The Open Table – Book Reviews

Jesus was known –some would say notoriously so—for His “open table” eating style.  In the Gospels, Jesus loved to share life at the table with others and never refused an offer to eat with someone.  Most of Jesus’ great discussions with His disciples and others happened around the table.  In honor of that model, The Open Table is a forum where all are welcome to join in the conversation about the books suggested and more.  It’s a place where book reviews will be served up, but also where other thoughts, observations, and life happenings can be discussed and ideas savored.  Your participation is encouraged.  All contributions will be valued and nourished.  Good manners are expected of course at The Table.  Welcome to The Open Table.  I hope we can meet here often.  Great times are ahead!  –thyrkas

The Shack

The Shack, starring Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, and Tim McGraw This film is rated PG-13. SPOILER ALERT: This review assumes the reader has seen the film or read the book.   -Review by Ashley Linne The theological controversies around this film are being discussed extensively elsewhere. I’ve gone around... read more

The Market as God

The Market as God by Harvey Cox –Review by Paula Jones   Considering that I haven’t balanced a checkbook in 30 years, and that I would rather have a root canal than talk to a financial-planner about investment portfolios, it would be an understatement to say that I do... read more

A Book of Signs

The Book of Signs: A Crowdsourced Field Guide for Followers of Jesus by Thomas E. Ingram –Review by Teri Hyrkas If you need a midwinter pick-me-up book to read, The Book of Signs: A Crowdsourced Field Guide for Followers of Jesus (2016, Linen Press) by Thomas E. Ingram is... read more

Weird Ideas That Work

Weird Ideas That Work: How to Build a Creative Company By Robert I. Sutton ISBN:978-0-7432-2788-9 (pbk) –Review by Douglas Balzer As a resident of the metro area of Portland Oregon, there is an attraction to the title of this book due to the word Weird in its title. The... read more

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe –Review by Ashley Linne This film is rated PG. This movie combines two of my favorite things: strong women and space. Hidden Figures tells the true story of the history-making triumphs of three female African American NASA mathematicians: Katherine... read more

Sex Difference in Christian Theology

Sex Difference in Christian Theology: Male, Female, and Intersex in the Image of God By Megan K. DeFranza –Book Review by Paula Jones   Until 1990, hermaphrodites (an outdated and misleading term) were to me a thing of myth, curious aberrations that were only mentioned in bad jokes, but... read more

The Undoing Project

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis –Review by Teri Hyrkas The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds (W.W. Norton & Co., 2017) by Michael Lewis is, at its heart, the story of an intense rapport between two men, Daniel Kahneman and... read more

Liturgy of the Ordinary

Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren –Review by Teri Hyrkas What comes to your mind when you read the word liturgy? The term unquestionably carries with it images of clerical vestments, brightly burning candles in sacred spaces, repeated prayers, and the fragrance... read more

Our Kids

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis By Robert Putnam ISBN 978-1-4767-6990-5 (pbk) Published 2015 Review by Douglas Balzer Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert Putnam works to tackle the question surrounding the future of the American Dream. Our political and economic climates raise the issue... read more


Arrival, starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker –Review by Ashley Linne SPOILER ALERT: This article contains major spoilers of the film and assumes the reader has already viewed it. For a spoiler-free review consider: Every now and then a movie comes along that you simply have... read more