Friday, October 12, 2018

Doctor Who: The Woman Who Fell to Earth

Calling all Doctor Who fans! The Doctor is back! And she is a woman! And she is awesome!

Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor) has been writing fun review type posts on new episodes of Doctor Who for a while now, and earlier this year on Twitter he mentioned that he was looking for some new people to join the discussion. So Hannah Long (@HannahGraceLong), Jenna DeWitt (@Jenna_DeWitt), and I are joining the fun! 

Here is a preview of my contributions to the first post, but click on over to The Wardrobe Door to read the full post!

(And yes, there are spoilers ahead, so be sure to watch the episode first!)


It’s early days yet, but what do we think of the new Doctor?

Jennifer: I already absolutely love Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor! She seems to be a fun mix of 10 (David Tennant) and 11 (Matt Smith), with her own spin of course. And I do think it is important that we are able to see those connections to previous Doctors in order to believe that we are still watching the same character in a new body.

I’ve always enjoyed watching the newly regenerated Doctor trying to acclimate to his (and now her!) new body! It really is a clever little writing convention! As the audience is trying to adjust to this new version of this character, so is the Doctor!

And when she finally remembered who she was and announced it I got goosebumps: “Bit of adrenaline, dash of outrage, and a hint of panic knitted my brain back together. I know exactly who I am … I’m the Doctor.”

This is the largest cast of characters the new show has thrown at us as a regular TARDIS team – how does that change the dynamics we’ve seen before?

Jennifer: This was a concern I had when I saw the teaser that showed us they would be introducing that many new characters. Some of us are predisposed to root for this new Doctor, we want to like her, but she’s still new.

Obviously, we need a new companion, maybe even two, but three? That seems like it might be pushing it. It was a little hard for me to get into the first episode, despite my enthusiasm for this new Doctor, and part of that was the pacing.

It just seemed like it was moving too slowly at first and taking too long to see the Doctor on the screen. And I’m sure the writers were trying to build suspense, but they also needed to tell us something about four brand new characters, which slowed things down.

That said, I really loved the dynamic between Amy Pond and Rory and the Doctor in seasons 5-7, so if this series can give us something like that again, I could definitely get on board!

We’ve had a death in the first episode. (Spoilers, sweetie) How do you feel like the change of showrunners impacted how this plot twist was handled?

Jennifer: I was very upset that they killed Grace! She was the one I liked best! I can see how her death will make Graham and Ryan feel freer to travel with the Doctor, but I’m still not happy about it! Honestly, I’d be okay if they decide to bring her back later somehow. I know some people don’t like it when the writers do that, but if I like the character enough, I don’t mind.

Part of what makes Doctor Who are the villains and monsters. What did you make of the Stenza warrior dubbed “Tim Shaw” by the Doctor?

Jennifer: Eww! No! Gross! I never like the episodes that lean towards creepy/scary. Basically, if it borders on horror at times, I don’t like those parts, and like Hannah mentioned, there was a definite horror element here. Beyond that, I don’t find this guy very interesting.


Be sure to click over to The Wardrobe Door to read the full post!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Top Ten Hidden Gems

Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems

More specifically, these are chosen only out of the books I have read in 2018. These are the ones I don't hear very many people talking about that I really enjoyed reading.

1. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia 
I REALLY loved this one! This is probably my favorite new discovery this year.

2. A Wind in the Door (Time Quintet #2) by Madeleine L'Engle
3. A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Time Quintet #3) by Madeleine L'Engle
I know many people have read (and now perhaps also watched) A Wrinkle in Time, but I don't know that very many people go on to read the sequels. And books two and three are definitely my favorite sequels.

4. The Delphi Effect (The Delphi Trilogy #1) by Rysa Walker - free on Kindle Unlimited
5. The Delphi Resistance (The Delphi Trilogy #2) by Rysa Walker - free on Kindle Unlimited
I first discovered Rysa Walker in 2016 through her Chronos Files series on Kindle Unlimited, which I might also consider Hidden Gems. But this year I read the first two books in her Delphi Trilogy.

