Notes from Summer: A Little Abuse Improves the Pitt Minion

I lecture every summer for Worldview Academy, an academic summer camp for high school students. For eight weeks, I travel from one college campus to another, speaking on topics from my book Rethinking Worldview. Spending that much time away from home means packing light -- and that includes not taking along a dozen Bibles. For Summer 09, I settled on the brown goatskin Pitt Minion ESV as my one and only.
Frankly, I chose it because the Bible I travel with tends to be abused, and the Pitt Minion was a bit of a disappointment. As good as it looks, the boards under the leather were much stiffer than other editions of the Pitt Minion. I figured if I trashed this baby, I wouldn't lose much sleep over it.
Above: After a summer of abuse, the brown goatskin Pitt Minion is better than new.
My briefcase, a Glaser Day Bag, has two external side pouches, one beneath either handle, and inside one is a set of nylon pockets. They fit the Pitt Minion perfectly, so that's where I stored it. The "Pitt Minion Pocket" is how I came to think of the space. Always knowing where my Bible was proved pretty handy -- except for the time I forgot it on stage after a late night talk. (Fortunately, one of our college staffers, Tim, was looking out for me, and returned it the next morning.)
Above: The "Pitt Minion Pocket."
The Pitt Minion spent some time in another pocket, too -- the back pocket of my jeans. (No photo available, thankfully.) The point is, I didn't baby it. I was actually a little careless with the Pitt Minion, and whenever I handled it, made a point of curling the covers till they wrinkled, rolling it in my hand, and so on.
The result? Perfection.
At long last, the boards have softened up, giving the cover a pliability comparable to the other goatskin-bound Pitt Minions. 
Above: The cover has improved with rough treatment.

The lesson should be clear: well-made Bibles improve with use. In spite of the natural desire to protect your investment, the best thing you can do with a quality edition is not treat it too special. Some hard use -- and yes, abuse -- can do a world of good.

By the way, I mentioned earlier that if you're looking for a good notebook to pair with a Pitt Minion, the personal size Filofax is a close fit. An even better one, if you're trying to cut down on width, is the slimline version of the personal Filofax, seen here:
Above: The Pitt Minion (bottom) paired with a slimline Filofax, the "classic" in brown leather.

Above: The slimline's proportions don't add much bulk to the Pitt Minion
when held together in the hand.

I'm still sold on the Filofax as an ideal solution to the companion notebook problem, mainly because of the versatility of the ring binder system. You can archive notes separately, keep all sorts of pages handy, move notes directly to your Bible, and so on. For an impromptu talk I had to give over the summer, I wrote up an outline, then tucked it into the relevant passage so the notes were there when I opened up the Bible. When I was done, I clipped the pages back into the Filofax for safe keeping. 
The slimline does double duty as a wallet, too -- a pre-digital convergence device. The fact that I don't need to store contacts on paper any longer just gives me more room for notepaper.
Since I know many pastors, youth pastors, and ministry leaders read the blog, would it be all right if I plugged Worldview Academy? If you read World magazine, you've probably seen our ads. The reason I volunteer to teach, spending one sixth of every year on the road, is that Worldview Academy gives students the kind of training and intellectual stimulation I was longing for at their age, but rarely found. It's a life-changing experience, and I would encourage you to find out more about us and start recommending us to the high school students you know (and their parents). 
And if our summer schedule takes us into your territory next summer, drop me a line and let me know. I'd love to meet more readers while I'm out there!