Tonight I was finally able to finish Ed Cyzewski’s book, Coffeehouse Theology. Ed and I started seminary at the same time so I’ve been excited to get into his book for a while now (and that’s really not just because my name is in the acknowledgements!).
I think that Ed does a great job of giving a great introduction to theology for the person who doesn’t tend to consider themselves a theologian or doesn’t get a chance to read a bunch of really big thick theological books. The sub-title really says it all, “reflecting on God in everyday life.” Sometimes theologians write for other theologians and that often makes it difficult for to what they write to make a difference in everyday life. Ed does just the opposite of that. Not only does he have a great handle on the subject matter, but he also is a great writer. I actually find it really, really enjoyable to read his writing. That he’s writing about theology makes it even better.
My favorite chapter from the book was Chapter 8 which was on the Bible. He writes,
“as Christians, we often don’t treat the Bible as such a book: a coherent, alternative, completely true, relevant story for today.”
It’s not that we don’t view the Bible as important. I’ve yet to meet a Christian who professes faith in Jesus that has made that claim! But, far too often we don’t see the Bible for what it is. A true story (as opposed to a collection of true stories).
“While most Christians hold the Bible in high regard and reverence, we all too easily fall into the trap of classifying it in the reference category…we most often read the Bible for spiritual growth and guidance: instructions on how to live and what to believe. These are great resons to read the Bible, but there is so much more to the story found in Genesis through Revelation.”
He goes on to write something that I believe is a very important perspective:
“The Bible is more than theological truths or a book of rules on how to live. In the broadest sense, the Bible tells the alternative story we all search for, a story with ramifications that dramatically revamp how we live. It presents us with God’s story: his pursuit of humanity throughout history in spite of disobedience and heartbreak. At center stage stands God, who loves creation and tirelessly works to repair this broken, sin-shattered world through the chosen people. We don’t study the Bible just for correct doctrine; we study the Bible in order to know God and to bring his kingdom into our world.”
I’d say that over the last couple years, as I have begun to understand the scripture as the Story that defines our reality and our role in it (as opposed to a source that I mine for facts and great truth nuggets) I have developed a much more passionate faith and worldview that makes me excited to call myself a follower of Jesus.
So, in conclusion, if you are looking for a good intro into the world of theology, go buy Ed’s book. I believe it will be worth your time.