, yes, you can. Terry Glaspey is a genius for putting this compendium together, a finely crafted and brilliantly conceived volume. It was just one of very many in our arts section, but wanted to highlight it as a particularly good one.

Everyday Activism: Following 7 Practices of Jesus to Create a Just World J.W. Buck (Baker) $17.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

Jubilee great (who has appeared often over the years, from the late 1970s on) John Perkins has a nice endorsement on this for his friend, church planter and leader of Pax, J.W. Buck. If Dr. Perkins says it is worth reading, we should listen. He writes:

In Everyday Activism Buck helps us imagine a more just world by living like Jesus on a daily basis. I recommend this book for all Christian who want to see justice roll down.  — Dr. John Perkins

Osheta Moore (who wrote Shalom Sisters and Dear White Peacemakers, both which we had at Jubilee) says it is a book that “shows us how to love and seek justice from a wholehearted and grounded place. I cannot recommend tis book enough.”

“I cannot recommend tis book enough.”  — Osheta Moore

Not bad, eh?

The seven practices for “slow social change” include thoughtfully resisting over thoughtlessly complying, loving your neighbor over fearing your differences, seeking forgiveness over revenge, resting over endlessly working, practicing nonviolence over violence, and more. He has something he calls “the Justice matrix” which is worth the price of the book and an appendix called a “Jubilee Action Plan.”

With endorsements from Walter Brueggemann to Kathy Khang to Randy Woodley to Drew Jackson, and more, this young buck is a rock star. If you’ve wanted to get involved in some kind of justice work but aren’t sure where to start, this practical book will “show you how you can develop everyday habits drawn for the life of Jesus that make the world a better place.” Yes!

Healing Conversations on Race: Four Key Practices From Scripture and Psychology Veola Vazquez, Joshua Knabb, Charles Lee-Johnson, Krystal Hays (IVP Academic) $24.00                                  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.20

For as long as we have been selling books at the Jubilee conference we have had a mighty big section on prejudice and racism, on what we might now call being anti-racist and agents of God’s reconciling racial justice, and much about diversity and multi-ethnic ministry. Each year we bring more and more, from older civil rights-era classics to edgy new stuff. We offer a lot of different angles and perspectives, too, so there is something there for everyone. The related consolation of topics in their field are key issues of our age, and it would be foolish to think we can be Jubilee people, living into God’s dream of a restored world, without addressing that elephant in the room.

Of the many new ones, I’ll just share this one since it shows not only how race complicates our relationships (even when we reject racism and seek to walk a better path together.) This book is well rooted in scholarly research and unites behavior and social sciences to help us learn essential information and Biblical perspectives, offered with helpful case studies, discussion questions, journaling prompts and more. It uses research from psychology, attachment theory, emotionally-focused therapy and more, helping us all build our knowledge and capacities, our self awareness and our sensitivity to the way the world works.

The authors are colleagues on the College of Behavior and Social Sciences faculty of California Baptist University. This is brand new and looks really, really interesting for those wanting to go further and deepen our skills and habits.

Practices of Love: Spiritual Disciplines for the Life of the World  Kyle David Bennett (Brazos Press) $19.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.20

We had rows and rows of books about spirituality at Jubilee, from devotionals to prayerbooks, books about praying and books about spiritual disciplines. From ancient classes to modern leaders like Henri Nouwen and Ruth Haley Barton, Richard Foster and Dallas Willard, Howard Thurman and Jan Johnson, we covered a lot of territory. Students have heard of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and, interestingly, the brand new Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools. So, yeah.

We are always just a little worried about any gnostic tendencies, any navel-gazing habits, too much inward focus leading to what Dennis Ockham has called “sanctified narcissism.” We have to get all this properly understood. I think of a fabulous book warning about all this that I read thirty some years ago called Being Human: The Art of Spiritual Experience by Ranald Macaulay & Jerram Barrs which I told one student about when he wanted Cloud of the Unknowing. Sometimes one just wants to say to read Eugene Peterson instead and let it go at that.

Alas, here is a book that emerged, in part, in conversations about all this, by a guy who has been to Jubilee (as a student and year later as a presenter.) This book simply calls us to imagine our spiritual disciplines in light of their capacity to allow us to love our neighbors well. Can even spirituality, at first blush the most intimate and personal aspects of our faith, actually have public implications. Can our silence help us listen well? Can our fasting cause us to feast well with neighbors in acts of generous hospitality? You get the drift. This book is nearly one-of-a-kind, complete with an allusion to Kierkegaard in the title. James K.A. Smith wrote the excellent intro. Check it out.

Forgive: Why Should I and How Can I? Timothy Keller (Viking) $27.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $21.60

I have suggested that part of Jubilee is designed to inspire students to integrate their faith into their studies of their various academic disciplines, to think well and Christianly, about their course work and majors. I regularly celebrate Learning for the Love of God: A Student Guide to Academic Faithfulness (written by my pals Derek Melleby and Donal Optiz very much out of their experiences as campus minister’s working with students after hearing such talk at Jubilee) and great little booklets like Greg Jao’s Your Minds Mission or the always eloquent Cornelius Plantinga and his beloved Engaging God’s World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living — a must-read for anyone who loves learning, but certainly for college students.

But, as you might guess, as I insinuated in the previous post about Jubilee, many students are hurting, anxious, full of hard stuff, and haven’t really read much about anything in their short lives. So they gravitate to self help books, resources on coping with stress or books about dating or titles about finding your identity in Christ. I get it.

This is one we featured as it is a cut above or a bit deeper than some that are very, very useful. (I adore the simple eloquence of Lewis Smedes oddly named Forgive and Forget.) We always feature the one by Desmond Tutu, No Future without Forgiveness.  As you might expect, Keller draws on them both, moving from the broader scope of social and political forgiveness (and the argument that it is not socially useful) to the most intimate, soul-searing moments of personal forgiveness.

This is obviously a book about forgiveness, its many implications, and, further, the gospel of Christ that invites us, and even empowers us, to do what we might not otherwise want or be able to. This is theology 101, made personal, practical, but with a keen sense of the social and cultural implications. It is brand new and highly recommended.

Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious David Dark (Broadleaf Books) $18.99       OUR SALE PRICE = $15.19

We had a several of these displayed in two different places at Jubilee — for seekers, those hip, aware, skeptics that the book was clearly first written for, and under basic discipleship, since, really, this is a wide-ranging book that is about, well, everywhere, everywhere, all at once.

I’ve shared about it years ago when it was out in a lovely first edition, and I wrote about it a few months back when the second, revised and expanded edition came out. David has changed a bit over the years (“he not busy being born is busy dying” said Saint Bob) and he wants people to know that he not only has added some good writing to this already spectacularly written book, but that he has excised some things as well. He has, as he says, repented. I’m not sure about all of that (I loved the first edition) but this really is a fiesty volume that notes that we just can’t be “done” with religion. It is, broadly understood, the witness to everywhere we’re up to. And who isn’t up to something, right?

This revised and reframed text weaves new stuff about the pandemic, vaccine responses, Black Lives Matter, #churchtoo, the hullabaloo about critical race theory and more. It’s provocative, urgent, poetic, a bit mystifying at times, and, frankly, one of the most amazing books you will ever encounter.  One chapter reminds us that “Policy is Liturgy Writ Large” and in another he says “Hurry Up and Matter.”  The blurb from Richard Rohr on the front says it is “a call to consciousness and compassion.” Yup.

Ordinary Saints: Living Every Day to the Glory of God edited by Ned Bustard (Square Halo Books) $24.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99

It was a blast to give a quick description of this brand new book up in front of thousands on Jubilee stage. Even those that couldn’t spring for it were delighted, it seems, to hear about a collection of spiritually-aware, theologically-informed essays about movies, knitting, working in retail, reading comic books, roller skating, coping with chronic illness, lovemaking, drawing, making playlists, Muppets, and more. We noted that there is a chapter about therapy, about mental illness, about poetry (and another about pretzels.) The shout-out chapter that got a cheer was when I said there was one on napping. “It’s a spiritual activity we must practice,” I quipped.

From Calvin Seerveld on knowing to Bruce Herman on painting to A.D. Bauer on grand parenting Margie Haack on raising chickens to Curt Thompson on being present, there is so much richness here I can hardly explain it. It’s a practical application of the CCO’s Jubilee vision: there are no “sacred/secular’ dualisms and in a Biblical orientation, God can be glorified in nearly everything. Even Malcom Guite’s chapter on smoking a pipe is pretty compelling.

The book is lavishly illustrated and is a suitable, lasting artifact for the 20th anniversary of Square Halo Books. It was my honor to highlight it at Jubilee 2023. Soli Deo Gloria.



It is very helpful if you tell us how you prefer us to ship your orders.

The weight and destination of your package varies but you can use this as a quick, general guide:

There are generally two kinds of US Mail options, and, of course, UPS. If necessary, we can do overnight and other expedited methods, too. Just ask.

  • United States Postal Service has the option called “Media Mail” which is cheapest but can be slow. For one typical book, usually, it’s about $3.85; 2 lbs would be $4.55.
  • United States Postal Service has another option called “Priority Mail” which is $8.50,  if it fits in a flat rate envelope. Many children’s books and some Bibles are oversized so that might take the next size up which is $9.20. “Priority Mail” gets much more attention than does “Media Mail” and is often just a few days to anywhere in the US.
  • UPS Ground is reliable but varies by weight and distance and may take longer than USPS. We’re happy to figure out your options for you once we know what you want.

If you just want to say “cheapest” that is fine. If you are eager and don’t want the slowest method, do say so. It really helps us serve you well so let us know. Just saying “US Mail” isn’t helpful because there are those two methods, one cheaper but slower, one more costly but quicker. Which do you prefer?



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Sadly, we are still closed for in-store browsing. COVID is not fully over. Since few are reporting their illnesses anymore, it is tricky to know the reality but the best measurement is to check the water tables to see the amount of virus in the eco-system. It’s still bad, and worsening (again.) With flu and new stuff spreading, many hospitals are overwhelmed. It’s important to be particularly aware of how risks we take might effect the public good. It is complicated for us, so we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family, staff, and customers.) The vaccination rate here in York County is sadly lower than average. Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation so we are trying to be wise. Thanks for understanding.

Please, wherever you are, do your best to be sensitive to those who are most at risk. Many of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, congregants, and family members may need to be protected since more than half of Americans (it seems) have medical reasons to worry about longer hazards from even seemingly mild COVID infections.

We are doing our famous curb-side and back yard customer service and can show any number of items to you if you call us from our back parking lot. It’s sort of fun, actually. We are eager to serve and grateful for your patience as we all work to mitigate the pandemic. We are very happy to help do if you are in the area, do stop by.

Of course, we’re happy to ship books anywhere. 

We are here 10:00 – 6:00 EST /  Monday – Saturday, closed on Sunday.

An Epic, Random Sampling of the Many (Varied) Books We Had At Jubilee 2023 — ON SALE NOW

I am sitting with my laptop in a cavernous space with piles of empty cardboard boxes and stuffing paper scattered around, waiting to be recycled. It’s a mess, cluttered but still, eerily different than it was a day ago when the huge pop-up bookstore we created as part of the CCO’s Jubilee conference was jam-packed with books on dozens of tables and – the point of it all – busting with collegiates browsing books which will hopefully help them on their journey of living out a robust and wide-as-life vision of the gospel of the Kingdom of God. This picture (taken before the crowds showed up) doesn’t even show all the tables.

Jubilee is run by the CCO (the Coalition for Christian Outreach) an evangelical para-church ministry with whom Beth and I have had long affiliations, that, while trans-denominational, has been influenced (at least in its earliest days) by what some call Dutch neo-Calvinism. It’s a cool story for another time, but Jubilee tells us much about the CCOs vision.

The story of the cosmic scope of Christ’s redemption and the future hope of “all things (re)new(ed)” has rich implications for the arts and sciences, for the humanities and the trades, for academic learning and public careers, for home life and urban planning. A Kingdom-centered and wholistic understanding of the Lordship of Christ at its best (and this is not exclusive to the neo-Calvinists like Kuyper and Bavinck) feeds a desire to serve our neighbors by forging a public theology that resists the idols of the age. It is missional and feisty, “in but not of” the surrounding world, as Jesus put it near the end of the book of John, capturing what Richard Mouw once termed “holy worldliness.” I like that.

(Speaking of Mouw, he cites me and explains a bit about the conference in his lovely little book All That God Cares About: Common Grace and Divine Delight which we obviously recommend, certainly when thinking about the impulses of the Jubilee event.)

The conference at its best unfolds some of this, offering glimpses of thinking Christianly about collegiate life and after-college times, work and worship, spirituality and sex, prayer and politics. You get the big picture, I’m sure. Imagine unchurched kids and serious seekers and a whole lot of lively Jesus-following young adults (from Anglicans to Presbyterians, Methodist youth to Assembly of God kids, Pentecostal grad students from Africa and frosh fresh from their nondenominational churches back home) all fired up for joining God in this story of stories. The worship singing was soulful and lively, that’s for sure. What a gig!

The Teamsters union that works at the Pittsburgh Convention Center are now using forklifts to move the pallets of boxes of books and supplies we lugged to Jubilee and are now taking them back to the loading dock. Beth and two amazing friends are carefully loading up the unsold books and placing lamps and crates and boards and shelves and supplies and paperwork into the rented truck just so for the rough ride back across the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Dallastown. We are exhausted and exhilarated.

The empty boxes are, of course, tangible proof that we sold a lot of books. (And the hours and hours of lugging the full boxes down to the truck reminds us of all that we did not sell.) After doing the conference for the two worst years of the pandemic virtually, we were a bit nervous to be back in public (this Covid thing is not over yet) and we are a bit rusty. The CCO has been working hard to rebuild the reputation and brand of Jubilee and they pulled it off without a hitch. Even though attendance (counting guests with display booths and campus staff and donors and speakers) was a bit over 2000, sales were a bit less than most years.

The whole country – not just the rising Gen Z – is in a crisis of not reading as much as we once did. Bookstore sales are down all over; it is unclear if many of these students had ever been in a bookstore before, let alone a thoughtfully-curated store like ours. Some obviously knew some popular evangelical names (John Mark Comer, say, or Lysa TerKeurst or hip-hop artist Lecrae who performed there) but many authors we promoted were new to them. (That a few knew that their campus ministers liked Fleming Rutledge or Eugene Peterson or Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Esau McCauley or Jamie Smith was encouraging.) Yet, the very notion of reading from a uniquely Christian worldview which shapes a public theology helping them live into their future vocations with vigor and fidelity was pretty new.

Why is that?

We wonder what sort of good church nurtures in its community this kind of whole-life discipleship, thereby creating a hunger for reading about the implications of faith for all of life? I wonder why when I highlight books (here at BookNotes) on a Christian philosophy of engineering or law, education or creativity, journalism or business, nursing or ecology, few people buy them. And yet, this is one of the markers of churches that are retaining young adults, showing how Christian faith affirms work and cultural engagement. (The great book by David Kinnaman & Mark Matlock, Faith for Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus Digital Babylon, has a full chapter on this which actually has a page describing students eager to buy books about their particular callings and careers – from Hearts & Minds at Jubilee! It’s a great moment in the book, actually, illustrating the importance of this work that we do.) The point is that buying books about the missional expression of faith in the workworld just isn’t that interesting to most church folks, and I think it indicates that they haven’t had that vision cast for them. They are not inspired to care about such things — unless, maybe, they went to Jubilee as a young adult.

The CCO staff on campuses from Western PA to central Indiana to Florida to Fresno love doing relational evangelism, gently sharing the gospel in winsome ways inviting students into the movement of God’s mission in the world. At Jubilee we saw during a late night time many students transformed by “stepping into the Light” (as York Moore put it.) I am always grateful to see healthy, fruitful, evangelism and we pray that these new commitments are enduring. I really like York’s handsome little book Do Something Beautiful: The Story of Everything and a Guide to Finding Your Place in It which helps frame the gospel in such lovely ways.

But CCO staff also encourage what they call “academic discipleship”, which means inviting students not only to take their studies seriously (itself nearly a countercultural message in some circles) but to do so as an act of worship, practicing the presence of God even in the classroom. The book Learning for the Love of God: A Student’s Guide to Academic Faithfulness by Donald Opitz & Derek Melleby, in fact, emerged from CCO circles and Jubilee enthusiasm and is a delightful starting guide to this project. It regularly sells for $17.00 but OUR SALE PRICE = $13.60. You should buy one for every college student you know. Seriously.

What does it look like for an eager student to learn well from their professors but also to bring supplemental insights from Biblically-shaped authors, or, perhaps to offer a counter-narrative, bringing winsome critique to the ideologies and prevailing notions in their department? To be “in but not of” the psychology department or engineering program or chem lab or athletic team or outdoor club or student Senate can be an adventure. I’ve heard of students who have found the joy of the Lord when they realized that God cares about their ordinary lives in higher education. I’ve heard of some given extra credit and accolades when they bring God-given principles to bear offering true wisdom to their classroom conversations. I’ve also heard of students banned from speaking religiously in classes or being told they dare night cite serious Christian scholarship in the footnotes of their papers. Calling students to this dramatic vision of a life well lived in the university or community college or med school or trade school is what Jubilee is designed to do. As old Abraham Kuyper said, there’s not “one square inch” of their places where Christ does not lay claim.

(We didn’t try to push it at Jubilee since most undergrads aren’t quite ready, but Calvinism for a Secular Age: A Twenty-first Century Reading of Abraham Kuyper’s Stone Lectures edited by Jessica & Robert Joustra (IVP Academic; $28.00 – OUR SALE PRICE = $22.40) is a remarkable contemporary study of the current relevance of Kuyper’s famous lectures given at Princeton in 1898 affirming the Lordship of Christ over all of life. See my review of it here.)

Despite our best efforts to hold out this big story of God’s coming Kingdom and the visions of vocation that should shape young adult faith, still, many of the books we sold were about Godly ways to cope with anxiety, romantic breakups, shoring up one’s identity. There is among younger adults a real need for these sorts of resources. Happily, they are also learning about the systemic ways racism and injustice have so vandalized the shalom of God’s good creation and those sorts of topics sold well. Of course we sold a bunch of books by C.S. Lewis and his pals (JRR Tolkien, Dorothy Sayers, and George MacDonald) and fun stuff ranging from popular culture to the sermons of MLK, from Ruth Haley Barton and Henri Nouwen to (yes) a couple of the brand-new Neo-Calvinism: A Theological Introduction by Gray Sutanto & Cory Brock. We really did have something for nearly everyone.

As I type the Convention Center staff are continuing to lug our pallets of boxes down to the truck. Beth is meticulously loading the back of the U-Haul. Our helpers must make their way back to their own lives and work and we have a guy waiting back at the shop that will lend a hand as we unload the U-Haul a couple of hours down the road.

HERE you can watch my three 7 or 8 minute book announcements made before the crowds at the plenary session, filmed nicely on the spot by a quick-thinking friend. They are more or less geared to the themes of creation/fall/redemption. The books mentioned there, too, can get the BookNotes 20% off so check all of those out. No laughing at me, though, as I perform the bookselling spiel for the college crowd. I get pretty excited.

To give our BookNotes friends a bit of further glimpse into the diversity of titles we sell at Jubilee, here’s just a random handful for your consideration. As somebody up front at the conferences said about us, if you wonder if there is a resource on a certain topic, “ask Byron and Beth if there is a good book about that. There probably is.”

I hope you enjoy the diversity of topics illustrated, knowing this is just a tiny example of the fascinating books we took to Jubilee which is only a small portion of the stuff we have here at the bookshop. God is making all things new, so, well, that’s a lot of territory.

All books mentioned are, of course, 20% off.  Order some today. Thanks for your support.

The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right Lisa Sharon Harper (Waterbrook) $17.00         OUR SALE PRICE = $13.60

Although the conference is arranged around the “chapters” of the unfolding Biblical drama — creation / fall / redemption / restoration — Lisa Harper frames the great news of the gospel as shalom/alienation/reconciliation. Further, she explores the implications of the gospel call of being agents of reconciliation in a variety of spheres. This is a tremendous book by the famed activist and author of a riveting memoir, Fortune.

He Saw That It Was Good: Reimagining Your Creative Life To Repair a Broken World Sho Baraka (Waterbrook) $22.00  OUR SALE PRICE =17.60

Sho was at Jubilee and was on the main stage the first night. What a good guy (and funny, too.) This is a grand, persuasive call to use our God given creativity to help heal the world. Artists and creatives love it, sure, but I think it is truly for everyone, everywhere. Yes!


Pursuing an Earthy Spirituality: C.S Lewis and Incarnational Faith Gary S. Selby (IVP Academic) $24.00  OUR SALE PRICE =19.20

We had a lot of books by C.S. Lewis and the Inklings; here is one that is about the “earthy spirituality” that Jubilee is promoting. As spiritual leader and counselor Gary Moon puts it, “Selby beautifully reminds us that Lewis lived a spirituality that was at least as deeply rooted in emotion, imagery, beauty, and the body as it was in his keen intellect.” Other rave reviews come from Simon Chan and Malcom Guite.

Interpreting Your World: Five Lenses for Engaging Culture Justin Ariel Bailey (Baker Academic) $21.99              OUR SALE PRICE = $17.59

Justin Bailey, who teaches at Dordt College in Iowa, is now a friend, he’s a professor whose books we’ve reviewed and who we admire greatly. So good to have crossed paths with him at Jubilee. We sold his great book Reimagining Apologetics: The Beauty of Faith in a Secular Age, too, but this is the one he spoke on in a crowded workshop. Really profound and exceptionally wise stuff.

All Shall Be Well: Awakening to God’s Presence in His Messy Abundant World Catherine McNiel (NavPress) $15.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $12.79

If you saw the video of me up front you’ll recall we highlighted this the first night explaining that it is a memoir full of eloquent nature writing; McNiel walks us through a year in her life, arranged around four seasons. Yes, the world is both messy and abundant; broken but good. Her keen eye is a joy to behold. Highly recommended as a good read.

By Bread Alone: A Baker’s Reflections on Hunger, Longing, and the Goodness of God Kendall Vanderslice (Tyndale Momentum) $17.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

Brand new, this great reflection is related to her previous Eerdmans title, We Will Feast: Rethinking Dinner, Worship, and the Community of God. If that offers an earthy, communal, vision of a missional sort of Kingdom church, this is on baking as a spiritual practice. What a book!

By Bread Alone is a soulful, searching glimpse into trusting the goodness of God when it seems most opaque. Kendall Vanderslice trades toxic positivity for the promise of sustenance, and the result is deeply honest and curiously comforting. These pages are dusted with the flour of daily bread. If you are lost, longing, hope-weary, or barely hanging on, read this and be nourished. — Shannan Martin, author of Start with Hello and The Ministry of Ordinary Places

I am grateful for Kendall Vanderslice’s By Bread Alone — a sustenance of hope, a needed nourishment for us hungering to create beauty faced with the bitter gaps of our divided cultures. Her words give rise to our tenderness, and her memorable chapters fill our hearts with compassion. Every page of this book (full of recipes) is brimming with refractive colors shining through the broken prisms of her life, a communion journey of service in tears, as a sojourner baker, a fellow maker into the aroma of the new.            — Makoto Fujimura, artist and author of Art + Faith: A Theology of Making

Redeeming Vision: A Christian Guide to Looking at and Learning from Art Elissa Yukiko Weichbrodt (Baker Academic) $29.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $23.99

This is another brand new release that we were overjoyed to display at Jubilee. Somebody who knew the author (who teaches in the art department at Covenant College in TN) took at screen shot declaring it the first “in the wild” bookstore spotting of this new masterpiece. Kudos to Baker for the expert design, full color art, and a delightfully appealing approach to what is surely going to be known as a major text in the field. We’ve got a lot, and this new one is great.

Redeeming Vision is an erudite and yet wonderfully hospitable invitation for the layperson to engage deeply with art and art history through a profoundly Christian theological perspective. A vital contribution to the library of any sincere student of visual culture and its central importance in our lives. — Bruce Herman, gallery director, Barrington Center for the Arts

Transforming Care: A Christian Vision for Nursing Practice Mary Molewyk, Doornbos, Ruth Groenhout & Kendra Hotz (Eerdmans) $26.50  OUR SALE PRICE = $21.20

We have a large section in the store of books about health care, medicine, doctoring, and nursing. This is one of the great ones and it was good to feature it at Jubilee. Three clear-headed and big-hearted profs from Calvin University weigh in, showing us an intregal vision for nursing care. It’s so good, I’d recommend it to anyone in any health-care related field, from docs to physical therapists.

The Life We’re Looking For: Reclaiming Relationship in a Technological World Andy Crouch (Convergent) $25.00    OUR SALE PRICE = $20.00

I hope you recall that we honored this as one of the Best Books of 2022. It is eloquent, engaging, thoughtful, learned, and moving. It’s everything a good book can be and its vision is balanced, wise, helpful. I regret not pushing it from up front (I highlighted his Culture Making as a quintessential Jubilee book.) This one, though, takes my breath away. Highly recommended.

A Christian Field Guide to Technology for Engineers and Designers Ethan Brue, Derek Schuurman, Steven Vanderleest (IVP Academic) $28.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $22.40

Derek Schuurman was a presenter at the conference again — he has spoken at previous Jubilees about his excellent Shaping a Digital World: Faith, Culture and Computer Technology  — but this time he got to share about the new one for engineers. I have been eager for this because the books which explore a philosophy of technology (of which we have many) are sometimes a bit abstract for ordinary engineering majors. This, though, brings it home, principled and practical about guidelines for normative engineering design. Simple put, it is a must for anyone in this field.  Allow me to say that again, with feeling: Simply put, it is a must for anyone in this field.

The Locust Effect: Why The End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence Gary Haugen & Victor Boutros (Oxford University Press) $18.95  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.16

It was so good to see Victor Boutros again and so see him interviewed on the main stage, telling about his effective work mitigating trafficking in several regions of the country when he worked at the Department of Justice. Now the head of the Human Trafficking Institute, it was an honor to have him at Jubilee and a joy to sell this serious, Oxford University Press book that he co-authored with Kingdom rock star Gary Haugen of IJM. Excellent.

There Is a Future: A Year of Daily Midrash Amy Bornman (Paraclete Press) $19.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.20

We have highlighted this lovely poetry volume before here at BookNotes and it was a delight to know Amy was speaking at Jubilee. She is a Wheaton grad, an artful business woman, and a working poet, living in Pittsburgh. So, so  good.



God and Guns: The Bible Against American Gun Culture edited by Christopher Hays & C.S Crouch – with an introduction by Stanley Hauerwas (WJK) $30.00                                     OUR SALE PRICE = $24.00

We had maybe eight different titles on this topic; each with their own tone or approach.This one is a bit heady, done by Biblical scholars offering different insights drawn from their academic work with Scripture. It’s fascinating and urgent. It may be the only one that actually approaches the topic — the urgency, the sociology, the data, the political philosophy — through the lens of Biblical studies. It is important.

Rethinking Life: Embracing the Sacredness of Every Person Shane Claiborne (Zondervan) $19.99                       OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99

I hope you remember our pushing this a month ago; we thank those who pre-ordered it. The Friday night speaker at Jubilee (Carmen Imes of Biola) spoke passionately about our dignity and worth, gave a vivid call to honor the embodied worth of everyone, no matter their station or productivity. Here, Shane offers a lively denunciation of lop-sided anti-abortion views and invites us to a consistent Biblical nonviolence, honoring the worth of all, from the unborn to the prisoner, from the racially other to the aged. He explores powerfully why it is that many religious people don’t have this robust vision, making this a captivating, nearly prophetic work. I’m glad a few students noticed it and were intrigued.

Vivid blurbs on the back are from past Jubilee speaker Bob Goff, from Kristen Loves Du Mez (who calls it a “clear-eyed and hope-filled gift to the American church”) and Lisa Sharon Harper who says it is a book “you will cherish and quote for the rest of your life.” Let’s hope so!

Resisting Denial, Refusing Despair and Other Essays Walter Brueggemann (Cascade) $22.00                               OUR SALE PRICE = $17.60

Of the many authors we’ve been privileged to meet in our four decades of bookselling, few have been as rewarding and interesting as informal time spent under the tutelage of Walt Brueggemann. Naturally we had many of his books at Jubilee (Prophetic Imagination remains one of the most important books I’ve ever read!) This new one is short, the chapters fairly concise, and although the prose is Brueggemann-esque and passionate, it is not dense. A fantastic, provocative primer.

Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen: How God Redeems Regret, Hurt, and Fear in the Making of Better Humans Scott Sauls (Zondervan) $18.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.19

I don’t know him well but given his other books on befriending others with grace and making a difference in the culture through love and goodness (like Irresistible Faith, say) I’ve recommended him to be a speaker at Jubilee. This is his newest and maybe his most intimate. Self-help sorts of things are in demand at Jubilee as so many young ones are lonely, stressed, anxious, hurting. This one offers real hope in solid ways. Who doesn’t want to be a better human?

Emotionally honest, confessional, and full of grace . . . this book reads like a rope ladder of mercy, lifting us out of the pit of suffering and into the sunlight of God’s wisdom. Scott makes space for our brokenness and gives testimony to the grace that delivers us out of the low places of our shame and sorrow, up onto the high ground of God’s strength. Sandra McCracken, singer-songwriter and recording artist, author of Send Out Your Light: The Illuminating Power of Scripture and Song

For those whose trauma and pain seems large or small: read this book and be prepared for God to draw forth your beauty, emerging as it will beyond your imagination and from the places you would least expect. Curt Thompson MD, author, The Soul of Desire and The Soul of Shame

Color-Courageous Discipleship: Follow Jesus, Dismantle Racism, and Build Beloved Community Michelle T. Sanchez (Waterbrook) $18.00                            OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40

I was going to promote this from up front at Jubilee but couldn’t work it in — too many books, too little time, literally. We might have sold a bunch if only people knew about it. Here’s the short, short version: this is a book which nicely combines conventional evangelical disciple-making visions with anti-racism work. Building “the beloved community” is certainly part of what mentors of others should aspire to build into their young Christian mentees and any disciple-making program, if it is to be faithful and timely, simply must deal with this burning issue of the day. So, yes, this is a great combo approach, showing how wholistic Kingdom vision and racial justice efforts can be integrated into discipleship efforts in the local faith community. Yay. (There is even a teen version, by the way.)

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief Francis Collins (Free Press) $18.00                             OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40

I wish I had taken a photo of the many science books we had at Jubilee and the crowds of science majors eagerly checking them out, some seeing this sort of somewhat scholarly work from scientists who are Christians. We had a section about the origins debates and stuff on various sub-categories within the natural sciences.

This one is an older classic, with the esteemed and kind geneticist sharing his overview of how his faith informs his science and, more, how he as a scientist, sees in the stuff of his daily work, the glory of God. This is a great book, good for anyone with basic interest in science and/or apologetics.

Disability: Living Into the Diversity of Christ’s Body Brian Brock (Baker Academic) $21.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $17.59

We had a large section of books about disabilities studies, about how churches can be more inclusive, how those who care for the handicapped can find hope in the gospel. There’s a lot going on in this field and this book is just one example of a thoughtful, justice-oriented, liberative theology for the disabled. Give us a ring if you want others.


Why Business Matters to God: (And What Still Needs to Be Fixed) Jeff Van Duzer (IVP) $26.00                                OUR SALE PRICE = $20.80

We have a lot of business books, some more on economics, some more on management, some visionary and enthusiastic, some sober and sharp. In any case, this is one we most often recommend most readily — even the title illustrates the themes of teachings of Jubilee, that God made things good and yet things are not as they ought to be (due to sin and idolatry, of course.) Yet, we can work in hope, making things better. This is a book every business person should know, at least.

Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher  Jeffrey Munroe (IVP) $20.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00

Jeff is a customer of ours and a good, good man, a thoughtful scholar (at Western Seminary in Holland MI) and a close reader of the incredible Mr. Buechner. He offers a glimpse into the various genres Buechner works in — and they are all good — and gives us insight about why he still matters. At Jubilee I gathered that most young students have no idea who he is (even though he was nominated for a Pulitzer and has given us some of the best memoirs and most clever lay-theology books ever.) In any case, Munroe’s book is great for beginners and will be really enjoyed by fans. We had a ton of books about books, lit and poetry, but this is a good example of some of what we enjoy most.

Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition Christine Pohl (Eerdmans) $21.99                         OUR SALE PRICE = $17.59

I hardly have to say much about this as we’ve mentioned it often. It isn’t simplistic (and we had some easier ones for those less inclined to hefty studies) but it is well worth working through.  There are a lot of other books on this practice of being hospitable, some quite nice (and quite practical.) This is the mature classic, though. See also her amazing Living into Community. These two are major works, seminal and vital for CCO folks.

The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection Robert Farrar Capon (Modern Library) $18.00                                  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40

We had a large food and eating section (complete with some More With Less cookbooks) and a section on food and farming. What a great case study this all is, learning to be faithful in this essential part of daily life. (Eat With Joy by Rachel Marie Stone is still a favorite, by the way; there is a picture out there on the internets of me highlighting it at Jubilee years ago with a picture of the book cover on the screen behind me.)

Capon was an Episcopal priest (and food writer for the New York Times back in the day) and we stock many of his books. Supper of the Lamb, though, is classic. Written in 1969, it is funny and theological and while offering reflections on life and cooking in God’s good world, it is, in fact, an extended recipe for a feast. What a book!

Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age Alan Noble (IVP) $17.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $13.60

You may recall that I named Alan’s most recent (You Are Not Your Own: Belonging to God in an Inhuman World) one of the very Best Books of last year. He’s such a good guy. (And, by the way, I’ll be announcing soon that we are eager to take pre-orders for his soon-to-be-released little volume On Getting Out of Bed: The Burden and Gift of Living — now that would have been a Jubilee best-seller had it been available. It comes in April 2023.)

This Disruptive Witness is his first and it remains a standard book for those wanting a discerning understanding of the texture of modern life and how to be faithful in these complex, secularizing days. It’s brilliant and quite readable. Kudos all around.

Listen to Rich Mouw’s words about its importance:

I puzzle a lot about how to bring the claims of the gospel to bear on a changing culture that regularly bewilders me. Now I find out in this book that Alan Noble checks his Twitter account before he gets out of bed in the morning, and he watches Netflix while doing the dishes. He also knows a lot about vampirism. And then he reflects on all of this in the light of what he has read by Charles Taylor, John Calvin, Jamie Smith, and Blaise Pascal. Wow! IMHO this book is awesome. — Richard J. Mouw, president emeritus, professor of faith and public life at Fuller Theological Seminary, author of How to Be a Patriotic Christian

The Other Side of Hope Danielle Strickland (Thomas Nelson) $18.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.19

Danielle Strickland’s Saturday night Jubilee talk was one for the ages — energetic, funny, culturally-savvy (she riffed on “Everything, Everywhere, All At Once”) and deeply moving. Her story about the wedding on the streets among the addicted and homeless was unforgettable. And that redemptive call to receive God’s love (and be a conduit of that unstoppable love for others) offered just a tiny bit of the energy and pathos of the many moving anecdotes found in this story-laded book The Other Side of Hope is nearly two books in one, one side packed full of stories, the other part a reflection on hope in a cynical, disbelieving age. Hooray.

Reweaving Shalom: Your Work and the Restoration of All Things Hugh C. Whelchel (The Institute for Faith, Work and Economics) $9.99   OUR SALE PRICE = $7.99

We have a plethora, a passle, a whole bunch of books on the integration of faith and work and we took a lot of them to Jubilee. There was a tremendous, well attended workshop at the Pittsburgh event this year since serving God in the workplace and vocations of all sorts captures much of the end game of our hopes for the conference. Of the many lively, thick, or provocative titles we have, this little one is clear and inspiring, framing our feeble efforts in light of God’s good promise to make all things new. Work matters. We are called to be agents of flourishing, reweaving shalom. Hugh is a great gift to many on this topic and we are glad to highlight this rare little gem that is a succinct as it is powerful.

The Gospel of Peace in a Violent World: Christian Nonviolence for Communal Flourishing edited by Shawn Graves and Marlena Graves (IVP Academic) $40.00                OUR SALE PRICE = $32.00

Co edited of this hefty volume, Marlena Graves, was at Jubilee and she shared from her good book on spiritual formation A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness and her more recent, award-winning book about the upside down, counterintuitive ways of faithful discipleship, The Way Up Is Down: Becoming Yourself by Forgetting Yourself. I wasn’t sure if we’d sell this one since it is, well, sadly, a bit controversial and it is thick and pricey. And we had a number of students and other adults check it out! We had a sizable group of books about the discussion around biblical nonviolence (and a military chaplain who was there seemed very impressed.) This recent volume has tons of authors on many subtopics (that is, not just war and peace, but the violence down in many spheres and sectors) such as Drew Hart (who used to attend Jubilee), Lisa Sharon Harper (who has done main stage presentations) Mae Cannon, Randy Woodley, Ted Grimsrud. As one reviewer noted, it offers a lot — “from practices of nonviolence and peacemaking to earnest and unflinching discussions on equity, disability, immigration, environmental justice, and racial trauma, this compendium of essays pushes readers not only to contemplation but to action.”

Peacemaking is not as simple as it sounds. Marlena and Shawn Graves’s convicting new volume reveals how our lives are entangled in all kinds of everyday violence. Thankfully, it doesn’t leave us there. This book will not only open eyes but also spark imaginations, helping us to discern how a peaceable world—one more faithful to the gospel—might come to be.  Heath W. Carter, Princeton Theological Seminary

Practice of the Presence : A Revolutionary Translation Brother Lawrence (Broadleaf) $25.99                                   OUR SALE PRICE = $20.70

What a gift this grand, if simple, spiritual classic is and what a story it tells. With Carmen Acevedo Butcher’s fresh, lively translation, this teaching about praying while doing mundane chores is remarkable for anyone, perfect for Jubilee-type worldview thinkers. Mystic Cynthia Bourgeault calls the new translation “radiant” and Mirabai Starr (no slacker in the translation biz, herself) says it is “a bold, vibrant, and potent translation.” So taken was I with the good, helpful introduction about Brother Lawrence (Nicholas Herman was his birth name) that I read out loud some of it to a student at Jubilee.

Liturgy in the Wilderness: How the Lord’s Prayer Shapes the Imagination of the Church in a Secular Age D.J. Marotta (Moody Press) $14.99                                              OUR SALE PRICE = $11.99

CCO, you may know, is a bit different than other well-known college ministry organizations in that they partner with local churches that are near campuses. This author is an Anglican priest who is, in fact, the pastor of a CCO partnership church in Richmond. So when we realized that, it was all the more germane. But we’d have enthusiastically promoted it anyway as it is nearly brilliant, a sleeper of a book, highly recommended.

Liturgy in the Wilderness offers us a fresh and engaging perspective on the Lord’s Prayer. Though this widely known prayer can be uttered in less than thirty seconds, this book shows us how it can — and should — impact every single area of our lives. Marotta takes us by the hand and guides us to see that while we may never get out of the wilderness, we can always move forward in hope. This book is thoughtful, filled with wise insights and engaging stories. And best of all, Marotta doesn’t merely write about this important message in his book; he lives the message, too.  — J. R. Briggs, author The Sacred Overlap: Learning to Live Faithfully in the Space Between

Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation Collin Hansen (Zondervan) $26.99                                            OUR SALE PRICE = $21.59

I’ve mentioned this already at BookNotes, and now that I’ve read it, I’m really enthused. Agree or not fully with Keller’s theology and church practice, it is an intellectual biography that starts with the influence among others things with — get this — the CCO. From the hyper-Reformed teaching of R.C. Sproul in Western PA to the wholistic justice-influence evangelistic work of Harvie Conn at Westminster to Keller’s study in collaboration with James Davison Hunter which gave us To Change the World, this documents his visionary creation of a third way between the often theologically unorthodox progressives and the theologically overly-dogmatic conservative evangelicals. His culturally-engaged and winsome apologetic in this secular age has been nothing short of phenomenal and this study of his influences is stellar. Beyond interesting, it is, in many ways, commendable, a witness for us all no matter your own denominational afflictions. It’s very highly recommended, even if it didn’t sell well at Jubilee.

The kids have no idea how important this dude is, and can’t imagine how even the Jubilee conference’s vision overlaps with his creative and fruitful program. Yes!

Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good Steven Garber (IVP) $20.00                                     OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00

One of our all time favorite books, Garber once directed the Jubilee conference and his fingerprints are all over the place. His first book, Fabric of Faithfulness is iconic for serious thinkers concerned about higher education and the faith formation of those in their “critical years.” His small collection of essays, The Seamless Life ought to be bought by the boatload.  Sometimes when thinking about the 45 year history of the conference, I think of how in God’s providence, Garber showed up at the right time and stewarded the event well, continuing on its remarkable trajectory.

I’m deeply, deeply grateful that he has written these amazing books and have them propped up each year at Jubilee, knowing that they can be transformational.

The Need to Be Whole: Patriotism and the History of Prejudice Wendell Berry (Counterpoint) $24.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.20

I have commented about this and many reviewers have weighed in. Even those who adore Berry’s rural commitments and agrarian vision find this problematic. Others think it is brilliant. It is, doubtlessly, one of the most serious, sustained arguments he has made, a major work (not a collection of essays.) In a way it is an ongoing conversation started in the must-read The Hidden Wound. I told a number of newbies to Berry’s work at Jubilee to start with Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community or the great collection edited by Norman Wirzba, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry. We sold a few of Norman’s important books, too. Hooray!

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption Bryan Stevenson (OneWorld) $17.00                                               OUR SALE PRICE = $13.60

We had a large section on criminal justice (not to mention a section on incarceration and on policing, near our section on law and legal thinking.) Anyway, this story of Stevenson’s extraordinary work with the Equal Justice Initiative, legal aid advocacy organization he started is simply one of the best books I’ve ever read. That he spoke at Jubilee a decade or so ago — thanks to his mentor Tony Campolo — makes it that much sweeter when we stock this one at there. I hope you know this contemporary classic. The book is better than the movie, but the movie is great. Thanks be to God.

The Age of AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity Jason Thacker (Zondervan) $22.99                    OUR SALE PRICE = $18.39

Thacker has a number of books, from his small but potent Following Jesus in the Digital Age to the brand new book about legal theories about digital freedom (The Digital Public Square: Christian Ethics in a Technological Society) but this first one on artificial intelligence was ahead of its time. Rich Mouw wrote a good forward.

Here is how the publisher describes it: “In The Age of AI, researcher Jason Thacker explores how the prevalence of artificial intelligence shapes what it means to be human today – and how the fact that we are made in the image of God transforms everything about how we use it.”

Reforming the Liberal Arts Ryan C. McIlhenny (Falls City Press) $14.95  OUR SALE PRICE = $11.96

We’ve mentioned this and other good books from the Western Pennylsvania indie press Falls City and it seemed right to highlight it here. We did have a section on higher education (hoping professors and collegiate student affairs staff might swing by) and this surely is one of the fiesty, wise, and helpful contributions to an on-going discussion about what needs to be done to keep our colleges and universities on track. This remarkable little volume literally draws on neuroscience and Reformed theology, contemplative spirituality and pop culture. He brings what some might call reformational philosophy to bear on this lively conversation, contenting that higher education can provide “a religious experience, a greater knowledge of self, the world, and God.” This is fresh and provocative, short and sweet. A great read.

By the way, we had little pre-order postcards featuring a forthcoming title from Falls City Press that will release in a few weeks. It is by my friend Alex Sosler who teaches at Montreat College in Black Mountain NC. That  forthcoming one is hopefully going to become well known as it is simple and clear but just remarkably wise, digging deep, inviting students to the journey of formation that is higher education.

PRE-ORDER: Learning to Love: Christian Higher Education as Pilgrimage Alex Sosler (Falls City Press; $18.99 – OUR SALE PRE-ORDER PRICE = $15.19.) I’ve read the whole thing carefully and can’t say enough about how valuable it will be for incoming college students. Even though it is designed for use in faith-based settings, I think any Christian kid in college would benefit from it. It’s alongside the delightfully basic Make College Count (by Derek Melleby) and, of course, the aforementioned Learning for the Love of God (by Melleby and Donald Opitz.) Lots of good folks who work in education — from Erica Young Reitz to Drew Moser to Jeffrey Bilbro all rave.

Heaven and Nature Sing: 365 Daily Devotionals for Outdoor & Nature Lovers edited by Sharon Brodin (Brodin Press) $16.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $12.80

What fun that an outdoor education team leader for CCO has three entries in this compilation of nature-loving, wilderness/adventure devotionals. From day hikers to kayakers to campers to other adventure sports folks, this collection is one of a kind. We had a lot of books of nature writing and a good number on backpacking, leadership in the outdoors and the like. This devotional, though, is great for anyone who appreciates the great outdoors, works in camp settings, or appreciates wilderness expeditions.

Following Jesus in a Warming World: A Christian Call to Climate Action Kyle Meyaard-Schaap (IVP) $18.00              OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40

Brand new, we were tickled to share this new potent book written by the young Vice President of the Evangelical Environmental Network. Previously, he was the national organizer and spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, and he has been featured in news outlets such as CNN, PBS, NPR, NBC News, and U.S. News and World Report. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan would have fit right in to Jubilee, I’m sure. We had a lot of faithful ecology stuff, and if I could have I would have pressed this one into the hands of many.

This book does far more than share compelling facts about a warming world. It tells the story of how following Jesus leads us to protect a world threatened with ecological catastrophe. Kyle Meyaard-Schaap shares the stories of real people on this journey and offers pathways for us to follow. We often say, ‘Let’s hear the voices of young people shaping our future.’ Kyle has empowered them. But those voices are shouting, ‘Our future is on fire!’ Reading this book doesn’t just tell us what to think but shows us what to do. — Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, general secretary emeritus of the Reformed Church in America; author of Without Oars.

While fellow Christians remain apathetic or dismissive, Christians concerned about the climate crisis can feel they are walking a lonely journey. For these lonely journeyers, Kyle Meyaard-Schaap is a patient, trustworthy, experienced encourager. His irresistible passion calls us back from deceptive narratives into the real story of God’s redemptive love for all creation. This book is a deeply scriptural call to advocacy for people and planet as both moral necessity and spiritual discipline. What a gift! Finally, Christians can take courage and hand this book to others, saying, ‘This. Read this.’ — Debra Rienstra, professor of English at Calvin College and author of Refugia Faith: Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth

Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader’s Guide to a More Tranquil Mind Alan Jacobs (Penguin) $16.00           OUR SALE PRICE = $12.80

I’m not sure if this sold at Jubilee (maybe one or two at most.) But, whew, what a book. It is mature, thoughtful, exceedingly eloquent as we’ve come to expect from Dr. Jacobs. (I know we sold at least one of his nice How to Think and one young lit major was delighted to find his The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. We had The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis in the history section of course.

But this. Wow, what a treatise, an argument for reading older books. He connects it with the dis-ease many young adults feel these days and although not everyone will find emotional serenity this way, it sure makes sense. Highly recommended.

Learning the Good Life: Wisdom from the Great Hearts and Minds That Came Before edited by Jessica Wooten Wilson & Jacob Stratton (Zondervan Academic) $29.99  Foreword by David I. Smith  OUR SALE PRICE = $23.99

I reviewed this at BookNotes and was beside myself thinking of the many values of this great resource. There are bunches of chapters by Christian scholars who in readable prose invite us to learn from the best thinkers of the long history of the West. In that review I raved about the creative choices — good contemporary writers on mostly well known past thinkers. What a joy.

Reading Black Books: How African American Literature Can Make Our Faith More Whole and Just Claude Atcho (Brazos Press) $19.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99

The title and subtitle pretty much says it all. I love Claude Atcho and would have been delighted to have him in our gathering. His book is lively and helpful, introducing folks to classic black literature, from Ellison’s Invisible Man to Wright, Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston and so many others. As any deeply Christian pastor and critic will do, he shows how these can help us in our faith formation and worldview.

Many contemporary friends have eloquently showed how important the book is, but I’ll just quote the publisher’s words:

Reading Black Books helps readers of all backgrounds learn from the contours of Christian faith formed and forged by Black stories, and it spurs continued conversations about racial justice in the church. It demonstrates that reading about Black experience as shown in the literature of great African American writers can guide us toward sharper theological thinking and more faithful living.

How (Not) to Read the Bible: Making Sense of the Anti-Women, Anti-Science, Pro-Violence, Pro-Slavery and Other Crazy-Sounding Parts of Scripture  Dan Kimball (Zondervan) $19.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99

We had a huge section of books about the Bible at Jubilee. We had basic stuff, serious stuff, academic work and curiously unique things. From Bible overviews to Bible introductions, from Old and New Testaments to sub-categories (like Jesus in the Old Testament or women in the Bible) we had a lot. This is just one that seemed useful for college beginners. Kimball is a fun guy, raising important questions with a bit of wry wit and goofball energy. It’s really readable, really solid, and really helpful.

Dan Kimball has long been a guide for a generation trying to find their footing in a post-Christian world. For those of us who want to believe, yet struggle to make sense of the Bible in our age. Yet again, he steps in to offer kind, intelligent, wise, and, as you’d expect from Dan, funny guidance; this time around, on how (not) to read the Bible.       — John Mark Comer, author of The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

More of You: The Fat Girl’s Field Guide to the Modern World Amanda Martinez Beck (Broadleaf) $24.99               OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99

There are a number of books like this one by my friend Amanda Martinez Beck. She is such a good writer and sharp thinker and this raises a matter that is awkward for many and yet so important — liberating, even. It is a theology of the body designed to de-stigmatize being “fat”  — an often hurtful word that is being reclaimed and reused in mighty ways. It’s a great read.

Practical and straightforward with beautiful prose and a message of hope and freedom. Beck offers helpful tools for navigating a world designed to exclude fat people. She weaves together the strands of self-advocacy, history of the fat liberation movement, intersectional justice, and compelling memoir to provide a guidebook for all of us who want to live in such a way that we are at home in our body and in this world. — Nicole Morgan, author of Fat and Faithful: Learning to Love Our Bodies, Our Neighbors, and Ourselves

Counseling and Christianity: Five Approaches edited by Stephen Gregg & Timothy Sisemore (IVP Academic) $35.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $28.00

There are a few other books in this “spectrum” series and it is cool to explain them to students. I say something like this: each of these five authors agree with our Jubilee vision, that as followers of Jesus we need to have the mind of Christ, integrating our deepest, Biblical views with the ideas within our majors. Each affirms this whole project of being uniquely and distinctively Christian, but here’s the thing: they disagree about what that looks like. In this case there are five different models for doing this “Christian perspective” thing and they nicely discuss back and forth the approach they think is most faithful and fruitful.

I remind students that they, themselves, are going to have to hammer out their own view and that this is a handy (if a bit daunting) tool to process the varying perspectives and models for thinking about how a Christian in counseling should do her work. Yay.

