📚What I'm Reading: May 2023
A sample of what books I'm reading right now.
The Post-Evangelical Post is home of the Exvangelical podcast & a newsletter about belief, tech, & society—with a focus on US white evangelicalism—by Blake Chastain. Subscribe here:
Hi, all. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, other parts of my work & personal life are demanding more of my time at the moment, so my regular publishing cadence has been thrown off. So it goes.
I’m working on some things that aren’t quite ready for primetime, but in the interim I thought I’d share part of my current reading list.
The icon of my ever-expanding reading list is, of course, this still frame from the “Time Enough At Last” episode of The Twilight Zone:
My reading follows both my interests and my moods, and I dip into multiple books simultaneously—nonfiction, especially. Fiction can carry me away, but I take my time with nonfiction.
Here’s what’s on the pile right now. (Note: yes, those are affiliate links to Amazon & Bookshop.org)
Reading: Books & Ebooks
Asian American Apostate by R. Scott Okamoto. 's memoir of teaching at an evangelical university is incisive and insightful. (I said as much when I provided a blurb for the book; disclosure: we’re friends.) Okamato shares the difficulties, frustrations, and joys of being tasked with teaching in a place that has such firm rules and expectations about what is deemed “acceptable.” It gives substance to the spoken and unspoken cultural pressures of evangelical higher-ed, and highlights the ways Whiteness permeates and governs such spaces. I am re-reading it in advance of an interview with Scott for Exvangelical.
The Flowering Wand by Sophie Strand
For a variety of reasons, the evangelical example of masculinity didn’t resonate with me because I couldn’t perform it, and often didn’t want to even if it would afford more acceptance in male spaces.'s book The Flowering Wand: Rewilding the Sacred Masculine builds upon books like bell hooks’ The Will to Change. Where hooks highlights the emotional consequences of patriarchal masculinity, Strand utilizes mythologies, stories, and fables to expand what the masculine means, and reframes it as something less concerned with asserting dominance than with fostering growth and seeking exploration.
Finding the Fool by Meg Jones Wall
I’m in a stage where a lot “spiritual” things don’t resonate with me as they once did. Those nerve endings are shot. That being said, I still remain fascinated with symbolism & metaphor, and tarot is chock full of it. I also appreciate that, just as the enneagram before it, many exvangelicals have turned to tools like tarot to become familiar with intuitive knowledge after being told to not trust one’s self. Finding the Fool byis going to serve as my personal 101-course into this tradition.
I’m currently slowly listening through The Heartland by Kristin L. Hoganson. It’s a fascinating look at the history of what we now call the Midwest, and why it is associated with “the heartland.” As a lifelong Midwesterner, I have a well-worn chip on my shoulder about being considered a “flyover state,” as if culture and history does not and did not happen here. But more importantly, learning this history is also valuable (for me) as a way of reckoning with Whiteness.
Thanks for reading this.
What are you reading? Let me know in the comments or on Notes.
I learned about this book from a tiktokdid. You can listen to my convo with her on Exvangelical here: