Today’s book review is Ed Cyzewski’s Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life. (Full disclosure, I’m participating in a Blog Tour coinciding with the book’s release.)
I really appreciated Jim’s review of the book, both for its description and criticism. I don’t have too much new to add, but…
In the book, Ed lays out an introduction to what he calls “contextual theology” which is basically saying, “Hey, it turns out our lives, faith, and experienced are really influenced by factors beyond us. So I bet our faith, our theology, even the way we read the Bible is too.”
As Ed writes elsewhere, “In other words, we have mission, culture, the doctrine of God, Biblical theology, church history, and global Christianity, but need a fresh look at how they all relate together in our pursuit of contextual theology.”
For those of us for whom these ideas of context, social-location, and different world perspectives are a new concept the book would be really great — perhaps someone who grew up with a very strict black/white faith but who, after whatever experiences, is beginning to feel some cracks in the foundation of that sort of faith. For those folks this book may be a really valuable resource — especially considering the suggested opportunities for further reading at the close of each chapter.
For me, however, the book didn’t particularly pique my interest for a simple reason. Ed and I come from very different backgrounds. I was encouraged to consider the veracity of the virgin birth in middle school youth group. It was at public school — not church — where I first heard that evolution was questionable. “Context” is practically my seminary’s motto.
I appreciate Coffeehouse Theology for what it is, though, an introduction to contextual theology in a clear, easy-to-read, and approachable way. If you’re new to the idea that people in different parts of the world will read the Bible very differently from you, or that the authors’ original intent is not always explicit, or that theology colors the way we read the scriptures, then pick up a copy, take it to your local coffeehouse, and enjoy.