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Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of…
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Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Disciplines (Pocket… (edition 2007)

by Lauren F. Winner

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6591627,033 (4.07)20
Lauren Winner shares the spiritual practices she has adopted in her quest to reconcile Judaism and Christianity. Despite her conversion from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity, Lauren Winner finds that her life is still shaped by the spiritual essences of Judaism: rich traditions and religious practices that she can't leave behind. In Mudhouse Sabbath, Winner illuminates eleven spiritual practices that can transform the way we view the world, and God. Whether discussing her own prayer life, the spirituality of candle-lighting, or the differences between the Jewish Sabbath and a Sunday spent at the Mudhouse, her favorite coffee shop, Winner writes with appealing honesty and rare insight.… (more)
Member:jodiduby
Title:Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Disciplines (Pocket Classics)
Authors:Lauren F. Winner
Info:Paraclete Press (MA) (2007), Paperback, 161 pages
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Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren F. Winner

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Winner's Mudhouse Sabbath is a relatively short book in which she reminisces about the spiritual disciplines of her Jewish upbringing; traditions no longer practiced since her conversion to Christianity. She mourns their loss, and I can see why.

She starts off the book with her thoughts on Shabbat; i.e. the Sabbath. It's the practice she misses most, but she writes Sabbath should also be "the piece I should most easily be able to keep." (pg. 3). Shabbat/Sabbath is a time of slowing down, of disengaging the world that gobbles up life and time the other six days of the week. It's a lesson we could all learn--instead, Sunday is at least as busy, if not busier than the rest of the week.

She writes on the history of the Sabbath, and the benefits of setting aside 24 hours a week to rest, to recharge. But there is more to the Sabbath than just disengaging for a set period of time. Sabbath/Shabbat is "both giving a gift to God and imitating him." (pg. 11). In other words, self is no longer the focus of a day. Others become a focus and a Sabbath participant's world is expanded a bit more.

The rest of the book covers topics such as grief, candle-lighting, weddings, and hospitality. The Jewish perspective is covered, and then the thoughts as to how to incorporate these traditions into current Christian life.

Mudhouse Sabbath is a book on spiritual disciplines, ones that are rooted in the ancient belief system that gave birth to Christianity. It's a book that gives one a lot to think about--especially someone like me who hears the term tossed about a lot, but it's a term that comes across as something trendy to do, or yet another checklist item on a "what makes a good christian" list. Winner gives solid reasons as to why the practice of spiritual discipline is good practice that goes beyond the "how does it benefit me" mentality.

( )
  Cheryl.Russell | May 25, 2019 |
I liked this book very much but I have to admit that my first impression was that she was pining away for her former religion, even once to say ' Jews do this better ' and wondered why she ever converted to Christianity when it was so clear she definitely had one foot in her former life.

Then I had an 'aha' moment. I moved to England and lived there for a year, one of 8 trips across the pond over the decades, and I loved my home, my long distance country walks, seeing pheasants and hares, sheep, horses, magpies, etc as I pounded those country roads, and was meant to stay forever but the engagement ended and I came back home. As much as I loved it there and was happy, there were a million times I would find myself saying, ' That only costs $ 3 in Brooklyn, not your equivilent of $ 17'

Looking for a Whole Foods, Trader Joes was out of the question, all their sugar free items were dosed with aspartame and I realized what leaving the land of abundance really meant. So it is possible to love where you are or what you are and at the same time look wistfully backwards. ( )
  REINADECOPIAYPEGA | Jan 10, 2018 |
My introduction to Lauren Winner's writing came more than a decade ago. My wife had read and liked Girl Meets God and loved it. I picked up her other book, Mudhouse Sabbath because I loved the premise. Winner's turn toward God took her through Orthodox Judaism to Christianity (the story recounted in her first memoir). Mudhouse Sabbath was about the nourishing spiritual practices she found in Judaism and missed after her conversion to Christianity. She wrote appreciatively about what she found in Judaism and how these practices continued to nourish her, and weren't incompatible with her new faith.

