Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Review: Coffee Shop Conversations

Authors: Jonalyn and Dale Fincher
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310318874
ISBN-13: 978-0310318873
Coffee House Conversations
A 2008 study released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life notes that the number of people creating their own interpretations of faith and culture is growing. Seems like there are as many different styles of faith as ways to order your latte. How does a Christian have normal conversations about Jesus without accidentally sounding offensive, bigoted or intolerant?
In Coffee Shop Conversations by Dale Fincher and Jonalyn Fincher, readers will find the tools they need to speak plainly and honestly about their faith, avoid speaking “christianese” and have meaningful, tolerant and respectful conversations with friends who don’t share their views. Coffee Shop Conversations is written to an audience of 18-35 year olds interested in articulating their faith throughout their everyday activities.
Coffee Shop Conversations provides a commonsense approach to sharing faith with others. It exposes what some Christian’s agenda to save people from hellfire and damnation looks like in the context of “witnessing.” They examine “Who is our neighbor?” encourage readers to look beyond outer labels and get to know the hearts of their neighbors—whether it be associates that worship other gods or live immoral lifestyles.
This book offers practical, commonsense ways to create an atmosphere of loving discourse.
·      Respect one another.
·      Step into their shoes.
·      Wrestle on your own by asking others questions rather than offer “expert” answers.
·      Never judge authentic religion by its abuses.
·      Get to know others. Update your opinions about others.
·      Share your personal experience.
·      Allow others to remain unconvinced.
The authors offer conversation stoppers:
·      When feeling cornered by someone’s question, offer a spiritual cliché, for example, “Just take it by faith.”
·      Don’t fallback on that’s-the-way-I-was-raised answers.
·      When feeling fearful or threatened, lash out hatefully.
·      Show your disgust for the other person or his views or situation in life.
·      Sniff out their sin, and then club them with shame and blame.
Other tips the authors offer include:
·      Get to know the Bible for yourself and the context of the verses you apply to life.
·      Avoid arguing about perceived errors in the Bible.
This book also addresses other sticky topics:
·      Is the Bible sexist?
·      Why does spiritual abuse masquerade as spiritual leadership?
·      Why are there so many hypocrites in the church?
·      How do I love my gay friends?
And if you want to know the authors' answers to these sticky questions, read the book.
About the Authors
Dale Fincher and Jonalyn Fincher speak and write nationally as a husband-wife team through Soulation, a non-profit dedicated to helping others be appropriately human. They are energetic and experienced public speakers, and their previous books include Living with Questions and Ruby Slippers. They make their home in Steamboat, Colorado, with corgis, snowshoes and a colorful library of books.
Learn more about Jonalyn and Dale at http://soulation.org/.

Zondervan Publishers provided a free copy of this book for review on this blog. 

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