Friday, October 10, 2008

Coffeehouse Theology: Helpful Book Brings Together Theology and Culture

I was asked to partcipate in a blog tour for the new book Coffeehouse Theology (Navpress, 2008) by Ed Cyzewski, and after looking over the book I was more than pleased to accept the invitation.

Early on in my Christian life in the study of theology I gravitated toward various theologies that developed within the history of the church and complimented this with studies in systematic theology. While I still have great appreciation for these approachs to theology, over the last several years I have been much more concerned with practical theology and missional theology. Coffeehouse Theology is a book in keeping with these approaches to theologizing. Cyzewski devotes eleven chapters to the process of developing a contextual theology, one that brings the teachings of Scripture into ongoing dialogue with church tradition, the voice of the global (and increasingly non-Western) church, as well as culture and the Christian's local context. Cyzewski's inclusion of all of these elements in the process of theologizing, particularly bringing theology into dialogue with culture and listening to the voice of the global church, is refreshing and often neglected in volumes on theology written by Americans.

If any critique were to be offered, Cyzewski's approach to theologizing reminded me of missiologist Gailyn Van Rheenen's notion of the "missional helix," a four-strand, interpenetrating and ongoing process wherein theological reflection, cultural analysis, historical perspective, and strategy formation come together in a local ministry context. Coffeehouse Theology might have been strengthened by making the connection to Van Rheenen's concept, and by drawing upon illustrations of how this process has worked in the history of Christian missions. It might also have been strenghtened through interation with theologians like Robert Schreiter and his discussion of local or contextualized theologies. But then again, any book can be strengthened, and these concerns should not detract from the many helpful aspects of this volume.

For those who would like to explore Coffeehouse Theology further before consideration of adding this volume to the reading list see the following:

Post on Emergent village:
Blog Tour Schedule:
Ed Cyzewskis's blog:

Please take a look at these materials and consider picking up a copy of Coffeehouse Theology. It will serve Christians as a helpful means of better understanding God, Scripture, yourself, and your culture.

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