ReFounder: How Transformational Leaders Take What’s Broken and Make It Better Patrick Colletti (Per Capita) $28.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $23.19

Patrick Colletti spoke at Jubilee and by all reports hit a real home run — students came to the book room after his presentation all fired up about business and corporate service and leadership. As a long-standing Western Pennsylvania business leader, Patrick has a lot of stories.

The main story is of his struggle with failure and restoration as a business servant leader with Godly tenacity and creative leadership capacities, Refounder is not only about how business leaders can “take what’s broken and make it better” (and the major case study of his tech biz) but how this impacts our own faith and discipleship. This is a rare and vital book and we are delighted that he made some available to us. Thanks, Patrick.

Patrick has written an important book for all of us, wherever we are in life. The world needs a movement of leaders reimagining what ought to be in our institutions, ventures, cities, and relationships, and Refounder is full of principles and ideas from someone who has done just that. — Joshua Margolis, Harvard Business School

A Little Manual on Knowing Esther Meek (Cascade) $18.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40

We so appreciate Dr. Meek, a philosopher with a multi-dimensional orientation and practical bent. Her books — from the quite deep (on a “covenantal epistemology”) to the mid-level (like Longing to Know), to this one, short and concise — are fabulous; they are informed by a knowing appreciation for Michael Polyani, with a bit of Parker Palmer. Here is what the publisher says about this one:

In refreshing challenge to the common presumption that knowing involves amassing information, this book offers an eight-step approach that begins with love and pledge and ends with communion and shalom. Everyday adventures of knowing turn on a moment of insight that transforms and connects knower and the known. No matter the field — science or art, business or theology, counseling or athletics — this little manual offers a how-to for knowing ventures. It offers concrete guidance to individuals or teams, students or professionals, along with plenty of exercises to spark the process of discovery, design, artistry, or mission.

Pillars: How Muslim Friends Led Me Closer to Jesus Rachel Pies Jones (Plough Publishing) $17.99                     OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

We had a number of great Plough Publishing titles at Jubilee but this one found its way to our world religions and missions section. It’s a great story set in rural Somalia. She set out with a lot of antipathy towards Islam and, happily, locals showed compassion for “this blundering outsider who couldn’t keep her headscarf on or her twin toddlers from tripping over AK-47s.”

Amy Peterson says it is filled with “hard-won insights of a mature faith lived in long community” with Muslim neighbors. “Jones finds her faith unravelled and rewoven, strong for what she’s learned in the Horn of Africa from her Muslim friends.”

Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues Joshua Chatraw & Karen Swallow Prior (Zondervan) $29.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $23.99

This is a solid hardback that is for many a great example of ways the diverse Body of Christ can agree to make a difference in our needy world, even if we disagree with some of the details. Two really great things about this “crash course.” First, it covers a lot — from hot button issues like complex bioethics and evangelical relations with the LGTBQ community and topics such as work and the arts and creation care. Secondly, there are top notch authors from a variety of generally evangelical perspectives.  Who wouldn’t want to have a book with authors from Vincent Bacote to Katelyn Beaty, Lisa Fields to Mako Fujimura, from Anglican priest and writer Tish Harrison Warren to young politico Michael Wear, from organic farmer Joel Salatin to conservative brainiac Robert George. So good.

The Liturgy of Politics: Spiritual Formation for the Sake of Our Neighbor Kaitlyn Schiess IVP) $18.00                     OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40

We have admired Kaitlyn Schiess since this spectacular book came out a few years ago — it is ideal for younger readers, of course, but we commend it widely, hoping for many to take in its balanced, remarkably thoughtful perspective. In a nutshell, she is asking — perhaps in light of some of James K.A. Smith’s insights about cultural liturgies and character formation from our habits — how, exactly, we form our political opinions. She invites us to think Christianly about this aspect of our discipleship and calls on communal discernment, being good citizens for the glory of God and the good of our neighbors. What a great little book.

Our old friend Dr. James Skillen raves, saying this:

This is a powerful challenge from a young heart and a mature mind. Schiess seems to touch every unexamined habit of Christian thought, work, leisure, and worship. With a wide sweep of life’s liturgies and church liturgies, of spiritual formation and political responsibility, of Bible reading and communication with others, Schiess goes straight for the heart in relaxed conversation that packs a prophetic punch about our complacency, ignorance of Scripture, cultural conformity, and more. Her urgent message is for communities of Christian faith to repent and turn ourselves over entirely to God, as disciples of Jesus Christ have always been called to do. It is hard to imagine how this young woman has been able to read so widely and think so profoundly about so much of life. Here you’ll find fresh insight and compelling hope that will renew your labors for the coming of God’s kingdom. Young people, old folks like me, and everyone in between, read this book now!  — James W. Skillen, author of The Good of Politics, former president of the Center for Public Justice

Jesus and the Disinherited Howard Thurman (Beacon) $16.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $12.80

I am sure I don’t need to tell you that this is a true twenty century classic, a person who had significant influence on the ministry of Dr. Martin Luther King, and a personal favorite book of his. There are pictures in the MLK archives showing him carrying it around. I sometimes tell young people that if it influenced King, you should read it. Enough said.


Join the Resistance: Step Into the Good Work of Kingdom Justice Michelle Ferrigno Warren (IVP) $18.00      OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40

Oh my, do you remember the previous book by Michelle Ferrigno Warren? It challenged me and encouraged me and reminded me of essential things. It was called The Power of Proximity and, in some ways, she struck me as a youthful, evangelical Dorothy Day. Yes, we must be present to others, including the poor, and there is great “power in proximity.” From simple things (I hate “drive through” and automated check out at the grocery store) to the bigger question of our typical segregated distance from the poor, it’s a hugely important book.

This one has similar insight, calm and reasonable, even if the title is a bit punchy. Yes, indeed, this invites us to “step into the good work” of creating signposts pointing the way to God’s coming Kingdom, and ways to be agents of social change and public justice. A great, inspiring, and helpful guidebook.

Mathematics for Human Flourishing Francis Su (Yale University Press) $16.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $12.80

We have a handful of books for math geeks, from Redeeming Math to Mathematics Through the Eyes of Faith to the heavy Mathematics in a Postmodern Age but when we discovered this a few years ago we were delighted to learn that, aside from the tremendous, Jubilee-esque title, the author is a thoughtful, good writer and a person of sincere faith. A great read.


Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community Bonnie Kristian (Brazos Press) $24.99            OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99

We were thrilled that Bonnie Kristian was at Jubilee this year and it was funny (and a bit embarrassing) when I was going on and on about her previous book (A Flexible Faith) to a customer and she was standing right there, chiming in as if on cue. I wish more would have attended her workshop on journalism and I wish we had announced this one from the main stage as it. Is. So. Important. Fake news? Conspiracy theories? Not knowing who to believe? Why do wacky and often mean-spirited notions get passed around, even in churches? This book looks judiciously at all of this, pondering how we know what is true in this age of misinformation, spin, a propaganda. It’s got an excellent forward by David French and is simply a must read. We named it as one of the Best Books of 2023.

Non-Toxic Masculinity: Recovering Healthy Male Sexuality Zachary Wagner (IVP) $18.00                              OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40

This came a few days before our big event and of course I lugged a bunch of them there. Some years men’s topics are of great interest; I seem to think that there wasn’t much interest in this category this year. One never knows. In any case, this book looks tremendous and not only a lively and inspiring read, but really important. I like that it really seems to offer a solid Biblical narrative, placing “masculinity” in this redemptive context.

Here’s the quick pitch from the publisher’s info sheet:

Boys will be boys” and purity culture sell the same excuses with a different spin. Can we break the toxic cycle and recover a healthy identity for men? Confronting harmful teaching from the American church that has distorted desire, sex, relationships, and responsibility, Zachary Wagner offers a renewed vision for Christian male sexuality.

There’s a lot of good blurbs on this vital work. Check this out, noting how widely appealing it could be:

Boldly vulnerable, Zachary Wagner gives voice to the brokenness of male sexuality within contemporary Christianity, and in so doing, points the way toward healing. Because he is dogmatic only about the goodness of the gospel, readers from a broad spectrum are invited to join him as he continues to process the complexity of these issues. As one who advocates for the value of women in the Christian story, I am thrilled to recommend this book as one that restores and cultivates the God-given value of men. — Amy Peeler, associate professor of New Testament at Wheaton College, author of Women and the Gender of God and associate rector at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

((By the way, although it has a very different tone and style and comes at this topic from a different angle, I know my friend Nancy Pearcy’s book is coming out in mid-June 2023 and it will be well worth pondering. You can pre-order her forthcoming The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes (Baker; $24.99.)

Do You Believe? 12 Historic Doctrines to Change Your Everyday Life Paul David Tripp (Crossway) $32.99            OUR SALE PRICE = $26.39

I have highlighted this before, too, and we were glad that one workshop leader — on memorizing the Bible, actually — was going to recommend it in her class. This is a handsome, readable, thorough introduction to basic evangelical doctrine, without the air of being a highbrow textbook. It is detailed but conversational and — get this! — after every chapter there is a follow up chapter on what difference this Biblical truth makes in our daily living and ordinary discipleship.

Tripp is a grace-based Biblical counselor and knows the hurts and foibles of folk, and as a Kingdom preacher, knows well the full-orbed, whole-life implications of the gospel. So this is a fine, straight-arrow approach that has some fresh insights and helpful guidance.

Stott on the Christian Life: Between Two Worlds Tim Chester (Crossway) $21.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $17.59

One can hardly think of a great 20th century preacher and writer and leader who has so influenced the best of modern evangelicalism that the late, great John Stott. (I so enjoyed having the book Living Radical Discipleship published a year ago by the UK Langham Trust which was inspired by him, edited by Laura Meitner Yoder.) This one, though, part of a great series by Crossway, gives a good overview of his life, his teachings, and what we can learn from his steadfast, wholistic ministry. A few friends are named in this, and there is plenty to enjoy, much to admire. Kids today don’t even know Stott, but some of us will never forget the time he spoke at Jubilee in the late 1970s. Get this!

Signals of Transcendence andThe Great Quest Os Guinness (IVP) $16.00 each  OUR SALE PRICES = $12.80 each

Less than a year ago we promoted a fabulous little book by Os Guinness that invited us to “the examined life.” That was called The Great Quest: Invitation to an Examined Life and a Sure Path to Meaning and I showed it to a number of thoughtful seekers at Jubilee. The new sequel just came last week and we were happy to show it off, side-by-side. Signals of Transcendence is a guide to how various key thinkers and thoughtful seekers followed the echoes of truest reality, searching for some signal of the divine. Jews and Christians are included, with famous stories from figures who are described in ways that are classic Os — Malcolm Muggeridge, Peter Berger, W.H Auden, Philip Hallie, G.K. Chesterton, C.S Lewis and more. Included is a tender story of his own relative (Whitfield Guinness) and those who followed the quest who as different as Russian author Leo Tolstoy and the great Kenneth Clark. I’m not sure young adults know some of these names, but it is nothing short of spectacular, described by Mako Fujimura as “a gift” and “imaginative.” He says, “I found myself gripped by every page of this book.” It is a fabulous companion to The Great Quest.


A Skeptic’s Guide to Faith: What It Takes to Make the Leap Philip Yancey (Zondervan) $15.99                               OUR SALE PRICE = $12.79

Yancey is a name we must continue to promote, as he is quiet and unassuming. His popular, riveting memoir (Where the Light Fell) made a bit of a splash last year but yet his older writings are enduring, smart, eloquent, but not arcane in the least. We highly recommend a steady diet of his many books.

A Skeptic’s Guide to Faith was first published as Rumors of Another World and while that is a bit more allusive, hinting at Peter Berger’s “signals of transcendence” this new title is clear and helpful. He is, he insists, an ordinary person, like most of us, just trying to figure things out, relating our lived experiences, the BIbles teachings, and wondering what is true.

As he puts it, “This book comes out of my own search and is written on behalf of those who live outside of belief — that borderlands region between belief and unbelief.” I wish we could have gotten it into the hands of more young adults (and others!) at Jubilee. Maybe you can help us spread the word about how very useful this lovely book is.



It is very helpful if you tell us how you prefer us to ship your orders.

The weight and destination of your package varies but you can use this as a quick, general guide:

There are generally two kinds of US Mail options, and, of course, UPS. If necessary, we can do overnight and other expedited methods, too. Just ask.

  • United States Postal Service has the option called “Media Mail” which is cheapest but can be slow. For one typical book, usually, it’s about $3.85; 2 lbs would be $4.55.
  • United States Postal Service has another option called “Priority Mail” which is $8.50,  if it fits in a flat rate envelope. Many children’s books and some Bibles are oversized so that might take the next size up which is $9.20. “Priority Mail” gets much more attention than does “Media Mail” and is often just a few days to anywhere in the US.
  • UPS Ground is reliable but varies by weight and distance and may take longer than USPS. We’re happy to figure out your options for you once we know what you want.

If you just want to say “cheapest” that is fine. If you are eager and don’t want the slowest method, do say so. It really helps us serve you well so let us know. Just saying “US Mail” isn’t helpful because there are those two methods, one cheaper but slower, one more costly but quicker. Which do you prefer?



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Sadly, we are still closed for in-store browsing. COVID is not fully over. Since few are reporting their illnesses anymore, it is tricky to know the reality but the best measurement is to check the water tables to see the amount of virus in the eco-system. It’s still bad, and worsening (again.) With flu and new stuff spreading, many hospitals are overwhelmed. It’s important to be particularly aware of how risks we take might effect the public good. It is complicated for us, so we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family, staff, and customers.) The vaccination rate here in York County is sadly lower than average. Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation so we are trying to be wise. Thanks for understanding.

Please, wherever you are, do your best to be sensitive to those who are most at risk. Many of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, congregants, and family members may need to be protected since more than half of Americans (it seems) have medical reasons to worry about longer hazards from even seemingly mild COVID infections.

We are doing our famous curb-side and back yard customer service and can show any number of items to you if you call us from our back parking lot. It’s sort of fun, actually. We are eager to serve and grateful for your patience as we all work to mitigate the pandemic. We are very happy to help do if you are in the area, do stop by.

Of course, we’re happy to ship books anywhere. 

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New (and some older) books for LENT 2023 — all 20% off from Hearts & Minds

Lent is approaching, a bit early this year, it seems, and I am sure, like us, many of you have huge and important distractions. In our personal lives, our church lives, our work lives, and in the broader world of the world’s opportunities and tragedies, we are all in need of God’s guidance and strength. May God bring discernment and, where it is needed, healing and hope. Maybe Lent will be a time to focus on the call to discipleship, spiritual formation, and seeking renewed desires to be found on the road with Jesus, even if that road has us walking towards hard stuff.

For some BookNotes readers, inhabiting this season of the liturgical calendar comes as almost second nature. (Perhaps it is even too routine, for some?) For others it is new, or feels that way. Maybe you’ve recently read one of our Best Books of 2022 award-winners, Jamie Smith’s How to Inhabit Time or Fleming Rutledge’s Advent and you’re interested in taking up some new Lenten practices. Of course, that means picking up a book or two to guide and motivate you further. Obviously, right?

We’ve done extensive Lenten book lists in the past, and you can see a few HERE, HERE, HERE or HERE.

Here are a few new ones and a couple older ones we invite you to consider this season. All are 20% off, of course, and you can order them from us by using the link to our order form page which is shown at the very bottom of this column. Scroll down to see all the books mentioned and then see the order link.

Lent: The Season of Repentance and Renewal Esau McCaulley (IVP) $20.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00

I’m sure you know of Esau McCaulley — African American Bible scholar, college prof, PhD guided by N.T. Wright — whose brilliant Reading While Black not only inspired thousands but helped get him a gig writing op-ed pieces in the New York Times. That a Wheaton College evangelical writes for the Times it is a very interesting thing, and that he is an Anglican, who now has a series of books he is editing called the “Fullness of Time” series, is maybe even more remarkable. This one called Lent is the first in this series (there is one coming from Tish Harrison Warren on Advent, one next year on Easter by Wesley Hill, one by Fleming Rutledge on Epiphany.) These slim, compact hardbacks are going to be a major gateway to the theology and spirituality of the church calendar, especially for those somewhat new to these things.

Lent, by Esau McCaulley, is fabulously interesting. It reminds us, of course, that Lent is “inescapably about repenting.” Okay, then. Let’s so it.

Each volume in the Fullness of Time series will not only invite readers to engage with the riches of the church year, but will explore prayers, Scriptures, traditions, and rituals that can help point us to the way of Jesus.

Saturated with biblical wisdom, McCaulley’s practical guide is the perfect introduction to newcomers to this practice of self-examination and renewal. — Garwood Anderson, Dean of Nashotah House Theological Seminary

By the way, if you don’t know Esau’s writing, see, for instance, “What Easter Says About Black Suffering” published in The New York Times April 17, 2022.

The Good of Giving Up: Discovering the Freedom of Lent Aaron Damiani (Moody Press) $12.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $10.39

I have mentioned this the last few years and now that his new one, Earth Filled with Heaven: Finding Life in Liturgy, Sacraments, and Other Ancient Practices of the Church has become known (we highlighted it in our Best Books of 2022 list last month), I thought I’d mention it again.

Just to remind you, Fr. Aaron Damiani is one of these great cats who was once an edgy evangelical, full of church planting energy and hip theological insight. Over time — a story for another time — he became Anglican and now is rooted in the teachings of the Scriptures as well as the church fathers and the liturgical renewal of the 1500s in Britain and the 2000s in the US. I’m not Anglican and I’m not that high liturgically but this is really good stuff.

The title The Good of Giving Up should not be taken to literally. It isn’t only about “giving up something for Lent and not even only about self-examination and repentance, although, naturally, that is part of it The three sections of this fine introduction are “The Case for Lent” and “The Path of Lent” and “Leading Others to Lent.” (These last three chapters include a helpful one on leading children through Lent and another on leading congregations, together, into this season.)

How do we observe Lent with proper motivation and how can it reform our habits and convictions? How do we do this in families and in the broader family of the local church? This book can help.

A Busy Parent’s Guide to a Meaningful Lent Marcia C. Morrow (Our Sunday Visitor) $16.95  OUR EXTRA SALE PRICE = this week only $10.00

Yep, we have this at a great extra discount. I’m being honest — somebody ordered a bunch and then didn’t take them so we have them at a great discount so we can entice you to take a few off our hands. It is specifically Roman Catholic and, for better or worse, Catholic folks have been as experienced as anybody in this ancient tradition and contemporary Catholic writers bring a rich experience (and a lot of evangelical-like fervor.) This woman is an adjunct professor at Seton Hall, has a PhD in theology from the University of Dayton, and is a mother of seven so, uh, she gets it. When she calls her quick and easy-to-use all-in-one Lenten resource “a busy parent’s guide” she knows what she’s talking about.

For some, Lent and the time heading towards Easter may be considered a nearly overwhelming season; well-intentioned efforts to try to experience God’s grace in fresh ways, may end up adding more stress than grace. Morrow’s been there. She lays out a practical plan that can transform your forty days. I think this daily plan has a lot to commend it and we’re happy to sell it on sale, now. After this week it will go back to our more typical BookNotes 20% off. Order it now, on extra sale, while supplies last.

Finding Jesus in the Psalms: A Lenten Journey Barb Roose (Abingdon Press) $17.99                     OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

  • Finding Jesus in the Psalms: A Lenten Journey Leader’s Guide $15.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $12.79
  • Finding Jesus in the Psalms: A Lenten Journey DVD $44.95  OUR SALE PRICE = $35.96

This book (and accompanying DVD) is by a dynamic African American woman from Toledo, Ohio who hosts Facebook Live events and speaks at the upbeat Aspire Women’s Events, She Speaks, and more. We’ve stocked other Bible study material she has done and this one invites you to “immerse yourself in a meaningful encounter with Jesus and the Psalms through the season of Lent.” As author Kathi Lipp notes, “When I am in those hard places, those needy places, those places where I need to see God’s tenderness, I always turn to the Psalms.”

Yes, the New Testament Jesus read and prayed and sang and quoted the Psalms. This is a beautiful guide to this very use of the holy poetry of the Hebrew Psalter by Lord Jesus. This weaves stories and Biblical insight into the use of the Psalms during this season.

The book has six chapters making it ideal for a Sunday school class, small group Bible study or weekly book club choice. Most chapters link a Psalms (or two) to a Gospel text. The book stands on its own, but the DVD and leader’s guide for the DVD study is fabulous, too. This is lovely, solid stuff. Somebody has compared Barb Roose with Beth Moore which illustrates her honorable commitment to the glory of God and the saving power of Christ, but also her honesty about mental health stuff and her inspiring, upbeat style. I’m a fan.

Meeting Jesus at the Table: A Lenten Study Cynthia M. Campbell and Christine Coy Fohr (WJK) $17.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $13.60

A somewhat smaller, trim size makes this a perfect compact book to hold, a lovely one to study, as it provokes the question (as Elizabeth Caldwell notes) “For what are you hungry this Lenten season?” This book, like the meal it evokes, is rich and inviting, calling us to eat, to receive nourishment, to ponder amongst friends. Might we truly meet Jesus at this table?

This is an eight-week study (including a week for Easter) that can be read individually, of course, or used in an adult class or Bible study group. There’s a leader’s guide in the back with good questions and lots of Scripture. (There are also nice drawings by the late Kevin Burns, who was an architect and ruling elder at Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville KY. Campbell (a former President of McCormick Theological emissary) is the retired pastor of Highland; Fohr is also a Presby pastor in Louisville.

The sessions of this lovely Lenten book remind us that Jesus spent time at meals with people and the gospel accounts tell us a bit about these holy encounters.  This includes “Dining Alfresco” (which is on the feeding of the multitudes in Mark 6), “The Welcome Table” (where he is accused of eating with tax collectors and sinners as recorded in Matthew 9), a dinner that is interrupted (see Luke 7) and an important chapter on “relationships and reciprocity” where room is made at the table (in Luke 14: 7-14.)  There is a chapter on “empty chairs” at the table, another on “hospitality and discipleship” (The first verses of John 12 tell of a meal with a chosen family.) There is a “meal of memories” which they call “not the Last Supper”) and of course “revived by the breaking of bread” in Luke 24.

What a great and interesting study this is. Come to the table this Lenten season!

Toward the Cross: Heart-Shaping Lessons for Lent and Easter Taylor W. Mills (Abingdon Press) $13.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $11.19

The format of this used to be more common but resources in this style are harder to find these days. It has a chapter for seven weeks, one for each Sunday of Lent (and Easter Sunday, too.) This makes it ideal for an adult class, a weekly small group Bible study, or a weekly book club.  However besides the seven short chapters to be discussed together as a group, there are also a week’s worth of short daily readings for personal devotional use. It’s a great combo — a book that can be used in a class setting and/or a daily devotional for Lent.

As you can see, this is about the classic Lenten theme of moving towards the cross. His exploration uses the language of the heart, inviting us to traits and characteristics that can be shaped by our season’s practices.

The chapters are “A Humble Heart”, “A Committed Heart”, “A Gracious Heart”, “A Heart for Seekers”, “A Purposeful Heart”, “A Heart of Extravagant Love”, and, for Easter, “A Joyful Heart.”

Rev. Taylor Mills is a United Methodist pastor who has served in many cities and towns in North Carolina. He get an assist, here, from Gary Thompson (of Mississippi) and Michel Morris, who is a lead pastor of First United Methodist in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Wild Hope: Stories of Lent from the Vanishing Gayle Boss, illustrated by David G. Klein (Paraclete) $19.99                             OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99

I suppose you recall our enthusiastic promotion of Boss & Klein’s amazingly nuanced and very thoughtful Advent study All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings which, curiously and effectively, developed Advent reflections inspired by the hibernation patterns of animals, each artfully illustrated, week by week. Just this past Advent they re-issued it in a celebratory bright hardback with a ribbon marker which gives you a sense of how many loved it and how the publisher was behind it.

We’ve mentioned this companion volume to it which I believe is as good or better (although not yet released in hardback.) This handsome, just slightly oversized volume offers a beautiful bit of nature writing, profound spirituality, vivid lament about species loss, and, yes, all related to the practices of Lent.

As poet Luci Shaw notes, it includes “detailed, vivid accounts of an ark-full of wild lives in danger.” As the extraordinary scientist (and founder of the Safina Center) Carl Safina wrote, Wild Hope is the only book whose table of contents alone gave me chills.” These beautifully rendered stories invite us to reflection and renewed commitments to safeguarding God’s precious creatures. It is a Lenten practice worth taking up and this is a resource well worth having and sharing.

Please read this important endorsement:

Full of power and poignancy, love, and lament. Gayle Boss invites her readers to groan together with all creation in grief at the profound loss of species. Lament is a cry of truth-telling, and in her portraits of these exquisite creatures we hear the necessary and devastating truth of what we are losing. — Christine Valters Painter,  Earth, Our Original Monastery: Cultivating Wonder and Gratitude Through Intimacy with Nature

A Just Passion A Six Week Lenten Journey compiled and edited by Tianna Haas (IVP) $12.00    OUR SALE PRICE = $9.60

Wow. Just wow. This is the best little collection of pieces I think I have ever seen compiled to be used as a Letter reader, mostly around the relationships of spirituality, discipleship, and working towards a culture of shalom and racial justice.  The readings are all drawn from previously published IVP books and these are some of the best contemporary writers working these days in this space. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the list of contributors and am so glad for the expert gleaning and curating done by the team at IVP. Editor Cindy Bunch has a very useful forward about spiritual practices, about Lent, and some wise words about using this little volume intentionally and helpfully.

Authors include Ruth Haley Barton, Marlena Graves, Donna Barber, John Perkins, Eugene Peterson, Sheila Wise Rowe, Tish Harrison Warren, Terry M. Wildman, Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, Christina Edmondson, Soong-Chan Rah, Esau McCaulley, and the poet Drew Jackson, among many others.

The devotional format of A Just Passion is not merely a short reading, but some Bible texts and prompts for a weekly “breath prayer.” It is a handsome, useful little paperback and we recommend it heartily.

The Resilient Disciple: A Lenten Journey from Adversity to Maturity Justine Allain Chapman (SPCK) $20.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $16.79

Resilience. In Lent. Oh my. Many know about the Japanese art of kintsugi, repairing with gold, which restores a cracked object even while it retains some image of the damage, making the item even more beautiful than it was before. The crack on the paperback book cover, embossed with the lines in gold, makes this UK title itself a poignant beauty.

Alone on an eight-day retreat in the Egyptian desert, author Justine Allan Chapman encountered first hand the physical, spiritual, and mental struggle many have endured there before her. As it says on the back cover, “our own desert experience may involve attending to challenges that come upon us suddenly — such as illness or bereavement — or to difficult relationships or patterns of thinking that have long been draining us of life and joy.”

A Lenten pilgrimage, she assures us, is testing. The forty daily readings in this vividly written book includes wide-ranging prayers, Scripture readings, and guides to using the material with groups, or even in preaching and worship. It’s not only an encouraging read, but “bringing us to Easter with both a deeper sense of self and a deeper engagement with God.” This book offers challenge and consolation, perhaps even tender healing for our brokenness.

Sacred & Desecrated: Forty Days with Wendell Berry John Hewitt, Elie Jackson, Emily Mosher, and Michelle Shackelford (independently published) $14.99   OUR SALE PRICE = $11.99

I can hardly believe we found this last year and I’ve been waiting nearly a year to announce it here. Sacred & Desecrated is the work of a group project “to reflect not ehe season of Lent in light of the poems, essays, and stories of Wendell Berry.”

Here is how they put it:

We hope these devotions will help you develop a greater appreciation for GOd’s creation and the way our everyday choices affect our bodies, families, land, community, and world.” As part of Lent, this book honestly acknowledges the deep hurt and brokennes that exists in all these areas of life but it also looks forward to the salvation promised us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the redemption of all creation through the power of the Holy Spirit. As you engage with the challenges and opportunities presented by Berry, you may even find that God is present in the places and things you thought were desecrated, boring to transform what has been violated into something holy once more.

The book is divided into six sections, or for six weeks leading us through Lent. After each daily reading there are three reflection or discussion questions and a closing prayer.  Attentive Berry readers will know that the phrase of the title is drawn from a poem “How to Be a Poet.”

The Desert of Compassion: Devotions for the Lenten Journey Rachel M. Scubas (WJK) $17.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $13.60

For many, Lent is a time when we are intentional about our relationship with God. The classic practice of “giving up” something is less old-school self-denial based motivated by shame or guilt but a time to create space for God. It is a time to be more intentional about our interior lives and wonder how things are in our souls. For my money, a book by a Presbyterian pastor who is also a Benedictine oblate who lives near a real desert (the Sonoran, near Tucson) has all the right features of lived experience, solid theology, and a robust vision of social and cultural concern.

Each day’s rich entry opens and closes with an eloquent and deep prayer.

As the great Marjorie Thompson (author of the spiritual classic Soul Feast) writes:

Rachel Srubas weaves a rich fabric of spiritual and psychological wisdom, knitting the personal and communal, inward and outward, ordinary and profound. Each meditation sparkles with a vivid story and masterful metaphor. Over and over, her words led me to depth reflection and contemplative awareness. I didn’t want this book to end. It is one I will return to often and gift to others. — Marjorie Thompson, author of Soul Feast

I have become a fan of one of the great scholars of the mystical tradition (and a good guide to the contemplative life), the prolific Carl McColeman. He is one who knows about these things, and reads very widely, and he writes:

During Lent we recall Jesus’ sojourn in the desert — a time for generosity, simplicity, and, most of all, prayer. Rachel Srubas’s vivid meditations make the season come alive as she invites us into our own desert places where Christ meets us with a love that will transform our hearts. — Carl McColman, author of Unteachable Lessons: Why Wisdom Can’t Be Taught (and Why That’s Okay), Eternal Heart and The Big Book of Christian Mysticism

The Way of Thomas Merton: A Prayer Journey Through Lent Robert Ihchausti (SPCK) $13.99        OUR SALE PRICE = $11.19

I have long admired Robert Inchausti for his work on Merton and a few other books about education, creative thinking, and deep spirituality. This new book is patterned after others done by SPCK The Way of Julian of Norwich: A Prayer Journey Through Lent by Sheila Upjohn and The Way of Benedict: Eight Blessings for Lent by Laurentia Johns (both $20.99 — our sale price = $16.79.) It is a standard daily reader, with a good reflection guiding us from a passage from Merton. There are astute reflection questions, too. And, man, does he know Merton. I’ll let Parker Palmer explain.

Just listen to this amazing quote by the amazing Parker Palmer:

This Lenten devotional is unlike any I’ve seen. It’s not about giving up something trivial for a few weeks. It’s about getting free of the “false self” that alienates us from ourselves, from each other and God. Nobody understood that transformation better than Thomas. Merton — and nobody understands Merton better than Robert Inchausti. — Parker Palmer, author of On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old

The Art of Lent: A Painting a Day From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sister Wendy Beckett (IVP) $17.00                               OUR SALE PRICE = $13.60

I adore this small sized book that has wonderfully full-color reproductions of paintings old and modern, well known and most likely not familiar, overtly religious and otherwise, a fine painting reproduced on one page with a meditation on the facing page. Like the Advent and Christmas ones in this series, The Art of Lent (and, new last year, The Art of Holy Week and Easter) are just splendid ways to meditate on the meaning of the season.

These are really well designed, so very nicely done, the reflections handsomely arranged (but maybe smaller print than some may wish.) This will help you become informed about masterpieces and you will be glad just for that. More significantly, this leads you into a deeply prayerful response to all that these paintings convey. It is exceptionally useful to have around and we very highly recommend it.


An Easter Book of Days: Meeting the Characters of the Cross and Resurrection Gregory Kenneth Cameron (Paraclete Press) $18.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.19

In An Easter Book of Days Gregory Kenneth Cameron invites us to “encounter anew the story of Jesus’s passion” with these twenty-five profound meditations accompanied by beautiful illustrations that inspires us to “enter the heart of each character” (from the disciples to Pontius Pilate, from Mary and Marty to Simon of Cyrene, and more.) We adored Cameron’s handsome little An Advent Book of Days and this is like it — compact sized paperback on good quality paper, with glassy French folded covers. The illustrations are not masterpieces of renaissance or modern art but are stylized contemporary paintings that are somewhat in the style of, or after, icons. It’s perfect for a liturgical season, it seems to me.

For what it is worth we really, really like a book by David Darling called The Characters of the Cross, that stands with his Characters of Christmas and The Characters of Creation. These are creatively written, offered by a Southern Baptist preacher, drawing out Biblical themes. Those are well worth reading and I’ve announced The Characters of the Cross before. I mention it here because it fit, but also to note that Cameron is an Anglican Bishop in Wales. His tone is a bit more academic, a bit more direct, a bit more about the history of the setting, rooted in the larger church tradition than perhaps the upbeat Darling ones. Kudos to Cameron for his original art that enhances the book very nicely.

Word in the Wilderness: A Poem a Day for Lent and Easter Malcolm Guite (Canterbury Press) $21.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $16.80

We have stocked and promoted Guite’s books for years and we are so grateful that more are coming to know about him. He is increasingly known in both in the Anglican communions and in broader church circles. We’ve had friends who have met him this past year and were delighted by his friendliness and literary brilliance, in places as diverse as Virginia Theological Seminary to Rabbit Room’s Hutchmoot gathering. (And he will be in Lancaster PA on February 18th and the intriguing Square Halo Books conference. They, after all, published one of his excellent books, lectures on the Christian imagination called Lifting the Veil.)

In any event, this book includes a Guite-chosen poem — one for every day from Shrove Tuesday to Easter Day and for springtime saint’s days, from George Herbert to Seamus Heaney to Gwyneth Lewis to Rowan Williams to John Donne to many of his won, that hold up nicely next to Yeats and Lewis. He has a substantive devotional for each,  arranged over the weeks with themes such as preparing for action, beginning the pilgrimage, deepening the life of prayer, knowing ourselves, facing pain, and more. As he puts it, each is a “window into heaven to light our Lenten road.”

Hearing God in Poetry: Fifty Poems for Lent and Easter Richard Harries (SPCK) $14.99                    OUR SALE PRICE = $11.99

This is a remarkable collection, piece very nicely together by a very notable British leader. Harries was at the Bishop of Oxford from 1987 to 2006 and is both a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of the House of Lords. Rowan Williams says he is “one of our greatest Christian intellectuals.” From our vantage here, we gave a very positive review to his book Seeing God in Art: The Christian Faith in 30 Images.

Here he offers six poems for every week of Lent, with a short reflection by Harries with each, often telling about the poet. There are ten specifically chosen for Easter. You will perhaps learn of authors you did not know and discover poems well worth remembering. His repository is wide, but many of the expected classics of Brit lit are here, from Yeats to T.S. Eliot, from C.S. Lewis to Malcolm Guite, from Chaucer to Emily Dickinson. You will find poems by Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, and “No Coward Soul Is Mine” the famous Holy Saturday poem by Emily Bronte. It’s a good book.

A Book of Days for Lent: Daily Reflections for the Season of Lent edited by Steven G.W. Moore & Father Richard Ganz, SJ (Murdock Charitable Trust /Seedbed) $19.95  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.96

Have we told you about this before? Or the beautiful companion hardback, A Book of Days for Advent. We are fortunate to stock this as we so believe in the remarkable work of the Murdock Charitable Trust that funds all sorts of common good project in the Pacific NW. This sharp volume — with heavy glossy paper and some full color, classic art nicely reproduced — is a compilation of pieces compiled by folks who are involved with or have been funded by the Trust. Most are on the cutting edge of social work, although some are what we might call cultural curators, thought-leader, wise influencers. Murdock encouraged serious thought about all sorts of things and this wonderful collection testifies to their deepest faith commitments. It’s a joy to behold.

Many of the women and men in this volume are people many of us don’t know, but a few are authors we care for — Steve Garber, A.J. Swoboda, Cam Anderson, Kate Harris. Although we never met, the late Brian Doyle has a contribution. A Book of Days for Lent is a rare treat. Order it while supplies last…



It is very helpful if you tell us how you prefer us to ship your orders.

The weight and destination of your package varies but you can use this as a quick, general guide:

There are generally two kinds of US Mail options, and, of course, UPS. If necessary, we can do overnight and other expedited methods, too. Just ask.

  • United States Postal Service has the option called “Media Mail” which is cheapest but can be slow. For one typical book, usually, it’s about $3.85; 2 lbs would be $4.55.
  • United States Postal Service has another option called “Priority Mail” which is $8.50,  if it fits in a flat rate envelope. Many children’s books and some Bibles are oversized so that might take the next size up which is $9.20. “Priority Mail” gets much more attention than does “Media Mail” and is often just a few days to anywhere in the US.
  • UPS Ground is reliable but varies by weight and distance and may take longer than USPS. We’re happy to figure out your options for you once we know what you want.

If you just want to say “cheapest” that is fine. If you are eager and don’t want the slowest method, do say so. It really helps us serve you well so let us know. Just saying “US Mail” isn’t helpful because there are those two methods, one cheaper but slower, one more costly but quicker. Which do you prefer?



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Sadly, we are still closed for in-store browsing. COVID is not fully over. Since few are reporting their illnesses anymore, it is tricky to know the reality but the best measurement is to check the water tables to see the amount of virus in the eco-system. It’s still bad, and worsening (again.) With flu and new stuff spreading, many hospitals are overwhelmed. It’s important to be particularly aware of how risks we take might effect the public good. It is complicated for us, so we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family, staff, and customers.) The vaccination rate here in York County is sadly lower than average. Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation so we are trying to be wise. Thanks for understanding.

Please, wherever you are, do your best to be sensitive to those who are most at risk. Many of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, congregants, and family members may need to be protected since more than half of Americans (it seems) have medical reasons to worry about longer hazards from even seemingly mild COVID infections.

We are doing our famous curb-side and back yard customer service and can show any number of items to you if you call us from our back parking lot. It’s sort of fun, actually. We are eager to serve and grateful for your patience as we all work to mitigate the pandemic. We are very happy to help do if you are in the area, do stop by.

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NEW BOOKS (and a few pre-orders) FOR FEBRUARY. Great new titles – 20% OFF

For those who want to review all our three part Favorite Books of 2022 list, you can see them by visiting the BookNotes archives HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Here are some new books that have recently been released, or are just out, or are coming soon. I was going to use the alliteration “Five for February” but there’s a few too many that I just have to name. Here’s thirteen.

Be sure to scroll through to the very bottom to see all the reviews. Unless your picking things up here at the shop, please click on the “order here” link (below) which takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form. Thanks.

Ordinary Saints: Living Every Day Life to the Glory of God edited by Ned Bustard (Square Halo Books) $24.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99

I could go on for pages about this, and perhaps I will, later, but it is just out now so we are thrilled to be among the first to announce it. That I’ve got a chapter in it makes it sort of special for me. Other than my own edited collection, Serious Dreams, I’ve never had a chapter in a book, so, to be honest, this cause for a little personal celebration. I wrote about the calling of a bookseller, a few pages about the work of being in retail. Like the others in the book, it invites us to expand our imaginations as to what it means to glorify God in our ordinary lives.

This book is full of heady visions for Kingdom living and a whole lot of whimsy, too. Tom Becker’s fun chapter on roller skating is amazingly good and the piece on karaoke is wonderful, as is the one on comic books. Margie Haack’s ruminations on raising chickens is a hoot. There’s a chapter on the Muppets, for God’s sake. The book is designed handsomely by graphic designer, artist, and writer Ned Bustard and is chock-full of art of all sorts. (He has a chapter, by the way, on lovemaking.)

There is a verve and intellectual depth to all of the pieces, some more playful, some more intense. There is one on mental health, one on chronic pain, one on therapy, one on grand parenting which is beautiful amidst some struggle, and an honest one on pornography — but every one is a delight, wise and interesting, informative, entertaining. From museuming to writing to juggling to creating playlists to homemaking, there are so many examples of ways to see how ordinary folks — saints, all! — have considered what they do, their passions and hobbies and vocations, and how these become venues for theological consideration and spiritual formation. What does God require of us? How does faith inform our daily grind, the fun stuff and the hard stuff of down to Earth life? Ordinary Saints is a treasure-chest giving us glimpses of that, a tool, a challenge. It is a brilliant sort of book and I do not think there is anything like it in print. Kudos to all at Square Halo for thinking up such a task and pulling it together so well. It is an honor to be included.

There are a few famous saints in this splendid paperback. Luci Shaw has a piece on knitting. Calvin Seerveld has a chapter on knowing. Christie Purifoy has a terrific testimony about home repairs. Artist Bruce Herman has a great essay on painting. Poet Malcolm Guite has an original poem commissioned for the book and a chapter about his love of smoking pipes. Psychiatrist and author Dr. Curt Thompson has one on “presence.” Did I mention Byron Borger has one on selling stuff? It has the most footnotes of any chapter, I can say that, at least.

Ordinary Saints is a book for anyone wanting to ponder the spirituality of the ordinary, the human creatureliness of daily faith. These aren’t essays on big cultural trends — politics, racism, global poverty — but they invite us all to wonder about how we glorify God in our very common-place (or, not so common place) quotidian activities. One of its great gifts is the particularity of glorifying God in our seemingly secular ways. It gets specific.

I got a real kick out of the well-written piece by Mark Bertrand on choosing a high-end briefcase. Steve Scott has a good contribution on storytelling. There is a wonderful reflection on small talk. I haven’t yet read the one on napping, but I’m going to take it very seriously. There is a short but meaty reflection on drinking wine and another of honoring God in our own limitations, a great piece written by a former punk rock girl who came to grips with a physical disability. Theologian (and C.S. Lewis scholar) Donald Williams kicks the whole thing off with a chapter on the truth of God’s own glory and the Biblical meaning of glorifying God. What is that even about?  He explains.

There are a bunch of chapters I don’t even have time to mention, pieces by living saints, gathered together sharing about their own daily passions. Everyone rose to the occasion, contributing excellent work, helping Square Halo Books celebrate their own 25 years of serving God’s ordinary people. I’ve reviewed and promoted almost all of their nearly 40 books over the years. This may be the best yet. It will provide hours of entertaining, edifying, reading, offering transformational insight. It will help you deepen your own daily habits, offering them up as worship to God. As this book shows with such vigor, we can even read to the glory of God and have a blast doing it. Hooray!

Perhaps you know Douglas McKelvery who compiled the moving Every Moment Holy prayer book volumes. Here is what he said about this collection:

“A delightfully organic, fleshing out of the “every moment holy” idea. Real people communing with a real God in the midst of real lives.” — Douglas McKelvey

A Year of Slowing Down: Daily Devotions for the Unhurried Alan Fadling (IVP) $20.00                    OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00

This is a nice, solid hardback, a real bargain even before our BookNotes discount. You may know Fadling from his best-selling An Unhurried Life (and the follow-up called The Unhurried Leader.) It’s very good stuff  He is a church and organizational consultant and has helped many groups focus on how they’ve created cultures of rush, of hurry, of growth at all costs, inviting the to, well, slow down. With the overwhelming pace of life, “many of us struggle to stop long enough to be present.” Don’t you, as it says on the back, want to have “breathing room to hear from God?”

This is a collection of what you might call “five minute daily retreats.” There are rich blurbs on the back from contemplative Jan Johnson and writer A. J. Swoboda. Fadling is well-loved and well-respected.

Bill Gaultiere, author of Journey of the Soul, says:

I found myself drawn into the selah of the psalmist, the richness of God’s Word, the whisper of the Holy Spirit and the pace of Jesus.

Rough Sleepers: Dr. Jim O’Connell’s Urgent Mission to Bring Healing to Homeless People Tracy Kidder (Random House) $30.00                   OUR SALE PRICE = $24.00

This book just released this week and I have not spent time with it yet (but have sold one already!) Beth and I are fans of the great nonfiction writer and literary journalist Tracey Kidder, who has many creative books to his name ( the unforgettable Strength in What Remains, Home Town, Among Schoolchildren, and the extraordinary book about the late doctor who served in Haiti, Paul Farmer, Mountains Beyond Mountains.) When Kidder does a new book, we notice.

Rough Sleepers takes its title from what the Boston activist / street doctor Jim O’Connell calls those who sleep unhoused. It is a heroic story of O’Connell’s mission and in it’s almost 300 pages you will learn plenty about the vocation of medicine, about social services, about the homeless population, about the humanity of those in those situations.

Rough Sleepers will do for treating homelessness what Mountains Beyond Mountains did for public health. What a compellingly beautiful, inspiring read. — Alex Kotlowitz, There Are No Children Here

Rethinking Life: Embracing the Sacredness of Every Person Shane Claiborne (Zondervan) $19.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99  PRE-ORDER – DUE February 7, 2023

It has been a while since we’ve seen a major new book by our busy, activist friend in Philly, Shane Claiborne and we are nothing short of thrilled that he is bringing this out next week. We were in correspondance with Simply Way folks just recently and we know they are still inviting folks to a whimsical sort of serious ministry, a dedicated life of influenced by Jesus by way of Dorothy Day and Saint Francis, maybe. If Dorothy had been a communist before her dramatic turn to taking Jesus and the church seriously, Shane was a right wing Southern fundamentalist zealot, flying his Stars & Bars while listening to Rush Limbaugh. That we would become a Jesus-following servant of the poor, starting urban gardens and learning blacksmithing so he could literally turn urban handguns into gardening implements is nothing short of astonishing. His first book after his great transformation, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical and he has continued to encourage thinking and action, rooted in regular prayer. I hope you know the prayer book he and some others put together —Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.

This is not the time to revisit his whole story, but we appreciate so much of what he and his friends at The Simply Way have been doing. From his speaking about intentional community to doing civil disobedience with righteous, nonviolent zeal, from sharing life with struggling neighbors in the city to writing books to helps us understand the inequities of the death penalty, he seems tireless, eager, and usually pretty upbeat.

I do not know if this forthcoming book was in the works for a while but there is little doubt that the public debates about the overturning of Roe v Wade by the Supreme Court and the fresh conversations happening around the pro-life issue gives it an urgent context.

I have not seen the book yet but here’s what I’ve heard: it is taking seriously, as many do, the call to be conscientiously and consistently pro-life. Ron Sider was, in a way, one of his guiding lights as a younger man, and Sider years ago tried to link an consistently Biblical non-violent social ethic pushed made him to be anti-abortion and anti-war; pro-life and pro-woman; he was pro-life when it came to the unborn but he was equally pro-life when it came to the hungry, the imprisoned, the oppressed. It ends up not being a very popular position, believe me.

Others have invited us to ponder how to not merely be against abortion but to be robustly and consistently in favor of life. I think of David Gushee’s extraordinary, large Eerdmans book, The Sacredness of Human Life. For a recent, excellent exploration from a Roman Catholic view, see, for instance Rehumanize: A Vision to Secure Human Rights for All by Aimee Murphy (New City Press; $24.95.) I suspect Ms Murphy has more tattoos than Shane, and works in more secular space to end aggression and injustice against human beings, born or unborn, but they seem on the same page. She reminds me a bit of an edgy Dorothy Day.

Shane does, too, except he learned a lot about Jesus and discipleship from his Southern fundamentalist upbringing. He’s got a passion for revival and holiness, even if he defines that with the big picture values of the reign of God.

I think many of our customers will be glad for this “rethinking” opportunity, and even if one may not follow Shane on every detail, this is a book that I am sure will be worth reading, discussion, pioneering, and, in some small way, living out, day by day. We’re hoping many will order it.

Rethinking Life is an intervention. In a moment when the politics of life is leading to death, master storyteller and public theologian Shane Claiborne leads followers of Jesus on a brave pilgrimage through the meaning, ethics, and politics of life–and death–and love. This is one of those books you will cherish and quote for the rest of your life. — Lisa Sharon Harper, president and founder, Freedom Road; author, Fortune: How Race Broke My Family and the World and How to Repair It All

I resonate with this book in the marrow of my bones! In Rethinking Life, Shane Claiborne shows us what a genuine pro-life theology, ethic, and practice demands of us and looks like in practice. Authentic Christianity has always been robustly pro-life, but it must be more than a politicized slogan selectively and narrowly applied. In Rethinking Life, Claiborne’s thinking is as keen as his heart is compassionate. And best of all, Jesus shines through on every page. — Brian Zahnd, author, When Everything’s on Fire

Here is a book that courageously and effectively tackles several difficult issues around the ethics of life for those who wish to follow Jesus of Nazareth. Whether it is abortion, capital punishment, eugenics, war, or the historic culpability of the church, Shane Claiborne avoids oversimplification in any direction by focusing on the human element, offering provocative questions for both individuals and small groups to chew on.          —The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; author, Love Is the Way and The Power of Love

What Makes You Come Alive: A Spiritual Walk with Howard Thurman Lerita Coleman Brown (Broadleaf Books) $26.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $21.59

You may know the name Howard Thurman, a middle-of-the-20th-century black contemplative, and unsung influence on MLK. His Jesus and the Disinherited was an important book for King, and is a watershed volume in Biblical social ethics. Fewer know about Thurman’s many books of contemplative spirituality. We’ve got more than one major biography of him and several studies of his influence.

We love the look of this one, short and sweet, a considerable work in a small, chunky hardback, perfect for those being introduced to Thurman’s work. (And, we are told, it is great for those who know a lot about him, too; it’s that good!) It is said to be elegant and very well informed.

Thurman noted that we shouldn’t ask “what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.” That, after all, is what the world needs — you being alive and well, making a difference out of glad passion, not mere duty. I like that. Thurman was one of the great mystics of the recent past but he also had a trajectory away from the monasteries and towards the needy world. Yes!

Listen to what Barbara Brown Taylor, author of An Altar in the World and Holy Envy, has written about Lerita Coleman Brown’s insight:

If you have been searching for an engaging introduction to Howard Thurman, here it is… Lerita Coleman Brown has spent so much time learning about his life, absorbing his work, and trusting his guidance that she has made his wisdom her own.

This book makes good on its central promise: in her hands, it is not a book about Howard Thurman; it is a spiritual walk with him. Accept her invitation to take that walk, and the healing won’t stop with your spirit. Your body, mind, and heart will be restored as well.

Neo-Calvinism: A Theological Introduction Cory C. Brock & N. Gray Sutanto (Lexham Academic) $36.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $29.59

For some of us in some circles, this, truly, is a book we’ve been waiting for. Like, we’ve been waiting for decades. Never before has there been such an explicitly neo-Calvinist study of the leading theological voices of this Dutch tradition — namely Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck, among others. As the forward by George Harinck, formerly of Princeton, now in the Netherlands, suggests, there has been a renaissance of sorts in recent decades of the public theology or social policies of this tradition which emphasized the Lordship of Christ, embodied for cultural flourishing in a pluralistic culture. From the philosophers at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto to the civic-minded networkers at the Center for Public Justice (heck, in a way, to the campus ministers that run our beloved Jubilee Conference in Pittsburgh each February) the living out of faith in action inspired by a Kuyperian worldview is increasingly known. How many books cite Kuyper’s “every square inch” line. How glad we are that even those not particularly taken with the details of the Calvinist doctrine are taking up what Niebuhr called the Reformed “Christ transforming culture” posture, and digging into the social philosophy outlined in brief in Al Wolters’ Creation Regained: The Biblical Basis of a Reformational Worldview.

