As a practicing Christian, I like to read Christian literature to help with the growth of my faith and I am very lucky that my church has it’s own book club to help me with this. After an interesting discussion of The Shack by William Paul Young in our February meeting, club members were asked to read Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster next.
Our vicar chose Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth (first published in 1980) because it is now well established as a contemporary spiritual classic, that has helped well over a million people discover a richer spiritual life infused with joy, peace and a deeper understanding of God. By exploring the ‘classic disciplines’ of Christian faith: the inward disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting and study; the outward disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission and service; and the corporate disciplines of confession, worship, guidance and celebration.
Now if that seems like a lot to cover – in a book under 300 pages – then you would be right! This book is absolutely jammed packed with detailed, thoughtful and inspired discussion on what Richard Foster believes to be the basic practices for a Christian to exercise to enhance their faith and lives. Through longer chapters broken down into sub-sections for each area of discipline, Foster shares eloquently all about these practices and his experience of them, however I found it was all a little too much for me to take in, in one reading. Fortuitously our book club meeting had to be cancelled so I was able to take longer over reading this.
After finishing this, I can already see myself re-reading it and for many years to come dipping in and out of it for inspiration. I can understand how it is already being described as a classic, as it is full of universal, timeless advice for a practicing Christian. While I would currently rate this as a good read this could definitely change the more I read and the more I learn from it. As well as re-reads to look forward to, there are also many other books I could read too. As Foster is a prolific writer of theology and devotional guides, although he is primarily from a Quaker tradition his writings have appealed to a broad Christian audience. If we don’t read more of his books for my church book group I am tempted to read more for myself.
Overall, I found Celebration of Discipline to be a useful and inspirational read (I look forward to my second reading of it). I have not started a new book yet, as the book club is currently on a break for Easter. Good read.
Have you read this? Or any of Richard Foster’s other books?