Lauren Winner: Mudhouse Sabbath

Interview of Lauren Winner by Dick Staub

Our next guest is on a wonderful spiritual journey and is kind enough to write about it so we can go along for the ride. In Girl Meets God we learned of her sojourn from Judaism to Christianity. And in her newest book, Mudhouse Sabbath (Paraclete), she tells us of the Jewish ways she misses. Her warm and conciliatory spirit are noted by people like Rabbi Harold Kushner, who described the book on what we can learn from each other as “refreshingly welcome.”

Q. Welcome Lauren Winner. How did you get the idea that this was something you ought to write about?
A. Well, several years after I had converted from Judaism to Christianity I found myself increasingly aware of certain things that were missing from my spiritual life. And I think the most pointed of those ¢€œ and this is what the title of the book refers to ¢€œ was that I really became aware that I wasn’t observing the Sabbath with the same intention and attentiveness to God, in the same joyfulness and the same restfulness that I had observed it as a Jew. And I just began reflecting on some areas in my spiritual life where, although I was fulfilled in the most essential ways, having become a Christian, I felt that something was missing.

Q. Hm.
A. And I began to think about the similarities between Judaism and Christianity, the practices that Jews and Christians share in common, things like observing the Sabbath and praying and fasting. And I began to think, are there-is there an inheritance here from my Jewish upbringing? Are there things that I learned in the Jewish community that can be translated into my Christian life that might help those practices flourish in the Christian context?

Q. Yeah.
A. And as I said, I began exploring most specifically the idea of Sabbath observance, and what does it mean to observe the Sabbath as a Christian, and what can Christians learn from Judaism about observing the Sabbath. And that sort of got me off and writing. And then many months later there was a book.

Q. You know, one of the things that I observed as I read the book was ¢€œ and you make this point early on ¢€œ you say, “Practice is to Judaism what belief is to Christianity.” But the odd thing is, Christianity has practices that have been a part of our tradition from the beginning, we just don’t practice them in western Christianity.
A. I think that’s really true, Dick. In this area, I think, those of us who are Protestants ¢€œ and I am a Protestant ¢€œ may have sort of poured the baby out with the bath water because so many of these practices that I was thinking of, as Jewish practices are, in fact, as you say, also Christian practices, spiritual disciplines that the faithful of the church have been practicing in some parts of the world for the whole 2,000 years of our heritage. And yet, particularly in American and western Europe I think we have abandoned many of these practices. For example, fasting. I mean, many of us still adopt some sort of fast during Lent. But if you read the gospels it’s very clear that fasting was a regular part of the spiritual life of the community that surrounded Jesus, and that Jesus took for granted that fasting was something that you did as part of the faithful, spiritual life. So this is really a return to our Christian heritage. And I’m certainly not alone in exploring these ancient spiritual practices. I think in the last ten or so years we’ve seen in many, many churches in America, that people are increasingly interested in exploring traditions such as liturgical prayer, or such, as some kind of regular fasting. So I think there is a renewal of spiritual discipline that people are experiencing.

Q. Yeah. I remember a few years ago we were going to start the year and I wanted to explore some different ways that Christians could be more fruitful in their spiritual lives. So I got a rabbi on the line on the first day of the year and we talked about what the Sabbath means in the Jewish tradition. And reading your chapter on the Sabbath was like talking to him. And you make reference to Nan Fink’s phrase, “The Sabbath is like nothing else.” Talk about the ways in which, when you reflected on it, the Sabbath, though at times an inconvenience, in fact, did teach you some important things about God and about the pursuit of God.
A. Well, in Jewish communities the Sabbath really does feel like a day that is completely distinct and different from the other six days of the week. And there are many Sabbath requirements in the Jewish community, many things you can’t do. You can’t drive, you can’t light fire, you can’t write or spend money. And you spend most of the Sabbath either around a table or in Synagogue. And when I became a Christian I found that my Sundays were really much different from that. You know, I went to church for an hour or two in the morning and then I kind of had a weekend. You know, I went to the shopping mall, or I went on a hike, or I went, you know, to paint my bedroom a new color. I mean, things that I wouldn’t do on a Monday or a Wednesday or a Thursday, but this was not really a Sabbath, it was more a weekend. And I think one of the things the church is missing is, not only the sense that we rest on the Sabbath, but we’re not resting merely to recoup our energies, or merely to be refreshed or relaxed after a long work week, though that refreshment is definitely one of the fruits of the Sabbath. My experience in the Jewish community, and increasingly in my experience in the Church, is that the end that the Sabbath points towards is not merely rest, but it is rest so that we can focus, without distraction, on worshipping and reverencing our Creator who rested.

