Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Favorite Non-Fiction Books Read in 2022

These were my top ten favorite non-fiction books that I read for the first time in 2022 (simply alphabetized by author's last name):
  • Queer Hands of God edited by Crystal Cheatham
  • Baptized in Tear Gas: From White Moderate to Abolitionist by Elle Dowd 
  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
  • The God Who Riots: Taking Back the Radical Jesus by Damon Garcia
  • Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by bell hooks
  • The World's Poorest President Speaks Out by Yoshimi Kusaba
  • Bright Evening Star: Mystery of the Incarnation by Madeleine L'Engle
  • Miracle on 10th Street and Other Christmas Writings by Madeleine L'Engle
  • Mother God by Teresa Kim Pecinovsky
  • Beyond Shame: Creating a Healthy Sex Life on Your Own Terms by Matthias Roberts 
I highly recommend all of these but most especially the titles in bold.

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Favorite Fiction Books Read in 2022

These were my top ten favorite fiction books that I read for the first time in 2022 (simply alphabetized by author's last name):

  • Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
  • A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, #1) by Becky Chambers
  • A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Monk & Robot, #2) by Becky Chambers
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) by Becky Chambers
  • A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) by Becky Chambers
  • To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
  • X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills by Chris Claremont
  • Upgrade by Blake Crouch
  • The Resisters by Gish Jen
  • Superman: Son of Kal-El, Vol. 1: The Truth by Tom Taylor
Yes, I realize that five of those are all by Becky Chambers. I said I had found a new favorite author! All ten of these are also in the science fiction genre. =) What can I say? I like what I like!

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Neyhart's Nerdy Reading Recap 2022: Book stats, Graphs, and Charts!

I like that Goodreads tells me I'm really good at reading, and probably a lot of other things too!

2022 was the 11th year I tracked every book I read! The first year I did this I set my reading goal at a modest (for me) 52 books for the year because one book a week sounded pretty manageable. And the reason I decided to start tracking my reading was to help motivate me to read more than I already did.

2014 was the first year I started using a spreadsheet to help me collect and analyze more data than Goodreads allows. In 2019, I discovered that had a spreadsheet template with some built-in charts and graphs, beyond what I was already tracking. So I have used it for the past three years while modifying it to my liking. Here is a link where you can get their 2023 reading log template.

Now on to the nerd stats:

Number of books read: 200
Number of pages read: 37,753
Average book length: 188 pages

Mode of reading:

Audiobook: 67 (33.5%)
Ebook: 104 (52%) 
Print: 29 (14.5%)

(This breakdown is very similar to last year.)

Book Genres:
Similar to the past two years, I read more nonfiction than fiction (60/40 split), whereas in previous years this was more of a 50-50 split.

More specific genres and categories I tracked:
LGBTQ Studies: 15 books (some of these overlap with memoir/Bio and other genres)
Seminary: 75 books - 37.5% of the books I read were for my seminary studies
 (these overlap with Bible & Theology, obviously)
Bible: 52
Theology: 39
Fantasy: 39
Science Fiction: 39 (interesting that my sci-fi/fantasy was split 50-50 this year!)
    Almost 40% of the books I read were either Fantasy or Sci-Fi
Memoir/Bio: 12 (not as many as last year which was 19)
Children's: 9
General Nonfiction: 8
General Fiction: 2

Gender of Author:
Last year I was finally able to read slightly more women than men but this year it's back to 62% male, 36% female, and 2% non-binary. I'm going to have to try harder in 2023 to even this out! 

Books Read Per Month 2022:
This chart looks about like I would expect it to with me reading the most books between May and August when I have more time to read for fun, along with December and January because I'm also on break from classes half of December and all of January (other than auditing a J-term, which I will also be reading for).

Read vs. Re-reads:

First-time read: 132 books (66%)
Re-read: 68 books (34%)   

Here is an image of the 35 books I have labeled as my favorite books I read for the first time in 2022:
screenshot of part of my spreadsheet

Feel free to tell me about your reading year in the comments or in an email back to me!  

If you are interested in reading progressive-type theology books and discussing them with me and other people, click on over to this page where you can find out more about that and join the fun

Link to my book reviews

Previous reading recaps and book lists:

2018 Reading Recap and Book Stats
2017 Reading Recap and Book Stats
2016 Reading Recap and Book Stats
2015 Reading Recap

What I read in 2021 (202 books)
What I read in 2019 (203 books)
What I read in 2018 (130 books)
What I read in 2017 (83 books)
What I read in 2016 (142 books)
What I read in 2015 (120 books)
What I read in 2014 (111 books)

Monday, December 12, 2022

What is Liberation Theology?

Liberation theology is a collective term for a group of related theologies, which rose to prominence in the last three decades of the twentieth century. Latin American liberation theology is probably the best known of these, and it originated, along with BLACK THEOLOGY, in the USA in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In subsequent years contextual theologies in Africa and Asia, along with other contextual theologies in the USA (e.g., LATINO/A THEOLOGY), also sought to articulate liberationist themes. While the public prominence of some of these theologies peaked in the 1970s and 1980s, the impact of the movement is likely to be long-standing. Liberation theology’s impact on theological method and Christian thinking on social-justice issues have been especially profound.”  (The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology, 279)
excerpt from The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology

When I was growing up in Evangelicalism, the only thing I heard about Liberation Theology was that it was “not the real gospel” and that it was somehow “watering down” the “real” gospel by making it only into some kind of “social gospel.” The message I received was that the “social gospel” was no gospel at all. (Spoiler alert: I don't agree with any part of that assessment.)

If you google “what is liberation theology?” the top results, including will tell you that liberation theology developed in Latin America in the 1960s and that it arose in the context of Catholicism out of a reaction by the local priests and laity to the poverty and social injustice in the area. Gustavo Gutiérrez was the first to use the phrase, “liberation theology” in his 1971 book: A Theology of Liberation. And this is one of the best-known forms of this theology. This book caught the attention of the Roman Catholic Church and criticized Gutiérrez for making Christianity too political. But Gutiérrez said all readings of the Bible are political.

And these ideas were not brand new. As Miguel A. De La Torre points out, this cry of resistance against oppression echoes throughout our history, from some of the early Christian writers who claimed solidarity with the poor and said wealth was a hindrance to salvation, insisting that those who were rich “had a moral obligation toward the poor,” which if ignored “bordered on idolatry” (13). Of course, they were really only pointing back to the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:24: “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 

I will give more background on the Liberation Theology that came out of Latin America in a future post. For now, I just want to emphasize that it is more accurate to talk about different liberation theologies instead of just one version of liberation theology. 

In the seminary course that I took on this subject, we spent time reading about not only Latin American liberation theology, but also Black liberation theology, womanist theology, queer theology, and disability theology. We can learn so much from all of these different perspectives, and we find areas of overlap and solidarity as well. In my notes from my Systematic Theology class, I wrote down:

"Theology is like a bowl of fishhooks because you try to pull out one and it’s linked to a bunch of others." - Shannon Craigo-Snell* 

*I'm pretty sure Shannon is the professor who said that but I'm not sure if she was quoting someone else or not.

Works Cited and Recommended Resources

  • De La Torre, Miguel A. Liberation Theology for Armchair Theologians. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. 2013.
  • Gutiérrez, Gustavo. A Theology of Liberation. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1988.

Previous posts in this series: