Dear readers, I hope that wherever you are reading this, you are safe and well. This post is a short reflection on my writing, reading and thinking in 2020, and a big ‘thank you’ for reading the results.
This year, perhaps more than ever, I’m thankful for books. In those times when the pandemic sapped any energy I had to write, I could still find comfort in reading. To get a better grasp of modern Protestant theology, I’ve introduced myself to the work of Friedrich Schleiermacher, Reinhold Niebuhr, Adolf von Harnack, Rudolph Bultmann and Paul Tillich. Books that have had a significant impact on me (and would highly recommend to others) are Jürgen Moltmann’s ‘The Crucified God’, Alistair McFadyen’s ‘Bound to Sin’ and Kelly Brown Douglas’ ‘Stand Your Ground’. My most ground-shaking discovery of the year is the work of James H. Cone. His ‘A Black Theology of Liberation’ and ‘God of the Oppressed’ have perhaps changed my theology forever. As I move forward into 2021, I’ll be looking to read more black theology and more theology by women.
I’m also thankful for writing. As the pandemic continued, it became clear to me that writing helps me cope. Writing is one of my ‘happy places’. Posts I particularly value include ‘Thank God for my Trans Friends’ – a response to the conflict within British Quakers around the truth of trans lives – and ‘James Cone’s “A Black Theology of Liberation” and white liberal Quakerism’ – my most widely read post of the year. I’ve also been writing elsewhere – pieces for the Woodbrooke Learning Blog, articles for The Friend, and my first published article in an academic journal. I’ve created a new page to list all these other pieces. Of this stuff outside the blog, I’ve received really positive responses to ‘Stronger Together – a Quaker reflection on Pride’ and ‘The cost of the ‘Blessed Community’, the latter in particular being one of my best pieces. I’m closing the year with a four part blog series on Rethinking the Liberal Quaker Jesus, which was a lot of fun to write. In 2021 I plan to continue exploring the origins and theological difficulties of liberal Quakerism, and what black theology has to say to us. I think it’s also time for me to get serious about writing a book. I’ll keep you posted as it develops.
I’m thankful for you! The fact that people read my work brings me such joy. Thanks for taking the time to comment on my posts. I really appreciate your encouragement! Being a Quaker theologian can feel like a lonely business, so your engagement with the blog means a lot. In terms of numbers, this year has been the most successful yet. The blog has 215 followers, and this year received 5920 visitors and 11’055 views. My aim is to write useful theology, and hopefully the numbers indicate I’m doing just that.
So, thank you dear readers! I wish you a happy, healthy and Spirit-led year to come.