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

By Richard J. Foster (Author)
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Item description for Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster...

Reclaims such classical spiritual disciplines as meditation, prayer, fasting, study, solitude, confession, worship, and celebration for the modern Christian meditative life

Publishers Description

In the twenty years since its publication, Celebration of Discipline has helped over a million seekers discover a richer spiritual life infused with joy, peace, and a deeper understanding of God. For this special twentieth anniversary edition, Richard J. Foster has added an introduction, in which he shares the story of how this beloved and enduring spiritual guidebook came to be.

Hailed by many as the best modern book on Christian spirituality, Celebration of Discipline explores the "classic Disciplines," or central spiritual practices, of the Christian faith. Along the way, Foster shows that it is only by and through these practices that the true path to spiritual growth can be found.

Dividing the Disciplines into three movements of the Spirit, Foster shows how each of these areas contribute to a balanced spiritual life. The inward Disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting, and study, offer avenues of personal examination and change. The outward Disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission, and service, help prepare us to make the world a better place. The corporate Disciplines of confession, worship, guidance, and celebration, bring us nearer to one another and to God.

Foster provides a wealth of examples demonstrating how these Disciplines can become part of our daily activities-and how they can help us shed our superficial habits and "bring the abundance of God into our lives." He offers crucial new insights on simplicity, demonstrating how the biblical view of simplicity, properly understood and applied, brings joy and balance to our inward and outward lives and "sets us free to enjoy the provision of God as a gift that can be shared with others." The discussion of celebration, often the most neglected of the Disciplines, shows its critical importance, for it stands at the heart of the way to Christ. Celebration of Discipline will help motivate Christians everywhere to embark on a journey of prayer and spiritual growth.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   228
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Dec 24, 2002
Publisher   Harper Collins Publishers
Edition  Anniversary  
ISBN  0060628391  
ISBN13  9780060628390  

Availability  33 units.
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More About Richard J. Foster

Richard J. Foster Richard James Foster is a Christian theologian and author in the Quaker tradition. His writings speak to a broad Christian audience. Born in 1942, in New Mexico, Foster has been a professor at Friends University and pastor of Evangelical Friends churches. Foster resides in Denver, Colorado. He earned his undergraduate degree at George Fox University in Oregon and his Doctor of Pastoral Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary,and received an honorary doctorate from Houghton College.

Foster is best known for his 1978 book Celebration of Discipline, which examines the inward disciplines of prayer, fasting, meditation, and study in the Christian life, the outward disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission, and service, and the corporate disciplines of confession, worship, guidance, and celebration. It has sold over one million copies. It was named by Christianity Today as one of the top ten books of the twentieth century. A work described as a sequel to Celebration is Foster's 1985 Money, Sex & Power. and associated study guide.

He also published Freedom of Simplicity in 1981, which further explores the discipline of simple, intentional living, Freedom of Simplicity. Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home (1992, ISBN 0-06-062846-4), which explores 21 different types of Christian prayer, edited Devotional Classics (1993, ISBN 0-06-066966-7), a devotional guide featuring Christian wisdom through the ages, and Streams of Living Water (2001, ISBN 0-06-062822-7), which examines the place of the different spiritual traditions - Contemplative: The Prayer-Filled Life; Holiness: The Virtuous Life ; Charismatic: The Spirit-Empowered Life; Social Justice: The Compassionate Life; Evangelical: The Word-Centered Life; and Incarnational: The Sacramental Life - in Christianity. Foster (along with several others) also wrote the devotional Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible (now published as The Life with God Study Bible). Two editions of this NRSV-based study Bible exist, one with the apocryphal/deuterocanonical texts and one without.

In 2008, he co-authored with Gayle Beebe, the book Longing for God.

SPANISH BIO: Richard J. Foster (D.Th.P., Fuller Theological Seminary) es el fundador de Renovare en Denver, Colorado. Es autor de numerosos libros, entre ellos Celebracion de la disciplina: Hacia una vida espiritual mas profunda, que ha vendido mas de dos millones de copias en todo el mundo, La Oracion: Verdadero refugio del alma, La libertad de la simplicidad: encontrar la armonia en un mundo complejo y coautor (con Gayle Beebe) de El anhelo de Dios: Siete Senderos de la devocion cristiana.

Richard J. Foster currently resides in Denver, in the state of Colorado. Richard J. Foster was born in 1951.

Richard J. Foster has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Plough Spiritual Guides: Backpack Classics
  2. Renovare Resources

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Reviews - What do customers think about Celebration Of Discipline?

Beautiful and Amazing  Sep 10, 2008
A honest and tangible approach to becoming a "living prayer in Christ." Must read.
Celebration of Dicipline: The Path to Spirtual Growth  Mar 18, 2007
Excellent book. The author has a basic, sensible style of writing that makes what he is saying very clear.
gnosticism?  Mar 6, 2007
Either we consider our subjective experience (mysticism or rationalism) as our basis for "truth", or we have some outside, objective standard of truth by which we measure our experience (revelation). This latter view does not discount or even diminish subjective experiences; it simply relegates them to their proper role in the pursuit of truth and knowledge of reality (particularly of God!). God has provided us with His Word as the perfect standard of truth. Is our knowledge of God based on our subjective experiences of Him, or are our spiritual experiences tested against the standard of His Word? It's the difference between "a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock" and "a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth" (Luke 6:48-49. I see three possibilities (rationalism, mysticism, revelation) and it appears that Foster has chosen mysticism. (Quotes from first edition.)

