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Celebration Of Discipline Hardcover – Oct 19 1988

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harperone; 25th edition (Oct. 19 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060628391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060628390
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2 x 21.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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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


"Celebration of Discipline has quietly asserted itself in the lives of multitudes around the globe, and has taken its place as a guide to the uplands of the spiritual life for the late twentieth century. Everywhere I go I meet those whose lives have been changed by encountering it. It places us on the path of life with those who have succeeded in walking with Jesus in every circumstance and shows us accessible patterns of action through which interaction with his Kingdom is assured to us. This is the secret of its power. If you wish to know in your self the reality of the gracious life of God seen in the Bible, you may find no better counselor than Richard Foster." -- Dallas Willard, author of The Spirit of the Disciplines and The Divine Conspiracy

"Celebration of Discipline won me when it was first published. If everybody in this country could read--and heed--this book, what a difference it would make to the planet; nay, to the cosmos." -- Madeleine L'Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time and The Crosswicks Journals

"Like a child exploring the attic of an old house on a rainy day, discovering a trunk full of treasure and then calling all his brothers and sisters to share the find, Richard J. Foster has 'found' the spiritual disciplines that the modern world stored away and forgot, and has excitedly called us to celebrate them. For they are, as he shows us, the instruments of joy, the way into mature Christian spirituality and abundant life." -- Eugene H. Peterson, author of Leap Over a Wall

"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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Superficiality is the curse of our age. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Valentine Dworak on March 22 2004
Format: Hardcover
The topic of the disciplines, e.g. fasting, praying, etc, is not an easy, quick fix topic like most the christian literature littering our bookstores today. Foster draws on centuries of tradition to form this wonderful book on spiritual development through the use of the disciplines. These are time honored techniques that will push you spiritually to deepen your relationship with God.
This book is a great read for anyone who wants to go deeper in their faith and be pushed out of their comfort zone.
Joseph Dworak
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LW on March 7 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I heard of this book many years ago from another friend. Some how I had this impression that this book would be too deep for me to comprehend. The truth is this book is completely accessible to everyone. The language is simple and teachings are not hard to comprehend, but there is a lot of depth to it. It requires time and effort to digest the teachings and apply them to life. I like it that although the book was written 20 plus years ago, the teachings are still relevant today.

I agree with Foster that the Disciplines are intended to bring us to a place where God can work in us and through us. On their own, the Disciplines have no intrinsic value.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on Jan. 2 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a former evangelical Christian who is in the process of converting to Catholicism, I believe that Richard Foster's disciplines perfectly define the writing of James 2:26 - "...faith without works is dead." Foster's disciplines are the "works," service (or good works) being only one of them. I for one plan to practice the disciplines, and I'm not worried that I will be steered into new age mysticism. I am convinced that I will draw closer to Christ.
This is a wonderful book, based fully on the practices of Jesus and his disciples during the time of Jesus' ministry here on Earth. Naysayers are guilty of the very malpractice that Foster cautions against - that of legalism and regarding the practice of the disciplines as the end in of themselves, rather than as a means of placing ourselves nearer to the presence of God. One of Foster's detractors says that Foster relies on the opinions and practices of men, rather than relying on Scripture - yet on almost every page, Foster quotes Scripture and interprets its meaning in the context of the disciplines. As another (favorable) reviewer mentions, Foster not only analyzes the various disciplines, he provides practical advice for putting them into practice so that novices are not overwhelmed at first.
I find no fault in Foster's ideas about meditation - he keeps focused squarely on listening to God and His will for us. One evangelical Christian church I used to attend defined meditation as listening to God, while praying is speaking to God. Foster does not deviate from that definition.

I am amazed that Foster draws on so many sources for his writing. I would not have expected a Quaker to be so well versed in the writings of the early Church fathers. There will always be Christians who cannot see beyond their narrow interpretation of Scripture and who don't understand that their beliefs are also based on the interpretation of men who broke away from the Catholic Church.
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Format: Hardcover
Let's face it. Spiritual discipline is difficult. We see it as unattainable; the mountain we cannot scale. That's why I'm so thankful for this book. Foster does not deny that it's difficult, but by laying out the disciplines in a concise, systematic layout, he has most certainly made it clear what we are shooting for, and that is a close intimate walk with God.
Foster starts with what he calls the 'inward disciplines'; what most Christians mean when they say 'spiritual disciplines', but Foster moves on. He talks of the 'outward disciplines', those that are our outward actions, but not necessarily those that affect our relationships with others. Then he moves towards the 'corporate disciplines', disciplines that we use with other believers.
Throughout the whole book Foster stresses the point that all 'mystics' on the road to discipline fail and are never perfect. This is particularly helpful for those of us who are discouraged and wish to give up.
One point that should be clarified, though: when Foster speaks of meditation, he doesn't mean eastern meditation which seeks to empty one's self of all thought AND personality. The goal of meditation, according to Foster, is to fill the mind with one thought and continually think on it. (It CAN be done, surprisingly.) Foster does clear it up in the book, but some stigma is attached to the word 'meditation' itself and that could drive some believers away without a second glance.
I wish someone had given this book to me five years ago. So much toil in getting to a disciplined life would have been unnecessary. I do not recommend this to new believers (puts too much on your plate) but to semi-mature believers everywhere who are striving to get close to God.
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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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