On My Shelf: is a new series designed to help you get to know various staff members through providing a behind-the-scences glimpse into their lives as readers. This week's feature is with Ben Whipple, associate pastor & mastering the art of beard care, about what's he's reading in his spare time, books he re-reads & any favorite fiction.

What's on your nightstand right now?

Grief Undone: A Journey With God and Cancer” by Elizabeth Groves; “The Riders of High Rock” by Louis L’Amour; and “Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets” by J.K. Rowling. I love westerns and fantasy, and I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic lately :-)


What are you learning about life and following Jesus?

I’m learning that I need others to speak truth into my life, because I’m in danger of becoming a truth-dispenser to others yet not doing the hard work of looking at my own heart. God has given us the gift of community for many reasons, and one of them is to keep us from growing hard-hearted and arrogant. And while I don’t always welcome it like I should, I am thankful for community!


What are some books you regularly re-read and why?

Lord of the Rings, because its epic. Any Louis L’Amour western, because they bring simplicity to my over-complex thinking (and they remind me of both of my grandpas). Jesus Storybook Bible, because I need to hear the whole story of God’s love often (and my family as well). 


What are your favorite fiction books?

Jeesh, I have the opposite problem that Herron does. I read a little too much fiction. I’m a sucker for epic sci-fi and fantasy, so the aforementioned Lord of the Rings definitely is up there on my list. I love the first few books of the Dune series, as well as anything that Brandon Sanderson wrote. Orson Scott Card writes some pretty original fantasy as well. And for a journey outside of sci-fi/fantasy, I was captivated by Wendell Berry’s “Jayber Crow”. Hardest book to pitch to somebody, but once you adjust to its pace, its really worth your while. 

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