Foster starts off his discussion on disciplines with a chapter on meditation, claiming that:

`Christian meditation leads us to the inner wholeness necessary to give ourselves to God freely, and to the spiritual perception necessary to attack social evils. In this sense it is the most practical of all disciplines.' (15)

How are we to learn to meditate?

`If we are capable of listening to our dreams, we are taking the first steps.' (16)

How can we learn from our dreams?

`Benedict Perenius, a sixteenth-century Jesuit, suggested that the best interpreter of dreams is the "...person with plenty of experience in the world and the affairs of humanity, with a wide interest in everything human, and who is open to the voice of God." (24)

The "voice of God" is a vague generality that has no clear meaning. What is clear is the emphasis on humanity and everything human; interesting if you consider that all religions boil down to two, essentially: Gnostic humanism, and Biblical Christianity.

`Anyone who can tap the power of the imagination can learn to meditate.'(16)

Try this: `And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.' (Genesis 6:5);

More on meditation:

`They are not laws nor are they intended to confine you; rather, they are a few of the many windows into the inward world.' (20)

`We simply must become convinced of the importance of thinking and experiencing in images.' (22)

Try: "Thou shalt not make thee any graven image," (Deuteronomy 5:8)

Note also Foster's panentheism/pantheism.

`"The simplest and oldest which God manifests Himself is...through and in the earth itself. And He still speaks to us through the earth and the sea, the birds of the air and the little living creatures upon the earth, if we can but quiet ourselves to listen." [Agnes Sanford] We should not bypass this means of God's grace, for as Evelyn Underhill warns: "To elude nature, to refuse her friendship, and attempt to leap the river of life in the hope of finding God on the other side, is the common error of a perverted mysticality....So you are to begin with that first form of contemplation which the old mystics sometimes called the `discovery of God in His creatures.'"' (25)

Perhaps instead the simplest and oldest way in which God reveals Himself to us is in His literal spoken (and for us written) Word. But according to Foster we shouldn't start with the Word of God as our foundation:

"Having practiced for some weeks with the two kinds of meditation listed above, you will want to add the meditation upon Scripture." (25)

i.e. Filter Scripture through your experiences as a means of knowing its truth, rather than starting with Scripture and testing your experiences against it.

Another reviewer already quoted the passage detailing astral travel (!).

According to Foster, "time and experience" will teach you to distinguish the Truth, rather than the Timeless Truth distinguishing between experiences. In today's spiritual climate we must realize that just because the right buzzwords are used (Jesus, True Spirit, Creator) this is no guarantee that these are used in the sense in which we assume they are.

Foster's foundation of mystical experience/meditation/contemplation then becomes his basis for prayer:

`Meditation is the necessary prelude to intercession.' (35)

`We begin praying for others by first centering down and listening to the quiet thunder of the Lord of hosts. Attuning ourselves to divine breathings is spiritual work, but without it our praying is vain repetition.' (34)

Nevermind the countless passages in Scripture of prayers to be prayed, and Jesus Himself teaching us how to pray.

When he finally gets to the discipline of study (in chapter 4) he states that:

`Although meditation and study often overlap and function concurrently, they constitute two distinct experiences. Study provides a certain objective framework within which meditation can successfully function.' (56)

However, he doesn't even specify here that it is the study of Scripture that provides a certain objective framework within which meditation can successfully function. His notion of study certainly can't be limited to such a narrow focus; studying experience must have its place, as well as studying what we find within ourselves.

Many have documented the death of the Evangelical mind and in its place has risen a nonrational mysticism. I am not saying that mysticism and meditation have no place in the Christian life, nor am I saying that, in contrast, rationalism is the foundation of truth; either makes for a deadly "foundation." Mangalwadi puts it well when he says that "our knowledge of truth is not rooted in our abilities - rational or mystical - but in revelation." (Missionary Conspiracy). These reasons are enough cause for me to have serious concerns about the recommendation of Celebration of Discipline to anyone.

Please! don't be a lemming, even though anyone who's anyone in American "christianity" seems to be recommending this book.
One of the best discipleship books available  Jan 5, 2007

Along with J.G. Marking's "A Voice Is Calling," there is no better book to study by yourself or in a group regarding how the spiritual disciplines can dramatically, actually transform our lives.

Foster's ability to define the simplest of truths while revealing their power and applicability is truly amazing.

If you like Dallas Willard or J.G. Marking, this book is for you. I definitely agree that this and the one above are great for bible studies or groups because they both open up a discussion about how to grow closer to God.
A staple for your spiritual library  Jan 4, 2007
We read this book for my mens bible group. I came into the group halfway through, but I zipped through the book after I got a little taste!
Celebration of Discipline  Jan 3, 2007
One of the most significant books I've ever read. In my top 5. I often gift this book to friends and family, realizing that only a few are ready or called to Foster's level of spirituality but knowing that there is a nugget of truth for everyone in this book. This book should be reread every several years and don't try to swallow every thing at once. Take baby steps .

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