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Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline (Pocket Classics) Paperback – February 1, 2007

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Product Details

  • Series: Pocket Classics
  • Paperback: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Paraclete Press; Pocket Classics edition (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557255326
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557255327
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


A writer of spiritual substance and grace-filled style.
Publishers Weekly

"The strongest reason to read this book... is that it makes one think. I have been considering some of her statements and discussing them with friends ever since I read the book, and I've ordered copies for close friends and recommended it to just about anyone who would listen to me. Book clubs would have much to talk about after reading this, and it should have a beneficial impact on our Christian community, if we will listen."
The Living Church

"A compelling engaging (and at times appropriately humorous) tour of rarely exposed yet Biblically rooted spiritual disciplines."

More About the Author

Lauren F. Winner teaches Christian spirituality Duke Divinity School, in Durham, North Carolina. Her favorite things include October weather, mystery novels, and doodling prayer (see Sybil MacBeth's Praying in Color if you'd like to know more about that last one).

Customer Reviews

The book is easy to read.
Lauren Winner uses her lifetime experience in both the Jewish and Christian world to bring great compare/contrast ideas in spiritual disciplines.
A. L. Pausley
I plan to read this again for Lent and do more pondering.
P. Leonard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Classic Firm Lover on May 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
Lauren Winner does not fail to challenge the mind and delight the soul with Mudhouse Sabbath. Her insights and experience with Judaism continue to inform her Christian practise and enlighten other believers who seek to press beyond the assumptions of our own culture.

Even though I was raised in a Christian home in a New England state that still had Blue Laws on the books, my own family sunk into the mire of Sunday as 'just another day' when Home Depot and Safeway extended their Sunday hours. The Sabbath was intended by God to be a joyful day of rest and worship, a day to refresh our bodies and souls, but our dollar-driven culture has reduced Sunday to another day of chores and shopping. I became convicted of my own lack of Sabbath keeping while living in France, which is among the most secular countries in the world, yet the French are great keepers of the restful Sunday, even if practically no one goes to church anymore.

Upon my return to the US, it was a challenge to consecrate this day, especially as so many American Christians do not feel called to honor it beyond attending services. I was delighted to see Lauren Winner take up the challenge on this and other topics of devotion, to see how the Jewish faith can inform our Christian practise, not only on the subject of Sabbath keeping, but other important traditions like mourning, which have been sadly lost in our five-minute culture.

I highly recommend these thoughtful musings to anyone who seeks a deepening of faith and spiritual practise.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Anna on September 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book's subtitle, "An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline," is perhaps the best introduction to its theme - an exploration of how Jewish spiritual traditions can intertwine with and enhance Christian spiritual disciplines.

Lauren Winner brings a rich background to this subject. As a convert to Christianity from Orthodox Judaism, she is intimately familiar with the practice of spiritual disciplines in both Jewish and Christian culture. And without succumbing to a pluralistic perspective on the two religions, she shares insights on ways to incorporate rich Jewish traditions into the Christian faith - while upholding the ultimate truth and beauty of Christ as the center of the Christian faith.

The book's eleven chapters deal with traditional "spiritual disciplines" such as prayer, fasting, and keeping the Sabbath, as well as lesser-known ways to honor God in such areas as mourning, hospitality, candle-lighting, and weddings. Woven among the practical suggestions offered, and the often-humorous real-life anecdotes, are broader theological implications about the importance and meaning of spiritual disciplines.

I loved this book because it remains firmly rooted in Christian orthodoxy, while exploring ways that another tradition can enhance our own spiritual practices. That is an incredibly difficult balance to maintain, and Lauren Winner has done it here with insightful grace.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Ronald M. Stohler on August 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
Winner provides a fresh perspective of spiritual disciplines in the genre of the spiritual formation movement, drawing on her Orthodox Jewish roots and current Episcopal practice. Given that Judaism is based on practice, Winner invites the typical Christian "do-it-yourselfer" into a rhythm of life from ancient roots, from how we approach our time, food, relationships, body or even the aging process itself. This brief read of 11 Jewish disciplines keeps the reader's attention through her own personal story and fascinating insight into the heart of Jewish life. She also re-contextualizes her roots in a new kind of liturgy. The text tends to be more descriptive than prescriptive, making it more inviting to readers exploring the heart behind spiritual practices.

Winner's book reminded me of another Episcopal writer, Debra Farrington, author of Living Faith Day by Day. While Farrington's book is more of an idea book of several practices drawn mostly from the European monastic tradition, Winner focuses on those from her Jewish roots. Both will help face-paced suburban followers, like me, to slow down and reflect. After reading Winner following the Rest of God, Rest of God, by Mark Buchanan, and the Great Omission, by Dallas Willard, I am more intrigued than ever how Christ-followers need to incorporate a human rhythm of their spiritual life. Bottom line: I've had it with programmatic Christianity. Winner reminded me that God built into His chosen people a way of life that kept them focused on Him in everything they did. I want my life to be more whole. Winner is rediscovering this for herself. I believe Richard Foster would appreciate this other stream of spirituality -- this Jewish stream -- which Winner invites us back to reconsider.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lore A. Ferguson on November 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
I've just finished Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline by Lauren Winner. I confess, I bought the book in the name of the author only, I knew nothing about Mudhouses nor was I craving a more disciplined life. Good thing, too, the book mentioned the former only once and the latter was so cleverly woven in that I didn't know I was being disciplined at all!

Winner grew up in the south, daughter of a Baptist and a non-practicing Jew, allowably went through what any child of that sort of union would wrestle with, landing comfortably in Orthodox Judaism until her twenties when she switched over to the other side. Which is the truth, but, from reading this book, one would think she was still quite infatuated with her former religious bent.

She seamless correlates themes in Judaism with Christianity--takes what we call the Law and turns it into a Labor of Love. And somehow blows the dust off of age old traditions and into the faces of Christians who poo-poo Old Testament practices in the name of New Testament freedom.

There's always been something so appealing to me about the Law. While most people putter out of their Read Through The Bible in a Year around Leviticus, I usually get lost somewhere around Psalms. I'm serious: 150 chapters feels much more daunting to me than lists of Dos and Don'ts. If there is one habitual sin in my life it is the sin of the Law. Binding them so tightly to my doorposts that I couldn't see the blood of the lamb if it was painted over my head. Grace feels far away, the Law feels tangible.

In Mudhouse Sabbath, Winner teaches us silly Christians how the law wasn't a list of Must Dos, as much as it was a gift from the Creator to remember Him. Isn't it easy to forget?
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