Q. Yeah, yeah.
A. It’s not rest for rest’s sake, it is rest so that we can be attentive without the busy-ness of weekly life.

Q. Well you know, you make reference to the glossy magazines and the trendiness of a Sabbath concept. But the Sabbath concept ends up being described in most of these magazines as finally a day about me, you know, where I can focus on my needs. I need to have a quietness about my life, I need to¢â‚¬¦ And as you say, the focus in the Jewish tradition is, this is a day when you don’t create, when you don’t put your imprint on the world. This is a day when you are reminded that God is the God of all creation. It’s a very, very¢â‚¬¦
A. I think that’s really right. I think when we cease creating or interfering with creation for just one day a week, we are reminded powerfully that we are creatures, we are not the creators.

Q. Yeah. Now, for people that haven’t read the book yet ¢€œ and I urge people to read it ¢€œ and my wife and I had a very interesting discussion after we both read your book because I tend to be a, you know, complete radical, let’s-change-our-life kind of person. My wife eases into things. So I read the chapter and said, Let’s really do the Sabbath right. My wife was kind of more in that, Let’s-go-to-the-mudhouse-and-have-a-latte kind of a frame of mind. The title of the book is actually from that idea of Sabbath. What are you doing, yourself, as a result of-of these ideas about the Sabbath?
A. Well, I think one of the important pieces in any Christian conversation about Christian Sabbath observance is that no one’s really encouraging a return to legalism. I mean, of course that’s the concern. Christians sometimes get very anxious when we start talking about the Sabbath because there’s a fear that we’re talking about a legalistic, you know, list of things that you must do. And my concern is not that, you know, everyone start following Lauren’s Eight Guides to Sabbath Keeping, but instead each family discern, husbands and wives and kids together, and each community, what are the practices that they could implement.

Let’s pick up there when we come right back, folks. We’re visiting with Lauren Winner. The book is Mudhouse Sabbath. Don’t go away.


Well, this is Dick Staub back with you. We’re visiting with Lauren Winner. Her book is Mudhouse Sabbath, published by Paraclete, another wonderful piece of writing by Lauren Winner.

Q. We were just talking about her chapter on Sabbath, and she was saying she’s not interested in trying to get people to subscribe to the new kind of Lauren Winner Eight Keys to a Successful Sabbath, but rather finding out what is appropriate for each individual. And Lauren, in your own situation, what have you found useful as you start re-thinking the Sabbath as a Christian?
A. Well, I’ve reflected on what I understand is the two over-arching themes of Sabbath law in Judaism, or Sabbath observance. One of those is the general command not to work on the Sabbath, and the other is the general command to be joyful. So I just tried to reflect, in both my family and my community, on-on ways that I could undertake both of those two over-arching principles, and some of the very concrete things I’ve implemented that have helped. One, is that I’ve stopped shopping, which may sound absurd, but I really did enjoy heading to the mall on Sunday afternoon. And that was just something that I only discerned to be not very in keeping with the spirit of the Sabbath and resting, not interfering with creation. So I’ve given up shopping. One of the other things that I have found real helpful is that I try not to check my email or use my cell phone on the Sabbath.

Q. Interesting.
A. Which sounds like a small thing. But you know, those are implements that kind of connect us both to our work often times and at least they put me in this state of very low-grade but constant tension that someone is trying to get ahold of me and I’m going to have to respond to them immediately and so forth. So I just simply try not to check email or use my cell phone on Sabbath. Now obviously, there are exceptions to all of these rules. My mother was quite ill last fall, and if there was a Sunday and she needed me to go to the grocery store and purchase some Ensure for her, obviously I’m not going to respond to that by saying, I’m sorry, it’s the Sabbath. I don’t shop on the Sabbath.

Q. Yeah.
A. So you know, I think we are able to be flexible even as we discern practices that we might like to adopt.

Q. Yeah. Well, it’s funny you bring up email because that is the first thing my wife brought up in her suggestion for me about Sabbath was are you willing to not walk in and check your email, and that kind of thing. And I think that’s the right direction to be thinking.
A. Well, tell her I said, Right on.

