WELCOME TO THE CAFÉ FOR CHRISTIAN THOUGHT (our associated podcast). Listen to our podcast https://open.spotify.com/show/1HRsyFEsPMueDH0EFoWziW
A café is a place of discussion, exchange, community, collaboration, diversity in food and drink. Our world in a similar fashion puts lots of ideas on the table, lots of difficulties to grapple with and trends to assess. For Christians, this often leaves them in a difficult situation.
What are they to make of Kierkegaard or Nietzsche. What are they to think of scientism or cultural Marxism or increasingly political conflict. How can they respond to the New Age movement. Does worldly wisdom offer any guidance for them in their Christian walk or should it be avoided at all costs? How does one find the fundamental building blocks with which to make a rational defense for the faith in a café setting?
These questions and more are what we seek to discuss in this podcast. We intend to keep conversations short- short enough for you to comfortably drink a coffee in.
I’m not an academic. I am not a pastor. However, I was a sceptic for many years and I have read widely. I have worked in corporate environments. I have had experience in putting together quick responses to questions from non believers on a wide variety of topics and been a blogger for several years. For us, it is important we strike a balance. A balance between an emphasis on practical Christian living in service to Christ and a steady emphasis on truth and ability to assess and defend it in various settings. For the Christian life is a journey grounded in truth from ignorance to wisdom, selfishness to Christ centredness, confusion to order.
We understand you are busy. We understand you have deep questions. This is the place for you.
In the 1600s in Oxford, locals begun to call coffee houses “penny universities” as for the price of a penny paid for a cup of coffee, you could gain access to the minds of leading intellectuals. During the Enlightenment period in France, many leading intellectuals and philosophers would spend countless hours in coffee houses conversing and honing their ideas. Here on this podcast we plan to discuss some ideas from the world’s leading thinkers as part of regular short discussions and give you insight into their minds.
Core to our discussion is our faith in Christ. You might ask what has faith do with reason? To this I would respond you can place your trust in things which are reasonable or unreasonable. In the case of Christianity, I would argue there are reasonable grounds for holding this faith which we will explore further in our podcasts. Moreover, I would challenge you to question your own presuppositions as well. For it is not easy thing to examine one’s own internal consistency. Do you, for example, believe the world to be an accident and then claim to practice intentional reason? Do you cry out against immoral acts while in the next sentence claiming morality is subjective? These are issues for us to discuss and assess for ourselves.
In dealing with a marketplace of ideas, the Apostle Paul provides us a framework to work with in Acts 17. He addresses the Epicureans and the Stoics who were two prominent philosophical schools at the time and have seen a resurgence in recent times. He quotes their poets, brings into the conversation their philosophical schools of thought, shows how some of their philosophical points focus on the truth and then emphasises the need to repent, trust in Jesus and the resurrection.
Similar to the Apostle Paul, we don’t intend to hide or shy away from worldly viewpoints but incorporate them into the conversation. Just as one walking into a café who will observe different conversations, different drinks and food yet maintain a frame of mind which is seemingly able to take a step out of the bustle so we intend to do. I’d like to close with words from Acts 17:28-32.
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.”