A Few Thoughts

Last week, I finished reading Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren F. Winner. She’s also the author of Girl Meets God, which I wrote about in this post.

I’ve been meaning to share a few thoughts on the book, so here I am with a hot mug of apple cider and my library copy of the book. (Have I ever mentioned how much I adore libraries? That’s for another post, I suppose.)

In Girl Meets God, Lauren F. Winner talks about her conversion from Judaism to Christianity. In Mudhouse Sabbath, she writes about 11 Jewish spiritual practices and how she views them now as a Christian. I like the way the back of the book explains this: “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 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.”

If this copy didn’t belong to the library, I surely would have marked up what spoke to me. Tonight, I’m going to share from one of the sections I really liked, Hospitality:

“As church historian Amy Oden has put it, ‘God offers hospitality to all humanity … by establishing a home … for all.’ To invite people into our homes is to respond with gratitude to the God who made a home for us. In the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, we find another resource for hospitality. The Trinity shows God in relationship with Himself. Our Three-in-One God has welcomed us into Himself and invited us to participate in Divine life. And so the invitation that we as Christians extend to one another is not simply an invitation into our homes or to our tables; what we ask of other people is that they enter into our lives.”

I love that last part … that we not only invite people into our homes, but we invite them into our lives. And it can be difficult to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to let others see us as we are.

Lauren touches on that difficulty, as it relates to her home and her life:

“But to be a hostess, I’m going to have to surrender my notions of Good Housekeeping domestic perfection. I will have to set down my pride and invite people over even if I have not dusted.” And then: “I don’t find inviting people into my life much easier than inviting them into my apartment. At its core, I think, cultivating an intimacy in which people can know and be known requires being honest—practicing that other Christian discipline of telling the truth about where we live and how we got there.”

And it is hard, but it’s worth it. My community group is navigating that truth right now, meeting each week at Panera to study, pray, know and be known. This week, we had our first potluck dinner and were welcomed into the home of one of the women. Each month, we have plans to meet at one woman’s house for food and fellowship. It’s a great way for each of us to invite the others into our homes and our lives.


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