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on 13 October 1998
Christianity is about relationship - God meeting our fundamental need to be in personal, intimate relationship with him. I should have read this book when I was a much younger Christian. I've been following Jesus for nearly a decade, and I've enjoyed my walk so far. However, as I have approached the decade milestone, I have felt a growing dissatisfaction with my walk. I had this nagging sense that at the ten-year point, I really should know him better. After all, Jesus is supposed to be my best friend. And, I wasn't sure why. This book is more than simply a devotional. It goes beyond the 'why' of the disciplines, but gives some practical advice on 'how'. How many of us understand how to "meditate", "fast" or "pray" without simply mouthing the words from time to time? How do you practice "submission" without feeling inferior to someone or practice "solitude" without feeling lonely? The disciplines are like a farmer, preparing the soil for seed. The farmer cannot force the seed to grow, but he can provide an environment that is good for its growth - tilling the soil, providing water, fertilizer, planting seeds, removing weeds. But, only God causes the growth. Similarly, the disciplines prepare you for growth that only God can (and does) provide. The contents of this book, applied and practiced, have been revitalizing my walk in ways I hadn't thought possible. I'm learning things about this personal relationship that were completely unexpected, and tremendously enriching. I encourage you to get this book if you claim the name of Jesus and be prepared to experience a deeper, personal, life-changing experience with your loving Lord. Expect to change - for to spend time in the presence of the eternal, living God is to be changed!
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on 10 December 2003
Richard Foster is probably this age's best selling Quaker author and his books represent the best insights of the Quakerism that prevails in most of the world - not just the USA - although not in the UK.
This book, Celebration of Discipline, caught grief from both liberals and fundamentalists (within and outside Quakers). The liberals sometimes object to his biblical emphasis, and the fundamentalists sometimes object to his "political" advocacy of social concern as well as to his use of meditative disciplines. In fact, the inclusion of meditation in his writings (very congenial to Friends/Quakers) resulted in a brief campaign to have him excluded as a speaker from some evangelical events.
However, many of us appreciate his gracious, tender approach, his willingness to be self-disclosing, and his humor.
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on 2 October 2001
The Christian faith has become such a broad religion that many Christians have very vague ideas about 'how' to develop the spiritual side of their faith. Richard Foster concisely explores the rich traditional breadth of the faith and presents 12 different 'disciplines' which he believes all Christians should be learning how to practice and develop. Through the disciplines we allow ourselves to be open to receive God's presence and God's gracious mercy to help us become changed for the better.
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on 3 November 2000
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster is an excellent starting point for those brave travelers who wish to travel deeper into the forests of Christian Spirituality. Mr. Foster introduces us briefly to what each path holds; all the while showing us practical steps we can take to get us started in each area. This book is exceptional as an introductory not only because it gets us started down the path but because it calls us deeper and deeper in. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all Christians; and to all those interested in the life lived in and by the Spirit.
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on 16 September 2007
This book is absoutely usless, unless you love Jesus and want to love him more ;) A great book, thats strength lies in its practicality. A book to read slowly and try to live as you go. If you want a packet of spiritual fast food this isnt for you, but if you are ready to try your hand at some good old fashion radical discipleship this is just what you want.

Health advice: not to be read with a legalistic religious spirit, but rather secure under grace. Not trying to change to justify oneself, but seeking to come alive in love for him.
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on 19 January 2012
Although I feel this book has some merit, I found it rather disappointing. This are plenty of ideas about how Christians should live and how they can deepen their faith. However, I found myself thinking on rather a lot of occasions that the author must have a very ordered, secure and frankly cosy life. That is of course not a criticism in itself.The problem is that the author doesn't seem to have any real concept that lots of people have lives that are not well ordered, secure or in any way cosy. For them, for us, our faith isn't about structuring our lives in a certain way and doing certain things in a very disciplined way. Faith might be more about about our trust in God to take us through the ongoing challenge of simply dealing with problems we face. Problems which might be ugly or messy or chaotic, and which won't really allow retreats, or highly structured schedules of various things!

