Through Tyndale Publishers, I was given the opportunity to review the book From Tablet to Table: Where Community is Found and Identity is Formed by Leonard Sweet. It's a fairly quick read but the focus of it is this: getting back to our roots that were formed by Jesus and having community around a meal. If you think about it, which I did after reading this book, almost all of Jesus's big revelations and moments were found around food. Around gathering together in prayer around a meal (table). This book focuses on getting back to that: No books, iPads, phones, TV. Just a meal with your family and friends a few times a week to encourage sharing and togetherness. Especially if you have children!
There were many times I found myself nodding in agreement, and at others questioning where the author found something or how he came to that conclusion. Perhaps the one that perplexed me the most was that Eve was alone when she took of the forbidden fruit (every translation I've ever read states that Adam was next to her but hey).
A sentence I particularly liked:
The more you refine your tastes-the more gourmet your gospel-the less satisfied you will be with a franchise faith.
In my own family, we instituted the no technology at the table rule last year. We were out at dinner and looked around at the restaurant realizing that most of the families or couples were on their phones and barely spoke to each other. We resolved then that technology was no longer allowed during most meals (this rule can change during basketball season however).
I also realized after reading this book, that this idea, that the best relationships with our family and community are found around the table, around a meal, with friends, family, and strangers. I attend a small group and this group is centered around a big meal at a big family table with people from various campuses of a church. We each bring something, a side or a dessert, pray in a large group, and sit at the table and discuss whatever comes to mind. After, we pray and usually read a chapter from the Bible. Sometimes we get so distracted by our conversation at the table that we stay there, but that's okay! The feeling of fellowship is amazing though.
From the press release for this book.
Practical Tips for Bringing Back the Table:
- Make your table a place for your family and friends to gather and connect.
- Turn off all electronics.
- Pray for the meal, thanking God for your food and the people gathered around the
- Keep conversations positive and give everyone a chance to speak.
- Don’t judge the comments and responses of others.
- Avoid jumping into trying to fix a problem that has been shared by someone.
- Encourage sharing by listening—you want your family members and friends to feel heard and valued.
- After dinner, play a game or share in a faith activity to keep the conversation going.
I am all for the idea of more families gathering around a table, praying, and sharing their lives in a somewhat set way in order to connect better with their faith and each other.
I was given this book by Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest review.