First published in 1978, Celebration of Discipline has helped many readers find a deeper, more meaningful spiritual life through practicing time honored spiritual disciplines of Christianity. For Christians living in our fast-paced Western culture, experiencing traditional spiritual practices such as simplicity, solitude, fasting and Christian meditation can come as a breath of fresh air.
Foster describes the role of the disciplines in spiritual transformation: While it is true that “human striving is insufficient and righteousness is a gift from God,” it is not true that we must passively wait for God to transform us. Rather, “God has given us the Disciplines of the spiritual life as a means of receiving his grace. The Disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so that he can transform us.” (Foster, 7). As we practice the spiritual disciplines, we develop habits of relating to God in such a way that we are in tune with God’s work in our lives.
Drawing from the Bible and Christian tradition, Foster describes a variety of Inward, Outward and Corporate spiritual disciplines. Although individuals will find that certain disciplines are more conducive to their nature and more effectively draw them nearer to God than others, both individual and group disciplines, as well as both private and public disciplines contribute to healthy spiritual growth.
In Celebration of Discipline, Foster brings together practical help with wisdom from saints of the past for each of twelve spiritual disciplines in a volume that has become a Christian classic. In newer editions, you will find an extensive bibliography of current works for further study.
If you are looking for practical help with your spiritual growth, Celebration of Discipline is a great place to start. But don’t just read it. Begin with one or two of the disciplines and put them into practice. If you keep practicing until it becomes a habit, you will surely experience the grace of God at work in your life in new ways.
About the author: Richard J. Foster is the author of several books and founder of Renovaré, an intrachurch movement and ministry dedicated to the spiritual renewal of the Church. A theologian in the Quaker tradition, Foster taught as a professor at Friends University and serves as pastor of an Evangelical Friends church.