“Coffeehouse Theology” and “As Is”
Much like “As Is” by Krista Finch, Ed Cyzewski’s “Coffeehouse Theology” seeks to illuminate God in the commonplace or, as Krista puts it, “unearthing commonplace glory;” however, their approaches are different. While Krista seeks to provide almost anecdotal stories about how God is reflected in Life, Ed takes a more academic approach to provide the reader with the context (both past and present) and the tools to analyze that commonplace glory. I think it’s fair to say that Ed’s provides the meta-analysis by which one could read “As Is.”
What I mean by this is, Krista’s book involves the refreshing, insightful musings of one who experiences God in the “commonplace,”
“Coffeehouse Theology” would provide you with the tools to properly understand Krista’s musings (although, granted, Krista does do a little contextual theology of her own throughout her book). For example, Krista’s observations regarding the young men and women at the gym, one might be curious about where those thoughts and ideas have come from. What happened in Krista’s life that made her respond (initially and subsequently) to those individuals? Or, even before that, how has God interacted with the world and the world with God up until this point that has helped shaped the cultures she is a part of.
That is the tool that Coffeehouse Theology provides. It first analyses the centuries which have shaped and formed not just the theology that Krista may or may not hold but also the culture in which she lives, the customs of which she is a part, the gender roles that were a part of her responses, and on and on.
One thing that I appreciated most by both his and Krista’s book is reminding the readers that God is present in all things, the mundane and the commonplace, and man can understand it in their own context. It reminds the reader that God permeates existence and experiences. God is omnipresent in man’s surroundings and within. And one of the better parts of Ed’s book is the reminder of the various lens through which one can analyze experiences and culture: gender, ethnicity, class, region, country, race, etc. It reminds me a little of my undergrad studies
On a little more critical note, I felt like, at times, this book was a little too much like a primer to be used in a classroom or other academic setting. I felt like this is just a little ironic especially given it’s emphasis on contextual theology. The context of this book being read is probably not a classroom. It could have just been toned down a bit. That being said, this was a wonderful, thorough book.
Read other blog reviews of this book by following this link.