Friday, January 14, 2011

A Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, by Richard Foster


A challenging read, and very clearly presented. Foster is eminently readable, and he sets forth the biblical bases for each spiritual discipline along with practical advice for those who wish to pursue it. For example, when discussing fasting, he takes the time to describe the likely physical effects. When he discusses meditation, he quite reasonably points out the foolishness of trying to go from zero to sixty right out of the gate. As someone who often sets unattainable goals and is then discouraged by the inevitable failure that follows, I really appreciate his encouragement to start small. If you've never meditated, it's rather ambitious to think you'll be able to fast for an hour at a time right away. These are disciplines, and they require practice.

He's a little on the charismatic side, and some might misconstrue his focus on disciplines as tending toward legalism, but he's still a very worthwhile read--particularly the chapters on fasting, simplicity, and submission.

Possibly my favorite quote in the book: "What freedom corresponds to submission? It is the ability to lay down the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way."

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