If you have followed Margie and me for awhile, you’ll have noticed that we often refer people to Hearts and Minds Books. It’s our preferred place to purchase books, or to seek information on books we need to read. Owned by Beth and Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds is a bookstore in Dallastown, PA, a place we’ve often wanted to visit but have never managed to do so. We’ve gotten to know the Borgers via email and phone conversations and have occasionally crossed paths at some conference. At such places Hearts and Minds operates a book table that is impossible to resist, and so we don’t. Resist, I mean. When Beth and Byron mention books they are speaking of something they love and cherish for the sake of Christ.

In 2018, Square Halo Books published a loving tribute to them, titled A Book for Hearts and Minds and asked me to contribute a chapter. This is how I opened my chapter:

            The first time I met Byron Borger he was standing beside a huge table. It was piled so high with all sorts of books the idea struck me that if I hung around a bit I might witness it collapse under the sheer weight of all those stacks. It didn’t, but what did happen was even more fascinating.
            The book table was in the lobby of a hotel in Pittsburgh where a student conference, Jubilee, was underway. The conference is designed around a simple yet profound idea: because Christianity is true it speaks intelligently and creatively to every part of life and reality. I was there as a speaker; Byron was there to offer books that would help students think Christianly about whatever they were studying, whatever they were pursuing as a vocation. As I waited for the table to collapse, a student walked up and told Byron what he was studying. I don’t remember what the subject was except that it was a field so obscure and rarified that when I was a student I found the course descriptions in that department to be incomprehensible. Could Byron, the student asked, recommend any books that would help him pursue his coursework from a Christian perspective? Absolutely, Byron replied, and began rummaging through the stacks of books until he found what he was looking for. The student walked away with an armful of books, delighted.
            After the student walked away with his purchase, I told Byron I was looking for something new to read that would stretch me. I have just the thing, Byron said with obvious delight, walked to the other end of the table, rummaged in one of the piles, pulled out a slim book and handed it to me. It was a book on architecture by an atheist, he told me, and was must reading. Beautifully written, nicely illustrated and full of insight. So I bought it, read it and he was right, on all counts. The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton is one of the most delightful books I have ever read. It showed me how the design, form, utility, and beauty—or ugliness—of buildings actually effects my life, my feelings, even my beliefs. I may be unconscious of how they affect me, but affect me they do. The Architecture of Happiness also showed me that learning to thoughtfully and carefully observe things so common I usually overlook them opens a door to live more abundantly.
            Byron’s reputation had preceded that meeting, but our interaction in that hotel lobby told me several things. Byron loves books. He loves Christ. And he believes that there is not a single square inch of created reality over which Christ does not claim, “I am Lord.”

I am writing this to call attention to two resources offered by Hearts and Minds. Both are worth knowing about and taking advantage of when you need them.

The first resource is implicit in the story of Bryon I just told. If you are needing to think through a Christian approach to some issue or discipline, regardless of what it is, call or email Byron and ask for a recommendation. I mentioned in my post about the danger of politicization that…

…When St. Paul in Romans 12 contrasts being ‘conformed to this world’ with being ‘transformed by the renewing of your minds,’ he is instructing us to choose the more demanding path. Conformity is easy, going with the flow. Developing a Christian mind, on the other hand, where we are increasingly shaped by the truth of God word in terms of our values, convictions, and presuppositions is a life-long pilgrimage involving the discipline required to be disciples. I remember Francis Schaeffer noting that Christians had an added task at each step in addressing society’s ills. It is insufficient, he insisted, to understand the various problems and the latest solutions being proposed. The followers of Jesus also must master what Scripture and the best Christian thinking of the last 2000 years teach about the issues involved.

As we seek resources to grow in a Christian mind, seeking to apply Christ’s Lordship to all of life and culture and reality, Byron at Hearts and Minds is a godly and thoughtful help to identify resources for our reading and reflection. Call or email him.

And second, Byron writes something called “Book Notes,” via email that is then posted on their website, reviewing new titles that have been recently published. Occasionally, he also calls attention to classic works that remain foundational for discerning followers of Jesus. Each issue of “Book Notes” is passionate, thoughtful, informative, rooted in a distinctly Christian perspective of life and reality. Subscribing to “Books Notes” is free and can be done on their home page. Please subscribe. It’s a resource none of us can afford to miss. I thought of the importance of calling attention to “Book Notes” when the latest one arrived in my inbox.

A few recent sample issues:

Here’s one covering “26 Brand New or Forthcoming Titles to Order or PRE-ORDER now—on sale at 20% off.” Find it here.

This “Book Notes” reviews “Five Stunning Books about Former President Trump.” You can read it here.

And you can read an older issue of “Book Notes” that calls attention to Margie’s Place Trilogy of memoirs here. He’s reviewed her books in other issues of “Book Notes,” and you can track them down if you wish.

“Book Notes” is an easy way to keep up to date on what’s worth reading. Since there is so much being published that none of us can keep up with it all, having a thoughtful filter is a grace. We recommend “Book Notes” to you. And we also recommend you purchase your books at Hearts and Minds. Supporting good local shops is a grace at a time when warehouses are all the rage.

Photo credit: Emily (https://www.pexels.com/photo/books-768125/)