Studies about this abound, and we have highlighted and promoted here Bartholomew’s Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition: A Systematic Introduction, his splendid book with Bob Goudzwaard, Beyond the Modern Age: An Archaeology of Contemporary Culture, the creative, global collection Reforming Public Theology: A Global Vision for Life in the World edited by Matt Kaemingk and, of course, the modern-day updating of and evaluation of Kuyper’s famous “Stone Lectures” the excellent Jessica & Rob Joustra-edited project Calvinism for a Secular Age: A Twenty-First-Century Reading of Abraham Kuyper’s Stone Lectures. I never tire of saying how delighted I was to see our own bookstore positioned as part of this movement in the pages about us in Richard Mouw’s wonderful All That God Cares about: Common Grace and Divine Delight.

Yet, Kuyper and Bavinck, early 20th century social architects that they were (having started schools, a faith-based labor union, newspapers, the Free University of Amsterdam, a political party) were primarily theologians and pastors. What were the uniquely theological underpinnings of their broad social vision? New translations (sometimes first-time translations) of Kuyper and Bavinck and Klaas Schilder have come out in the last few years and for those who want primary source material, there is a wealth of words.

But no-one has systematically explained the doctrinal theology of these giants of Protestant faith, nor has anyone (short of obscure monographs and PhD dissertations) explored the ways in which their theological project bridged modernist impulses and more traditionalist Calvinistic perspectives. There is some debate about all that and Brock and Sutanto are well equipped to walk us through this remarkable blend of innovation and convention, Biblical fidelity and modernist relevance, a creative approach that seems to have breathed fresh life into the thinking and preaching of Kuyper and Bavinck. Their early 1900s “neo-Calvinism” was and is a social movement, to be sure, insisting that all of life is being redeemed and that we need cultural reformation, even the reformation of ideas, but it was and should also be seen as a theological tradition. Neo-Calvinism: A Theological Introduction is the book that gives voice to that tradition in a way that no other volume ever has. We might call it magesterial. It is important for anyone interested in historical theology and is a major contribution to evangelical theological studies.

Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation Collin Hansen (Zondervan) $26.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $21.59  PRE ORDER – DUE FEBRUARY 7, 2023

One of the reasons, it seems to me, that Timothy Keller has become so famous and deeply respected around the world has been not only his sharp mind and deep commitments to historic Christian orthodoxy, but his generous interest in contemporary culture, modern philosophy, and a balanced sort of concern for the flourishing of the spaces we find ourselves in. For him, it has been “the city”, as some in New York call their megalopolis. He planted a church in Manhattan and got busy listening well to serious seekers in the arts community, in the theatre world, and of course on Wall Street.

He started doing Bible studies with skeptics, teaching about faith lived out in the work-world (which came to fruition in Every Good Endeavor, one of the best books on the subject and the Redeemer Center for Faith and Work.) He brought in world-class speakers like N.T. Wright and worked on questions of pluralism with John Inazu, author of Confident Pluralism. He did a dozen or more thoughtful, often concise books like Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters that called people to a countercultural posture, based on a gospel-centered awareness that our identity and purpose must be rooted in the grace of God, the cross of Christ, and the vision of the coming Kingdom. He wrote a serious book on marriage in part because many of his young, career-driven, upwardly mobile professionals seemed to have time for that.

Naturally, if you are aware of any of these theological themes, you will know that he was an early student of Kuyper and Bavinck (and, indeed, has a lovely endorsing blurb on the inside of the aforementioned book on neo-Calvinism.) This situates Keller, it seems to me, as somewhat other than his conservative mainstream evangelical colleagues in the Gospel Coalition; he created a culture at Redeemer that would host authors like public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson and the provocative Biblical scholar Richard Middleton. Women and men influenced by this culture have grown their marketplace endeavors under the leadership of Katheryn Leary Alsdorf and have development a helpful social service network, congregants working in health care reform for the poor, a robust counseling center and support groups for artists, musicians, writers, and performers.

So who is this guy? Born in Pennsylvania, he came to grapple with the truest truths of the gospel while a student at Bucknell University in central PA. His wife (who as a child wrote to C.S. Lewis and whose letter and repose is found in C.S. Lewis’s Letters to Children) lived in Western PA. We will have to read this new biography to learn more details. Keller has not been terribly autobiographical and has understandably not shared much with the general public about his severe cancer diagnosis in recent years. His latest book Forgive, is remarkable, a potent blend of gospel proclamation and practical, pastoral care, but he doesn’t say much about himself.

I am really looking forward to Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation and we are taking pre-orders now. It releases in a week, and we’re eager to see it. It’s a major, serious look at the formation of a significant leader. It is surely going to be worth reading and I’m very happy to recommend it.

Read these really nice endorsement. Each say something important:

Tim Keller’s sermons and books have influenced me greatly, but I believe his curiosity has influenced me most. To now have insight into the people and places that cultivated his brilliance–a dramatic yet suitable word–feels like a gift I didn’t know I needed.         — Jackie Hill Perry, Bible teacher,  author of Holier Than Thou

In our time, few Christian leaders have a vision of the faith that is as recognizable–and as globally influential–as Tim Keller. In this engaging book, Collin Hansen charts the fascinating range of figures whose writings and examples influenced that vision and guides the reader through a life spent exploring and distilling the best of the Christian tradition. By humanizing a towering figure, Hansen challenges his own audience to learn from the deliberateness that marks Keller’s own journey in the faith. Quite simply, I could not put this book down. — James Eglinton, Meldrum Senior Lecturer in Reformed Theology, New College, University of Edinburgh

I’m so grateful for this well-written and expertly researched work. Collin Hansen reveals things that many of us never knew about Keller. This is a book about Tim Keller of course, but in the end, it is a book about Jesus Christ. I’m fairly sure this was intentional, or at least instinctive, and as a result it is a delight. — Tim Farron, member of the British Parliament and former leader of the Liberal Democrats

Interpretation: Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Church – Death, The End of History, and Beyond: Eschatology in the Bible Greg Carey (WJK) $45.00                                      OUR SALE PRICE = $36.00

This is brand new, officially not even out yet, so I’ve not looked at it at all but wanted to announce it here. Many of our mainline denominational friends (and others) know the useful commentaries in the Interpretation series. A few years ago they expanded this brand to include topical studies, designed to explore Biblical topics for Bible study leaders and preachers. We’ve got Brueggemann on wealth in the Bible, Patrick Miller on the Ten Commandos, Jaime Clark-Soles on women in the Bible, Jerome Creach on violence in Scripture, Richard Lischer on the parables, Clifton Black on the Lord’s Prayer and Robert Jenson did one called Canon and Creed. They are all thorough and quite useful.

This brand new one is by Dr. Greg Carey professor of New Testament at the UCC Lancaster Theological Seminary, near us here in central PA. Carey has a major work called Using our Outside Voice which explores Biblical interpretation for public theology, several scholarly monographs, and has useful smaller books on the parables, on apocalyptic literature, and a recent small group Bible study on Revelation. He is well loved there and serves local churches well.

In this fine volume, Greg Carey surveys the biblical canon with intelligence, honesty, and even wit. The results place before readers the diverse witness of the Bible to hope in God’s good future. An important, accessible read! — Beverly Roberts Gaventa, New Testament Professor Emerita, Princeton Theological Seminary

Scripture’s many and varied perspectives on eschatology require slow and careful analysis — especially for those of us who preach and teach. The proposals in this book are timely and crucial for those who want to reflect on the future that awaits us individually, collectively, and ecologically. — Donyelle C. McCray, professor of homiletics, Yale Divinity School

The Wandering Mind: What Medieval Monks Tell Us About Distraction Jamie Kreiner (Liveright) $30.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $24.00

When I saw this fairly progressive, secular publisher doing a book on distraction, I almost skipped over it. There are a lot of books coming out on mental acuity, focus, flow, mindfulness and more these days; especially in January the self-help books, some influenced by brain studies or the science of behavior, are everywhere. I am glad I gave this a second look as I think it is going to be fantastic.

Brand new and newly received here at the shop, I can only say this is on my own stack over in our living room. I’m eager to see how this medievalist researches the writings of monks in those days long, long ago. As we have heard (but not deeply explored) these monks of the Middle Age complained about their busy lives and, yep, distraction. Ha.

As it says on the back cover, The Wandering Mind is “a revelatory account of how Christian monks identified distraction as a fundamental challenge — and how their efforts to defeat it can inform ours, more than a millennium later.” Wow.

Listen to Cal Newport, guru of “digital minimalism” who writes,

In elaborating the complicated, human battles that medieval monks waged for control over their own minds, Jamie Kreiner provides a compelling call to address our current distracted moment with both more seriousness and more humility.

Professor Kreiner teaches history at the University of Georgia. Her work on the early Middle Ages examines the politics, ethics, and scientific sensibilities of what she calls those “under-appreciated centuries.”

This is a serious read, perhaps what we might call a “deep dive.” There are rave reviews from historians from Yale and Princeton. I’m sure it is going to be offered with verve and wit, but be prepared. This really offers quite a lot, about, finally, “human fallibility and ingenuity.”

All My Knotted Up Life: A Memoir Beth Moore (Tyndale Momentum) $27.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $22.39  PRE ORDER – DUE FEBRUARY 21, 2023

This is the spiritual memoir that many have been waiting for, surely one of the most anticipated books in this genre in quite some time. We have just gotten an early version. It is really, really well-written, lovely, wry, even, with some great, great sentences. She is a very thoughtful, eloquent but plain-spoken and down-to-Earth speaker, teacher, and writer. I love the style. I started at the end, oddly, and found myself in tears, it was so beautiful. We have always appreciated her clear-headed, evangelical books and have been glad that one so rooted in the strict, conservative, Southern Baptist world was so gracious and good. We have carried many of her books over the years.

And then. Beth is exceptionally gracious on social media and those who have followed her on Twitter these last years have noticed her resolve to stand with those who have been harassed and even abused, usually by strongly-opinionated, theologically conservative men. Sometimes called theobros, these guys seem to make it a point to follow and critique, like trolls, women they disapprove of. Beth has been mocked and abused in the most vile ways by these guys who are supposed to be representing Christ. The mind staggers.

After the sexual abuse scandals hit the Southern Baptists, exposing leadership complicity, she renounced her membership in that denomination, the only one she knew, and started, eventually, attending a more liturgical, Anglican congregation.The chapters about that are breathtaking. She has bravely admitted that she had been sexually abused herself (and, believe it or not, the online harassment continued, with little sympathy.) She has born a good witness in reply, honest and gracious. And now she is telling her whole life story although I know she is being discreet at this point, not saying much about the contents of the book.

I suspect that the story of the online ugliness with her critics and those targeting her with threats and her leaving the SBC is only a small part of All My Knotted Up Life, if it is described at all. It is an autobiographical memoir, of course, and will tell of her Arkansas childhood and youth, her coming of age and her call into ministry, her marriage and its ups and downs, her rising to international fame as Bible teacher (in a denomination that does not ordain women.) There were family issues, we know that much and she now glories in being a grandparent. She’s led quite a life, in an ordinary sort of way.

Moore has written, “It’s a peculiar thing, this having lived long enough to take a good look back.” She is a very relational person, I gather, and I can assure you that this story is captivating, well told, honorable, funny, even, and at points vivid. It is said to be “a beautifully crafted portrait of resilience and survival, a poignant reminder of God’s enduring faithfulness.”

A bit of advance word we got notes her own sense — mirroring a line by C.S. Lewis perhaps — that “if we ever truly took the time to hear people’s full stories we’d all walk around slack-jawed.” All My Knotted Up Life is going to be quite a story and we’re happy to take pre-orders, sending them out a day or so before the official street date. You really should order it today — it is going to be one you will really want to read.

The Great Story and the Great Commission: Participating in the Biblical Drama of Mission Christopher J.H. Wright (Baker Academic) $23.99   OUR SALE PRICE = $19.19   PRE-ORDER – DUE  FEBRUARY 28, 2023

It is difficult to say much, of course, about a book I have not yet seen, but I am confident that this is one that we have long needed.  I admire this great Biblical scholar and missional thinker and keep many of his others on hand. (For instance, his Zondervan Academic paperback in their “Biblical Theology for Life” series, The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission, is outstanding and his award-winning The Mission of God is stellar. I love that he added to the reissued John Stott classic, Christian Mission in the Modern World, bring it a bit up to date.

Here he seems to be doing three things, all really, really important. Firstly, he is arguing that how we read the Bib le matters and that we are most consistent with Jesus’s own reading and Paul’s own telling, if we read it broadly, drawing on the trajectory of the big story, the grand meta-narrative as some put it. Simply put, the “creation-fall-redemption-restoration” story is especially helpful even if he, Older Testament scholar that he is, might flesh it out a bit more. Seeing the big picture matters. I think he is right about that.

Secondly, he seems to be connecting what some have called “the cultural mandate” with “the great commission.” Our divine calling and human task is to tend and keep the garden (what Andy Crouch called “culture-making.”) The command to make disciples among the peoples is merely a way to restore our foundational calling. I think, if this is what he says, that he would be right.

Thirdly, he is offering, as he has before, foregrounded a missional reading of the story and opened up a missional understanding of God’s redemptive work in the world.

As the publisher says, “Wright encourages us to explore the Bible’s grand narrative and to bring “the whole counsel of God in Scripture to our understanding of who we are and what we must do as God’s people on the earth. He helps us understand mission in its broadest sense, including our creational responsibilities.”

Woo-hoo, and praise the Lord. This is such good news, a great author piecing together so much that is truly essential. I suspect you have not heard this put so clearly before, and commend it to leaders, preachers, and anyone wanting to “seek first the Kingdom.” We are eagerly taking pre-orders now. Shipping in mid-February, we hope.

Saint Patrick the Forgiver retold and illustrated by Ned Bustard (IVP Kids) $18.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40

We were so happy to hear two years ago that IVP was starting a children’s line and what an honor it was for Ned’s bright and beautifully done Saint Nicholas the Gift Giver to be their inaugural release. This new one is similar, but, I think, even better. I love the bold printing, the bright, rich green, the Celtic-theme art. As before, Saint Patrick the Forgiver is a story told in almost musical rhyme. What a poem this is! The linocut illustrations, while artful (and more complex to make than many of us may realize) appear simple and clear. It’s a very nice blending of lots of content and eye-catching style.

The story teaches children that the famous Bishop of Ireland wasn’t Irish; I’m sure you know he was captured and enslaved. After his miraculous escape he returned to bring the gospel to the Irish. Naturally, it tells of Patrick teaching the “blessed mystery” of the Three-in-One by way of the shamrock, an admittedly inaccurate description. It shares more tales (including the baptism of the giant) and how the pagan Druid customs mostly faded away. The last page includes the line “Christ above me, Christ within” and nearly made me cry. The afterword includes some suggestions for further study. Great for wee ones (maybe ages 4 – 8) although adults will love it too.

While the source material is limited, what we do know of Patrick of Ireland is that he carried within himself a great passion for the good news of Jesus and a great love for the people of Ireland. Ned Bustard’s delightful children’s book Saint Patrick the Forgiver captures this gospel spirit of the Celtic missionary and, just for fun, weaves in a few of the charming legends connected to his amazing life. — Jeff Johnson, musician and composer

This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us Cole Arthur Riley (Convergent) $18.00 just out in paperback  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40

We have been delighted to exclaim about this back when we first heard it was coming out, then as a preorder, then when it released less than a year ago, and then named it as one of our Best Books of 2022.  It is now, the first week of February 2023, coming out in paperback. Hooray.

You can see my comments HERE or HERE, although it has been reviewed in more notable circles, such as the New York Times and Library Review and The National Catholic Reporter. It’s a moving read, a memoir and broad-minded spiritual meditation by a young black writer increasingly aware of the power of her story.



It is very helpful if you tell us how you prefer us to ship your orders.

The weight and destination of your package varies but you can use this as a quick, general guide:

There are generally two kinds of US Mail options, and, of course, UPS. If necessary, we can do overnight and other expedited methods, too. Just ask.

  • United States Postal Service has the option called “Media Mail” which is cheapest but can be slow. For one typical book, usually, it’s about $3.85; 2 lbs would be $4.55.
  • United States Postal Service has another option called “Priority Mail” which is $8.50,  if it fits in a flat rate envelope. Many children’s books and some Bibles are oversized so that might take the next size up which is $9.20. “Priority Mail” gets much more attention than does “Media Mail” and is often just a few days to anywhere in the US.
  • UPS Ground is reliable but varies by weight and distance and may take longer than USPS. We’re happy to figure out your options for you once we know what you want.

If you just want to say “cheapest” that is fine. If you are eager and don’t want the slowest method, do say so. It really helps us serve you well so let us know. Just saying “US Mail” isn’t helpful because there are those two methods, one cheaper but slower, one more costly but quicker. Which do you prefer?



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No, COVID is not fully over. Since few are reporting their illnesses anymore, it is tricky to know the reality but the best measurement is to check the water tables to see the amount of virus in the eco-system. It’s still bad, and worsening (again.) With flu and new stuff spreading, many hospitals are overwhelmed. It’s important to be particularly aware of how risks we take might effect the public good. It is complicated for us, so we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family, staff, and customers.) The vaccination rate here in York County is sadly lower than average. Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation so we are trying to be wise. Thanks for understanding.

Please, wherever you are, do your best to be sensitive to those who are most at risk. Many of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, congregants, and family members may need to be protected since more than half of Americans (it seems) have medical reasons to worry about longer hazards from even seemingly mild COVID infections.

We are doing our famous curb-side and back yard customer service and can show any number of items to you if you call us from our back parking lot. It’s sort of fun, actually. We are eager to serve and grateful for your patience as we all work to mitigate the pandemic. We are very happy to help do if you are in the area, do stop by.

Of course, we’re happy to ship books anywhere. 

We are here 10:00 – 6:00 EST /  Monday – Saturday, closed on Sunday.

PART THREE of the Hearts & Minds Best Books of 2022 — 20 MORE, ALL ON SALE

You know sometimes when awards shows on TV get long, and they have to shorten some of the speeches? It feels a bit distracting, counting down how much time is left, and yet you know there’s some great (even important) awards to celebrate. And some good comments, maybe some surprise fun.

Welcome to the third installment of the Hearts & Minds Best Books of 2022. I’m going to try to keep it brief so we can get this thing wrapped. I’ve noted before my ambivalence about declaring my own personal favs “the best” but there it is.  We invite you to consider these titles, knowing how I value them. Please take in my short acceptance speeches on their behalf (since, well, the authors and publishers can’t be with us – they don’t even know about this.) I get to say why they matter to me and hopefully why they might matter to you. 

Scroll through to the end in order to see them all — you’ll find the order button at the very bottom. That takes you to our secure Hearts & Minds order form page which you can easily fill out. Be sure to notice the section asking how you want them sent.

(Basically, the options are the cheapest (USPS Media Mail) which can be a little slower, or quicker, which costs more, depending on distance and weight and whatnot. Let us know if you have clear preferences, or just ask if have questions.)

We’re here to celebrate books, affirm our growing community of readers, and get these books into your hands. Spread the word if you’d like. We’re always looking for friends and fans to support this work and we are grateful for those who send orders our way.

In the meantime, know that you are the best, reading as you do. Kudos to authors, publishers, sales reps, delivery guys, our hard working team here at the shop, and — perhaps most importantly — you, the readers, the heroes of the story.

(See Part One HERE and Part Two HERE.)


Celebrities for Jesus: How Personas, Platforms, and Profits are Hurting the Church Katelyn Beaty (Brazos Press) $24.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99

My advanced copy of the manuscript is marked up and I knew, even as I was enthralled last summer, that it would be on my list of favorite reads and most important books. It is readable, breezy, in a way, but deadly serious. It’s hard to explain how a book about such unpleasant stuff — the sexual abuse perpetrated by Ravi Zacharias, say, or the loony wealth of some hip,  young, megachurch stars, or the shenanigans of some popular authors and their ghost writers — can be mostly enjoyable and very exciting. But it is and I seriously recommend it.

Publishers Weekly gave it a coveted “starred review” and said it is “required reading for all who love the church.”

It is not a book filled with gossip or mocking the obviously mockable. Such an approach would perhaps stand in the tradition of the prophets, maybe event use harsh satire, to expose the foolishness that passes within the Christian community today. But this is not that, just so you know.

Celebrities for Jesus is a study of how, as the subtitle suggests, too-often profit-driven creation of celebrity has afflicted the contemporary church. She does some history, some asset observations about the notions of celebrity, and makes extraordinary analysis of what Joni Mitchell once called the “star making machinery.”

I’ve said more about this here and many have complimented Katelyn on her honest, and even vulnerable, expose. Fame and power and maybe even wealth are not necessarily bad, but many — especially within the evangelical subculture — have a fixation on celebrity. She worries about the consequences of such social power without proximity (and sounds like a modern-day Eugene Peterson at times.) The lust for fame and the promotion of platforms has really gone awry in many ways, and this brave book calls us to faithful spirituality, mature theologically grappling with our postures towards culture. Her stuff on the book publisher world was, for this book lover, eye opening and yet utterly familiar. As one who works in Christian publishing she brings the details about what many have had hunches for years.

Stupendously convicting and well-researched. Celebrities for Jesus provides a timely, sober reflection on the toxic culture that often arises when piety and popularity mix.       — Jemar Tisby, author of The Color of Compromise and How to Fight Racism

Beaty brings knowledge and insights that will help anyone wanting to disentangle their faith from celebrity culture. But, even more than this, she offers an honest, humble self-examination that is a model many of us in the church need to follow. — Karen Swallow Prior, professor, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; author of On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books

Unruly Saints: Dorthy Day’s Radical Vision and Its Challenge for Our Times D.L. Mayfield (Broadleaf Books) $26.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $21.59

Speaking of celebrities, here is a book about one who was, at her height of fame, incredibly well known in the Roman Catholic community, at least, and a radical inspiration for a rising generation of socially engaged young evangelicals, from Jim Wallis to Shane Claiborne. But, having committed to voluntary poverty and living, often, with the homeless and guests at her houses of hospitality, she mostly avoided the allure of fame and leveraged her influence for the sake of the poor. She was, as the title of this splendid biography puts it, unruly.

This book is somewhat of a memoir by the excellent writer and honest thinker D.L Mayfield, who wrote a previous memoir-like account of her work with refugees. She cares about people, wants to serve the outcasts, and desires, deeply to be found faithful by Jesus. Like Day, Mayfield is confounded that many don’t take Jesus all that seriously when He gives direct command to care for the poor and work for peace. Day was an unruly saint, indeed, in part because of her love for God and her following the ways of Jesus.

This may be my favorite biography of Day. Or at least my favorite short one.(For the record, for a longer one, Dorothy Day: Dissenting Voice of the American Century is doubtlessly the best.) Unduly Saint, though, is fiery, fun, interesting, telling of the evangelical Mayfield’s own discovery of Dorothy. She tells Day’s story with energy and seriousness, inviting us all to take her life and message seriously. Dorothy’s old friend and former managing editor of the Catholic Worker, Robert Ellsberg, has a nice forward.

If you don’t know much about Dorothy Day and her dramatic life, you owe it to yourself to discover her and this is a great way to read a bit about her. A prefect choice, actually. If you do know Day, then you’ll love this. Lisa Sharon Harper calls it “a gift to the world.” Right on.

Fortune: How Race Broke My Family and the World And How to Repair It All Lisa Sharon Harper (Brazos Press) $24.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99

How can I not list this — it was one of the most memorable books I’ve read in years and a powerful example of a personal memoir with a social vision. There are tender moments, passionate stories, historical details with the constant backdrop of the barbarism of enslavement hovering. But yet, angering as it is to read about the mistreatment of real families of real people we care about (like Lisa, an author we admire and true friend) Fortune isn’t morose. It’s a fascinating and engaging read and we name it as one of the very best books of 2022.

You may recall a week or so ago I announced the “award” we gave to Amina Perry for her South to America. That was a massive work that I couldn’t put down but throughout I kept wondering if she knew Lisa’s book. I’m sure Lisa knows hers.

Jamar Tisby is right that this is “nothing less than an epic and true story of race, religion, history, and identity.” She is what Ruby Sales calls “a masterful storyteller” and we were thrilled to read about her own generational research, the DNA research, the documents she found, the oral histories. Ending with a solid vision of restoration and repair, Fortune: How Race Broke My Family and the World and How to Repair It All is a great, great book.

Plain: A Memoir of a Mennonite Girlhood Mary Alice Hostetter (University of Wisconsin Press) $26.95    OUR SALE PRICE = $21.56

I have pondered this, wondering why I was so very drawn, reading it non-stop one long Sunday afternoon. I wanted to just dip in a bit and found myself deeply captivated by this story of a Lancaster County farm girl in a fundamentalist family near a town we know well. There are farm chores and animals and a mostly loving, large family and there are revivalist preachers and end times scares. She is embarrassed by her plain style (and there is a chilling scene in which a public school teacher mocked the pacifism of Mennonite and Amish fathers who did not fight in World War II.) It is a gentle story, told fairly simply, and I kept turning the pages.

There are scenes central Pennsylvanians will understand well. She worked at Plain and Fancy for a while and talks easily about the Lincoln Highway, and there are scenes that only some will understand — the feelings she experienced in her first foot washing service was exquisitely told.

I turned the pages in part because I knew what was coming; Plain is part of a series by this publisher offering the stories of LGTBQ writers and while Hostetter’s sexual longings are not explored very much at all, it is a fabulous story of a person’s religious identity, belonging and not, of difference, and how her extended family coped with several families members moving away from the closed-knit community.

