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Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth [Deluxe Edition] [Hardcover]

by Richard J. Foster
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (339 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 24, 2002

Richard J. Foster’s Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth is hailed by many as the best modern book on Christian spirituality with millions of copies sold since its original publication in 1978.

In Celebration of Discipline, Foster explores the "classic Disciplines," or central spiritual practices, of the Christian faith to show how each of these areas contribute to a balanced spiritual life.

Foster, the bestselling author of several books (Prayer and Streams of Living Water) and intrachurch movement founder of Renovaré, helps motivate Christians everywhere to embark on a journey of prayer and spiritual growth.


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When Richard Foster began writing Celebration of Discipline more than 20 years ago, an older writer gave him a bit of advice: "Be sure that every chapter forces the reader into the next chapter." Foster took the advice to heart; as a result, his book presents one of the most compelling and readable visions of Christian spirituality published in the past few decades. After beginning with a simple observation--"Superficiality is the curse of our age.... The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people"--Foster's book moves to explain the disciplines people must cultivate in order to achieve spiritual depth. In succinct, urgent, and sometimes humorous chapters, Foster defines a broad range of classic spiritual disciplines in terms that are lucid without being too limiting and offers advice that's practical without being overly prescriptive. For instance, after describing meditation as a combination of "intense intimacy and awful reverence," he settles into such down-to-earth topics as how to choose a place and a posture in which to meditate.

Perhaps most interesting and useful is Foster's chapter on the controversial Christian discipline of submission. According to Foster, submission does not demand self-hatred or loss of identity. Instead, it simply means growing secure in the conviction that "our happiness is not dependent on getting what we want" but on the fulfillment that naturally flows from love of one's neighbors. Such wise and encouraging suggestions have helped many readers to discard the idea that discipline is an onerous duty and to move toward a liberating and simpler idea of discipline--whose defining character, as Foster never forgets, is joy. --Michael Joseph Gross

Review

“If everybody in the country could read—and heed—this book, what a difference it would make to the planet.” (Madeleine L'Engle)

“Foster has challenged us to see Christian faith … as a life of spiritual transformation.” (Brian D. McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian)

“Foster has taught me more about prayer and living faithfully than just about any other living author.” (Lauren Winner, author of Girl Meets God)

“This seminal work on the practice of spiritual disciplines is never outdated.” (Relevant Magazine)

“Richard Foster has given us a rare gift... The celebration of each discipline in this book hands us a tool that can be useful in helping us to integrate our inner and outer lives.” (Macrina Wiederkehr, O.S.B., author of A Tree Full of Angels)

“The best modern book on Christian spirituality..... No other book apart from the Bible has been so helpful to me in the nurturing of my inward journey of prayer and spiritual growth.” (Ronald J. Sider, executive director, Evangelicals for Social Action)

