Monthly Archives: July 2013

Book Review: Cambridge Pitt Minion in Brown Calf Split Leather

Before I moved to my new pastorate this month, I used up the last bit of my professional expense from my previous parish on books, of course. The spine of my everyday and preaching Bible had broken, so I was in the market for a new  Bible. This time around, I wanted a Bible with certain specifications:

  1. ESV 2011 text edition228140_w185
  2. Two column format, with cross references and concordance
  3. At least genuine leather, if not premium
  4. Thin or at least small profile to make it easy to carry, yet with text large enough and clear enough to read easily from the pulpit
  5. An above average, quality binding
  6. Bound in brown or burgundy – I’ve had black Bibles for years and needed a change
  7. Red letter text. This makes it easier to navigate the page with my eyes when preaching from the gospels.
  8. Beautiful to hold, read, etc.

My quest to find such a Bible lead me to websites where I learned about a whole new world previously unknown to me – premium Bibles. Premium Bibles are bound in quality leather, have pages made of paper of high grade, are expertly sewn together, and of course, cost more. Here and here one can learn about the grades of leathers and quality Bible publishers.

After a long quest, I ended up purchasing a Cambridge ESV Pitt Minion in brown calf split leather. In short, I am VERY impressed with this Bible and heartily recommend it. You can see my amateur (i.e. lousy) photos of it in this post, but you can see excellent photos of it in the great

Mark Bertrand’s blog.

Here are a few facts about this little Bible and why I like it and have begun using it as my main Bible for personal readi


ng, preaching, pastoral calling, etc.

  1. The dimensions of this little Bible are as follows. The cover measures 5 1/8″ wide by 7 3/8″ long. The Bible is about 13/16″ when closed. The pages are 4 1/4″ wide from the spine opening to the edge, and they are 6 7/8″ long. Thus this Bible is easy to carry, fits right in the hand when being read, and can even slip into many pockets.
  2. The font is 6.75 Lexicon font, and it appears to my eye to be somewhat in bold. Yes, that is tiny font. However, just as I read in other reviews, that fact that the ink is dark, the font is somewhat bold, and the paper is far more opaque than typical Bible paper thus minimizing ghosting or bleedthrough from the text on opposite and other pages, the text is surprisingly easy to read. Really.  Truly. Of course, those with poor eyesight may not be able to use the Pitt-Minion, but the legends are true: this tiny Bible is easy to read despite its small text size. That being said, I have had a difficult time reading this Bible from the pulpit. Because the text is small, even though it is clear, it takes a moment to focus on it and pick up a verse while preaching. But for general reading, the font clarity is adequate.
  3. The binding is brown calf split leather and the pages are smyth sewn. I love it. Calf split leather is considered a step below goatskin, which is very supple, limp, and buttery, but I like the slight stiffness of the calf split because  it keeps the pages flatter when I hold it up to read in church. That stiffness in no way hinders this Bible from lying flat, though. Right out the box it lay flat on my desk at its midpoint, and with gentle coaxing started to lay open at Genesis 1 and Revelation 22. This is a very well put together Bible. The texture of the leather feels nice to the touch and the gold stamping on the spine looks great. When you hold and use a premium Bible you do feel the difference.
  4. This Bible has gilt edges, which means that the paper edges show off their painted gold when closed and to a lesser degree when open. One reason I chose the brown calf split over the brown goatskin is that the goatskin edition has art-gilt edges. Art-gilt edges are colored red with gold paint over the red. When such a Bible is closed, the page edges look gold; when it is opened, the red shows. I think the red paper
    Gold lettering - very nice against the brown leather

    Gold lettering – very nice against the brown leather

    edges look hideous against a brown cover, but the gold looks beautiful.

  5. This Pitt Minion has two ribbons! This is great for marking passages for worship!
  6. One problem: this Bible has the 2007 text edition, not the 2011. Right now, the only Pitt Minions that have the 2011 text edition of the ESV is the one with the synthetic cover (no red letter) and the brown goatskin (art-gilt edges – yuck). I searched high and low across this great land of ours for a 2011 text edition in brown calf split leather. I even contacted Cambridge AND a bookstore in Scotland who both are to be commended for their customer service! Cambridge plans to print this edition with the 2011 text edition,but not until all copies of the 2007 text edition are sold. Eventually, I decided I did not want to wait and ordered the 2007 text edition and plan to pencil in the 2011 text changes.

Final analysis: this is a great edition of the Bible and I anticipate using it for many years. There is nothing quite like holding and using a quality Bible. It does make a difference.

Flexible binding right out of the box, yet not completely limp. Perfect for holding and reading in worship.

Flexible binding right out of the box, yet not completely limp. Perfect for holding and reading in worship.


Visual size comparison – The Pitt Minion is to the right of my black leather Classic Reference ESV


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The People Who Unload Your Moving Truck

I am now approaching my third Sunday in a new pastorate. This move has involved people from my previous parish helping me load our moving trucks (one of them was a man who helped me unload there 10 years ago – THANK YOU!!!) and people from my new parish helping me unload our moving trucks. Needless to say, I am VERY grateful for the help. It is an odd thing to have U-Haul wreckyour life exposed through the handling of your belongings by parishioners who cannot help but think about and often comment upon what you own, how much you own, and seem to be out-of-touch with just what it would take for them to move their entire household.

The whole moving experience has made me reflect on the often-repeated saying among pastors, “Beware who helps you unload your moving truck.” This saying is so often repeated that it can make pastors overly suspicious of anyone who shows up to help them unload their earthly wares. The idea behind the saying is that some of the folks who come to help you unload have less than Christian motives for doing so. Maybe they come to position themselves as one of the first people to turn your attention to a particular church issue that is very important to them, or maybe they come with deliberate intent to bias you in some sinister way. They represent either a personal or a factional interest within the church, and it is their goal to sway you to their side, or at least to find out something of your position on the issue so they can begin strategizing. I am sure there are other reasons someone might come to help you unload, but according to the “fear those who unload” story, the motives are always carnal, selfish, and political. But it seems to me, based on my experience, that this fear-mongering story is overblown. Some folks simply come to help and to form an initial opinion about the new pastor. And that is is a good thing.

It occurred to me as I wondered about those who would come to unload my moving truck that I should think of things from their perspective: Here comes a new pastor, someone I do not know well or maybe at all. Either denominational leadership has sent him or my church’s search committee has studied and recommended him to the congregation. They know him better than I, but still they have not sat under his ministry at length and thus are unable to give a recommendation from that perspective. I trust them to a degree, but we have received pastors in the past, maybe long ago, that did not work out. So many churches have such stories of pastoral disasters. But here he is. And now I have to begin the process of deciding if I will entrust myself to him. Will my soul be safe with this guy? Will he preach the Word faithfully, live it out faithfully, strive to work with us, not against us, and will he admit mistakes and flaws and sins in himself and strive by God’s grace to grow in holiness, wisdom, and love? Sure, I am coming to help unload this truck because it is the loving thing to do. But I am also coming to scope out this man and his family, to gather basic, initial clues about his life and heart, because entrusting yourself to someone just because they bear the title “Pastor” is a dangerous thing.

After thinking about things from their perspective, or at least how I imagine some of them to think, then a sobering thought hit me: if I was in their shoes, I would do the same thing. I would scope out the new pastor. Of course I would. I hope that I would be supportive and would give the new guy a chance and allow him to be imperfect, but I would show up to unload the truck out of itching curiosity, on the hunt for clues as to whether or not I could begin to open my heart to this man and if I would be willing to invite my friends to hear my new pastor preach.

Sure, you cannot tell everything about a pastor as you help him unload his truck. But you can tell a lot about a man when he is under the stress of moving, and pastors had best remember that they are being interviewed when the unloading crew shows up. As the boxes and furniture come down the ramp, the pastor will be analyzed as to his work ethic, interpersonal skills, family interactions, appreciation of volunteer help, love of material things, love of people, and the ability to have conversations about meaningful spiritual things in the midst of cardboard boxes and aching bodies. A good start for a new pastorate does not begin the first Sunday you preach, but earlier in the week when you pull up to your new residence in the moving truck.

[Regarding the photo, no, this did not happen to me. But I does represent how I felt after loading and unloading the trucks under a tight schedule.]

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