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Flipping through 'Mudhouse Sabbath'

I kinda like being me at this point in my life, but if I wanted to be someone else, I’d want to be Lauren F. Winner. I first came across this young woman on a book shelf in the religious section of Barnes and Nobles a couple of years ago. I was skimming over the bindings when girl meets God caught my eye. I didn’t know anything about Winner (who turns out to have quite the impressive bio), but I liked what I read as I leafed through the book (which chronicles her conversion from Judaism to Christianity). I can’t remember what other books I bought that day, but I do remember that one. And once I settled into the pages, it didn’t take long to fall in love with her voice and fresh view of the faith, Jesus and the world around us. (See more thoughts here and a taste of it here.)

So when a friend of mine recommended Mudhouse Sabbath, I ordered it straight away—and it was like meeting with an old friend for coffee. This short book (as the jacket describes) “illuminates 11 spiritual practices” drawn from Jewish traditions and religious practices “that can transform the way we view the world, and God.” I’ve been a long time reader of folks like Dallas Willard and Richard Foster and found Winner’s book a fresh and conversational approach to the disciplines. That the ones she focuses on are drawn from the faith from which Jesus grew draws me all the more. Each chapter moves through a thoughtful muse on practices ranging from more familiar disciplines and practices (like the Sabbath, weddings, hospitality and prayer) to ones less often discussed (like eating, candle-lighting and what we put on our doorposts). To each she brings not only the history of the practice itself but her own experience and struggles in that voice of hers I just love—a one-of-a-kind sometimes make-me-laugh-out-loud, sometimes frank and to-the-point, and sometimes achingly poignant and vulnerable.

All in all, I found this little book not only a fresh look at spiritual disciplines but (having read girl meets God) also a wonderful chance to catch up on Winner’s spiritual transformation and journey. And I love how she draws from the rich history of her faith and invites us to share it with her. I highly recommend it.


Lauren W said…
I remember reading "Girl Meets God." Didn't we do that for our book club or did I read that on my own? Anyway, I'm going to have to read this one now. Send any other reccomendations my way. I need some good reading material.
Carmen Andres said…
lauren, i think we did indeed read that in our book club! heh, i'd forgotten that. that means i've read it twice, wow. my memory is failing. i think you'll enjoy this one, too!