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Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, December 24, 2002
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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
“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“This seminal work on the practice of spiritual disciplines is never outdated.”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)
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I grew up in the church, and I have a degree in Biblical Studies, yet I'd never heard of the spiritual disciplines in the way that Foster shared them in Celebration of Discipline!
The various disciplines include such things as Simplicity, Solitude, Service, and Celebration. These are things you might have heard about or studied a little, but Foster is sure to put them in a new light that is encouraging, refreshing, and at times counter-cultural. He also categorizes the disciplines as either Inward, Outward, or Corporate Disciplines, highlighting the areas that most of us struggle with.
I appreciate that Foster keeps these in perspective, with the focus on God and our relationship with Him. Otherwise, even disciplines can turn into idolatry.
If you can only get one book to strengthen your walk with God, I recommend this one.