Actually most of the story is more generally about Mary Alice’s faith and lifestyle choices — she attends a Presbyterian church for a while (gasp!) and wears fashionable outfits as she teaches school and develops friendships in the upscale Philadelphia main line. She returns to the family farm often (and at least once a year to receive communion at the small country church) so this is not a story of family animosity or religious exclusion. But she is not a rigorous Anabaptist (and perhaps not a rigorous Christian at all; it is unexplored.) She leaves teaching, moves to Appalachia and helps restore an impoverished small town in a classic West Virginia holler.

When near the end of the book she writes to her strict, religious father — in his 95th year and by now in a Mennonite nursing home, having long lost the beloved farm — to share about her lesbian partner, he pondered it a bit and came to conclude that it shouldn’t tear apart a family.  If only all such memoirs ended that well. I had tears in my eyes as I finished it, quiet as it was, and then wanted more. Some say that is the sign of a truly great read.

The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind – with a New Preface & Afterword. Mark A. Noll (Eerdmans) $28.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $23.19

This anniversary edition, a reprinted volume with a new long preface and a solid afterword, is, as was the 1994 original, nothing short of brilliant. I devoured the new introduction and that afterward, wondering how Noll would frame this re-issue of the “prescient, perennially relevant, award-winning” book.

He has to revisit the question about whether or not we’ve had much progress away from the scandal of evangelical anti-intellectualism. He has to ask if his project — as historian and uniquely Christian scholar — is still urgent. Oh my, yes, yes, it is.

Of course he laments the way in which the very word “evangelical” has come to mean something somewhat other than it once did. With MAGA idolatry and alt-right ideology, for some, evangelicalism is a far cry from the robust, wholistic, Christ-centered, Christian worldview it once was. He struggles with that and his brief introduction is well worth the price of the book.

I trust you know the importance of this major work, one that I’d list as a key title showing some of why Hearts & Minds was started and what we are trying to be and accomplish. It means a lot to me, and I’d say it is one that is every bit as timely now as before. I was glad that, unlike many books we promote, this was, in the 1990s, reviewed in The New York Times and Commonweal and taken seriously in many places. CT named it their Book of the Year and Os Guinness said evangelicals should “finish it on their knees.”

Here are some others who have shared their story of why the new edition is so important.

More than a quarter century ago, Mark Noll issued a scathing indictment of the evangelical mind. The fact that the scandal has only intensified since then is a testament both to the depth of the problem Noll identified and the urgent need to revisit its causes and reconsider its remedies at this critical juncture of evangelical history.  — Kristin Kobes du Mez, author of Jesus and John Wayne

This book changed my life. Like countless others who grew up in the thick of the scandal, I found Noll’s ‘cry de coeur on behalf of the intellectual life’ at once revelatory and convicting. In this new edition Noll tackles the post-2016 landscape head on, considering whether ‘the evangelical mind’ is in fact an oxymoron — and ensuring in the process that this book will remain a must-read for decades to come.  — Heath Carter, coeditor Turning Points in the History of American Evangelicalism

The City for God: Essays Honoring the Work of Timothy Keller edited by Ned Bustard (Square Halo Books) $24.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99

I honor this one of a kind book even as it is designed to honor the Kingdom work of PCA pastor and cultural thought leader, Tim Keller. Agree or not with all of Keller’s theology or analysis or, now, global church-planting networks, there is little doubt that he is one of the finest evangelical public intellectuals of our time, fluent in philosophy and cultural studies, the arts, and political discourse. He’s a gentleman scholar, not an activist, and, in that, it seems he has been faulted a bit by those in the academy (he’s not a professional scholar) and by those who are in the streets, doing gritty work of visiting prisoners and protesting injustice.

He has been a fabulously interesting church planter in an era when there were few seriously evangelical churches in Manhattan and his emphasis on thoughtful messages, cultural engagement, and foregrounding the call to think Christianly about work, has all been a distinctive mark of his presence in New York. Many have modeled their own common good ministries for their cities after his own teachings about nurturing a sense of place and a passion for the public square.

There is an eagerly awaited major biography coming soon (Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation by Collin Hansen, to be published next month by Zondervan; $26.99 – OUR SALE PRICE = $21.59) and we are taking pre-orders for it. I am very eager to see it, and hope to review it before long. For now, though, I seriously hold up this excellent 2022 resource as perhaps the best book we have seen — perhaps that we will ever see — about the character, pastoring, faith, and service of Tim Keller.

As I said in my first review at BookNotes earlier this year, The City for God is a collection of nearly 20 essays by friends, co-workers, colleagues and writers who admire Keller’s life and work. There is theology, spiritual formation, testimony, Biblical study, and lots of great stories. Even if you know little about this Reformed advocate for culturally-astute ministry and even if you don’t know the names in this collection, nearly every one is fabulous. You can read them in nearly any order and I am confident that you will be blessed, challenged, informed, and inspired. It is one of the Best Books of 2022 and a great example of how to write in the vein of, on the shoulders of, and alongside the work of Keller and Redeemer. Kudos, all.

Eighth-Day Discipleship: New Visions for Faith, Work, and Economics Richard H. Bliese  (Fortress) $22.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $17.60

I do not want to have our honoring of this good book sound like insider-baseball, as they say, suggesting it is only for those already involved in the wide-spread faith and work conversation. Sure, there is a movement these days, networks of ministries, equipping centers, podcasts and support groups and study materials. We have one of the larger collection of books on sale on this topic, anywhere, so I’m a bit skeptical when there appears yet another book on serving God in the work-a-day world, on living into and out of our visions of vocation. I’m glad, but not burning to read one more.

And then I decided I really should pick up Eighth-Day Discipleship and I was hooked. He is a solid Lutheran leader who has served the church in many creative ways He does, indeed, bring a fresh perspective and it is alway good when mainline denominational presses release books about discipleship. But this is not just a rehash of the importance of congregants taking their faith into their careers and callings, not just another study of marketplace mission. I was enthralled by Bliese’s integration of such a wide array of sources. I was glad that he not only cites some well-known Reformed insights (yep, he cites Abraham Kuyper) but also on elements of Luther’s Catechism.

We are glad for a book which has so many interesting folks endorsing it from a wide spectrum of church settings. I like that it not only invites personal faith that is applied to Monday work contexts but also looks at economics and the principalities and powers that deform our systemic and structural social lives. I like that he isn’t pessimistic about that, but does call for a moral framework for thinking about big, economic questions. I appreciate his creedal perspective and his bit about an “eight sided church” is great. I like his faith, his hope, his love.

Lutherans really need this, but, to be honest, maybe those less familiar with the nuances of Lutheran catechism might like it even more.

Blood From a Stone: A Memoir of How Wine Brought Me Back from the Dead Adam McHugh (IVP) $20.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00

When I announced this at BookNotes earlier this fall I was hurrying, I’m sure. We had just got a stack of these in, maybe a bit early, and I wanted to shout about it. I looked at the table of contents, saw the rave reviews on the back, got a sense that it was clever and a good, redemptive story, and highlighted it. We sold a few and I was glad.

Now that I’ve read almost all of it I can say it is truly one of the most enjoyable and enthralling books I’ve read all year. I’m so excited about this and without giving too much away, I’ll say just a few quick things to try to convince you to join me in celebrating this amazing book, which was, I gather, a long time in coming. What a story!

McHugh was a college pastor, then a PCUSA clergyman, and then a hospice chaplain. He lost that job and then was re-hired, on the graveyard shift. For a rather melancholy guy (who also wrote the remarkable Introverts in the Church) with some major ill-content (and a marriage on the rocks) working with the dying in the middle of the night, night after night, was not, as they say, a good fit. He was literally dying inside.

And, seriously, he writes about this morose stuff with a fabulous vocabulary, a fine sense of humor, amazing wit, and, well, a little bit of mouthy attitude. I’m not sure I’ve seen this sort of, uh, colorful language in an IVP book before but I have to admit it tickled me. His writing was so moving about his near-despair that I nearly got weepy, and then he had me laughing right out loud. Or rolling my eyes when a joke was a bit much or just didn’t land right. But mostly, the writing is just wonderful, a gift, a generous gift. It is a really entertain read — just about the most fun I’ve had reading all year, which maybe says something about me, I suppose.

And then “the corkscrewing tale of how I got to Santa Ynez” — where he now works as a wine tour guide — begins in earnest. He goes on a fabulous trip to the wine country of Southern France and one learns not only about vines and terroir, and castles and medieval religious conflicts and religious orders, but also Van Gogh and soil and place and love and hope. It’s a great couple of chapters and I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying the ride, even as you learn so much about the French countryside and the wine it produces.

After France he ends up back in California and learns more about the good gift of wine, about friendship, about place. There’s so much interesting here as his story unfolds, as he teaches from the Bible and from wine history, even as his own vocation is being clarified. (His reflections on the emotional constraints of a pastor, and the joys and hardships of working with the dying are honest and fantastic!)  He has to say no to, and has to grieve the loss of, some old identities and welcome some new stuff, which he gets off his chest even in the writing; it is so palatable.

Blood From a Stone is a marvelous book, about wine history, about McHugh’s life, about faith and doubt and struggle and new possibilities. He drinks a lot, knows a lot, shares a lot. Almost always with a lot of wit and a lot of verve, even some of the book is about loss. I loved this book and may write more about it if the spirit moves. Cheers!

Wild Things and Castles in the Sky: A Guide to Choosing the Best Books for Children edited by Leslie Bustard, Carey Bustard, and Thea Rosenburg (Square Halo Books) $29.99                                  OUR SALE PRICE = $23.99

I raved and raved about this, so glad about it and wanting to have parents and grandparents of all ages appreciate the many chapters where various authors ruminate on why books matter in the lives of children. As I said in my BookNotes review, this is much more than a listing of titles (although there are bibliographic suggestions after every chapter that are handy when you head to the library or are making out your Hearts & Minds order.) Rather, it is a collection of thoughtful, often passionate and often poetic, pieces that show how to think about certain genres of children’s literature.

The contributors to this big volume are not famous (although Mitali Perkins is very highly regarded in YA work) but several are published authors. I love Margie Haack and Andy Ashworth and Katy Bowser Hutson, for instance and it is terrific to see them here. Matthew Dickerson has a great chapter on “Sorrow and Grace in Tolkien’s Works.” All, though, worked hard to create excellent chapters on their assigned topics, ranging from “Middle Grade Fiction’ to “Latino Literature”, from “Classic Picture Books” to “Family Reads.” There are chapters about books for toddlers,  chapters about books for high schoolers. There is a piece on graphic novels and there is a good chapter on poetry. From books about suffering to books about art appreciation to a good chapter on reading about those who are differently abled, this collection just doesn’t stop. There’s so much. A few are aesthetically oriented, thoughtful about representation or rhyme; others are eminently practical. Wild Things and Castles in the Sky is the best book I’ve seen to remind us all why books for children matter. Hooray.

For any parents or grandparent, any aunt or uncle, this generous guide for “what to read next” to your beloveds is a heartwarming, mind-enlarging appetizing pathfinder to the wide range of available kid-lit.  — Luci Shaw

The Wonders of Creation: Learning Stewardship from Narnia and Middle-Earth Kristen Page, with contributions from Christina Bieber Lake, Noah Toly, and Emily Hunger McGowan (IVP) $22.00                      OUR SALE PRICE = $17.60

Whenever a book is done in conjunction with the prestigious and important Marion Wade Center at Wheaton College, we take notice. It is the premium location collection C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien artifacts, papers, and forming a community of contemporary like-minded dreamers, writers, thinkers, artists. The Wonders of Creation came about in what are called the Hansen Lectureship Series which offers “accessible and insightful reflections by Wheaton College faculty members on the transformative work of the Wade Center authors.”

This one is a real winner, truly one of the most fun and interesting books of the year.

Here’s the question: “When an author of fiction employs their imagination and sets characters in a new location, they are in a sense creating a world. Might such fictional worlds give us a deeper appreciation for our own?”

And, if yes, the question is what we might learn from the beloved fictional landscapes of Narnia and Middle-Earth about caring for real-life landscapes, becoming better care-takers of God’s good creation.

Yep, this is a delightful set of lectures — with responses from Wheaton faculty — about the interface of fiction and climate change, fantasy and reality, Tolkien and Lewis, on one hand, and the concerns of creation-care and ecological ethics today. Wow.

For anyone who grew up mentally wandering the forests of Narnia or Middle-earth, this book will be a joy and a revelation–you’ll be reminded just how deep those images went into your heart. I’m pretty sure the best place to read it is with your back against a tree trunk on a sunny day–but if it’s cold and snowy out, these pages will summon that summer in your soul. — Bill McKibben, author of the Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon

The Wonders of Creation is a creative, insightful, and well-written book. It is, furthermore, a timely tome that shows how fictional landscapes, such as those created by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, can inspire us to care for the damaged landscapes of our world today. Drawing on careful readings of Lewis and Tolkien, ecologist Kristen Page weaves a tapestry of reflections on ecological literacy, lament, and wonder…The thoughtful writing in The Wonders of Creation will foster our care of our home places.  —Steven Bouma-Prediger, Hope College, author of For the Beauty of the Earth and Earthkeeping and Character: Exploring a Christian Ecological Virtue Ethic

The Completion of C.S. Lewis: From War to Joy (1945- 1963) Harry Lee Poe (Crossway Books) $34.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $27.99

At last, the remarkably good and highly regarded Poe trilogy on C.S. Lewis has been complete and this is surely a landmark in Lewis studies. The first two are Becoming C. S. Lewis (1898-1918): A Biography of Young Jack Lewis and The Making of C. S. Lewis: From Atheist to Apologist (1918-1945.) Now we celebrate and honor volume three, The Completion of C.S. Lewis that just came out this fall.

Many Lewis fans have their favorite biography (such as the wonderfully written The Narnian by the great Alan Jacobs or perhaps Alister McGrath’s thoughtful C.S. Lewis: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet or, for a short read, Not a Tame Lion: The Life, Teachings, and Legacy of C.S. Lewis, one you should have on hand.)

Anyone serious about Lewis’s life and times simply must know of these Poe volumes, though. They are handsomely made, exquisite, almost, and exceptional in clarity and drama, well-researched and wonderfully told. These are, as Lewis genius James Como (founder of the New York C.S. Lewis Society and author of the popular Oxford University Press “Very Short Introduction” to Lewis) says, “require reading (including the notes!)” As he puts it, it shows “the ironies, tribulations, joys, and triumphs of a major figure of twentieth-century world literature.”

Others agree that this third volume is truly deserving of much applause.

Harry Lee Poe covers an extraordinary continuity of unfolding events and realities — moving from the effects of Lewis’s coming of age to outstanding maturity. — Colin Duriez, author of C.S. Lewis: A Biography of Friends and Tolkien and C.S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship

To read this book is to walk side-by-side with Lewis through day-to-day life as well as through the life-changing events of his latter decades.  — Carol Zaleski, Professor of World Religions, author of The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams.

Salty: Lessons on Eating, Drinking, and Living from Revolutionary Women Alissa Wilkinson (Broadleaf Books) $25.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $20.79

The long opening introduction to Salty offers just such luscious writing, fun and energetic, eloquent, colorful, tasty, even. It invites us to a table —and from the sounds of it, it’s going to be quite a bash. The classic question of who you would invite to your quintessential meal with anyone hovers around the book, obviously and Wilkinson earnestly invites readers to ponder that themselves. She is learned and knows her way around foodie stuff, but the opening story about an open air market was so engaging, I was really jazzed.

Then the tone changed a bit, I think, and this is fine. I’m not sure I could handle that breathy style for almost 200 pages. The book is indeed about “eating and drinking” but it is also very much about the women who show up to this fictional party. As she guesses, some of them you may know. (Hannah Arendt and Maya Angelou? Octavia Butler and Alice B. Toklas? Holy smokes!)

Yes, this invites us to “gather around the table with a group of extraordinary women to explore how eating and drinking can ground us, sustain us, and connect us.” There is a Capon quote early on.

I think part of what made this so enjoyable for me, so unique, so award-winning, was less the dinner party itself, but the histories of the women. Salty, creatively written by a film critic and creative writer, and somewhat edited by the master Lauren Winner, does have extraordinary structure. But it also has tons of good stories about these nine women. (Not to mention clever drawings and a great bibliography after each chapter.)

The back cover said they are “sharp, empowered, and often subversive women” As Lauren herself comments in a blurb, “it is Alissa Wilkinson herself — the host of this dinner party and the author of this book — who turns out to be the most vivacious presence. It’s not nine companions this book offers; crucially, it offers ten”

Agreed. This whole thing — the dinner party, the recipes, the cocktails, the foodie writing, the women, the lessons learned from them, and Alissa’s own strong (and at times vulnerable) voice that makes this a major release — in one you should know. It’s one of my favorite books of 2022. It’s perfect for a book club, too, by the way. Join the feast!

Practice of the Presence of God: A Revolutionary Translation Brother Lawrence, translated by Carmen Acevedo Butcher (Broadleaf Books) $25.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $20.79

This is such a fabulous book, a smallish, compact hardback with a colorful cover, that just feels like a delight to hold, perfect for the book experience you will have when you take it up. It is, as I am sure you understand, a new translation by a fresh, vivid, deeply mystical writer herself, of this old, old classic. As I said in my BookNotes review, I loved the story of Lawrence learning to pray while doing the dishes, the idea of practicing being attentive to God’s daily presence. The actual old book, well, it’s one of those one is supposed to read, but most don’t. Or if they do, like me, it just wasn’t that captivating. I got the gist.

Now! Now we have a wonderful new translation — hot, I think I’d call it, or maybe it’s cool. It’s a cool package of a hot translation, fresh and lively and informed and contemplative. Butcher is a fine writer— we have other books of hers, daily devotionals and other translations of spiritual classics. Putting a fresh coat of paint on such a lasting classic must have been daunting for her but she shows no trepidation. She is sure of her holy calling, and this strong rendering is a great example of how a new translation can bring an old classic up to date, so to speak. It is a major literary contribution, a lovely gift of 2022 that will endure for a long, long time.

Mirabi Starr captures much of what’s so great about this book. Let’s let her say it:

What a bold, vibrant, and potent translation of this mystical masterpiece! As she did with the perennial wisdom jewel Cloud of Unknowing, Carmen Acevedo Butcher once again breaks open the stilted and patriarchal language that encrusts our most life-giving spiritual treasures and makes The Practice of the Presence of God easy to grasp and impossible to resist. Its author, the humble seventeenth-century sage Brother Lawrence, reminds us that every task, no matter how ordinary, is a fresh opportunity for drawing near to the Friend. And that the more we take refuge in this intimacy, frequently repeating such phrases as ‘My God, I am all yours, ‘ or ‘God of love, I love you with all my heart, ‘ or ‘Love, create in me a new heart,’ the more often we find ourselves simply resting in the presence of Love Itself. — Mirabai Starr, translator of John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and Julian of Norwich; author of God of Love and Wild Mercy

Earth Filled with Heaven: Finding Life in Liturgy, Sacraments, and Other Ancient Practices of the Church Aaron Damiani (Moody Press) $14.99              OUR SALE PRICE = $11.99

This is a book I really enjoyed and truly valued and want to hold up as worthy of our best books list. I say this carefully and sincerely — it fills a real need and his writing style is such that it reaches a certain sort of audience. And this deserves a lot of holy hullabaloo, if you ask me. Although that’s not the way this Anglican mystic would put it.

Here’s the deal. Damiani was a former evangelical. Maybe charismatic. He was narrow in his Biblical interpretation (and still may be) and solid in his theological bone fides (which he certainly still is.) And then he discovered — as many have in recent decades — what was once called “The Canterbury Trail.” He didn’t convert to Episcopalianism, though, or Orthodoxy, but to the new version of evangelical Anglicanism that is growing everywhere these days. He is currently an Anglican priest in the ACNA.

I lament the splits within the Anglican communion but it is, as they say, what it is. And this book shows how a younger generation is rising to lead vibrant sacramental worship, teaching many about spiritual formation, about eucharist, about liturgy, about ordered worship and fixed hour prayer. There are ancient habits of faith that have shaped more liturgical churches for thousands of years and the most vibrant voices for that tradition, these days, it seems, are former evangelicals, newly embracing a deeper, more ancient sort of discipleship and congregational life. That this deep and wise book quoting church fathers and Orthodox monks and sacramental scholars passed muster of Moody Press speaks volumes. That they dressed it up so nicely with colored pages and nice ink and handsome pull quotes makes it that much more attractive.

There are other more scholarly Anglican works, there are serious Lutheran and Catholic theologians writing about the mysteries of the liturgy. We have bunches. But this is reaching out to new folks who may not be prepared to read Alexander Schmemann or Gordon Lathrop, let alone Fagerberg’s Liturgical Dogmatics, etc. Earth Filled With Heaven is a great entry to good things.

Steeped in Stories: Timeless Children’s Novels to Refresh Our Tired Souls Mitali Perkins (Broadleaf) $24.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99

I mentioned Matali Perkins above, noting that she contributed a chapter to the lovely and broad book Wild Things and Castles in the Sky. She has written some children’s picture books and she has won prestigious YA awards for crafting some of the most memorable and important juvenile fiction in recent years.

We were ecstatic to see that she has published this lovely book, a call to take kids books seriously and to learn from their nuances, wisdom, and artful storytelling. For those who love books, some of this is common and familiar – the power of story, the glory of language, the religious importance of fiction. Yes, yes, and yes!

And there is her own wisdom as a guide for us all. Significantly, she warns about cultural blindspots in old tales, stuff we should be aware of, even offended by, but, with grace and discernment, never throws the baby out with the bathwater. She offers a robust and visionary capacity to love good stories, even when there is weirdness in them. Even when we have to push back.

As it declares on the back cover, “the stores we read as children shape us for the rest of our lives.” As do the stories we read to our children and grandchildren, loved ones and neighbors. This book is beautifully crafted and vital, lovely and important. One of the Best Books of 2022.

Mitali Perkins’s winsome way with words seeps through every page of this useful guide that’s so much more than a guide. Her love of classic writing, even with all its flaws, serves as a compass for us to navigate the ins and outs of timeless stories so that they do more than entertain our modern craving for amusement.  –Tsh Oxenreider, author of At Home in the World and Shadow and Light

Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious – Reframed & Expanded David Dark (Broadleaf) $18.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.19

This is an awards show, ladies and gents, and time is running short. I should write pages on this provocative book (and, in fact, I have, when I reviewed the first fabulous 2016 IVP hardback edition.) David has always been a storyteller, a good writer, and an observant reporter on the human condition and I admire him so much.

(One earlier book was called The Sacredness of Questioning Everything which itself hints something about his way.)

This new edition of Life’s Too Short to Pretend… is notably reframed. It’s an important word for him, I think. In a long afterword he talks about repenting, even. He’s not just tweaking things a bit, he is offering regrets for how he was perhaps dismissive or argumentative. This really is remarkable, actually, the example of a good person who is willing to change his mind and revisit previous books.

It is complicated to try to paraphrase quickly the exceptionally complex oration found in those closing pages; even more to explain the dense new opening. Agree or not (heck, understand fully or not) it is worth it to savor every sentence, some which come strong, others that have a smiling wit. It is a reading experience like none other and at the very least I want to honor this extraordinary book for its candor, breathtaking sentences, moral seriousness, and yet good humor. It’s not everybody who can be so full of zeal and so kind, so honest to say what he thinks and yet willing to say he must repent of some of his rhetoric and intellectual formulations. This is one heck of a read, a book I think I will ponder for a long time.

Hear these two women who say why they value Life’s Too Short…

For those of us who claim to be religious and those of us who religiously deny such labels, Dark grants us the gift and burden to think deeply about the imagination, scaffolding, and consequences of our religiosity. In reading his journey and cautions, my sense of personal accountability and religious identity were expanded. Such is a book that reads the reader and if we stick with it we gain insight into self and neighbor. — Christina Edmondson, scholar activist, author of Faithful Antiracism and host of Truth’s Table podcast

David Dark is one of our most astute and necessary cultural critics. His work gracefully opens new doors of understanding and breaks down barriers between secular and non-, and it puts a lot of old mythology out to pasture with a daring affirmation at the heart of his radical critique. Life’s Too Short refreshingly ropes everyone in, insisting that we’re all in it together.  — Jessica Hopper, author of The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic

Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy Jamie Raskin (Harper) $18.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.19

I like some books that are ponderous, weighty, provocative, nuanced. Others grab me immediately, make me rage and weep and I want to tell everyone about them. Last summer I read six big books about the crazy “Stop the Steal” movement and the latter-day MAGA lies leading to the storming of the Capitol on January 6th. Book after book I read on, late into the night, and I wrote a long BookNotes review hoping to interest readers in joining this deep dive into what happened just a few years ago. And then I read Jamie Raskin’s stunning book, now out in paperback, and I knew it was the best of them all, a book I would gladly list as one of the most important books of recent years, a lively memoir of a public servant stuck in the revolt of the alt-right, and duty-bound to speak out and stand with integrity.

But what really grabbed me was the backstory (or is it the lead story?) — the unthinkable loss of Mr. Raskin’s when his adult son who committed suicide on December 31st 2020. The brave telling of this vulnerable tale makes Unthinkable a political/current events book unlike any you’ve ever read. (And Raskin’s moment-by-moment description of January 6th and the brave, urgent work in the weeks following, always entangled with the family heartbreak of the loss of their son, makes this a family grief memoir unlike any you’ve ever read.)

