The Books I Read In 2021

Some were paradigm-shifting, others were uplifting

Mark Hackett


Photo by Alfons Morales on Unsplash

I set out to read six books this year. Between running a nonprofit, family, and settling into a new church home, I wanted to avoid being overly ambitious.

I ended up reading thirteen books. Many are theological or critically examine American Christian culture and history. One of my favorite things about being a post-evangelical Christian is that the full breadth of what the Church is doing in the world is more visible to me than ever before. This includes wider access to readings from other traditions within the Christian faith.

Other books were political or fiction. While each of these books is wonderful in their own way, here they are in the order of impact they left on me.

Jesus & John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted A Faith And Fractured A Nation

by Kristin Kobes Du Mez

I’m far from alone when I write this, but Jesus & John Wayne hit home like no other book I’ve read. It’s a sweeping history of the last 75 years of white American evangelicalism and reveals how evangelical gatekeepers worked to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged American masculinity and Christian nationalism. Entire sections of Jesus & John Wayne were like reading experiences from my own life and, more importantly, showed how all the puzzle pieces of patriarchy, political conservatism, and abuse fit together.

I wrote one of the author’s favorite reviews and she was the first guest on my extremely limited podcast. Feel free to enjoy both, then go buy your own copy. Seriously, you won’t regret reading this book.

Love Matters More: How Fighting to Be Right Keeps Us from Loving Like Jesus

by Jared Byas

This book gave language to a lot of my thoughts and feelings the past several years as a Christian in the United States. The primary argument? A biblically-based Christian life is not grounded in having all the answers but in a living relationship.

Byas explores what truth is and why we fight over it. He makes a compelling case for how what we…



Mark Hackett

Writings about faith and culture from Memphis, TN. “That relentless, tall guy.”