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Everyday Theology is a collection of essays that present a Christian way of analyzing culture. Ranging from "The Gospel According to Safeway" (see excerpt) to "Between City and Steeple: Looking at Megachurch Architecture," each chapter dissects an aspect of North American culture through a biblical lens.

Kevin Vanhoozer, the chief editor of the book, has been teaching a class called Cultural Hermeneutics at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School since 2001. Everyday Theology emerged out of those classes.

Vanhoozer spoke with CT about the book and his exegetical approach to culture.

Can you explain what this collection of essays is about?

The big idea is that we're Christians trying to live the Christian life in the world. But in order to live a Christian life, we have to somehow embody the Word in a world that the Scriptures never envisaged.

Seminaries usually do a good job helping students understand the Word, but if discipleship is helping students live out the Word in the world, we've also got to understand our world.

And so the book is about a method—not the only method— that's using different disciplines coordinated by theology to help students exegete their everyday world.

How would you define cultural exegesis?

It's trying to determine the meaning of culture. And I would define culture as everything human beings do that we don't do by reflex. Cultural exegesis treats culture like a text. It asks, "How do you read culture?"

So why do you think people need this book, Everyday Theology?

The book helps to wake us up, to see what's going on in a different framework. This is necessary if people want to have a deeper faith and understand the way the church has to respond to this very complicated situation.

Is it just business-as-usual ...

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October 2007

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