I was encouraged enough by the title Coffee Shop Conversations: making the most of spiritual small talk that I asked for a copy to review. This is the latest of my periodic reviews for the Speakeasy Blog Network.
I am not reviewing books at the rate I used to; 2 small children and a new appointment has changed my priorities, and, frankly, the time available. I figured this one would be worth my time, though, as I am intensely interested in communicating the gospel.
Dale and Jonalyn Fincher are likewise interesting in communicating the gospel, and encouraging more Christians to do so. Communication, remember, requires a receiver as well as a sender. We may think we are sending the message of Jesus, but if no one wants to receive it, we are not communicating. Sharing one’s faith is not “intellectual arm wrestling.”
Unlike some collaborative writing, I had no trouble shifting between Dale’s and Jonalyn’s parts of the book. The flow was easy to follow and fairly seamless. Conversational style will draw you forward through this book.
The Finchers admirably identify some phrases and attitudes Christians ought to retire from our conversations, as well as some mountains we’ve made of molehills, and vice versa. If you are interested in sharing our faith with others in ways that might help them hear and accept, this book is worth your read.
On the other hand, later in the book, I felt like I was reading a warmer, friendly Josh McDowell Apologetics Manual. Almost to the point that, in light of the first half of the book, the procedure is
- Earn the right to be heard by listening to and respecting others
- Consider your words as yours only and your witnessing as dialogue not monologue
- follow these seven (pick a number, any number) steps to prove your doctrinal point!
To be fair, nothing anywhere in the book leads me to believe that the Finchers are anything but respectful and open to what others have to say. There are some bits here and there with which I take issue, but, following their lead, these would be things to discuss over a cup of coffee, not to blast about in a blog.
Their aim, clearly stated, is to help others towards a flourishing faith.
On this, I am with them 100%.