The accolades for this marvelous read have poured in (even as the hate mail and death threats have as well.) Laurence Tribe of Harvard calls it “a masterpiece”  Vogue called it “extraordinary.” I call it one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Unthinkable is not a work of emotional austerity; rather, it is an unburdening, a howl, a devotional. The grief is nightmarish, but the love that suffuses the text is even more powerful — the love for family and a lost child, as well as a love for a fragile democracy. It takes its greatest inspiration from the idealism of Raskin’s son. — David Remnick, The New Yorker


Voices of Lament: Reflections on Brokenness and Hope in a World Longing for Justice edited by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson (Fleming Revell) $19.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99

The editor of this classy volume, Natasha Robinson, is a memoirist who wrote a great story of her own very interesting life (A Sojourner’s Truth) and a fine book on discipling others called Mentor for Life. Here she has pulled together a remarkable array of black women to reflect — almost like a daily devotional — line by line on Psalm 37. Do you know it?

There are seven main portions — strophes, we are told — and these are sort of like units or chapters. Within each of these seven sections there are four (although one section has more) devotional contributions, starting with a poem, making this great for a 30-day read.

Here is how the publisher puts it:

Inspired by Psalm 37 and inviting empathy and healing, Christian Women of Color who have faced deep suffering and injustice hold their lament in holy tension with hope and love through this unique collection of reflections, poetry, and prayer.

Even if the content wasn’t excellent and accessible and wise; even if the topic wasn’t so sadly urgent; even if the authors weren’t so very interesting (some of them rather well known, at least in our circles) I think the very idea of this — a collaborative project on one Psalm of lament — is nothing short of brilliant. Kudos to Fleming Revell for a nice design, for the amazing pencil drawings of women of color, for making this book a classy and useful resource. And thanks to the many women who shared their souls, grappled with faith and the Scriptures, and offers “voices of lament.” The essays, prayers, poems, songs, and liturgies are powerful for us all.

Freeing Congregational Mission: A Practical Vision for Companionship, Cultural Humility, and Co-Development B. Hunter Farrell with S. Balajiedlang Khyllep (IVP Academic) $26.00                  OUR SALE PRICE = $20.80

What a joy to have followed a bit of this book before it came out; to have met the authors and to believe in their strong work. This is a book that stands out — we have a large missions section and there are fascinating books highlighting God’s work all over the globe — and we want to honor it now.

The topic is not unknown these days although, as you will see, the need to articulate a serious theology of collaboration and humility is as urgent as ever. Nobody likes the old image of the imposing colonial missionary and many are at least sensitive to how our translation of the gospel needs to be contextualized and gracious. But few have gotten below the surface of this audacious shift in missiology and not only explain it theologically, but made a programmatic argument of what it looks like. Hunter Ferrell, who has lived and served all over the world, it seems, and his brilliant colleague at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Bala Khyllep, are done an exceptional job. This is not only a magisterial work but a very important contribution.

Virtues of companionship and cultural humility are the starting points for a missional vision which affirms co-development. It is as simple and as endlessly complex as that. That may be why it takes well over 250 pages showing how — get this — the local church community is that place “well-positioned to build a spreading circle of relationships centered in Jesus Christ” that can direct resources in truly faithful and life-giving ways.

As one reviewer put it, Freeing Congregational Mission is “a vision, a road-map, and a vehicle for parishes to revitalize their mission to the world.” Huzzah.

Biblical Critical Theory: How the Bible’s Unfolding Story Makes Sense of Modern Life and Culture Christopher Watkin (Zondervan Academic) $39.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $31.99

I list this last although I might have listed it first. It is a book of breathtaking depth, readable, and energetic. It covers philosophy and culture, visits current ideological debates and explores how we got into some of the entanglements within our culture that we now have, at least within the Western world. This is a magisterial volume — just shy of 650 pages — and it deserves many an award just for doing such a capable job of exploring cultural analysis in light of the Scriptures. In a conversational and often chatty way. It’s heavy stuff, granted, but it is not a dry tome.

Watkin is doing a lot here, and has read incredibly widely. I smiled when I realized he was drawing on Dutch reformational philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd and delighted to see a reference or two from N.T. Wright; he offers surprising insights from everybody from Chesterton to Paul Ricoeur, from Oliver O’Donovan to Charles Taylor. Naturally he draws on James K.A. Smith (and on Augustine — in a way, this is a 21st century City of God, or so it sort of seems.) I was delighted how he handled the brilliant Esther Meek and her insights about knowing (a la Polanyi.) It’s not everybody who interacts so flawlessly with Bavinck and Bonhoeffer and Brueggemann.

I have not finished this yet. I have hardly stopped pondering the many rave reviews, from Natasha Moor (at the Centre for Public Christianity) to Richard Cunningham of Bruce Riley Ashford of the Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology. In some circles this book is being taken very seriously, and we want to add our voices to the choir, tipping our hat and suggesting it to you.

Can we make Biblical sense of what’s going on around us these very days? Can the grand story of the Bible itself somehow subvert some of our modern ways? Can we take seriously the latest in philosophy and “read” the times in light of the Scriptural story? With a forward by Timothy Keller, this offers evangelical faith and a Biblical vision aimed at understanding the times, and perhaps helping to heal them. I am not fully convinced of all of his direction thus far, but I am fully convinced that it is one of the great books of 2022, and one of the most momentous of its kind in many a year. Serious thinkers should have it.



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No, COVID is not fully over. Since few are reporting their illnesses anymore, it is tricky to know the reality but the best measurement is to check the water tables to see the amount of virus in the eco-system. It’s still bad, and worsening (again.) With flu and new stuff spreading, many hospitals are overwhelmed. It’s important to be particularly aware of how risks we take might effect the public good. It is complicated for us, so we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family, staff, and customers.) The vaccination rate here in York County is sadly lower than average. Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation so we are trying to be wise. Thanks for understanding.

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MORE FAVORITE BOOKS of 2022 — 15 More Best Book Awards, all on sale.

It was hard narrowing down that previous list of my absolutely favorite books of 2022. Just ten? You’ve got to be kidding me!

Most of these awarded below could have easily been on that list. They are wonderfully written, offering rigorous ideas; they beautifully teach and vividly entertain. Overtly Christian or not, read with discernment, they are edifying. Here, then, is the second portion of our three-part awards show.

Don’t forget to scroll the whole way down to see the last few. Use the order form link at the bottom, please. All are 20% off.

And the envelope please…

The Life We’re Looking For: Reclaiming Relationship in a Technological World Andy Crouch (Convergent) $25.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $20.00

Sometimes at awards shows, the same film or director gets brought to the stage for yet another award. I want to once again honor this one, one I named in my “Top Ten” list last week. It’s’ just that good.

From the moment I started this book I was captivated, brought in, glad for how wonderfully written and wise and interesting it was. Andy would not want us to overstate his genius and he’s critical of a world that created that kind of hubris. In fact, in this book, he explores the history of the notions of magic, alchemy, and — in modern times — manipulation through new forms of technology and mass media. He knows all this, and (is self aware enough to know that he flirts himself with it all) is inviting us to consider not only our technological environment (with some astute cultural criticism) but inviting us to being fully human, humane, righteous in the very best ways.

He draws on the Scripture, and the Bible, always. He riffs on history and he explores what reviewer Tom Holland cleverly calls “The Holy Ghost in the machine.” That is, how does power, and technological power, work out in our lives? Is it what we want and what is best?

I think of Andy’s extraordinary second book, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power which is perhaps the best book I know of on the topic of power, idols, and how good things can be dangerous and redeemed. Somehow, this new book is shaped by that grand vision. Can our world of devices and technology be redeemed? Can we figure out how to allow human-ness and community and goodness and beauty to carry the day?

Tish Harrison Warren calls this book “breathtaking.” I, too, was deeply moved by this beautifully profound book. Here is what Tish wrote about it:

I was surprised to find myself tearing up often, not because it is a book about tragedy or loss but because Andy Crouch, perhaps more than any other writer of our day, perceives and names the deepest and most vulnerable longings of the human heart.

The Life We’re Looking For is biblically-interesting, culturally wise, honest, vulnerable, tender. He has a great and interesting vocabulary illustrating how very smart he is without being obscure or overly academic.  And as I said before, there is a lot going on here. Brilliant cultural critic Sherry Turkle (MIT professor and author) asks, in her rave about Crouch’s book, “What would it take to insist that personal technologies become personal instruments of wonder?” As she notes, “Crouch asks us to summon the intelligence, resolve, and faith to regain lost ground.”

This is a stunning book, a delight, a wonder. I highly recommend it.

This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us Cole Arthur Riley (Convergent) $26.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $20.80

This, like others on this new list, almost ended up on that first post of my favorite 15 of 2022. How could it not? Cole Riley is a friend, a young woman I admire very much. She and her husband (another dear pal) grew up in Western Pennsylvania — her years in Pittsburgh figure into this memoir quite vividly and we love books set in our old town. She is a woman of deep faith, a thoughtful writer, an honest and I might say courageous person. She is following her heart — tattered as it may be in some ways — and putting it out there, as they say. She is honest, and this candid story illustrates her grace, her forthright truth-telling, and her move into a more capacious sort of faith experience than perhaps she lived with previously. This Here Flesh is a book by a strong black woman about her family, about the power of stories, about justice and change and pain and hope. It is a book many have adored.

I say often about books by good friends that it is hard to be objective, as they say. That is, knowing the author, I can hear her voice, almost literally. I pick up on some cues and hints, assuming that I might know the place or people she is alluding to. Anyway, what’s not to like when a friend has a New York Times bestseller on her hands?  (Oh, how Beth and I smiled when we saw a Facebook picture of Cole and Billy in New York looking at the book’s name as a sparkling sign on a Times Square marquee.) So, given our closeness to the book, might I really say it is that good? Honestly?

Yes. Yes I do. The advance praise has been astounding (maybe I dreamt it, but I thought I had heard there was some talk of her connecting with Oprah, whose own magazine touted it, no common feat.) The blurbs on the back are mighty, from evangelical writer and hip-hop wordsmith Amena Brown to mystic interviewer Krista Tippett to the remarkable storyteller Kate Bowler (who calls it “beautiful” and “soul-stirring”) to the amazing Southern, black memoirist Dante Stewart, whose Shoutin’ in the Fire also gleaned near-universal applause. Stewart says it is “rigorous, joyous, complex, and honest, and tells the story of how we get free.”

This deserves to be on the Best Books of 2022 list, a memoir by a rising star (she’s the curator of the Black Liturgist instagram sensation.) I have read this twice. I eagerly commend it to you, hoping you, too, will gain a creatively written glimpse not only of a woman’s life — going back in time, and looking forward — but hints and hopes of a beloved community, a space of grace.

This book is an invitation into the delicate weavings of family, inheritance, and pain, how they mark a bloodline and connect a people. Cole Arthur Riley writes with grace and gravity. And somehow she teaches us to think of ourselves as deserving of such grace along the way. This is the kind of book that makes you different when you’re done.       — Ashley C. Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Somebody’s Daughter

Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us Mark Yaconelli (Broadleaf Books) $24.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99

Well, if the very first one I list is mostly a creative nonfiction foray into memoir, I suppose this argument for the importance of story needs to be listed next. I adored this book, loved it, and found it more moving and entertaining than I even expected. Mark is a good writer, honest and sober, candid about things that matter. I would read anything he does, I suspect, and this was a winner. We are happy to award it a Best Book of 2022.

For the record — not unlike that famous line from Dostoevsky about beauty saving the world — I can live with the phrase if I take it as a somewhat writerly hyperbole. I’m still among those who say that Jesus is the only savior. Still, if Yaconelli is in league with Dostoevsky’s romantic overstatement, that’s not too bad, actually. As he tells it, it sure seems he is mostly right. Stories matter, they can bring healing and hope, renewal and something better than clarity. I get it. This book is a beautiful example of just how holy this can be.

And the book is simply amazing. Anne Lamott says it is an “owner’s manual for the soul.”  Progressive preacher John Pavlovitz (author of, If God Is Love, Don’t Be a Jerk) says, nicely:

For a world so afflicted with isolation and disconnection, this beautiful book is medicinal. Yaconelli reminds us how we find our way home.

Indeed, this is a book about finding our way home. In fact, some of it is about Mark’s own upbringing and longing for home, sharing candidly some hard stuff with his famous evangelical dad, Mike. (For those of us who grew up following Mike’s good work and wild antics at YS or reading the Lampoon-esque Wittenberg Door, this is hard, unpleasant revelations.) As Mark unfolds his own story, we come to learn a bit about his move from youth worker to Christian contemplative to, now, this work as storytelling trainer and gatherer and how it became so life-giving for him and those around him. It is, as one reviewer put it, “an immersive, elegant meditation.”

There are stories here about storytelling, about the magic of storytelling events, of the hard and buoyant places where “facades fall and suffering and joy are metabolized.” It is really well written, the stories told with economy and grace. He makes good points and ushers us into a broad vision of a good life.

There are a few major stories set aside as interluded. One about his spiritual director and friend Morton Kelsey is — I kid you not — worth the entire price of the book. Those few pages are simply astonishing, a story of loss and God and goodness and, well, it’s amazing.

His work now is doing this as storycatcher and movement activist. He goes to war zones, works with immigrants at the border, helps those in need of retreat to find ways to integrate storytelling into their work or ministry. It is more than a handbook and you will come away feeling somehow uplifted, more compassionate. It’s a great read.

Refugia Faith: Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth Debra Rienstra (Fortress Press) $23.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $19.19

I raved about this in our earlier BookNotes review, suggesting it was both beautifully written and ethically urgent. Rienstra is a great writer, a literature professor at Calvin University (I’ll admit, I’m partial to folks there) who knows a whole, whole, lot about climate change and deep ecological stress, Biblical creation-care, and deeply Christian insights about the natural world. Refugia Faith is a marvelously made book and a true treasure.

We were not alone in sharing how great this book is. Good folks from indigenous theologian Randy Woodley to activist Bill McKibben to leaders in the Evangelical Environmental Network all agree. This extraordinary book’s invitation to become “a healer of a damaged Earth” is inspired.

As her colleague Kristin Kobes Du Mez (of Jesus and John Wayne) put it:

Filled with beauty, wisdom, and a vision for how things might be, this book itself saves as a refuge for the weary, discouraged, and disheartened. Imaginatively conceived and gorgeously written, it is a work of profound insight and deep goodness.

Refugia Faith is absolutely one of the best books of recent years, richly enjoyable prose bringing serious, compelling truth and a fresh way forward.

Breaking Ground: Charting Our Future in a Pandemic Year edited by Anne Snyder & Susannah Black (Plough Publishing) $35.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $28.00

This came out early in the year and as soon as I saw it I knew it would be a book we’d cherish for a very long time. There’s so much in it, and it is so mature and rich, I knew it wouldn’t be stormed through quickly. I tried to celebrate it at BookNotes and, now, I am even more glad for its presence in the literary landscape. I hope you consider it — certainly a deserving Best Book of 2022 award.  Here’s some of what I said at BookNotes:

Every season or so a book comes out that is just so very special, brilliantly conceived, handsomely made, beautifully written, wisely argued, offering solace and joy, guidance and provocation, that as booksellers, we just want to celebrate its presence in the publishing world, want to press it into the hands of nearly every thoughtful reader, and certainly want to write more about it than I should here at BookNotes. Breaking Ground is just such a book. It is an extraordinary volume, one you will keep and cherish for a lifetime.

Breaking Ground can be explained in several ways, from several angles, but I’ll say this much: Anne Snyder and Susannah Black are two very different Christian women who individually edit our two favorite journals, magazines of class and intelligence, faith and vision, publications that we admire and support. Snyder is the editor of Comment (our friends Jamie Smith and Gideon Strauss were her predecessors, and I’ll admit I was honored that they allowed me to contribute to their magazine that was, in certain ways, in the lineage of Abraham Kuyper’s neo-Calvinist movement which we have written about in previous BookNotes.) She has worked at think-tanks and in journalism, is a graduate of Wheaton College and is married to the well-known pundit and public intellectual David Brooks. Comment is an artful, remarkable thought journal about rebuilding our crumbling social architecture and publishes some of the best writers about public life from within what we might call a broad and generous orthodoxy. They have published Smith, Seerveld, Mouw, of course, but also David Brooks and Mark Noll and N. T. Wright and Marilynne Robinson. And they just keep getting classier.

Susannah Black is also a remarkably gifted editor for another magazine, perhaps our favorite these days, Plough. From a different (more ecumenical and even interfaith) literary tradition and somewhat more unique perspective — it emerges from the Jesus-following, Anabaptist folks who live in intentional, shared community in places called The Bruderhof; Plough, like Comment, offers exceptionally high-quality nonfiction writing about society, culture, faith, and values, enhanced by great photography and artwork. While Comment has roots in the Dutch Reformed community and Plough is grounded in the simple way of the Bruderhof, both have a knack for offering profoundly Christian insight into the issues of the day without being preachy. They include classic poetry and fine essays and astute social commentary (with Comment sometimes tending a bit socially conservative and Plough titling a bit leftward, sometimes, or so it may seem.) Each are exquisitely designed, illustrated with full color art.

When the pandemic got serious nearly three years ago, Snyder and her team at Comment (and their sister-in-arms Canadian think tank, Cardus) deepened their work which was already in progress about strengthening civic bonds, healing the fraying social fabric, explore the way the spirit of the age has deformed mediating structures and institutions. I do not recall if they ran pieces by Yuval Levin, but they might have. This project grew to become an online collaboration between Comment and Plough and enlisted all sorts of supportive organizations; Breaking Ground: Charting Our Future… grew out of these remarkable networks such as the Center for Public Justice, the (&) Campaign, The Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America. It isn’t every day we see The Davenant Institute collaborating with The Awakening Project, and it is lovely to see The Trinity Forum listed next to Mosaic and Bitter Sweet. Kudos to educational organizations like the CCCU and Regent College and Fuller Theological Seminary and to policy think tanks like Initiative on Faith and Public Life for their role. That this beautiful book of essays and articles is a collaboration is an understatement. It is one of a kind.

This kind of collaboration, they tell us, is “an expression of unity amidst plurality and respectful engagement in the context of diverse perspectives.” A lot of good stuff came out of that “web commons” and this book is the result of that “real time” writing offering insight about what we might do as we move forward past the worst years of the pandemic. Those who care about the common good and who long for fresh insights and daring but doable proposals, will find this book a major resource.

Here is what is on the back of the book to explain the genesis of the Breaking Ground project and eventual book:

A public health and economic crisis provoked by Covid-19. A social crisis cracked open by the filmed murder of George Floyd. A leadership crisis laid bare as the gravity of a global pandemic met a country suffocating in political polarization and idolatry. In the spring of 2020, Comment magazine created a publishing project to tap the resources of a Christian humanist tradition to respond collaboratively and imaginatively to these crises. Plough soon joined in the venture. So did seventeen other institutions. The web commons that resulted – Breaking Ground – became a one-of-a-kind space to probe society’s assumptions, interrogate our own hearts, and imagine what a better future might require. This volume, written in real time during a year that revealed the depths of our society’s fissures, provides a wealth of reflections and proposals on what should come after. It is an anthology of different lenses of faith seeking to understand how best we can serve the broader society and renew our civilization.

The authors contributing serious content to this nicely crafted thick hardback (of just over 450 pages) include Mark Noll, N.T. Wright, Grace Olmstead, Jennifer Frey, Michael Wear, Dante Stewart, Marilynne Robinson, Tara Isabella Burton, Phil Chrisman, Jeffrey Bilbro, L. M. Sacasa, Oliver O’Donovan, Jake Meador, Cheri Harder, Amy Julia Becker, Jonathan Haidt, Gregory Thompson, Duke Kwon, Luke Bretherton, Doug Sikkema, Shadi Hamid, and more. You really show own this collection of original pieces by these great writers. They are a remarkable and astute group and this volume — arranged in four seasons — is a gift to behold.

Breaking Ground is surely one of the most important and beautiful books of 2022, a book to cherish. Thank you to all involved. Almost a year later I am still convinced of its lasting value, and want to honor it the best we can. Kudos.

Agents of Flourishing: Pursuing Shalom in Every Corner of Society  Amy L. Sherman (IVP/Made to Flourish) $26.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $20.80

If you are drawn to the collaborative vision of Comment and Plough (above), wanting to enlist the most talented, balanced, caring folks to envision a better future, drawing on distinctively Christian practices for the common good, and joining them in ways that non-religious folks might value; that is, if you want to make a difference in the big picture of our needy world without any of the right-wing hoopla of the conquering dominionists, then you may want a serious, careful, studious but upbeat resource offering the Biblical basis for and the spiritual guidance to accomplish just that. Can we really be transforming agents that create goodness and beauty, “pursuing shalom” as “agents of flourishing” as this author puts it?

There is simply no better book to explore these things in this way. I admire Amy very much and commend her work at the Sagamore Institute’s Center on Faith in Communities “which trains and consults with faith-based social service providers and religious congregations desiring to invest more effectively in their neighborhoods.”

She has a PhD (in international economic development ) from the University of Virginia. I’m sure you recall us often mentioning her stand-out Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good. She also, I might add, did what may be the best chapter in the book I edited, Serious Dreams: Bold Ideas for the Rest of Your Life.

Although I’m inclined to say a lot about this amazing book — almost 350 pages if you count pages of endnotes — perhaps the back cover is helpful to show why we care so much about it. And a bit from the publisher:

God calls Christians to participate in his redemptive mission in every sphere of life. Every corner, every square inch of society can flourish as God intends, and Christians of any vocation can become agents of that flourishing.

Amy Sherman offers a multifaceted, biblically grounded framework for enacting God’s call to seek the shalom of our communities in six arenas of civilizational life (The Good, The True, The Beautiful, The Just, The Prosperous, and The Sustainable). Because we believe in what is good and true, we strengthen social ethics and contribute to human knowledge and learning. Because we value beauty, we invest in creative arts. Because we are committed to a just society, we work toward restorative justice and a well-ordered civic life. And our desire to see society prosper sustainably means that our business practices seek the economic good of the community while protecting the physical health of our environment.

This comprehensive volume showcases historical and contemporary models of faithful and transformational cultural engagement, with case studies of all kinds of churches advancing human flourishing. It provides a roadmap for leaders wanting to participate in Christ’s mission of holistic renewal. Discover how being God’s agents of flourishing can change our communities for the better and offer a winsome witness to a watching world.

I’m not alone in insisting this book is truly great and very important.

Agents of Flourishing is a timely book loaded with expert guidance and amazingly practical insights for local churches (agents of God’s inbreaking kingdom) seeking the flourishing of their communities. It presents captivating examples of local churches’ engagement with six community endowments–the good (ethics), the true (knowledge), the beautiful (creativity), the just and well-ordered (political), the prosperous (economic), and the sustainable (natural environment)–as congregants carry out their priestly work of restoring shalom: rightness of relationships with God, self, others, and creation.  –JoAnn Flett, executive director of the Center for Faithful Business at Seattle Pacific University

In an age of political division and a shrinking Western church, Amy Sherman gives pastors, scholars, and students a comprehensive vision for equipping the saints to work toward the healing of our cities. Sherman bridges the gap from Scripture to praxis and gives readers both theological frameworks and practical examples of how our work and churches once again show our culture what the gospel looks like in the ordinary, everyday movements in our lives. I highly recommend Agents of Flourishing for anyone longing to see a reintegration of faith and work, private and public, church and city.  –Jeff Haanen, founder and CEO of the Denver Institute for Faith & Work

What Are Christians For? Life Together at the End of the World Jake Meador (IVP) $22.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $17.60

We highlighted this when it first came out, celebrating Jake’s follow up to his excellent 2020 release In Search of the Common Good: Fidelity in a Fractured World. Like that one, this is exquisitely written, combining stories and examples with fairly profound thinking. To say he’s a combination of Wendell Berry and Jamie Smith with a dash of Timothy Keller wouldn’t be too off base.

In this volume the editor of Mere Orthodoxy brings together the extraordinary thinking of black scholar Willie James Jennings, putting him into figurative conversation with the old Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck. Meador, too, not unlike Amy Sherman (above) explores a “thick conception of the natural order” as a life-giving way to see goodness, beauty and truth.

His call to a more profound sort of Christian politics, a social ethic that seems radically different than the fundamentalist right or the liberal left, is mind-stretching. For some it will be mind-blowing as he makes a seriously Biblical, deeply faithful critique of racism and capitalism and ends up with a profoundly pro-life witness

You’ll have to read this amazing book to see what Meador means by it all and see how he calls us to “renounce the metallic fantasies that have poisoned common life in American life for too long.” For what it is worth, he worries that our Western assumption is to bend the natural world (and all of life) to its own political and economic ends. This is sort of a radical application of some natural law theory and I think it is something we really need to consider, ponder, grapple with.

Alastair Roberts at the Theopolis Institute call it “provocative and unsettling” as a critique of modernity. And yet, it is hopeful, good, gracious. I very highly recommend this book.

Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community Bonnie Kristian (Brazos Press) $24.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99

When I announced this earlier at BookNotes, almost as vigorously as I could, I said I would come back to revisit it. I have pondered it for months and my instinct that this is a very important book has not left me. I adored Kristian’s previous book — a guide to all manner of different sorts of Christians and their practices and insights — and was sure this would be wise and fun.

Well, it isn’t that fun. But it is beyond wise, it is nearly brilliant. It is one of the Best Books of 2022. And if not enough people buy it, I’ll name it as one of the best books of next year, too. It’s that important.

There are three things I loved about Untrustworthy. Firstly, it isn’t that academic or dense. There are books about fake news and our propensity to believe weird stuff, and why these days are prone to conspiracy theories and whatnot and some are very dense. This explores this complex topic with astute insight but it isn’t a drag or more than you need to know. It is serious and meaty without being needlessly deep.

