Richard J. Foster's Study Guide for "Celebration of Discipline"

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Richard J. Richard J. Foster's Study Guide for " download; Celebration of Discipline" PDF EBook Foster’s Study Guide for Celebration of Discipline has some value on its own, but is, of course, best used with Celebration of Discipline. Unlike many study guides, it is not repetitive. Each discipline is approached in a supplementary manner or with another angle to help the reader think through matters that might have been neglected in the initial reading of the main volume. However, the study guide has fresh perspective, new exercises to build upon, and questions to ensure that one does not neglect the main points of Celebration of Discipline.

One introductory illustration that wasn’t in the original book was the metaphor of every believer having, “…a part to play in the drama of holiness. To be sure, it is only a bit part in a huge pageant, but it is an essential one.” (p. 6) On pages 20- PDF22, Foster uses a passage from the Gospel of John to illustrate a way to meditate upon Scripture such that one uses imagination to see, hear, feel (sensually), feel (emotionally), and open oneself to a specific message.

Another helpful addition to the main book was the discussion on submission. He warns that the Discipline of submission can lead to distortions. One of these is the “Doormat,” the individual who, rather than submitting, allows himself/herself to become a victim, a thing instead of a person. Another of these is the “Pleaser,” the individual who, rather than submitting out of concern for the other person(s), will do anything to avoid confrontation. The next one is the “Dependent,” the individual who cannot and will not make a decision—using “submission” as an excuse for passivity. Finally, Foster considers the “Manipulator,” the individual who seems to submit but uses social jujitsu in order to actually manipulate others and get her/his own way (p. 49).

Another important discussion which was not fully realized in the original book had to do with the Discipline of service. Many people think that service is always saying, “Yes” to every need. Foster’s thesis is, “Love is a reasoned concern for the well-being of all.” (p. 53) As such, “Love” means that there are going to be times when one must decline. He suggests prayerful seeking of discernment followed by obedience. The danger is that once we have been burned by others, we will find it far too easy to say, “No.” (p. 53) This is so refreshing to have a spiritual leader recognizing the downside of certain practices rather than merely propounding the ideal as though it can always be flawlessly implemented.

In the worship practice, the study guide added the idea of the tripudium (an ancient church tradition that combines the movement of march and dance in a three-steps forward, one step back accompaniment to hymn singing (p. 64). With such ideas, the author continues his emphasis on doing rather than simply speaking. This is one of the possible activities in the study guide which could be useful.

Finally, I was particularly moved by a quotation from Brother Lawrence that I don’t remember from the main book: “Lord, I am yours, dryness does not matter nor affect me!” (p. 73) I am quite thankful that Foster chose to pen this companion guide to the main work. Since it is dependent, to a large degree, on the main work, I didn’t rate it as highly as the main work.
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