Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
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Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  15,845 ratings  ·  505 reviews
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...more
Hardcover, Special 20th Anniversary Edition, 256 pages
Published December 24th 2002 by HarperOne (first published July 1st 1978)
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Michael
For years I had followed traditional Christian writings and practices, growing ever more disenchanted with the hollowness of the experience. In my private readings I'd immersed myself in wider and deeper worlds, searching, searching.

In 1984 I was doing some training in Estes Park and went to hear Amy Grant at the YMCA of the Rockies. I wanted to hear her do Angels Watching Over Me in person, and that done, I browsed the bookstore before heading back to my cabin.

This book, recently published at t...more
Laura
Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself.
Leo Tolstoy


I first read this book in 1996 and loved it. I re-read it in 2005 and got even more out of it the second time. The book is inspiring and is a good reminder of the way I can have a more Christ-centered life through discipline.

Foster deals first with the inward disciplines: meditation, prayer, fasting, study. Then, he moves on to the outward disciplines: simplicity, solitude, submission, and service. The corpora...more
Bill
I have mixed feelings about Celebration of Discipline. On one hand, I struggled with Foster’s subjective terminology and mystic approach. At times I found myself wondering exactly what he meant, and in turn wondering whether I would agree with him if I discovered exactly what he meant. Part of this is a difference theological emphasis, but I suspect it also comes down to a difference in personality. Some people like objective descriptions of neat and tidy concepts (like me), whereas others prefe...more
Ron
Classic twentieth-century guide to a deeper inner life and joy. As the title implies, discipline is not negative but positive. Foster explores twelve approaches to inner, outer and corporate discipline.

Gets better with every reading. In fact, I didn't get half of what Foster had to offer my first time through.
Bill
So, in establishing my "goodreads" library, I thought it was wise to begin with a book that has served to inform, as well as transform my character. What better place to start than with Foster's classic. Certainly, a must read for any believer, but especially important for those of us who call ourselves "leaders" in the church. This book establishes the starting point for true leadership...learning to place ourselves in God's presence where he can begin to do the work of transformation in us. Fo...more
Johnny
Although influenced by Dallas Willard (prior to his publication of The Spirit of the Disciplines), Richard J. Foster uses a different taxonomy in Celebration of Discipline than Willard uses in his book (Disciplines of Abstinence (solitude, silence, fasting, frugality, chastity, secrecy, sacrifice) and Disciplines of Engagement (study, worship, celebration, service, prayer, fellowship, confession, submission) (p. 158)). Foster’s division of spiritual disciplines is a trinity of Inward Individual...more
Elizabeth
Aug 26, 2008 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Josette, Mary
This book is potentially life changing. Thanks to those of you who recommended it to me.
Abby
Foster's style and quality of writing leave much to be desired. It seems to me that, as he wrote, he thought very little of his reader. The tone is not engaging or endearing, and he speaks to a very narrow audience (namely: married, white, middle-aged or older men)

The writing is easy to understand, but it is boring and poorly executed. He does have some valuable things to say, but the reader has to sift through many meaningless and wordy passages. He also insults his reader several times, albei...more
James
Jul 27, 2011 James added it
A good book on spiritual formation. There is a lot of material that is profitable for underlining and revisiting.

Occasional contestable generalization is overshadowed by its truth, but it accounts for my 3.5 star rating - according to my admittedly stringent standards.

Chapter 6 on Simplicity, however, was astounding. Replete with socialist buzzwords, Foster says the OT opposes an absolute right to personal property (82), and speaks favorably of wealth redistribution (82). (Voluntarily it is won...more
Christopher M.
A very solid, very practical introduction to Christian discipleship. Foster spends a chapter celebrating twelve spiritual disciplines, which he divides up into the Inward (meditation, prayer, fasting, study), Outward (simplicity, solitude, submission, service), and Corporate (confession, worship, guidance, celebration) Disciplines. Each of these chapters is well-founded and borrows from a wide variety of Christian sources from across time and tradition.

There is a good amount of flow from discipl...more
Ellie Sorota
Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline reads like a cup of strong coffee - pleasant going down, but rather rattling once it enters the stomach. Each chapter focuses on a different discipline of the Christian life, and Foster is quick to offer snippets of his own attempts (failures & successes) in practicing the disciplines. With each discipline he presents both the practical and radical methods of practice. For example, the fasting chapter begins with an argument on the prudence of fast...more
David Woods
Foster discusses 12 spiritual disciplines. He doesn't waste words. The chapters were succinct, and I found myself underlining often. Great tidbits and suggestions and logistical how-to's as well as discussing the scriptural bases for the disciplines and the fruit that can come as a result. Ultimately, the disciplines in themselves are nothing, but they are various ways to present ourselves before God so that he can bring about spiritual transformation in our lives. Grace is free, but we do have...more
Tim Bariteau
May 24, 2012 Tim Bariteau rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians, pastors, students, lay leaders, spiritually minded people
Let me begin by saying I am so grateful I read Richard J. Foster’s "CELEBRATION OF DISCIPLINE: The Path to Spiritual Growth". I have always liked reading and currently have a LONG list of books on my “to read” shelf. However, if this book had not been "assigned reading", I doubt I would have ever picked it up. How much I would have missed out! I am excited to say this little book has become one of my all-time favorites; rapidly moving its way up my “Top Ten” book list...before my eyes even grace...more
Erica Smith
It’s time to get back to basics, Christians, and Richard J. Foster is here to celebrate as well as explain how we can all get back to our spiritual roots, which we all know are in place to bring us closer to the Lord and that is the foundation of the entire book.

First, Foster says he is profoundly struck by “the fact that God can take something so inadequate, so imperfect, so foolish as words on paper and use them to transform lives” (Foster, 1998, p.5: Celebration of Discipline). If you are thi...more
Mark Oppenlander
Before I was even done with this book, I knew that I would need to read it again. I tried to pace myself, and I did read it just a chapter at a time so that it took me almost two weeks to complete this slender tome. However, there was still far too much to contemplate in this book for one reading to do it justice.

Perhaps the problem is that the book feels so personal. Richard Foster is aiming to reintroduce the classic Spiritual Disciplines to modern believers. Foster walks his reader through th...more
Ashley Moman
I found this book to be extremely good and challenging. It makes you re-examine your own walk with God and see how you can grow. It is very encouraging but crammed full of information. Extremely well laid out and easy to read. I highly recommend it to any Christian looking to go deeper in your walk with God. I read it in three separate sittings - it is sectioned off into three sections with chapters in each section pertaining to the separate disciples. Many you will recognize as standard-issue f...more
Phillip
I picked this up because it is small and had an endorsement on the cover that said it was among the top 10 most important Christian books to read from the 20th century. That piqued my interest.

It hasn't been a disappointment. The book really is something a person could return to chapter by chapter as he or she makes each discipline a practiced part of one's life.

Sometimes he reminds the reader of things we have been taught we should be doing. Other times he presents practices that are outside o...more
Paul
Feb 09, 2012 Paul rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Based on my markings throughout the book this is probably the third or fourth time I have read Foster's work. Sadly I often come back to it because I have fallen away from the life giving habits and practices he outlines. I find I come back out of a sense of guilt, feeling I "should" be doing more. And yet here Foster, and Christ through him, meets me in gentleness and encouragement. In these words there is not judgement but hope, and in hope, life. My prayer is that the next time I come back to...more
Kathleen Kurlin
This is probably one of the greatest books I have ever read on the subject of spiritual discipline. I am only halfway through this book so far, but I can't believe all that I've learned so far. I am in a class at my church and we are using this book for our year-long class. I can't wait to finish reading this book. I look forward to applying all the principles I'm reading about in this book to my daily life and walk with God. Great, great book!
Shannon Morrison
May 29, 2007 Shannon Morrison rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone serious about spiritual formation
love this book--a basic primer and an in-depth study of the spiritual disciplines all in one. it is a wonderful blend of both the abstract and specific discussions...for example the chapter on fasting provides a scriptural basis for the practice, the historical use as well as practical how-tos and exhortations on how to begin. this is a book i should probably read yearly.
Donquierafaber
I liked how Foster never spoke with a "holier-than-thou" tone, but treated his audience as equals, giving them tools as fellow spiritual seekers. He also inspired confidence in me because sometimes writers are tempted to share too much of other people's stories and he never betrayed anyone's trust. The discipline that spoke most strongly to me was that of simplicity.
Justin Tapp
I enjoyed reading another "classic" by Foster. Short, straightforward, and very encouraging book.

Foster breaks down thirteen Christian disciplines, the practice of which have largely gotten neglected over the centuries. He divides them into three categories (inward, outward, corporate). Here are what I gleaned from his discussion of each discipline:

Inward:
Meditation - whereas the point of Eastern meditation is to empty your mind, Christian meditation is about filling your mind-- with Christ, wit...more
Mike Worley
One of my all time favorite spiritual formation books. I have read this book almost every year since I was 16. It truly is a classic that is so fundamental for the believer
Nell
This will be at least my 6th or 7th time To go through Foster's book. I learn from it every time. And I'm always challenged to develop more of the disciplines in my life.
Steven
Clear and easy to read, Foster is very good at explaining the discipline and helping you want to try it for yourself.
Billy Phipps
Apr 25, 2008 Billy Phipps rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Growing Christians
Recommended to Billy by: Can't Remember, but I owe them tons!
This is one of the most challenging books on spiritual disciplines I've read. I go back to it often.
Joey Reed
This book changed the way I followed Jesus. If you compared Christianity to football, these would be the three- and four-a-day drills that make your experience of the game less exhausting and even more exhilarating.

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 si...more
Joel Travis
This book is very a very comprehensive look into the Disciplines followed by many of the faith through the centuries. Foster borrows quotes from all the centuries. Choosing some from the Desert Fathers of old, Fenelon in France, the Quakers, and a number of his modern day contemporaries. He doesn't load the book full of quotations but lets them flavor the already deep content with more diversity and depth.

By starting his book with the inward disciplines and anding with the corporate discipline...more
Alexis Neal
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 disco...more
Alan
It's been forever since I read this book, but it was formative for my understanding of Christian spirituality as an adult.

Many of us Evangelicals were raised with a gnostic, compartmentalized view of people, dissecting ourselves into mind, heart, soul, body, etc., and focusing on us as individuals. In other words, the body as well as the Body (the Church) had an underdeveloped role in the doctrine of discipleship. Celebration of Discipline offers biblical practices, that is, things we can do wi...more
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  • The Spirit of the Disciplines : Understanding How God Changes Lives
  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society
  • The Way of the Heart: Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry
  • With Christ in the School of Prayer
  • Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community
  • The Practice of the Presence of God
  • Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging
  • Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us
  • A Testament of Devotion
  • Ordering Your Private World
  • Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
  • Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals
  • The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath
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Richard J. Foster is the author of several bestselling books, including Celebration of Discipline, Streams of Living Water, and Prayer, which was Christianity Today's Book of the Year and the winner of the Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. He is the founder of Renovaré, an intrachurch movement committed to the renewal of the Church in all her multifaceted...more
More about Richard J. Foster...
Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines

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“We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy. 'We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like.' ...It is time to awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick.” 30 likes
“The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.” 28 likes
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