Secondly, akin to the first, Untrustworthy is very readable. At times I smiled knowing just what a fine writer she is and how good the prose was. There are stories. Maybe it was a fun and enjoyable read after all, come to think of it. It is sober and serious and although she doesn’t overstate the concerns, I’m convinced that this is one of the most urgent topics of our times. This one will not be the last book we read on this complex and pressing matter, but it should be the first.

Thirdly, if this “knowledge crisis” is “breaking our brains” (and “polluting our politics”) what do we do? Here, again, Ms. Kristian is a mere Christian (I’m alluding to Lewis), standing firmly in the classic ground of Christians from all times and places. That is, she is not overly eccentric, not an oddball not fanatic, but a reliable theological voice. She offers deeply Christian ideas about wholesome practices, from enhancing the Christian mind to being an agent of civility, from forming communities that care about cultural discernment to becoming people who, in graciousness, know how to stand for truth.

Many of us know that all media outlets are biased — it’s just the way we limited, believing, humans work, objectivity being a myth, after all. But fewer of us know how the massive amount of information we have may be verging on propaganda, and what to do about that. How can we be a more responsible consumer of the news? Who can we trust? How can we combat misinformation and lessen its impact on the people I love (not to mention our neighbors and culture at large.)

There are forces that contribute to this crisis. Overcoming the current polarization is going to demand we think harder and work more conscientiously on trust, truth, knowledge. This book is one of the very best — indeed the only book like it. Highly recommended.

Her Country: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Supposed to Be Marissa R. Moss (Holt) $28.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $23.19

I happily read a number of pop culture books, several each year, and this stood out, head and shoulders, above any others — and I don’t even pay that much close attention to country music. I know little about Nashville, even though Beth and I adored the TV show, Nashville.

This book grabbed me even more than Sarah Smarsh’s populist study She Come by It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs that I raved about last year. It is so well written, upbeat, lively, with edge-of-your-seat gossip and drama. And some very touching, earnest, even, look at a few key women in country, alt-country, roots and new folk. As Brandi Carlile notes in her great blurb, Moss introduces us to “the modern-day pioneers, the rebels, the risk-takers, the marginalized, and the misfits.”

I did know quite know about the “startling inequities” in the country music industry. Despite a few famous ladies — from Loretta Lynn to Dolly to Reba — record for record, dollar for dollar, women in country women have been woefully ignored and often overtly mistreated.

Here’s part of the thing as Moss explains it (and man, it leads to some amazing drama): in country music so very much has to do with radio airplay. Unlike other forms of popular music (from soul to rock to hip-hop) Nashville radio DJs and the network of country music radio leaders, call the shots. If one doesn’t get airplay, records aren’t known, and albums don’t sell. This is true for men and women, but, uniquely, an even harder hurdle to get over if one is a woman.

In this sense, Her Country, shows what in older days they called the payola scandal. Except for women, you can imagine the sexual favors that may be demanded by country radio executives.  It has been an uphill battle, and this book bravely details artist after artist, songwriters and performers.

The Dixie Chicks, now The Chicks, famously spoke out against then-President Bush’s ill-begotten war in the Middle East. The backlash was fast and furious and put a chill among song-writers wanting to address anything political. Women writers and players were especially marginalized. This is a shocking story almost on par with the McCarthy red-baiting and Hollywood blacklisting of decades before as right-wing talk radio and country music stations mocked women who dared to speak out at all.

Even those who stuck to typical country themes — including some who were Christian and/or gospel — were not given their fair shake. There is even computer soft-ware that country radio stations use to make sure two songs by women singers were not played back-to-back. To circumvent the “good ‘ol boys” power of Music Row was nearly impossible.

Her Country circles back and forth around the lives and history of a few key players — Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris, and Mickey Guyton, especially. That these talented writers and players couldn’t get their work heard was remarkable. That they spoke about LGTBQ equality and that Mickey is black didn’t help their mainstream popularity. (That these women paid incredible dues on the roadhouse circuits in their home state of Texas is itself a story.) The advocacy for a more diverse sort of singer in the country music scene is a fight worth knowing about.

Recently, in the very moving TV show of the Kennedy Center Honor Awards, one of the honored artists was Amy Grant. One of the groups singing one of her songs was the Highwomen, a bit of a supergroup modeled after the Highwaymen. The struggles and joys of this band coming together is part of Her Country as well (not to mention their legendary work getting more women on the stage at the Newport Folk Festival.) To see Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris, and Amanda Shires (all who I had just read so much about) honoring Amy was a blessing. And to think I had just been reading about them a week before.

Some of the country history here, stuff about the Opry and songwriter circles and talent agencies and white privilege and studio musicians and so on is a blast. Her long playlist is worth the price of the book, including solid tunes from everyone from Patsy Cline to Shania Twain, from Jeannie C. Riley to Faith Hill. From Tammy Wynette to Carrie Underwood. Of the dozens and dozens of songs there are many I never heard of and some are, Moss insists, very important. She’s an unapologetic LeAnn Rimes fan, and highlights singers as diverse as Mindy Smith and Margo Price and the great Rhiannon Giddens.  It was a blast from my past recalling Jessi Colter and the wonderful Patty Griffin. (If only she had mentioned Nanci Griffith.)

Marissa Moss even has a few men in her list — guys whose good work comes up in the book since the playlist folders her almost 300 pages; alongside the Pistol Annies there is Jason ispell, Sturgill Simpson, and even Tim McGraw (“Last Turn Home.”) The remarkable playlist just illustrates how deeply researched this is, how this New York author knows the genre, and just how much there is to gain when women — straight, gay, of any race — are given a fair artistic shot. Politics and cash, religion and culture wars are the larger backdrop and these women wouldn’t allow the shift to a brash and macho national ethos constrain them. It is an amazing story.

 Her Country shines a light in the dark corners we don’t talk about; it’s equal parts unbelievable and completely believable. These realities are used brilliantly in this book as a tool to illustrate how women are breaking the mold, changing the rules, blurring the lines of genre, and how strong, resilient, inventive, and inclusive these women are.  –Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of Lucius

Imagining Our Neighbors as Ourselves: How Art Shapes Empathy Mary W. McCampbell (Fortress) $28.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $22.40

Thinking about our favorite books and favorite moments in bookselling this past year, I am deeply touched with gratitude to recall how we got to help host an online launch party for this book. Along with former Calvin College pop culture curator (and very good friend) Ken Heffner, we kicked off a day of live Facebook presentations about how “narrative can make us better neighbors.” Imagining Our Neighbors shows us how and that good day reminds me of just how good a book this is.

I reviewed this, then, at BookNotes and we were pleased to sell a bunch. It is surely one of the great books of 2023 and we enjoyed it immensely. As Karen Swallow Prior notes, it will “instruct and delight any reader who cares even a little about art, imagination, and humanity.”

With rave reviews from the artful likes of Makoto Fujimura and Jessica Wooten Wilson, this book has been much discussed and I am not alone holding ups its vision of empathy gleaned through stories. As our longer BookNotes review explained, she looks at all sorts of narrative work, from TV shows to novels, from films to record albums. Her tastes are wide and her insight profound. Professor McCampbell invites us to enter into a deeper care for the world by hearing well the stories of artists, religious or not (usually not, at least not overtly so) who bear God’s image and offer insights into the world as it is — and perhaps offer visions of how it might be. This is one of the great books of 2022.

McCampbell takes the ingredients of the familiar and invites us on a theological and experiential journey to self and neighbor compassion. In her book, both storytelling and story analysis, from film to Holy Scripture, inspire and equip us to grow what seems so lacking today: empathy. — Christina Edmondson, psychologist, cohost of the Truth’s Table podcast, and author of Faithful Antiracism: Moving Past Talk to Systemic Change

A Hole in the World: Finding Hope in Rituals of Grief and Healing Amanda Held Opelt (Worthy) $27.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $21.60

I’ve mentioned this more than once at BookNotes and I can’t shake how interesting it is, a grief book unlike any I’ve ever read. It is surely one of my favorite books of 2022.

Here is what I wrote back in at the end of the summer:

This came out a bit ago and I’ve mentioned it before but I just have to announce it again. It is, quite simply, a beautiful walk through 12 different grief practices. Amanda is the bereaved sister of the late Rachel Held Evans so it starts with her coping with that sudden loss. She writes well, includes some humor, and the book feels like a clever cross between a memoir of sorrow and an anthropologist’s survey of what might seem like oddball practices to the uninitiated.

There is so much here – it’s a great read. From fairly common habits (sending cards) to the nearly superstitious (covering mirrors) to the nearly amusing (see “funeral games” – who knew?) to the beautiful (like coping with fear through “telling the bees”), there is something here for everyone. Join Amanda as she sits shiva or as she takes in the beauty of funeral food. You will laugh, I bet, and you may cry. It’s a great book.

The fine writer Jen Pollock Michel says it “invites us to put our aching bodies in motion, to glimpse at the surviving we can all do.” Other fine raves on the back are from Sarah Bessey, Jeff Chu, Michael Card, and K.J. Ramsey, all authors we’ve commended here. Trust us – A Hole in the World is well worth having. I think it is one of the most interesting books I’ve encountered this past year and I am sure we’ll be recommending it for years to come.

Good and Beautiful and Kind: Becoming Whole in a Fractured World Rich Villodas (Waterbrook) $24.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.20

As I’m sure you appreciate, we recommend a real diversity of books here at Hearts & Minds. And our shop is even more complicated than our somewhat curated BookNotes. We really do appreciate so very much and are glad for books to read, good books, joys and challenges.

When it comes to recommending titles, we’re trusting and eager — not too many of our customers are offended by this or that, even if it isn’t for them. We know some read a bit out of their conventions sometimes, just to grow and learn. I love that. I suspect more conservative evangelicals read more liberal stuff than vice versa, but, in any case, there’s a lot of cool diversity here. We’re grateful.

But then there are those authors that really resonate, that are, in one way or another, nearly soul mates, or close to it. I feel that way about the work of Rich Villodas. I’m not alone as a fanboy, of course, and his first book, A Deeply Formed Life, invited many fairly straight-arrow evangelicals to see that racial prejudice was not merely a trendy justice topic, but a matter of the formation of our souls. Agree or not about his traditional views of Christ and the atonement or his gracious but traditional view of sexual ethics, he was a good man, inviting readers to a deeper life, shaped in the virtues of Christ, from the inside out.  He offered monastic values, reminded us of emotional health, showed how our bodies connected with our spirituality, insisted on a multiracial vision and called us to a missional way of being the hands and feet of Jesus in a consumerist world.

And then he wrote the follow up, one of 2022’s best books. I couldn’t put it down and have fond memories of reading it outdoors, late into the evening. Good and Beautiful and Kind nearly blew me away, in part because it was so interesting, built on so much good thinking (illustrated by the amazing footnotes and citations.) Here was a theologically conservative evangelical — a grad of the CM&A’s Nyack College—  citing Walter Wink (and our old friend Marva Dawn on Walter Wink),  Benedicta Ward, Orthodox fathers, James Cone, Karl Barth, Fleming Rutledge. He knows the work on trauma done by Bessel Van Der Kolk (and cites Curt Thompson.)  I loved his drawing on a lesser known book by Barbara Brown Taylor. Man, this dude reads widely and writes so nicely.

Importantly, though, for anyone, but dear to the heart of the urban pastor that he is, he knows black literature. I was deeply moved by his use of Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man. And, giving him the title, a poem by Langston Hughes.

This book flows out of his experience with his faith community. They seem to have a healthy thing going on and I’m grateful, given how many churches are either toxic or boring. If his community is being shaped by his words — on being good and beautiful and kind — they are, as are we when we join in through reading this book, becoming whole.  Which is to say, we are growing in love. In discipleship. In hope. This is a transformational book, not complicated to read, about 200 pages. Highly recommended — the kind of book nearly any of our buyers should appreciate.

Faithful Anti-Racism: Moving Past Talk to Systemic Change Christina Barland Edmondson & Chad Brennan (IVP) $25.00  OUR SALE PRICE =$20.00

I almost feel like I could give an award to InterVarsity Press for doing the most good books on racial justice, cultural diversity, multi-ethnic ministry and racial reconciliation. In recent years they have been consistent and solid, fresh and wise. There’s been a lot on this topic, from other good publishers too.

It was hard to pick just one that stood out to me, but I am confident this should be on any list of the most important books of 2022. I’ll write another time of other good books in this key aspect of ministry and prophetic work, but for now, I want to honor this extraordinary book. I could go on and on, but will just say three things about what makes it so very useful, stellar, even. It’s a stand-out and should be award-winning.

First, it is unapologetically Biblical and Christina Edmondson and her co-author are excellent on this. (Kristin Kobes Du Mez, who knew Christiana from when she was at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, in fact notes the book’s “sophisticated engagement” with Scripture.) It isn’t a lengthy, arcane treatise, but it is mature and serious in its Biblical orientation.

Secondly, the phrase “faith anti-racists” puts it at loggerheads with both conservative ideologues who decry anti-racism as nothing more than far-left lingo rooted in Marxist CRT  and well-intended progressives who just adopt ideological views of anti-racism as if there is nothing to ponder. She is wanting church folk to get beyond talk and good intentions but doesn’t just jump into the anti-racist biz without some theological reflection. Her call to fidelity in our anti-racism work is vital. Naturally, this includes a passion for whole-life discipleship and culturally-astute, systemic changes that are necessary. These authors do not shy away from important, big picture stuff.

Thirdly, this book brings to us the most updated, urgent, illuminating data, research done by the landmark Race, Religion and Justice project (led by Michael Emerson, who wrote a significant foreword.) I said this in a previous BookNotes review but this is, as Duke Kwon puts it, “unparalleled among Christian treatments of the topic.”

There are other reasons I value this — there are excellent discussion questions and eloquent honest prayers. It is nicely made, not too hefty, and really is one of the Best Books of 2022. Kudos to all.

The Merton Prayer: An Exercise in Authenticity Steven A. Denny (ACTA) $19.95  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.96

Can I name a book as one of my favorites of the year because I am footnoted in it? Ha! Golly, it’s a little thing but although I’ve been thanked and even described in a few books over the years — Rich Mouw gives me a couple of pages in All That God Cares About: Common Grace and Divine Delight, a book I adored, by the way — but I am not sure I’ve ever been actually in a footnote. And there you have it: I was delighted, nonfiction book nerd that I am.

More importantly, this is a book that is unlike any that exists. So many people appreciate and have been deeply touched by the famous Merton prayer (at least part of it) found in Thoughts in Solitude, one of the books I often tell people to read first if they are tackling the famous contemplative. My acquaintance Steven Denny — we met at a conference — had his own life transformed by praying this prayer and asked me if it might help anyone by writing a book about it. I assured him there was, indeed, a need for just such a book. On the big, wide, Merton shelf there’s nobody talking much about it. Yet, it’s so helpful. And so Denny wrote this, his own simply-told story of his own encounter with the famous prayer.

The Merton Prayer is the one that starts, “My Lord, God, I have no idea where I’m going.”  You may have heard some of the later lines: “The fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.”

As I’ve described before in BookNotes Denny does a few simple things. To be honest, none are brilliantly literary, not over-the-moon stunning. It is just so earnest, so clear, so sane, so helpful. Step by step, Denny — a former evangelical preacher turned lawyer — walks us through the prayer, line by line. In that, there are worlds of insight and many treasures. It makes this small book on a small press a very significant book. I’ve read it more than once, which is rare for me.

There are three sections that Steve offers for each phrase. First he does some Bible study. Nothing is rocket science here, but he’s a solid preacher and knows his way around the Scriptures. It’s good. Then he exegetes the lines (sometimes even the words) of the prayer. I’m not sure it was necessary to call this exegesis, since that isn’t a word most people use, but we’ll overlook it — he’s an evangelical preacher turned lawyer, remember? The point is he examines the prayer carefully, highlighting a phrase, a bit of grammar, offering reflections on Merton’s own usage. It is amazingly rich, good, solid, stuff, freshly shared. I’ve never seen anybody ruminate on Merton like this, and it is very, very lovely.

The third part in each portion is where we are invited to “turn it, turn it, turn it.” By which he means to ponder, reflect, apply. How do we live this stuff? What difference does it make? How do we inhabit this prayer as our own, knowing what we know now? This is really good stuff and he guides us towards our own deep reflections on the ground words of The Merton Prayer.

There is a fantastic introduction to Merton in the beginning that is really nicely done. There are photographs for those that might appreciate the visual metaphor. All in all, it’s a fine book, made that much more important because it is on a topic that is not often explored — how to use this famous prayer about seeking God’s will when we don’t know where to turn.  As he says, “it’s a prayer for you.”

How to Inhabit Time: Understanding the Past, Facing the Future, Living Faithfully Now James K. A. Smith (Brazos Press) $24.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99

I have mentioned this book a lot at BookNotes so it will come as no surprise to our friends to see me list it here. It was certainly one of my favorite reads — in part because it pushed and pulled me into new ways of thinking and in part because I just so enjoy this author’s voice. But also, it is important because there is nothing like it that I know of. Nothing I can even compare it to. It deserves an award for that!

There are those who may want to dive into this not because they are drawn to the author but because they are intrigued with the topic and are taken by the themes. Please, please do. I am a big fan of this, dense as some parts are, complex as it may be. Because I trust him so, and value his voice and writing, I hear Smith and smile when he warns/advises in the good, long introduction that citing philosophers (not unlike citing poets and artists) is a chance for the reader to slow down. To ponder and reflect. This is a book which, he says, hopes to draw you more deeply into contemplation. It is, very much, about inhabiting.

As I noted in an earlier review, Smith says,

“…the hope of this book is to occasion an awakening, a dawning awareness of what it means to be the sorts of creatures who dwell in the flux of time’s flow, who swim in the river of history. Knowing when we are can change everything.”

Although it waxes eloquent at times about all manner of obscure goings on and explores in detail stuff like “A History of the Human Heart” and “The Sacred Folds of Kairos” or, as that chapter subtitle puts it, “How (Not) To Be Contemporary” it is at times clear and convicting. Very early on, and then several times later, he asserts:

“Knowing whether it’s dawn or dusk changes how you live in the next moment.”

To wit, he coins an annoying little word he uses throughout, about a debilitating ignorance about not knowing what time it is, or thinking we (and God!) somehow “floats” above it all, not concerned about being in time and in history: nowhen.

This is a book about temporality — which implies an awareness of where we are in history, how we have been generated and how we are to feel about it all; and, he is eager to help us understand the grace of living, appropriately, in a futural manner. The now is pregnant with the future and we live into God’s realm in fresh aways each day.  But first, of course, we must reckon with our past. I really resonated with how he used that word, reckoning.

With examples from the tangible, visible arts, to poets and rock singers, with studies from philosophers and social critics, with plenty of Bible and church history How to Inhabit Time is a masterpiece, one of the very best books of 2022. Even if it is at times a bit arcane, a bit dense, a harder work that his most popular few of recent years.

I wonder what reader’s reactions have been to his chapter “Embrace the Ephemeral” (which, happily, starts with a description driving through our local Susquehanna Valley in late October.)

I enjoyed his “Seasons of the Heart” chapter helping us to “inhabit your now.” (Ahh, his bits about the Grand Rapids community garden are very sweet.) His deeper dive into the classic “a time for…” section of Ecclesiastes 3 (cue up Pete Seeger about here, or Cockburn’s version, if you like — it’s not the first Cockburn allusion) is richer than most of the obvious explication in standard commentaries. His call to discern the times cites Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis’s exhortation on holiness in today’s world and he explores how “seasons are transitory yet focal.” All of this is remarkably rich and very thoughtful and, yes — inspiring. From a Fleet Foxes song to a passage lifted from Proust, we come to see how in harder, quieter seasons we can learn much, even as we are attuned to Scripture differently than before. Smith notes that,

“…a life lived with God through time is a period of incubation in which the Spirit of God is creating the capacity within us to hear the same Word anew and to make the Word echo afresh in the new crevices of our heart.”

We are creatures of time. There are, as he notes more than once, vicissitudes. Jamie is a smart guy with a great vocabulary, but he is also a tender guy, sharing about his own depression, drawing out the contours of his homes, celebrating his marriage, a good witness that it is. He is also a philosopher so expect some forays into some deep stuff, but even that is clever and readable. Only Smith calls Huesserl, whom he loves, “a fusty German” and draws on Kierkegaard and Martin Heidegger (a student Kierkegaard) as well as Henri Bergson, “the great turn-of-the-century phenomenologist of time (where Proust was the best man at his wedding!)” Who knew?

Yes, you get some cool lines from the Avett Brothers and he cites the moving memoir of Brandi Carlisle and he goes on, righteously, about BLM and Alice Walker’s food revolutions. But you also hear his calm ruminations on Reinhold Niebuhr and other heavyweight thinkers. (Did you see his piece in the Christian Century about Niebuhr? It was quite good.) From Winn Collier’s lovely recollection of Eugene Peterson’s “aha” moment about becoming “unhurried” (as told in Winn’s biography, A Burning in My Bones) to his citation of a beautiful passage on leisure by Calvin Seerveld, he helps us live into the vicissitudes, and hear the “tempo of the Spirit.” I told you it was interesting.

I name this now as a favorite book of 2022 and one of the best, delighted as I was to be challenged to think more about being an eschatological person (or, better, to be part of a eschatological people.) The notion of longing for “kingdom come” is different, of course, than (as he explains beautifully) counting down the days to a rapture; fixation on the end times, he curiously shows, is, actually, rather a-historical, as we wait for God to wipe the slate clean. His vision of God’s renewal of all things is very, very different — nor nowhen. It is worth having. I hope you order it today.

James K. A. Smith shows us that time is a gift waiting to be redeemed, and a central conviction of this book is that ‘the Lord of the star fields’ is intimately attuned to our haunted, beautiful histories. Dwelling with these lucid, winsome meditations on ‘spiritual timekeeping’ was like listening in on a lively conversation between St. Augustine, Gustavo Gutiérrez, James Baldwin, and Marilynne Robinson, while Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon played in the background.  — Fred Bahnson, author of Soil and Sacrament

James K. A. Smith’s inspired work examines time not as hourglass sand running hopelessly through our fingers but as a divine gift that we can capture just enough to recognize the pearl of life that time shapes. A thoughtful and engaging book.  — Sophfronia Scott, author of The Seeker and the Monk: Everyday Conversations with Thomas Merton

This Contested Land: The Storied Past and Uncertain Future of America’s National Monuments McKenzie Long (University of Minnesota Press) $24.95  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.96

There are some academic publishing houses that make very nice general market books beside their arcane scholarly texts. Books by the University of Minnesota have blessed me nicely over the years with some very nice volumes, and this is certainly one of them. I’m not kidding — it’s a joy to hold, hefty and nice.

It is also funny to think that parts of an early chapter of this were first published in a journal called Nowhere. Which isn’t exactly “nowhen” (see above) but still sounds fishy. But this book is anything but nowhere: it is precisely about specific places and whether you have been to them or not, this author takes you there with vivid prose, solid natural history, good stories, colorful concerns. It’s a great read.

There are interviews galore, informative and captivating history, and stuff about landscape and wildlife and, yes, politics. From the older travesties of the removal of indigenous people to modern debates (from Obama to Trump to Biden) about national moments, this is cutting edge, vital stuff. I am very glad to name it here, celebrating it as a wonderful read, a very good book, and an important contribution to our contemporary discourse.

This Contested Land, you should understand, is about taking a closer look at twelve national moments (which she calls “the scrappy younger siblings of National Parks.”) I have not been to most of these and had not even heard of a few. The first one she visits because President Trump was decreasing its land size by 80-some percent. Of course, he wanted to sell it off for drilling, mineral rights, and other capitalist gains, rejecting the notion from Ulysses Grant on through Roosevelt and most others that we need such public spaces.

The book is arranged with a handful of chapters in each of three sections, Rock, Ripple, and Rift. She takes us from Bears Ears National Monument, Utah, to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine. One is in Hawaii, another in Hanford, Washington. Most, like the fabulous Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Nevada are “out West” as we East Coasters say, like thrilling spots in California, New Mexico.

Author McKenzie Long is a rock climber, graphic designer, and writer who lives in the Sierra Nevada. A former managing editor at, she is the coauthor of two climbing guidebooks and author of an award-winning essay, “The Alphabet Effect,” published in Nowhere magazine. Some of our readers will be glad to know that was a writer in residence at Mesa Refuge in Point Reyes, California, where she was named the 2019 Terry Tempest Williams Fellow for Land and Justice.

In This Contested Land, McKenzie Long reframes national monuments in the American consciousness. With painterly language, superb historical research, and engaging boots-on-the-ground storytelling, this book explores crevices for meaning and truth in what for many is a gray area between politics and place. This is a vivid, smart, and overdue book.–Kathryn Aalto, author of Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World

With intricately woven stories and stunningly artistic prose, This Contested Land invokes the intense power of relationships between humans and landscapes–a force that not only influences what people think should happen to a specific place but what the future of our Earth itself might become. — Katie Ives, editor-in-chief of Alpinist and author of Imaginary Peaks: The Riesenstein Hoax and Other Mountain Dreams



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No, COVID is not fully over. Since few are reporting their illnesses anymore, it is tricky to know the reality but the best measurement is to check the water tables to see the amount of virus in the eco-system. It’s still bad, and worsening (again.) With flu and new stuff spreading, many hospitals are overwhelmed. It’s important to be particularly aware of how risks we take might effect the public good. It is complicated for us, so we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family, staff, and customers.) The vaccination rate here in York County is sadly lower than average. Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation so we are trying to be wise. Thanks for understanding.

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