#18 – Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster (My 100 Favorite Books)

Growing up, I got the impression that living life as a Christian was essentially to pray and read the Bible each day for about 20 minutes.  Preferably in the morning.  Even if you forgot, it was okay because you were saved and going to heaven when you died.  Mostly life was just waiting around for heaven and watching out for the coming of the antichrist as prophesied in the book of Revelation!

Welcome to late 90s American Evangelicalism.

Eventually I came to understand there was much more to practicing Christian faith then a brief quiet time.  There was a whole world of spiritual practices.  These practices are not ways to earn your salvation.  To paraphrase Dallas Willard, effort is not the same as earning.  If we want to grow, we need to make choices to put ourselves in a place where the Spirit can shape us.

Richard Foster’s classic Celebration of Discipline is still one of my favorites on the topic.  He goes through traditional disciplines chapter by chapter, including everything from service and solitude to generosity and celebration. I’ve been teaching on the disciplines on campus this semester and I turn to Foster’s book weekly.

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