Na’aseh v’nishma

I’ve just treated myself to some new books.  Now, before you think I’m being self-indulgent again, I have to say that contrary to what this blog suggests, I actually don’t buy that many books.

(I freely admit that I may have borrowed more books from my theological college library than most though!)

This latest is one by Lauren Winner.  The first book of hers that I came across was in the college library and it was called ‘Real Sex’.  It wasn’t so much what she said as how she said it that caught me at the time.  So I’ve succumbed to buying one of her books.  This one has an even better title – ‘Mudhouse Sabbath’.  How could you NOT want to read it?!

I knew it was a spiritual disciplines title but it has a twist.  It is about ‘spiritual practices that Jews do better…Christian practices that…would be thicker and more vibrant, if we took a few lessons from Judaism’.  Doesn’t that sound interesting?  Well, I think so anyway!

In her introduction, she talks about na’aseh v’nishma – from Exodus 24, it means ‘we will do and we will understand’.  Midrash suggests that the phrase occurs in this counterintuitive order because, in Judaism, right thinking and indeed faith is perceived to come from right action and right living.

So often we Christians turn it around but I think there is something in this.  And perhaps even we recognise it when we talk about spiritual disciplines: we say that these are the practices which train the heart, which renew the mind and which can lead to practical transformation.

So what disciplines are part of your practice for growth in the faith?  What will you do so that you will understand?

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