Q. Well, she already thinks you’re brilliant so¢â‚¬¦ Now, when we get to the issue of kosher. You know, what’s interesting is most of us in American culture have some idea of what these Jewish traditions are, but-but we ¢€œ having not been raised in them ¢€œ never really figured out what it would mean for our own life. You refer to eating kosher as eating attentively. And-and talk a bit about-about what you’re finding is helpful to you, as a Christian, as you think about the idea of kosher eating.
A. Well, one of the things I realized was sort of missing from my spiritual life was that as a Jew who observed the rather rigorous Jewish dietary laws, I really had to pay attention all the time to what I was eating, who was preparing my food, how it was getting to my table. And after I stopped keeping kosher I was much more likely to order take-out, to kind of eat standing up over the sink, to drive-thru McDonald’s. And I began to realize that I was just simply unthinkingly using food as a fuel, I wasn’t offering any gratitude to the Creator who had provided it for me. I was not taking the opportunity to create meals that might be places of-of communal gathering. I just had turned into this kind of stereotypical, you know, 20-something busy single woman who ate a lot of Thai food from my local Thai take-out restaurant. So I have begun to explore some ways that I can pay more attention to God in my eating.

Q. Hm.
A. And again, I think there are many ways that Christians can undertake that. I have many friends who fast one day a week, and that has imbued their other six days of eating with a real sense of gratitude and celebration. I have other friends who have simply said, you know, we’re going to bake all of our own bread. And we’re going to do it in a bread machine. This is not going to be a super labor-intensive activity, but just something that is going to connect us to our-to our eating.

Q. Well, you-you talk about two very different books that influenced you on this, The Supper of the Lamb was one of them, which is a little over the top in its attentiveness to an onion. And the other is Barbara Kingsolver. And both of them are really very interesting and have, I think, very practical, kind of theological implications.
A. Yeah. The Supper of the Lamb, which is written by a man named Robert Capon, is sort of half cookbook ¢€œ there really is a lamb recipe in that book ¢€œ and half theological meditation on food. And he instructs the person making this lamb recipe to spend 60 minutes chopping an onion, which sounds, of course, completely ridiculous. But he offers such a moving meditation on entering into the created thing-ness of that onion, that by the time you’re done reading his book you think, well, an hour isn’t possibly enough. And his point really is that we have, particularly when it comes to food, we have too many things. There’s too much clutter. And we are not able to really have a moment with each of our knives, each of our onions, each of our cutting boards. And he has a wonderful meditation where he says, “The onion is here because of the Creator. God created onions because he loved them.”

Q. Yeah.
A. And that is why they are here. So I recommend The Supper of the Lamb to everyone I know. I think it’s an incredibly instructive book on both the Christian spiritual life and on kind of the spirituality of eating, if you will. The other book that you referred to is actually an essay by the novelist Barbara Kingsolver. And it is an essay where she explains why she and her family do what she calls “seasonal eating,” which is to say that they have kind of made a rule that they only allow vegetables into their kitchen when those vegetables are in season. So they don’t go out and buy, you know, avocados in February, and they only eat, you know, tomatoes in the middle of the winter if they canned them back when those tomatoes were naturally ripe in the summer. And I have adopted, with a little leniency ¢€œ I mean, it’s sometimes hard to stick to that completely, it’s easier to say you’re going to stick to that in June than it is now in January ¢€œ that I have adopted seasonal eating at least as an experiment for a year or two. And I am finding it very transformative. It is really¢â‚¬¦ What it really has done, Dick, is introduced a kind of liturgical arc into my-into my eating so that my eating is now kind of following a calendar, but is much more closely connected with the natural calendar that God created.

Q. Yeah.
A. And the other point that Barbara Kingsolver makes in her essay is just simply that we expend an inordinate amount of fuel, according to her, American’s second largest expenditure of oil and gasoline goes to getting food from, you know, greenhouses in New Zealand to our kitchen tables in the middle of winter.

Q. Yeah.
A. So she makes a very political and environmental point that it’s not good stewardship to expend oil and fuel that way. And certainly the geopolitical situation of the last year, I think, has made all of us more attentive to how we’re using our fuel and oil resources.

Yeah. We’re going to be back with more of Lauren Winner. Her book is Mudhouse Sabbath, published by Paraclete. A wonderful, wonderful meditation on some of the Jewish traditions and how they enrich our life and our sense of God. We’ll be right back.


Well, this is Dick Staub back with you. We’re visiting this afternoon with Lauren Winner. Her book is Mudhouse Sabbath, some of the Jewish ways that she misses and how they inform her life as a-as a follower of Jesus.

