Mudhouse Sabbath: mentoring with a cuppa joe
Several writing and editing projects are currently competing for my time, but lest I allow this blog to atrophy, here are a few quick comments:
First, a reminder of my upcoming online discussion on Too Late the Phalarope by Alan Paton. On December 27, I’ll post a few questions and hopefully spur you to dialogue. If a few of you participate, I might do it again—so if you’re interested in starting an online book club, get thee to a Barnes & Noble and grab a copy of this classic. Only 14 reading days left!
Secondly, the latest issue of Christian History & Biography was in my mailbox tonight, and can you guess who is on the cover? Sick of C.S. Lewis yet? Before you eschew him forever, please go see the movie. Brandon and I saw it opening night with film buffs Jen and Joe Troutman (they’re not professional critics, but they’re serious enough to have taken a seminary course on how to watch movies!). My short review: beautiful color, great casting, significantly faithful to the book. If that’s not enough for you, my sweetie has written a longer interaction with links to various other reviews. (Side note: a few weeks ago I posted about a lecture on Lewis by Wheaton prof Leland Ryken. Audio of the event is now available online—thanks to Diana for posting the link.)
Finally, over the weekend I read Lauren F. Winner’s Mudhouse Sabbath (Paraclete, 2003), recommended by my sister Sarah. I first read Winner this summer when I picked up a copy of Girl Meets God, an account of her journey from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity, and I was impressed by her insight.
In Mudhouse Sabbath, she urges Christians to consider eleven spiritual disciplines she first learned as a Jew. This is not an attempt to “reconcile Judaism and Christianity,” as the book jacket declares, but simply a call to practice those traditions and physical reminders that help maintain a fresh, authentic pursuit of godliness. To anyone familiar with Dallas Willard’s The Spirit of the Disciplines (or other mainstays of Christian spirituality), some of these are obvious—prayer, fasting, hospitality. But you may not have considered candle-lighting or aging or weddings as disciplines in their own right.
Still, what makes Winner unique is more style than content. She is vulnerable and winsome, offering biblical wisdom as she hands you a packet of Splenda across the café table. This is mentoring in book form, pointing to Scripture, speaking to the heart issues, confessing her own mistakes, like the church friend you meet for coffee and prayer. Systematic theology it’s not, but it’s not decaf spirituality either—Winner is clearly versant in the heavier literature of Judaism and Christianity. Mudhouse Sabbath is a quick read that will spur you to think about your daily and weekly rituals as opportunities to worship God.