Similarly, and I know many Christians would not agree with me, I found the author's underlying conformism unhelpful. Although he (rightly)criticises materialism, and occasionally acknowledges the existence of poverty and social injustice, he does not seem to feel that this might call for Christians to be more challenging of the status quo to any great extent. I know that is not the purpose of the book, but I do not really buy the idea of working on one's own spiritualiy in such isolation from our sisters and brothers in vastly different life situations.

So the book can tell us lots of things about deepening our Christian faith, but somehow it feels as if something important is missing
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on 6 January 2009
This book is quite simply excellent. The books pages flow with genuine wisdom which will surely strike chords with new or old believers of any tradition or background. This book is not so much fundamental as foundational - providing the reader with twelve steps for spiritual growth which have clearly been walked many times by many people and which accord with scripture, tradition and experience. From this perspective the book represents a historic tradition of spiritual teaching and guidance and carries with it both a sense of genuine authenticity as well as real contemporary relevance.

It is practically laid out which makes it exceptionally useful as a reference book. I have used this book as a personal aid as also within a group and it has been extremely useful in both contexts.

I recommend this book to all Christians old and young who have a desire to take real steps towards Christian maturity and a close walk with God.
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on 5 March 2010
I had read this book before as a theology student but purchased this reprint copy this year for study in a small church house group during Lent. The title really made some of the group apprehensive - the word "Discipline" having images of failure and judgment popping into their heads before they even began! However, as the shared times of fellowship to explore the book progressed, most were amazed how encouraging and enlightening Foster helps to make the shared journey of faith or exploration.

Foster covers each of twelve areas of spiritual life: Meditation, Prayer, Fasting, Study, Simplicity, Solitude, Submission , Service, Confession, Worship, Guidance and Celebration, a chapter devoted to each with related Bible readings and suggested study questions at the end of each section.

Foster's honesty about his own personal struggles and areas of challenge on the way are encouraging and help the reader to reassess or start to explore ways of approaching God through life style choices in our modern world with all its opportunities and temptations!

Don't pick this up if you aren't hoping to go deeper into your relationship with God! You'll be disappointed! If you do want to be challenged, enriched and potentially changed forever, then fasten your seatbelt, plunge in, and may this book be one of those that blesses you this year!
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on 21 February 2015
I love books I have to read with a pencil in my hand. Well, that's not 100% true: some books I have to read with a pencil in my hand because they are so poorly written or poorly edited that I have to make corrections as I go. I don't love that. I love books that are so rich, so refreshing, so exciting that I have to highlight parts, make notes and write 'Yes!!' in the margins as I go.

Celebration of Discipline is one of those books - the marked-up-in-a-good-way books.

I deliberately took my time reading it (or tried to), rather than rushing through, but there is still so much goodness in there that I'm thinking of picking it back up and starting again almost immediately.

In a way, it shouldn't be so exciting. The twelve disciplines he covers he calls the classical disciplines - classic both because they are ancient and "because they are central to experiential Christianity."

"Superficiality," he begins, causing me to reach for my pencil, "is the curse of our age. ... The classical Disciplines of the spiritual life call us to move beyond surface living into the depths."

If that doesn't resonate with you, click away now; there's nothing for you here. If, however, that makes your heart and soul yearn for that deeper experience of God, of life itself, stop reading this review and just buy the book.

What comes through most strongly in Foster's writing is not a sense of dutiful worthiness but one of joy: deep, refreshing, life-giving joy. The author's celebration of discipline is not just a hopeful title but a very clear reality.

Highly recommended.
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on 28 January 1999
I have been a pastor for nearly 10 years and I have not read a book ( besides the Bible ) that has helped me in my spiritual walk like this one. Foster opened my eyes to an all new Christianity. A genuine simple Christianity.
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