Paraclete Press has just released the study edition of Mudhouse Sabbath. This is not a rewrite. The chapters have the same format as they did when Winner first conceived the book. In Winner's new introduction she notes a couple of places where she would now write it differently, especially in her failure to explore God's justice and her expectation of encountering Him as we work toward it (viii). For example, the practice of fasting and Sabbath have implications for justice in the Hebrew scriptures which Winner left unexplored in the earlier edition (ix-x). She also acknowledges her growing cautiousness about borrowing from Judaism as a Christian (urging humility and grace).

The difference between this edition and its earlier incarnation (other than the new introduction) is the study notes. Winner's words remain the same but the chapters are peppered with quotations, selections from Jewish authors and Hebrew scripture and discussion questions. While Winner's original was thoughtful and engaged Judaism, it was much more a personal reflection on how she as a Christian convert could still appropriate these practices as part of her own spiritual life. That was the charm of the book. The study edition helps Christian readers engage these concepts and practices more thoughtfully for themselves.

Personally I like this edition a lot. It is possible to treat this book like the original, reading the main body of text as an exhortation to beef up your personal spiritual practices. But a study edition invites you into something more demanding and rewarding. The first edition was more privatized. This edition invites engagement. I gave the original four stars once upon a time, this I give five. Christian readers will find a deep well of spiritual practice. Jewish readers may find a book from a Christian borrowing from their traditions off-putting, but will be put at ease by the care and sensitivity with which Winner engages their religious tradition. If you never read the original, skip it. This is the definitive edition.

Note: I received this book from Paraclete Press in exchange for my honest review. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
Lauren Winner, a convert to Anglicanism from Judaism, compares the two religions, showing how Jewish practices can enrich Christian experience. Our pastor regularly addresses Jewish traditions, rituals, etc. in his sermons so I was familiar with most of these. Lauren's personal experience gives many Christians an eye into some things that should enrich their faith. ( )
  thornton37814 | Apr 28, 2016 |
For Jews, the essence of the thing is a doing, an action. Your faith might come and go, but your practice ought not waver. (Indeed, Judaism suggests that the repeating of the practice is the best way to ensure that a doubter's faith will return.)

Lauren F. Winner has written a fine book on spiritual disciplines. She's a Christian with a Jewish background - and in short chapters she reflects and look back at some of the Jewish practices that she misses in her newfound Christian faith - disciplines she tries to work into her spiritual life.

It's a very personal and honest book - and she shares both funny and serious incidents from her own life.

I liked best the chapters on food, hospitality, body and aging. It's a book I will return to, no doubt. ( )
3 vote ctpress | Aug 19, 2014 |
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Lauren Winner shares the spiritual practices she has adopted in her quest to reconcile Judaism and Christianity. Despite her conversion from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity, Lauren Winner finds that her life is still shaped by the spiritual essences of Judaism: rich traditions and religious practices that she can't leave behind. In Mudhouse Sabbath, Winner illuminates eleven spiritual practices that can transform the way we view the world, and God. Whether discussing her own prayer life, the spirituality of candle-lighting, or the differences between the Jewish Sabbath and a Sunday spent at the Mudhouse, her favorite coffee shop, Winner writes with appealing honesty and rare insight.

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After her conversion from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity, Lauren Winner found that her life was indelibly marked by the rich traditions and spiritual practices of Judaism. She set out to discover how she could incorporate some of these practices into her new faith. Winner presents eleven Jewish spiritual practices that can transform the way Christians view the world and God. Whether discussing attentive eating, marking the days while grieving, the community that supports a marriage, candle-lighting, or the differences between the Jewish Sabbath and a Sunday spent at the Mudhouse, her favorite coffee shop, Winner writes with appealing honesty and rare insight. There are seven sessions: Christianity and Judaism, Sabbath Keeping, Hospitality & Mindful Eating, Jewish and Christian Prayer, The Practice of Fasting, Mourning Well, and Doorposts.
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