Summary: If you know you want to explore more about theology and the bible but are not sure where to start, this is a good place.
This is the third of Ed Cyzewski’s ‘books’ that I have read. One of the books was really just a short, but I appreciate where Cyzewski is coming from and overall we have much in common. We are both stay at home Dads with theological degrees, we have both moved around a bit theologically, although our starting places and current places are not quite the same, the movement as he describes it seems familiar.
So I picked Coffeehouse Theology up because it was a free ebook as part of Scribd (ebook/audiobook subscription service that I recommend) and I thought I would read another one of his books. There is much to commend here especially for the Christian that is really starting to explore theology or wants to start doing theological work on their own.
Cyzewski starts by exploring what theology is and why theology has to be enculturated (made relevant to the culture that we are in and speaking to).
Then Cyzewski moves to a discussion of culture, modernity, post-modernity and how enculturating theology can go wrong. The book ends with some boundaries. The bible as the primary source material, the tradition of the church to ground us and the global church to remind us that our own culture is not the entire culture of Christianity. And then a final chapter on Love as the central point of communicating and transmitting our theology.
Overall, this is a pretty quick read, in large part because much of this is ground I have already covered, although most of this is ground I have covered after grad school through personal work as Ed Cyzewski seems to have done. Some of the reviews on Amazon suggest that it is too dry or technical, but I did not find that to be true. My main issue to note is that I think it is probably going to be best as an introduction. If you are familiar with basic ideas of contextualizing theology then you may want to skip this and focus more on other books that are more focused and less introductory. That being said, it was a good reminder and an enjoyable read.
I did think it was probably mis-titled. I am not really sure what coffeehouse has to do with the purpose of the book (other than the discussion that comes from sitting around drinking coffee) and while Cyzewski is interesting in theology as a way to reflect God in everyday life, that does not really seem to be the main thrust of the content. A couple reviews that I read seemed to indicate that what they thought they were getting by the title was not what was actually in the book. There is another book called Pub Theology 101 that is more about evangelism, I think at least a couple readers thought they were getting the other book.