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Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World
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Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  2,155 ratings  ·  133 reviews
A revised and updated edition of the manifesto that shows how simplicity is not merely having less stress and more leisure but an essential spiritual discipline for the health of our soul.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by HarperOne (first published October 22nd 1981)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  2,155 ratings  ·  133 reviews


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Jacob Aitken
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
As far as spiritual disciplines books go, this is one of the better ones. Foster is (usually) wise enough to know that enforcing a lot of these disciplines and practices as a "law" is legalism. And he doesn't do that. His thesis is simple (no pun intended): simplicity allows us to live in freedom to God (Foster 3). Simplicity exposes our numerous "false selves."

How then should one live in simplicity? Here is where it gets tricky. Foster knows he cannot "make" any of his suggestions a law for the
...more
Angela
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
After being so inspired and challenged by Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, I searched for anything else written by Richard J. Foster & stumbled upon this book. He had so much more to say on the spiritual discipline of simplicity that what was originally one chapter in the Celebration of Disciplines book became a book itself. I read it because I believed Richard Foster had experienced a level of spiritual depth that I could only dream of before now...I discovered I was ...more
Matt De Kam
Sep 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Excellent book about living a simple life. Everyone living in western culture should consider these ideas.
Marnie
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, 2018
A thorough look at the Christian discipline of Simplicity. Got a lot out of this book: simplicity is complex. Will need to re-read again at some point.
Claxton
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some favorite passages (for my records):

"Perhaps one more example of paradoxical tension will be sufficient to emphasize the fact that our journey into simplicity will be as intricate, varied, and rich as human personality itself. I refer to the attractive ability to be single-hearted and at the same time sensitive to the tough, complex issues of life. It is a strange combination and quite difficult to explain, though quite easy to recognize. It produces focus without dogmatism, obedience
...more
AJ
May 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: spiritually mindful
Shelves: soul
"A pivotal paradox for us to understand is that simplicity is both a grace and a discipline...There is no way that we can build up our willpower, put ourselves into this contortion or that, and attain it...It is a discipline because we are called to do something."

"The connection between obedience and blessing is genuinely significant, and the significance is not primarily in the notion of being rewarded for doing what is right. That has its place, but it is a minor place, almost a childish
...more
Ashley
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religious, self_help
A Christian faith based guide to Simplicity as a Christian discipline. We are finishing up this study with my Sunday School class, and I have enjoyed it immensely. The only complaint from my class seems to be that Foster chooses for all of his examples the most extreme models of simplicity without enough models, other than some of his own choices, of people living in the modern world and struggling with this issue. Still, Foster begins with by outlining Simplicity as a vital Christian discipline ...more
David
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Simplicity, says Foster, is far more than getting rid of household clutter. It starts with inner simplicity, a state of awareness of and communion with God. It means learning to have a single focus--hearing his voice and obeying. It entails simplicity and truthfulness of speech. It has as its goal the ability to serve others, to give more of one's money, time, and talents. Foster moves on from individual simplicity to simplicity in the church and then from there to its impact on the world. He ...more
Sheryl M. Baker
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked Freedom of Simplicity because it made me think and reconsider the way I live. Richard Foster has a way of helping the reader focus not only on our personal lives and living simply, but also looking at churches, communities, businesses, and our world. He shows us what that would look like if everyone would choose to live in harmony with one another. One of the parts I like best was his study of the saints who lived simplistic lives and what their lifestyles looked like. I have come away ...more
Chris
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
(3.5) Overall a thought provoking read on the important topic. However, a few points were lost due to uninformed opinions on topics relating to geopolitics and national (aka global) security.
Norman Falk
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant!!
Luis
Apr 14, 2010 rated it liked it
I am currently reading this though I have probably already read it due tom my starting midway and then restarting at the beginning. few of my friends have criticized this book based on the Author's background and while I do not agree with everything Foster says and do wish he had a more academic argument for his position nevertheless I find the book challenging.
Diana Glyer
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's good when a book on the spiritual life helps you understand how to live; it's great when it helps you actually want to live better. That's Richard Foster. He illuminates my understanding, but he also stirs up my will. This is my go-to book for Lenten reflections: always crystal clear, always challenging, yet always filled with grace and hope.
Dane
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
classic foster. celebration of discipline changed my life and I suspect I will look back and say the same of this one.
Tony Villatoro
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book challenged me. Divided in two parts, The Foundation and The Practice, it made me think deeper into what a life of simplicity looks like. The first part was full of examples from Scripture (OT and NT) and from church history on what simplicity is. The second part taught me about how Christians can apply this in their lives.

Towards the end, the author dealt with how "the world" could practice simplicity. This is where it got gray for me since this is beyond my scope and it would take a
...more
Will Waller
Simply put, this is a classic. It belongs on everyone’s shelf because it speaks to the feverishness by which we live our lives and the antidotes to that way of being. Simply put, simplicity.

I will show so areas that were especially helpful to me. But the most helpful thing for you to do is to put away your device right now and buy this dang book.

