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Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life Paperback – August 21, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: NavPress (September 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600062776
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600062773
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #595,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Freelance theologian Cyzewski enters into the Emergent conversation from the conservative end of the evangelical spectrum. He urges readers to explore theology while reassuring them that they don't have to become postmodern philosophers: theology can be considered, as it were, in the coffeehouse. Arguing that "our local settings and cultural values-in other words, our context-influence how we read God's Word," Cyzewski approaches "contextual theology" by weaving together discussions of mission, culture, God, Scripture, tradition and the global church. Personal anecdotes of his own growth in faith are disarming in their honesty. While this accessible work is a useful introduction to aspects of Emergent theology, Cyzewski's summary of modernism and postmodernism is sometimes too sketchy to be useful; however, each chapter includes valuable suggestions for further reading. Gently nudging his fellow Christians to listen to diverse points of view, Cyzewski doesn't explain why he is committed to engaging in dialogue with some aspects of culture and not others (say, progressive theologians and secularists). This addition to books about emerging and missional forms of Christianity ends on a hopeful note for unity across denominations.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Freelance theologian Cyzewski enters into the Emergent conversation from the conservative end of the evangelical spectrum. He urges readers to explore theology while reassuring them that they don't have to become postmodern philosophers: theology can be considered, as it were, in the coffeehouse. Arguing that "[o]ur local settings and cultural values--in other words, our context--influence how we read God's Word," Cyzewski approaches "contextual theology" by weaving together discussions of mission, culture, God, Scripture, tradition and the global church. Personal anecdotes of his own growth in faith are disarming in their honesty. While this accessible work is a useful introduction to aspects of Emergent theology, Cyzewski's summary of modernism and postmodernism is sometimes too sketchy to be useful; however, each chapter includes valuable suggestions for further reading. Gently nudging his fellow Christians to listen to diverse points of view, Cyzewski doesn't explain why he is committed to engaging in dialogue with some aspects of culture and not others (say, progressive theologians and secularists). This addition to books about emerging and missional forms of Christianity ends on a hopeful note for unity across denominations. (Sept.) --Publisher's Weekly Review

Customer Reviews

A great introduction to contextual theology.
Donald W. George
It would be great for the author to write a book using only Chapter 3!
T. Jason Rigby
And I do think it's a great book for those audiences.
E. C. Baird

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. Hamaker on September 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
I initially thought this book was going to be about sharing the Christian faith in the ordinary moments and everyday places in which we live our lives (like The Coffeehouse Gospel by Matthew Paul Turner). I was wrong. But it still seems there's a slight obsession with Christians and Coffeehouses! I, personally, have NEVER referred to any place as a "coffeehouse" so neither of those titles even fit with my vernacular...but I digress.

In Coffeehouse Theology, Ed Cyzewski unpacks some complicated topics in simple ways. I'm not using "simple" pejoratively either. He brings some complicated theological issues down to the level of the common reader.

The subject of this book is not evangelism, but contextual theology. This is a subject that acknowledges the limitations of living and learning in a certain place at a certain time. Our time and place comprise our culture, which, in turn, affects our interpretation of Scripture and, ultimately, our thoughts about God.

Contextual theology seeks to avoid the two extremes of syncretism on the one hand, and sectarianism on the other. That said, what Cyzewski has written is a basic introduction to this type of theology. The introductory nature of this book can be seen by the "Further Reading" section included at the end of each chapter. Those sections include a list of books that expand on the points he made throughout the chapter, but I would have liked to see a brief summary of the books included in those lists (it's not likely that the popular-level - non-academic - reader is going to purchase all those books!).

The thing I appreciate most about this book is the author's insistence that both theology and culture matter. This is a healthy corrective to people and churches who emphasize one at the expense of the other.

On the whole, this book isn't great but it's a decent introduction to the ways that culture and theology intersect and shape one another.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. C. Baird on October 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a book about theology, but it's not a big, fat, scary one. Rather, it's a book that explains how to "do" theology in simple, straightforward ways. As an M.Div student myself, I first began to read this book thinking that it would be a book for new Christians, or Christians who may not want higher theological training or perhaps that new fangled "emerging church" group. And I do think it's a great book for those audiences. But I also think that it's a good read for those with a theological background, because Cyzewski writes this book for now, for this time, for this culture in America, and for this generation that is just emerging into the faith.

Christians must be able to speak about their faith clearly and with their audience in mind and this book is a great aid for that. The audience is front and center at all times for Cyzewski - and the audience is just whoever happens to amble on into any given coffeehouse. In other words, no matter where one is at in their Christian walk or search for truth, this book will be a useful aid at teasing out the right questions to consider and think through. Cyzewski's `contextual theology' provides a way of thinking about the Christian faith that is not just academic, but takes into account our culture and our relationships.

Cyzewski has clear views about the Bible and the person of Jesus and the church. But he also understands the enormous influence that our culture plays in the search for truth. He is not merely dismissive of other ideas and faiths but seeks way to talk about Christianity within that context - - all the while pointing to Christ from wherever ones starting point may be.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Daniel L. Roark on March 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
I picked this book by Ed Cyzewski (published by Navpress) to review because I like the title, which intrigued me, and I am very interested in the subject. After all, the purpose of my blog is using contextual theology to reflect on God in everyday life. It is my main purpose in writing Bible studies. Unfortunately however, his theology is better than his organizational skills.

While the book is worth reading completely to cull out the theological gems, it is cumbersome to do so. The first four chapters are more like a synopsis of the last seven chapters, with the last seven chapters retelling the synopsis in different words with different examples. The author states at times that "we will cover this in chapter..." and will go into to that exact subject for several pages, covering it quite thoroughly - potentially eliminating the need for the chapter. Then the chapter itself restates the same ideas.

Examples of theologians with the significance of their contextual view are sprinkled throughout. His original premise is a solid one. "All theology serves the mission of God. It is the reason we do theology." "God is at the center of theology." Delving into contextual theology requires looking at theology from our own cultural context, at scripture in its context, tradition and its context, as well as the global church (churches of different cultures) and the different contexts.

The premise is distinctly relevant. But it does not take an entire book to examine the premise itself. As a practitioner of cultural theology, I was hoping Coffeehouse Theology would expand the boundaries of my own journey. Not merely a justification of my study of cultural theology.
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More About the Author

Ed Cyzewski is the author of Coffeehouse Theology, A Christian Survival Guide, and other books. He writes about the intersection of prayer and writing at www.edcyzewski.com. He lives in Columbus, OH with his wife and two sons where they obsess over New York style pizza and organic gardening. Get two free eBook shorts and future book discounts by joining his newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dD6q.

He's the co-author of:
- The Good News of Revelation
- Unfollowers: Unlikely Lessons on Faith from the Doubters of Jesus
- Hazardous: Committing to the Cost of Following Jesus

His self-published titles include:
- Creating Space: the Case for Everyday Creativity
- A Path to Publishing: What I Learned by Publishing a Nonfiction Book
- Divided We Unite: Practical Christian Unity
- Why We Run from God's Love


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