Q. And one of the most profound and provocative chapters for me was the one on mourning. I remember just after graduating from seminary I went into a local church in an associate role. The senior pastor was gone, and the very first week there was a tragic automobile accident in which an 18-year-old girl was killed. And I immediately was thrust into the world of mourning in a way that most of us, as Americans, avoid for the most part. The next funeral was a 96-year-old man. I was 26 years old. Lauren, in this book you say, “Churches don’t grieve well often because of a lack of ritual. And if there’s a place where there is a discipline to mourning, it’s in Judaism, which marks the days.” Talk about how Judaism “marks the days” as part of the mourning process.
A. Well, Judaism lays out a structure for really the entire year of mourning that sort of takes the mourner and the mourner’s community really through different stages of grief. So the first period that is demarcated in the Jewish community would be the seven days, or the week after someone dies. And that is a time when the mourner is not expected really to do anything else but be grief stricken. And people come to your home and provide all of your meals, and so forth. The second period is the period of the following month, which is a time when the mourner sort of gradually edges back into his or her normal day-to-day rhythms, but there are still actually a lot of restrictions on what the mourner can do. So a mourner is forbidden during that month to listen to live music or to attend parties, because they’re not celebrating. And the community is asked to respect that by, you know, not inviting that person to your party or saying, Let’s go to this classical music concert. And then the rest of the year of mourning is recognized, the mourner is required to say a prayer every day, and it is a prayer that can only be said with a quorum of ten other Jews gathered for prayer. And it is the so-called Mourner’s Potash, which is a funny prayer. It’s the prayer said by mourners, but it doesn’t say anything about mourning. It is entirely a prayer that praises God. It begins, “Magnified and sanctified may his great name be,” and goes on from there as really a hymn of praise. And that sort of forces¢â‚¬¦ I think all of us who have mourned know that sometimes we don’t feel like praising God in the middle of our grief.

Q. Uh-huh, yeah.
A. So the Jewish mourner is required to do it even though he may not feel like it. And he’s required to do it in his community even though he may feel like staying in bed and just pulling those covers up over his head. And I think what is so insightful about this, the Jewish tradition of mourning, is the recognition that mourning takes a long time.

Q. Yeah.
A. And actually, since I published the book my mother died ¢€œ

Q. Oh man.
A. ¢€œ and so this chapter has become much more kind of personally felt for me. And I hate to sound like I am trashing my home church community or something, but my church was wonderful in the few weeks after my mother died. You know, they did show up at my house with tons of meals and boxes of Kleenex, and they were right there. But then quite understandably, you know, everyone goes back to their normal life and my mother has now been dead for close to three months, and I’m sure that if I picked up the phone and called a friend of mine and said, I’m really feeling sad today, you know, my friend would be right there. But we don’t, in the church community, in the Christian community, have that kind of automatic choreography that involves the community in supporting the mourner through, I think, what is, you know, a year- or two-long process.

Q. Yeah. Well, in the last four years my wife has lost her mother and her grandmother, the two closest people in her life. And the thing that I noticed is that the person who has suffered the loss does have a way of marking the days, but not in community.
A. Uh-huh.

Q. Even as my wife’s husband, I’ve had to remember to put in my calendar some of these dates that will be important to my wife because they’re very much a part of her life. And I love what you’re saying about the Jewish community has built right into a structure, a way that people can mourn together with the person who’s experienced the loss. And it’s a very, very practical way of demonstrating love. And since that’s what we’ve been called to do, I think it’s something we really need to learn from the Jewish tradition on. And I¢â‚¬¦ You also, in addition to your mother you talk about losing your friend, Clementine, and that you’re, because she was killed by a drunk driver you write a check to MADD on the anniversary. And you bought a special candle. There are things that we can do that-that show respect for those we love who have gone before us. And there’s a lot to learn here.
A. Uh-huh.

Q. Hospitality is another area that you get into in Mudhouse Sabbath. And it’s interesting because having read your stuff I wouldn’t have thought of you as an introvert necessarily. But you do talk about yourself as walking into the Christian fellowship and-and finding sometimes yourself at a sense of loss. And what’s interesting is I’m kind of extrovertish, but I have this same feeling when I go into a new church fellowship. The Hebrew tradition ¢€œ and really the Middle Eastern tradition in general ¢€œ has a whole understanding of “bringing in the guests.”
A. Uh-huh.

Q. That’s an important one. Talk a bit about that.
A. Well, I think hospitality for Christians really have to have two components. And one is maybe what we think of as the, you know, the component of entertaining. I mean, simply being willing to make time to invite people into your home for lunch or for dinner. I was speaking with a clergyman in my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, and he and his wife threw fabulous dinner parties. And he said, People are just shocked. The dinner party has sort of faded from our society. People are surprised that they spend so much time and energy kind of inviting people to their table. So the first component, I think, is simply being willing to open the doors of your home to people who are not your immediate family or your closest friends and saying, Come break bread with us, or come hang out with us for the afternoon. Or you know, you’re a college student and you just have a pathetic, horrible shower in your dorm room. If you ever want to take a bubble bath, just call and come right over and use our bathtub.

Q. Yeah.
A. I think the second component, though, that Christians really have theological and spiritual resources to live into is the idea that hospitality is not merely opening our homes to people, but it is really also opening ourselves and our lives to other people. And as we’re willing to welcome people into our, you know, sometimes messy, imperfect apartments or houses, we should also be willing to really let them into our messy and imperfect interior lives. It seems to me that that is what the Trinity really models for us, that the Trinity is-is-is God issuing an invitation to us to participate in his divine life. And I think we, as Christians, need to extend that same invitation to one another.

Q. Well you know, we talk a lot about community and the loss of community, and it’s a real hot-button issue in culture in general, not just in Christian culture. But we don’t have a lot of flesh on those bones. You know, we haven’t really figured out a lot about what it means in practical ways. And certainly these Jewish traditions of hospitality are another fruitful ground for exploration.

We’re going to be back with, sadly, some concluding comments from our guest, Lauren Winner. But you can spend more time with her yourself by picking up a copy of her wonderful new book. It is titled Mudhouse Sabbath. It’s published by Paraclete, available online or at your local bookstores. Some of the Jewish ways that she is integrating into her life as a follower of Jesus. We’ll be back with Lauren Winner right after this. Don’t go away.


Well, this is Dick Staub back with you. We’re visiting this afternoon with Lauren Winner. She’s the author of Girl Meets God, which was the first book I became acquainted with Lauren through, and now Mudhouse Sabbath, published by Paraclete. And it’s a wonderful, wonderful recounting of some of the traditions that she drew on as a person raised in a Jewish home. And as someone who has been following Jesus has found that these also are very important in the Christian tradition as well.

Q. One question I have for you. In the book you describe your apartment where you have ¢€œ and we were just talking about hospitality ¢€œ where you have a large kitchen table as your office. And in your kitchen you have a small little writing table. And you end with the phrase, “My apartment is, in other words, a great place to work, but a lousy place to eat or entertain.” You married Griff Gatewood who you describe as somebody who’s showed some giftedness in the area of hospitality. Now that you’re married what’s happening in this category?
A. Well, I’ve moved, that’s one thing. And that large desk, kitchen table/desk, is now in my office which is in a completely different building. I’ve rented an office.

Q. Oh man.
A. So I’m not working at home but trying to have home be a place of domestic economy and hospitality. Griff really does have the gift of hospitality, as does his whole family. And I mean “gift” in the Holy Spirit way. So I am just really learning from him. And sometimes it’s hard for me. I mean, we often have friends dropping in two or three times a week for dinner. And I love, in theory, having time with those people, but as an introvert and as someone who prizes my time, it’s sometimes difficult for me to open up in that way. So I’m just trying to be humble and learn.

Q. Well, thank you for your honesty on that because there are a lot of people who, in theory, love to have people over three nights a week because it’s the right thing to do. It seems right, but it’s still a challenge.
A. Right.