Chapter 3 - Jesus sought from the very beginning of his ministry to show that he came to be with and serve the poor. To “set at liberty those who are
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Carol
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book since I was in college (circa 15 years ago), tried to read it three different times and never got past page 3, and finally this fourth time I had enough get-up-and-go to momentum the shit out of it.

Foster never specifically defines "simplicity." One can't really without putting rules on it, which he is very emphatic to say aren't necessarily rules to be followed like a checklist or a law. The things he discusses are important but take different forms for different people. Yet
...more
Rebecca Bengtsson
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Foster advocates for building a simple inner spiritual life that manifests itself in a minimal and thoughtful lifestyle to help build a better church and a better world for everyone. He uses important figures in chruch history, as well as the Bible and personal experience, to underline and strengthen his position. Simpleness rooted in God has worked before, so why not now? Maybe especially now? This book reminded me of why I am a Christian and made me fall in love with God and his heart for ...more
Kristiana
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
Foster's care for his reader and their growth is evident in the way he approaches his subject and his books. Freedom of Simplicity is an excellent example of his ability to explain a subject, its history and relevance, all the while taking the time and space to lay a groundwork for application in many areas of life. He does an excellent job at both. His application is built to stretch and guide his reader toward further understanding and a true living out of simplicity.

Dividing the book into
...more
Jodie Pine
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the comprehensive and practical parts of this book and feel challenged to take some of Foster's suggested steps toward simplicity. The final chapter on Corporate Simplicity lost me a bit but I thought this idea was really interesting to think about in light of the consumeristic world we live in: "Perhaps no work is more foundational to the individual embodying Christian simplicity in the world than our becoming more comfortable in our own skin. The less comfortable we are with ...more
Daniel
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Finally read this classic by Foster. Foster always does an excellent job both boiling something down to its essence but never over simplifying. To that point he starts the book with the Complexity of Simplicity and ends with the Simplicity of Simplicity.

I think I came to this book looking for easy answers and instead was pointed back to he reality of needing to center Jesus in my life and not be afraid of the challenge of embracing simplicity on pwrsonal, communal and institutional levels.

If
...more
Sierra Gooch
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
The book does have a couple of kernels of wisdom. But in general, not worth your time.

There is no clear definition of what simplicity is, making it very hard to follow at times, because it's uncertain what the North Star of Christian simplicity is. According to Foster, this lack of definition is because he recognizes that the concept of simplicity is complex and there are no hard fast rules, particularly in the modern world. That's a great point, but the way it was conveyed just made it harder
...more
Samantha Marshall
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An amazingly insightful, challenging, and God centered approach to living in step with our Beloved Savior. The Freedom of Simplicity provides believers with a challenge back to the simplicity of the gospel by orienting our lives to seek the kingdom first in all aspects of our lives. I would recommend this book to anyone seeking to honor our Lord by truly living the Gospel message to make our Father our only focus. As a result, our lives in honoring Him will look radical yet truly simple. This ...more
Sam Jones
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
Foster presents the topic of simplicity in a way that captures the essence of the subject. Clearly, concisely and simply. My hesitation with these kind of theological reads can be the repetitive nature of them. Foster’s intentionality in breaking out the chapters and cutting down on wordiness make this a worthwhile & valuable read.

“If you are too busy to read, you are too busy.”
Clara Roberts
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Perhaps the reason I rated this book so highly is because simplicity of living appeals to me. Foster says "Simplicity is part of what it means to be a follower of Christ." "There are not many decisions we have to make-- in fact, only one: to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness."
Tamara Murphy
I borrowed this book from my friend Walter (hope he doesn’t mind I’ve had it so long!). During this cultural conversation about minimalism, I recommend reading Foster’s classic word on the subject guide your theology and practices.

Wystan
Sep 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
I was very disappointed by this book: it felt like an outdated compilation of other authors writing, with too many references discussed with far too much brevity -- as a result, the book as a whole came across as topical and almost flippant on some topics.
Mark
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At a time when I was involved with a church which had a heavy emphasis on behavior, this was an extremely helpful in getting back to "heart" issues, and a reminder than things didn't need to be overly complex.
Katie
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
The book was not what I was expecting but it certainly had some valuable insights. The themes are written through a religious lens, but the core message still resonated with me as a means to find a simplified lifestyle.
Ashley Wiersma
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Best book on minimalism of the dozen or so I have read.
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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
“Silence frees us from the need to control others. One reason we can hardly bear to remain silent is that it makes us feel so helpless. We are accustomed to relying upon words to manage and control others. A frantic stream of words flows from us in an attempt to straighten others out. We want so desperately for them to agree with us, to see things our way. We evaluate people, judge people, condemn people. We devour people with our words. Silence is one of the deepest Disciplines of the Spirit simply because it puts the stopper on that.

When we become quiet enough to let go of people, we learn compassion for them.”
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“Jesus Christ and all the writers of the New Testament call us to break free of mammon lust and live in joyous trust...They point us toward a way of living in which everything we have we receive as a gift, and everything we have is cared for by God, and everything we have is available to others when it is right and good. This reality frames the heart of Christian simplicity. It is the means of liberation and power to do what is right and to overcome the forces of fear and avarice.” 15 likes
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