Coffee, The World, And Jesus, But Not Necessarily In That Order, by Ron DeMiglio
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Kregel Book Tours. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Although I do not like coffee at all, I wanted to like this book. I wanted to find it witty and humorous and lighthearted, but unfortunately it did not take very long into reading this short volume of about 150 pages before I realized that I did not like this book at all. There is a fundamental disconnect between the author’s obvious intentions and his woeful lack of self-knowledge. This is one of those hipster-oriented books  where the author tries desperately hard to show how cool he is, whining about how uncool Christianity is and having plenty of white liberal guilt about privilege and about how Americans are ugly bullies. Meanwhile, the author shows himself to be utterly clueless, a hypocrite of the worst kind–the kind who knows he is a hypocrite but still feels it necessary and appropriate to be harsh and bullying anyway, nearly entirely lacking in redeeming qualities. How this man has a loving wife and family is an immense injustice. I found very little to like or appreciate about this work at all, and given that this work depends on likability, that was a very serious failing indeed.
The book consists of a variety of short and scattered chapters that deal with the author’s work in the coffee industry as well as his faith and his frequent travels. Most of the books feature some sort of mishap where the author shows himself to be more than a little maladroit and where he views his fake candor as giving him license to be smug and sanctimonious about Christianity and America, neither of which were appreciated by this reader. Each chapter ends with a mysterious “Shun Common,” showing that the author thinks himself to be far more unique and creative than he actually is, and totally ignorant of the love and regard that believers are to have for other people. In his desire to escape being viewed as normal and ordinary, the author makes the classic hipster blunder of failing to recognize the irony of trying to escape being normal by being a common ironic hipster who thinks himself more witty and clever than he actually is. If this book were self-parody without preachiness, it would have been amusing if somewhat shambolic. Unfortunately, the author seems to be taking himself far too seriously here.
So, what kind of audience will appreciate this book more than me? It seems pretty clear upon reading this book that the author is aiming this book at latte-drinking Christians who fancy themselves cooler and smarter and more socially conscious than the average herd. This is a book meant for people who look down on ordinary Christians and Americans, feel a certain degree of liberal guilt over hip and relevant social causes, and are immensely critical of missionary trips and the trappings of ordinary Christianity and who believe that being open about their own foibles and flaws automatically gives them the credibility to poke fun of and ridicule and disrespect others. There are plenty of people who would likely find the author and his approach appealing. I did not. And since this book lacked scriptural or intellectual depth, the lack of warmth I had for the author and for his attitude and approach in this book meant that there was almost nothing I found to be worthwhile about the book at all. This book is a classic case of what happens when people care too much about looking cool in the eyes of the world rather than being right with God and with one’s brethren and neighbors. It’s not a pretty sight.
 See, for example: