On My Shelf helps you get to know various writers through a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives as readers.
I asked Jennifer Marshall—vice president for the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at The Heritage Foundation and author of Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of Single Life in the 21st Century—about what’s on her nightstand, books she re-reads, books that have influenced her engagement in the public square, and more.
What books are on your nightstand right now?
Nightstand, side table, gym bag, and so on.
- On Sunday afternoons, I’m working my way through Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics (vol. 1, Prolegomena) by Richard A. Muller.
- For a daily theological reflection, I’m reading an entry from Confessing the Faith: A Reader’s Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith by Chad Van Dixhoorn.
Meanwhile, I’ve got bookmarks in:
- Beauty: A Very Short Introduction by Roger Scruton
- Putting on Virtue: The Legacy of the Splendid Vices by Jennifer A. Herdt
- A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World by John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle
- Created and Creating: A Biblical Theology of Culture by Bill Edgar
- Tangible: Making God Known through Deeds of Mercy and Words of Truth by Chris Sicks
- The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse
- Letters to a Young Muslim by Omar Saif Ghobash
- A Royal Priesthood? The Use of the Bible Ethically and Politically: A Dialogue with Oliver O’Donovan edited by Craig Bartholomew, et al.
I’m also listening to a couple audiobooks on the go: The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream by Tyler Cowen and Madame de Treymes and Two Novellas by Edith Wharton.
What are your favorite fiction books?
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
What books have most influenced your engagement in the public square?
Gleanings from these books, roughly in order of reading since 1994, have shaped my outlook:
- The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
- The De-Valuing of America by William J. Bennett
- Education, Christianity, and the State by J. Gresham Machen
- How Should We Then Live? by Francis Schaeffer
- Kingdoms in Conflict by Chuck Colson
- Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
- Witness by Whittaker Chambers (particularly the opening “Letter to My Children”)
- The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism by Michael Novak
- The Triumphs of Joseph by Robert L. Woodson Sr., and even more, learning directly from the author and the “Josephs” (neighborhood leaders helping overcome social challenges) he highlights
- When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett
- The Gospel in a Pluralist Society by Lesslie Newbigin
- A Secular Age by Charles Taylor (and James K. A. Smith’s guide to it, How (Not) to Be Secular)
- The City of God by Augustine
What’s one book you wish every evangelical pastor would read?
In this particular season, grappling with cultural questions about gender identity issues is crucial. I’d recommend my colleague Ryan Anderson’s forthcoming book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment for thinking through the basics (available for pre-order now, for release at the beginning of 2018 from Encounter Books).
Also, his just-released, co-authored book Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination [TGC review by Albert Mohler] is a helpful resource for responding to recent arguments against religious freedom. He shows that religious liberty is essential for navigating our differences in society. This book is important for pastors who will need to help congregants encountering conscience conflicts in their own callings.
What are some books you regularly re-read and why?
- A Guide to Prayer by Isaac Watts, to remember the many facets of prayer
- The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs (my favorite Puritan Paperback)
A Dover thrift edition of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poems and a collection of the metaphysical poets (John Donne, George Herbert, and so on) that I’ve carried around since Dr. Baumgaertner’s class at Wheaton College, for their delight in word and world, like in “Easter wings” and “dappled things.”
What are you learning about life and following Jesus?
That God’s providence doesn’t depend on my mental machinations to sort things out, and rest is sweet.
Also in the On My Shelf series: Todd Billings • Greg Thornbury • Greg Forster • Jen Pollock Michel • Sam Storms • Barton Swaim • John Stonestreet • George Marsden • Andrew Wilson • Sally Lloyd-Jones • Darryl Williamson • D. A. Horton • Carl Ellis • Owen Strachan • Thomas Kidd • David Murray • Jarvis Williams • Gracy Olmstead • Matthew Hall • Drew Dyck • Louis Markos • Ray Ortlund • Brett McCracken • Mez McConnell • Erik Raymond • Sandra McCracken • Tim Challies • Sammy Rhodes • Karen Ellis • Alastair Roberts • Scott Sauls • Karen Swallow Prior • Jackie Hill Perry • Bruce Ashford • Jonathan Leeman • Megan Hill • Marvin Olasky • David Wells • John Frame • Rod Dreher • James K. A. Smith • Randy Alcorn • Tom Schreiner • Trillia Newbell • Jen Wilkin • Joe Carter • Timothy George • Tim Keller • Bryan Chapell • Lauren Chandler • Mike Cosper • Russell Moore • Jared Wilson • Kathy Keller • J. D. Greear • Kevin DeYoung • Kathleen Nielson • Thabiti Anyabwile • Elyse Fitzpatrick • Collin Hansen • Fred Sanders • Rosaria Butterfield • Nancy Guthrie • Matt Chandler