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; 3rd edition (December 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060628391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060628390
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (339 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
415 of 456 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let's recognize the danger here... August 1, 2003
By Zossima
Format:Hardcover
This is a Christian classic. Foster has written a comprehensive guide to spiritual disciplines. It is deep, yet accessible. Most of the reviews here agree with that.
I've read this book 5 times in 8 years. I've been in churches where multiple people were reading it at the same time. I've been in small groups where everyone read it together. I've seen mature Christians read it. I've seen new Christians read it. And I've concluded that THIS BOOK CAN BE DANGEROUS.
The reason I say that is that even in the most non-legalistic churches I've ever seen, I've seen immature Christians stumble in part because they are overwhelmed by everything in this book. And when I say "stumble", I'm talking about people going back into severely addictive lifestyles. And the pressure they felt from feeling like they have to do all these disciplines contributed to that.
Unfortunately, it's easy for any of us to filter even the most well-intentioned, well-written book through our false self, that part of us that is performance- and fear-oriented. Spiritual disciplines do not change us; they open our hearts to the change that the Spirit of God wants to bring.
Again, I think this is a phenomenal book. But lest we feed our heads instead of our hearts and lest we frustrate ourselves with a standard of righteousness that Foster never intended, I'd like to humbly, humbly suggest some things:
* I personally recommend that people start with Henri Nouwen's "Way of the Heart" for a primer on spiritual discipline. It is just much simpler. The big stuff can come later. (Other books by Merton, Nouwen, Keating, etc., will work just as well.
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79 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Scriptural Keys to Living a Devout and Holy Life January 23, 2001
Format:Hardcover
I first discovered "Celebration of Discipline" through Terry Glaspey's "Great Books of the Christian Tradition." Glaspey listed Foster's book as one of the top ten (cream-of-the-crop) books that every Christian ought to read and know. His opinion is obviously shared by many others as shown in Christianity Today's listing of "Celebration of Discipline" as one of the top twenty most influential books of the 20th century. Why is the book so influential? Because it gives Christians important and practical details regarding the scriptural key (self-discipline) to living a holy life which is the door to true liberty in all its facets. The 12 spiritual disciplines he expounds on, if faithfully practiced, will lead to inward and outward harmony (wholeness; holiness) with oneself as well as social harmony with others both within and without (as an evangelistic light) the corporate body of Christ. Four disciplines are allotted to each one of the spheres (inward, outward, and corporate) and valuable insights from the spiritual masters within Christian history are provided as supplements to the biblical foundation that grounds the book.
Another book that makes a nice companion to this one is Dallas Willard's "The Spirit of the Disciplines." Willard's book is highly recommended by Foster who considered it the book of the decade (1980s) and now considers Willard's new book "The Divine Conspiracy" as the one he has been searching for all his life because of its biblically comprehensive, holistic and practical nature. Both Foster and Willard value the deep, spiritual insights of the older Christian classics (including those penned by so-called Christian "mystics") as seen by their many references and quotes.
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55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Celebration April 12, 2001
Format:Hardcover
_Celebration of Discipline_ is one of the finest Christian books of our time. I read it as an "assignment" with a men's study group, and at first, was a bit ambivalent about this ethereal-sounding spiritual book from a Quaker. I began it reluctantly, but shortly realized that what I was reading was solid, no-holds barred steps towards maturity in Christ, through discipleship and productive living.
Foster speaks of the "inward disciplines" the "outward disciplines" and the "corporate disciplines" of the Christian life. As I flip through the book, I find myself in need of a tune-up.
It's that kind of book. It's one that you'll never master, but the joy is in the journey, and in following the Savior with the full passion of your heart. He's calling us to the life of Discipline and discipleship, not to a willy-nilly external Christianity. _Celebration_ is a breath of fresh air in an era of "easy believism" and cheap grace.
Foster has touched a generation of believers with this timeless classic.
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76 of 88 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Balance in Christian Thinking Is Elusive May 27, 2004
Format:Hardcover
Richard Foster's work inspirationally motivates the reader to consider disciplines as a means to draw into a closer relationship with God. In an age of overwhelming materialism, rationalized Church teachings, and reflexively dogmatic positions works dealing directly with the spiritual are rightly greeted with a genuine sense of joy and enthusiasm.
A continual distraction throughout the work, however is Foster's highly assertive style. The tendency reveals itself in implicit assertions that the disciplines are in and of themselves inherently good and that their purposes are self-realized or attained experientially. If the chapter on fasting is considered, it is difficult or impossible to find a thesis for the purpose of fasting. If the chapter on prayer is considered, "personal prayer" and "prayer for others" are categorized separately; the thought is then asserted that it is appropriate to pray for ourselves in the terms, "if it be thy will" but not appropriate to do so for others.
In the end, Foster's work is rightly seen as a source of strong encouragement - a conversation with a knowledgeable friend sharing thoughts and experiences. It does this well. However, it should be looked at with a more critical eye, if regarded as a source of teaching. Many assertions and ideas are left unsubstantiated and may be misleading, misguided, or wrong.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good for my purposes
I am reading this book as part of my ministerial studies. It is good for that purpose and for lay persons as well.
Published 4 days ago by LuAnn Rutherford
4.0 out of 5 stars A timely addition and contribution to Christian discipleship today.
I found it a challenging reminder as I had read many years ago an earlier edition of this book. I have been encouraged to read more on this subject - including other authors. Read more
Published 13 days ago by George Robert Grey
5.0 out of 5 stars Celebration of Discipline
If you want to know what true prayer, meditation, and other spiritual disciplines in the concept of Christianity, this is the book for you.
Published 15 days ago by Keith L. Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I need to keep this book and reread it yearly. I have marked up the pages and plan to mark the pages even more every time I read it.
Published 28 days ago by book girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable in Spiritual Formation
We used Foster's Celebration of Discipline in our class on Spiritual Formation at the Koinonia Theological Seminary. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ed Rafael Mendoza
5.0 out of 5 stars Foster
Yes! I underlined so much in this book it is now a new book. I have to go back and look at just my notes. Then another time I'll re-read it again. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kristina Ciminillo
4.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual Wisdom for Daily Life
This book caught my eye at a book table and was then recommended by someone I respect. The idea of celebrating a subject that often makes me groan (discipline) sounded enticing and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paws
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly helpful
So practical and relational. This book is a huge encouragement to me, and not at all overwhelming as I usually find books about discipline to be. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Esther
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic
There is a reason Foster's book is considered a classic. It is deeply thoughtful, delightfully satisfying and very practical. Add to that well written and you have a winner.
Published 2 months ago by Steven F. Laughlin
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding!
This is an outstanding book that will walk you through outstanding spirit building orthodox spiritual practices. Read more
Published 2 months ago by jkollaus512
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