Leonard Sweet's "From Tablet to Table" was a very interesting subject to me. I know my children are very...obsessed with iPads (which they use at school and flock to whenever we're around someone else with one) so I can't imagine how hard it must be to turn off the tablets and have a decent family meal. I know these are first world, Western problems, but sometimes these privileged problems are really hard to deal with!
|image via Amazon.com|
Sweet had a lot of really great things to say in his book about how a community is built around the table. How Jesus Christ ate so many meals with so many people to build a community, a church. In the book, he talks a lot about how stories are told and shared and lives shared through communal meals, family meals. I agree with this so much.
The thing that stuck with me most from "From Tablet to Table" was when Sweet talked about people having "versitis." What is this exactly? When we can quote John 3:16 but not 3:15 or 3:17 and we have no idea what STORY this verse comes from! Even I, who did not grow up in the church nor do I have that many verses memorized, realized how bad my versitis was. I am so thankful to know these verses, to have them hidden in my heart, but I do not want to know verses at the expense of knowing the stories in the Word. Knowing the verses in context. I am so thankful to have my eyes opened to this and to, hopefully, avoid this with my children. I want them to get not only the verses, but the big picture, too!
While I appreciate the message of this book, I felt that Sweet, at times, overstretched his idea. When talking about Jesus turning water to wine at the wedding in Cana, Sweet said, "Water that had been set apart for sacred purposes Jesus turned into wine..." The Bible does not say what purposes that water was to be used for, so how do we know it was sacred? We don't. I understand his meaning behind his words, showing that Christ was "thereby erasing any distinction between the sacred and the secular...[using] the table as a gateway drug into the kingdom." Later he talks about the kinds of food Jesus liked and that he enjoyed cooking for others. We don't know if he liked the foods he ate or if he just ate them because that's what was there. We know he cooked fish for his disciples, but he may have loved serving them, not necessarily cooking for them. And more than once, the book mentions that Christ was born in a "table" for animals, a manger. I think that's over stretching the point.
The point of the book is that so much of our lives are learned at the table: identity, heritage, manners, the way of the world, world views. We shouldn't lose that to technology or busyness. I completely agree. And so, tonight, I'll sit down with my family and talk about the things that are important to us: God, family, school, and probably Legos.
Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. Others' opinions may vary from my own.