On occasion, I get offered a free copy of a new book, if I will post a review and participate in a "blog tour". Most of the time I kindly decline, because a) I have too many books still to read already and 2) I don't blog enough on the stuff I think I am supposed to say. But, this time I accepted Ed Cyzewski's kind offer to review his book Coffee House Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life because
- He has a great title.(I like Coffeehouses and theology.)
- He has a great subtitle (I like the idea of "reflecting on God in the everyday life".
When I received the book, I didn't even care if it was good. It was cool. It looked cool, the chapter headings were interesting and the diagrams in the book were actually helpful. It also looked like a book. A serious thoughtful, readable book. Not one of those "look at me, I have a neat design but nothing much really to say except for my personal rant" that seem to be all the rage.
Ed wants to help ordinary Christians do some theologizing in a changing world and in this book he offers up both some good tools and the book itself as a good example. He interacts easily and responsibly with issues of culture, modernity and post-modernity, biblical authority, historical tradition and the missional emphasis that should be the raison d'etre of all theology. Best of all his writing style and personal anecdotes make what would otherwise be technical and intimidating material accessible. His personal journey with "changing" his theology to now include the teaching and leadership ministry of women is compelling, authentic and an example of responsible theological reflection.
But since this is part of a "blog tour" that is well underway, I will limit my comments to one more heartfelt expression of appreciation for Ed's affirmation of the Christian community when "doing theology." (Not only does he affirm it, he also provides study guides to help those who want to learn from the book and practice it!)
If we were sitting in a Coffeehouse doing some theology on this, I'd quibble with Ed's seeming attribution (in the last sentence of that quote) of the Holy Spirit to the individual and the Christian community as something other than a revelation of the Spirit...but perhaps oft-neglected and desperately needed "theological quibbling over coffee" is what this book is really about and what it may actually inspire.
Other links to look at:
Post on Emergent village: http://www.emergentvillage.com/weblog/why-i-wrote-yet-another-book-on-contextual-theology
Blog Tour Schedule: http://inamirrordimly.com/2008/10/01/the-coffeehouse-theology-blog-tour-schedule/
(I will return to my Starfish and the Spider reflections in my next post.)