Monday, April 19, 2010

Coffee Shop Conversations by Dale & Jonalyn Fincher

Coffee Shop Conversations takes us into a light trip into tolerance-based evangelism. They call this, "making the most of spiritual small talk".

With a number of personal experiences in failing to share their faith, husband and wife - Dale and Jonalyn, show how building relationships first is a key in introducing Jesus to your friends.

One negative thing that stood out to me was when they told us how bad it was to read books about other religions and apply that stereotype to anyone we meet who follows that religion. Following this insight, they proceed to give us a whole section on what people following those religions are like and how to speak to them.

A little double-talk in that section.

With that being said, this book is a good read to understand how "churchy" Christians can seem whenever they talk about Jesus and the Church.

They point out, with regards to the Bible, how important it is to understand genre and context when reading and studying verses.

The people who enjoy handing out tracts will not enjoy this book.
Coffee Shop Conversations: Making the Most of Spiritual Small Talk

This book was provided for review by Zondervan.

1 comment:

Dale Fincher said...

Thanks for the review.

In the book, there's a difference between "political correct tolerance" and "godly tolerance." "Godly tolerance" is about love, like Jesus and Paul taught us. In that way, this is a book about "love-based evangelism" as compared to "sales-pitch evangelism," which is too often the norm and a turn-off to people who like Jesus' forgiveness but don't like sneak-attacks or bullying in evangelism.

For those with a heart for evangelism and passing out tracts, this book will help you move confidently into more meaningful conversations with the people you give tracts too. Even better, it will help you think more clearly about the needs of your own community. Maybe even write your own tracts that fit the kind of people God puts on your path.

As for double-talk, we don't think it "bad" to read books of other religions and worldviews (we do it ourselves frequently which is why we can speak of their limitations), but we should not expect the "hindu" or "muslim" we encounter on the street to believe everythig we read about the religion in the book (we define and explain what a "spiritual designer" is for this reason).

I think the average reader can see when we speak in generalities and when we share dozens of actual conversations. The reader will see how every religion and every worldview is believed a little differently by those who claim them.

Instead of slapping on a label we learned simply from a book, we get to know what is inside the package of their lives and customize our words to speak life into the soul of another (like Jesus did in John 4).