Friday, June 16, 2006

The Family Meal Table

One of the things the Lord has introduced me to in the last year is the concept of the family meal table. And I mean more than the table where the family has meals... I mean a regular (nightly, if possible) event where Dad directs the discussion, loving the Lord his God with all his heart, soul and strength, keeping His commands on his heart and impressing them on his wife and children and guests as they sit in their house, around a meal, full of fellowship and love for one another.

I first experienced this when I was the guest of the Doug Phillips family in San Antonio last September. I had the privilege of sharing two evening meals at the Phillips table and they were both memorable. The first evening, there was Doug at the head of the table, pontificating—as his wife, Beall, so aptly defined it; there were the seven children—one at Doug's right hand, one at his left; the others interspersed among the guests; and there were the guests—seven interns, two employees, two young ladies who had helped prepare the meal, my boss and me. Doug led the conversation, from the personal events of the day, to local events, to national events. He taught us history, exhorted his interns to be men, encouraged his children to stand fast for Christ in the face of adversity. He led prayer, read the Bible and quizzed everyone at the table on American history, Bible memory verses and events of the day. It lasted at least two hours. The next evening, the guest list was a little shorter, but dinner wasn't—nor was the teaching.

At the time, I thought this was a unique experience to the Doug Phillips family. And perhaps the way they do it is unique to them. But, I'm finding that this concept, though rare, is not unique. Last month, I posted on my main blog a write up of my experience before, during and after the Generations conference.

During a conversation before the conference, the topic of the family meal table came up:

In the conversation after the [Basement Tape] conversation, Doug asked [R. C. Sproul Jr.] to share some of his memories of great and godly men who had shared the family meal table with them when he was growing up. The ensuing conversation revealed a common thread between these two families in the way they had families meals. Both of the "second generation" families continue the tradition of a father teaching his children at the family meal table, with differences of style and content, of course. [Read more...]

Since then, I've sat at several other tables where Dad has led the discussion

Last weekend, I was discussing that experience with Ken Carpenter, who has also dined at Doug's table. And last weekend, I was privileged to dine at Ken's table, as he lead the conversation, helping each of us to speak of things noble, good, excellent and praiseworthy. Different style, different context, different content; but we all learned under his faithful tutelage.

All of these men fear the Lord and their wives are fruitful vines—fragrant, peaceful and full of blessings—in the heart of their homes; their children are indeed olive shoots—full of potential and promise—round about their tables. The Bible promises in Psalm 128 that this is what comes to every one who fears the Lord. And this the Psalm Nancy Campbell draws from in Ken's latest work: The Family Meal Table, which we picked up during our recent visit to Franklin.

This is not a new concept to the Campbell family. "The Family Meal Table" is also part of the title of another resource produced by Mrs. Campbell's ministry, Above Rubies, a workbook written by Nancy, "The Family Meal Table and Hospitality," which she mentions in the video and is available from her website for $20. I've not read it yet, but plan to get it after watching the video.

Ken has produced a quality treatment of the concept of the father-led family meal table, with hopes that many Christian dads will catch the vision to redeem the time and reform their family meal times; being faithful to teach their children (and those yet to be born) who God is, what God has done and what God requires. In addition to hearing from the Campbell family, we're also introduced to three other families around the country who are returning to the family meal table and made it a special time for their family.

The video is an invitation to a feast; it'll change the way you look at your table.

Order now...


At 2:08 PM, Blogger DannyHSDad said...

Hi Jim Bob: saw your comment at and it's good to see you're updating this again.

You can read about our move to L.A. and my rambling thoughts on church at my blogs.

As for family table, it works OK in a nuclear family but not in multi generational one with the father and mother of the Dad present and don't believe the same things as the Dad. "Honor your father and your mother...."


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