Come To The Family Table

I chose the book Come To The Family Table: Slowing Down to Enjoy Food, Each Other, and Jesus by Ted and Amy Cunningham because I love to cook (and eat!) and I'm always looking for books about food, faith, and family. This is a title published under Tyndale's NavPress imprint, which is the publishing arm of the Navigators. I liked the idea of making mealtimes intentional and a bonding and teaching time, rather than just a hurried "shovel down the food and run". I've had more mealtimes in my home than I care to admit where meals are rushed, the children are bickering, or the table is silent. I was hoping this book would give some tips and tools for making mealtimes better. The back cover says:

"No more rushed meals and relationships

Passing the casserole should be more than just eating so we can get up and move on. When we pass the food among those we love, we share laughter, allow transparency, and extend grace. The family table is where parents model Christ's love, grandparents provide wisdom, children experience a sense of belonging, and friends enjoy hospitality.

Inspired by the slow food movement, Come to the Family Table provides your family with intentional strategies to engage one another relationally as you walk with Christ. The Cunninghams will help you prioritize mealtime with reflections and practical advice, family devotions, recipes, and game ideas. It's time to craft a vibrant experience around your family table."

Come To The Family Table is divided into two parts: The Family Table Is For Us (focusing on your own family and family table) and The Family Table Is For Others (focusing on hospitality). Each section has five chapters. Each chapter includes a discussion of the subject, ideas and suggestions on the topic, a devotional to read as a family, and a recipe to try. I did like this book, but it wasn't quite what I expected. I enjoyed reading all of the "family table" stories, the encouragement to cook better food, spend quality time and discussion together at the table, and to slow down and enjoy food and laughter together with your family. I also liked the idea that the family table is where we learn about and discuss Jesus and work out our faith together as a family. However, there were a couple things I didn't like about this book. In particular, chapter three is basically a manifesto about how God gave us wine and drinking wine is totally fine and not sinful, which I completely disagree with. The tone is pushy and disdainful of Christians who have a different view on alcohol. The verse that came to mind while reading this chapter was Romans 14:21 "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak." This portion of the book really rubbed me the wrong way. However, setting that portion of the book aside, I did enjoy it, but wanted to put a caution in there about this section. I recommend this book to anyone who is a Christian and a foodie, or just wants to improve the quality of their dinner table.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


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