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Celebration Of Discipline Hardcover – Dec 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“This seminal work on the practice of spiritual disciplines is never outdated.”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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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a great read for anyone who wants to go deeper in their faith and be pushed out of their comfort zone.
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.
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.
For those who say Foster relies on human writers/opinions instead of Scripture, not only are they wrong, but show their ignorance as to how God works...through men. The canon of Scripture was defined by the Catholic Church in the late 4th century at the Councils of Hippo and Carthage. If we had not listened to them and submitted to their authority (given them by God), there would be no Scripture. I do not hold Foster to be on the same level with the Councils of Church history, but to say we shouldn't listen to the opinion of men is ridiculous. You might as well do away with sermons and theologians. Many men and women throughout history have offered beautiful insights into the Faith. Foster is merely doing his part. If you like Foster, you should look into the writings of some of the early Church Fathers and other saints throughout history.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
A must read for every Christian. The life of a Christian is a life of discipline. Foster presents us with so many good points in becoming the Christian God desires us to become.Published 6 months ago by Sieg
A very readable and practical book on Christian Disciplines!Published 14 months ago by Patricia Yuill
An all time favourite book of mine, read it a few times and enjoy the sense of freedom and encouragement it gives!Published 21 months ago by Becky Fehr
Excellent Book! Really helps to understand God best four our lives. This was on e of the best purchases I have ever made, well worth it.Published on April 3 2014 by Thoywell Hemmings
Celebration of Discipline By Richard Foster
This is an excellent book and even better on audio CDs. I listen to it during my commute to and back from work. Read more
I was introduced to this book by many Christian leaders from my local church many years back. Many Christian leaders and publications continue to advocate the reading of this book... Read morePublished on June 13 2004 by Edmund Lau Kok Ming
Richard Foster's work inspirationally motivates the reader to consider disciplines as a means to draw into a closer relationship with God. Read morePublished on May 27 2004 by Kevin Hutchison
There is certainly some wisdom in this book. I first read Celebration of Discipline a number of years ago and was challenged in every facet of my spiritual walk. Read morePublished on April 29 2004 by FJC