Q. You tell the story of Ruby Lichtenstein giving you a prayer book and she says this wonderful thing about “A mark of being a Jew is praying to your God. This book is the way that Jews pray.” And-and there is a wonderful liturgical structure to Jewish prayers that, in fact, a lot of Christians, as you say, are yearning. And a lot of, particularly younger generation Christians, are finding old prayer books and old books like John Bailey’s book, Daily Diary of Prayer, that they’re using to bring structure to their prayer life. And-and Griff shows up in that chapter, as well, because you got to hear his grandfather pray and just be reminded of the richness that comes of a life spent in structured prayer. Talk a bit about what you’re learning in this area of prayer as it relates to your Jewish tradition.
A. Well, I am a big advocate of liturgical prayer. And what I’m really having to learn is the fruits of other, you know, more spontaneous types of prayer because they don’t come very naturally to me. I was kind of schooled in liturgical prayer, as a Jew, and then have spent my entire Christian life in liturgical communities. The concern, I think, that people have about liturgy, or the fear that people have is that it gets boring and rote. And I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it does. I mean, I can sit down with my prayer book to say my set, morning office or my set of morning prayers, and I can realize 10 or 15 minutes into that that I’ve been, you know, mouthing the words but thinking about my grocery list or, you know, something I’m going to do later that day. So of course the danger of liturgical prayer is that it does become habitual and can become rote. But to me, if that’s the danger, that roteness is actually also the way that liturgy works. I find that when I don’t have to think all the time about what words I’m going to say next, then I am free to enter into reverencing God in prayer. This actually gets back to something we were discussing when we were talking about that mourner’s prayer. The other, I think, great gift of liturgy is that if you have a prayer book, or you have a set of liturgical prayers, your prayer life is not going to be subject just to your own emotional whims.

Q. Yeah.
A. The time that I sort of depart from liturgy I find that I wind up just kind of chatting with God about, you know, my emotions of the day. But my emotions, you know, aren’t always that in tune with reality. So I might not feel like praising God, or I might not feel like praying for, you know, the homeless people in my town. But the liturgy prompts us to do all of those things so that we don’t just simply get into a different kind of roteness, or a different kind of a rut of just simply talking about our feelings all the time.

Q. Yeah. Yeah, again, wonderful, wonderful advice. Folks, there’s other chapters on the body and-and kind of the idea that western Christians ¢€œ I’m going to turn a phrase here that’s not Lauren’s ¢€œ but kind of “enlightenment-gnostics,” to tie together a couple of ideas that you talk about.
A. Uh-huh.

Q. But we’ve become uncomfortable with the concept of body. And the Jewish tradition reminds us that gnosticism, you know in fact, was turned away as part of the Christian tradition. And we need to learn a lot in that area. Fasting, another wonderful reminder from a rabbi that when you feel hungry, you’re hungry for God. The issue of again, the lighting of candles. The book is just packed with-with good practical lessons from the Jewish tradition that we, as Christians, can learn from. I love the chapter on weddings. And since you’re a recent newlywed, this is a chapter where you say the Christian church has me forever. What is it that-that enriches your understanding of marriage from the Christian tradition? And what are some of the things from the Jewish tradition that bring value as well?
A. Well, I think the Christian marriage and wedding tradition so clearly speaks to the fact that marriage is a covenant. It is not a contract that we can get out of because something goes wrong, but it is a covenant that is possible because it’s not just two people up there getting married, it’s two people and God. And God will sustain them through the strains and pressures that may be put on that covenant. What I think Judaism ¢€œ in particular some aspects of the Jewish wedding ceremony articulate quite well ¢€œ is that the community is also really involved in that process ¢€œ

Q. Uh-huh.
A. ¢€œ of sustaining marriages. And we see that to some extent in the Christian wedding service in, for example, The Book of Common Prayer, the Episcopal service that so many Christians use as their wedding ceremony. There is a place, just as there is in the baptism service, where the minister says, you know, Do you, the congregation, promise to uphold these two people in their vows of marriage? And the congregation responds, We will.

Q. Yes.
A. But I, you know, I think we all know in the church that our divorce rate is as high or, according to some sources slightly higher, than the divorce rate in the American population at large. That is, to me, the single most depressing statistic about contemporary Christian life, contemporary church life. Christians have no business divorcing at that high a rate.

Q. Yeah.
A. It seems to me that if we want to get that divorce rate way, way down, one of the things we can do is recognize that the community is involved in people’s marriages at every step of the way.

Q. I agree completely. And it’s another area in which¢â‚¬¦ I was just at a wedding a few weeks ago where that was part of the pledge, was that we, as members of the witnessing community, were asked to uphold this couple in prayer. And this was a guy that I’ve known since he was a little kid. And it felt right. It felt like part of what my on-going prayer commitment and support commitment ought to be to this young man.

Folks, there’s also a concluding chapter on Mezuzot, The Doorposts, and a wonderful story about a little sign that Lauren found on the door from the Life Study Fellowship. This is a book just packed with good, practical, provocative ideas to aid you in your pursuit of God. The book is Mudhouse Sabbath. It is written by Lauren Winner. It’s available at your local bookstore and I highly recommend it.

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