6. Legion by Brandon Sanderson
7. Skin Deep (Legion #2) by Brandon Sanderson
I know that Brandon Sanderson is well known among fantasy and science fiction aficionados, but I think this series of novellas might count as hidden gems. (By the way, if these sound interesting to you, you might want to just grab this edition which will contain the first two along with the brand new third installment/ending to the series: Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds which is going to be out on 9/18/18.)

8. Out of Spite, Out of Mind (Magic 2.0 #5) by Scott Meyer
This is another series I discovered through Kindle Unlimited. (It begins with Off to Be the Wizard.) They are just plain fun.

9. When I Fly with Papa by Claudia May
This is a children's book with a beautiful message that I think articulates so well a vision for the kind of relationship God wants with all of his children (both the young and not so young of us!)

10. The Paper Girls graphic novels by Brian K. Vaughan:
Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
Paper Girls, Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
Paper Girls, Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan
Paper Girls, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan

These are telling a fun science fiction/time travel story and I am loving them! I can't wait for the next volume!


So tell me about the hidden gems you've found!

Connect with me on Goodreads to see what I am currently reading and keep track of the books you are reading, have read, and want to read: Jennifer's Goodreads Profile

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Top Ten (or 12) Bingeworthy TV Shows

Top Ten Tuesday: Most "Bingeworthy" TV Shows

The first seven shows I list here are definitely my favorite shows of all time, and the other three probably fit that category as well.

1. Smallville
2. Doctor Who (2005- Present)
3. Boy Meets World (I am currently rewatching this on Hulu and I'm in the middle of season 4 right now)
4. The Big Bang Theory
5. Friends
6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
7. Gilmore Girls
8. Star Trek: Discovery
9. The Flash
10. This is Us

11. Arrow, because I am currently binge-watching it to catch up to the current season. I'm not quite halfway through last season at the moment.
12. Will and Grace, because I binge watched this last fall and spring until I got through all of the old seasons and the brand new one that aired last year.

What are your top 10 (or 12) binge-worthy tv shows?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Top Ten Best Books I've Read in 2018 (so far)

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I've Read in 2018 (so far)

These are my favorite books I've read so far this year. But there are a lot so I split it into the top 10 non-fiction books that I read for the first time this year, and then a top 10 fiction list, where the first 6 were first time reads and the other 4 were re-reads.

Non-fiction, first time reads:

1. Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans
2. A Circle of Quiet (Crosswicks Journals #1) by Madeleine L'Engle - Read my review.
3. Rescuing Jesus by Deborah Jian Lee (February's Theology Book Club selection.)
4. Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God by Brian Zahnd (January's Theology Book Club selection.)
5. The Very Worst Missionary: A Memoir or Whatever by Jamie Wright - Read my review
6. Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
7. Why I Left, Why I Stayed: Conversations on Christianity Between an Evangelical Father and His Humanist Son by Tony Campolo and Bart Campolo (May's Theology Book Club selection)
8. Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author of A Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters by Charlotte Jones Voiklis,  Léna Roy
9. This Is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today by Chrissy Metz
10. In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It by Lauren Graham


Fiction, first time reads:

1. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
2. The Delphi Resistance (The Delphi Trilogy #2) by Rysa Walker - free on Kindle Unlimited
3. Legion by Brandon Sanderson
4. Paper Girls, Volumes 1-4 (graphic novels) by Brian K Vaughan
5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, volumes 1-3 (graphic novels) by Joss Whedon
6. Out of Spite, Out of Mind (Magic 2.0 #5) by Scott Meyer

Fiction, re-reads
7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
8. A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle
9. A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle
10. The Delphi Effect (The Delphi Trilogy #1)  by Rysa Walker free on Kindle Unlimited

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Top Ten Series I’d Like to (maybe?) Finish Someday

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I'd Like to (maybe?) Finish Someday

The prompt for this week was either "Series I’ve Given Up On/Don’t Plan to Finish" or Series I’d Like to Finish Someday. But I'm drawing a blank after 8 that I want to finish so I will do a hybrid list. But the first list is 8 and the second list has 5, so I'm just breaking all the rules!

Here are 8 Series I’d like to (maybe?) finish someday:

1. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan (3 books, I've read the first one)

2. The Giver Series by Lois Lowry (I've only read The Giver)

3. Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke (I've only read the first one)

4. The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson (4 books, I've read the first two)

5. Graceling Realm Trilogy by Kristin Cashore (I've read the first 2)

6. 100 Cupboards series by N.D. Wilson - Once again, I've only read the first one...

7. The Thursday Next Series by Jasper Fforde - I've only read the first one, The Eyre Affair.

8. Discworld by Terry Pratchett (There's an insane number of these books, 41? I think? and I've only read the first two!)

5 Series I have stopped reading:

1. The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan - this one just didn't interest me as much as Riordan's other series. I might try again at some point, but I might not.

2. How to Train Your Dragon Series by Cressida Cowell - I might be willing to give this one another try, but it's not a priority

3. The Maze Runner series by James Dashner - I've read the first book and seen the first and second movie. When I realized they were doing a weird zombie thing I was done. I hate zombie stuff.

4. The Paper Magician Series by Charlie N. Holmberg - just boring, not interested

5. Red Rising Saga by Pierce Brown - way too violent for me, and from the reviews I've read about the later books, it only gets worse.

Monday, June 25, 2018

2018 Movies

Since we are just about halfway through the year (what?), here is my ranking of the movies released in 2018 that I have seen. I will keep updating this list throughout the rest of the year. Most of these movie titles link to my very short mini-reviews on Feel free to add me on there if you are on there. (I highly recommend it if you like to watch a lot of movies. It's like Goodreads for movies.)

Favorite Movies of 2018 (definitely want to re-watch)

1. Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther (I'm sorry, I can't choose so they tie for first place!)
3. Ant-Man and the Wasp
4. Crazy Rich Asians
5. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!
6. Incredibles 2 (better than the first one!)
7. Life of the Party
8. Solo: A Star Wars Story
9. Love, Simon
10. Christopher Robin
11. Ready Player One

Good Movies of 2018 (would probably re-watch):
12. Ocean’s 8
13. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
14. A Wrinkle in Time
15. Deadpool 2

Decent Movies of 2018 (might re-watch):
16. Book Club
17. The Kissing Booth
18. A Simple Favor 
19. Sierra Burgess Is a Loser
20. Overboard
21. I Can Only Imagine
22. The Spy Who Dumped Me
23. Tomb Raider
24. I Feel Pretty
25. Every Day
26. A Kid Like Jake
27. Tag
28. The Miracle Season

Meh (Probably won't re-watch):
29. Upgrade
30. Game Night
31. Midnight Sun
32. Peter Rabbit
33. Life Itself

And here is this list on


Movies I definitely want to see:
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Netflix)
  • Fahrenheit 451 (5/19 on HBO)
  • Won't You Be My Neighbor? (6/22)
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post (8/3)
  • Dog Days (8/10)
  • The Bookshop (8/24) 
  • Little Women (9/28)
  • A Star is Born (10/5)
  • First Man (10/12)
  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (11/2)
  • Bohemian Rhapsody (11/2)
  • Boy Erased (11/2)
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (11/16)
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (11/23)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (12/14)
  • Aquaman (12/21)
  • Mary Poppins Returns (12/28)
Movies I might want to see: 
  • Adrift (6/1)
  • Hearts Beat Loud (6/8)
  • Eighth Grade (7/13)
  • Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (7/13)
  • The Darkest Minds (8/3)
  • The Hate U Give (10/19)
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me? (10/19)
  • The Grinch (11/9)
  • Mortal Engines (12/14)
  • Bumblebee (12/21)
  • Holmes and Watson (12/21)
  • Welcome to Marwen (12/21)

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Discussing "Evolution of the Word" by Marcus Borg

In Evolution of the Word: The New Testament in the Order the Books Were Written, scholar Marcus J. Borg presents the books of the New Testament in chronological order. Borg attempts to show the development of the concepts of Jesus as the Word of God and the words of God (as in the writings that became the New Testament). Borg places the books and letters of the NT in the order he thinks they were originally written:
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • Galatians
  • 1 Corinthians
  • Philemon
  • Philippians
  • 2 Corinthians
  • Romans
  • Mark
  • James
  • Colossians
  • Matthew
  • Hebrews
  • John
  • Ephesians
  • Revelation
  • Jude
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Luke
  • Acts
  • 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 Peter
  • 1 Timothy
  • 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • 2 Peter
Personally, I'm a bit skeptical of some of his dating here, though I will grant that I need to do further research. I know that scholars are divided over these details just like they are over everything else. My biggest complaint with this book is how Borg will present his opinion as fact, and doesn't provide footnotes or references of any kind in order to fact check him.

I did stumble across this resource while doing some preliminary digging: Dating the Books of the New Testament: A Chronological Order of the New Testament 

But anyway, you can listen to me discuss Borg's book on the Reclaiming Christianity podcast with John Weldy and Jason M. Armold. We are doing a 6 part series and we have recorded the first two so far.

Listen to part 1 episode here.

Listen to "35: Evolution of the Word, part 1" on Spreaker.

Listen to part 2 episode here.

Listen to "39: Evolution of the Word, pt2" on Spreaker.
(Subscribe on iTunes)

Panelists: Jennifer Neyhart, Jason M. Armold

The Panel gives their book recommendations:
2 Corinthians
  • Borg says this was not a single letter, but rather a combination of at least 3 (101) 1-7, 8-9, 10-13
  • I note that Luke Timothy Johnson seems to agree…“No manuscript evidence supports this hypothesis, but a number of seams in the letter appear to some readers incompatible with its being a unitary composition.”
  • Important to remember that these letters were not written directly to us in our 21st century time and place. They were written to a specific audience back then located in their specific time and place.
  • “For Paul, “salvation” was not primarily about an afterlife, but about transformation this side of death—the transformation of ourselves and of “this world.” Justification by grace through faith is not about how we get to heaven, but how we are transformed here and now.” (122)
  • “Faith for Paul was about loyalty to and trust in Christ, not about believing a set of statements to be true.” (123)
  • “Even more striking is the number of women’s names. Of the twenty-eight individuals mentioned, ten are women. Of the eleven singled out for special praise, five are women. Paul uses the Greek verb for dedicated apostolic activity to refer to four of these women. One, Junia, is spoken of as “prominent among the apostles.” Leadership by women was a fact in early Christ-communities. Not only did Paul not challenge it; he obviously approved of it.” (125)
  • The majority of scholars think the gospel did originally end with 16:8 (p153)
  • “Is imminent eschatology an extension of what Jesus taught? Or is it the product of early Christian testimony, enthusiasm, and conviction?”

  • “The majority of scholars do not think the author was the brother of Jesus.” (p193)
  • Martin Luther tried to remove it from the NT
  • “James echoes more sayings of Jesus than any document in the NT other than the gospels themselves.” (195)
Panelist Goodbye - Where can people find you?

Jason M. Armold:

Theology Book Club:
June: Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church by Rachel Held Evans
July: Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans

If you would like to join the Facebook Group you can click here to email me. Or click over to the Theology Book Club page and submit the contact form you will find there.

This is a link to an Amazon list of the books we have been reading/will be reading in the book club.

Previous episodes that I have been on:
36. Two Views of Jesus (Why I Left, Why I Stayed by Tony and Bart Campolo)
35: Evolution of the Word by Marcus Borg, part 1
30. Axioms of Faith (Finding God in the Waves by Mike McHargue)
29. The Cosmic Christ (Love Wins by Rob Bell)
27. Women and Evangelicalism (Rescuing Jesus by Deborah Jian Lee)
20. Living Through a Faith Shift (What is the Bible? by Rob Bell)
19. God and the American Empire (What is the Bible? by Rob Bell)
18. Anakephalaiossathai (What is the Bible? by Rob Bell)