Leadership Journal (Winter)
by David Swanson on page 65:
Coffeehouse Theology is an argument for contextual theology. Cyzewski begins with the assumption that “we can’t help but see God through a unique local lens.” He shows the importance of recognizing our theological biases while opening ourselves to the perspectives of Christians from different theological and geographical locales.
Filled with humor and stories from the author’s life, Coffeehouse Theology moves lightly through some hefty topics. Cyzewski navigates them with care and, in the process, shows why our language about God must include a wide understanding of the world we inhabit. I would recommend the book to almost any member of my church.
Theology: It’s not just for theologians. In Coffeehouse Theology, Ed Cyzewski not only says that theology affects what we believe in our everyday life, but that it is shaped by our unique cultural context. Using a helpful schematic for understanding the interconnected nature of Christian theology’s sources and contexts, the book works through the different places that our theological ideas come from, and the central : to serve God’s mission on earth, in which we are shaped by our cultural context–including our nationality, ethnicity, and time in history. Cyzewski grapples with difficult questions and challenges our most basic assumptions through examples of his own journey.
Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life
Ed Cyzewski. NavPress, $14.99 paper (240p) ISBN 9781600062773
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.)