Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline #1: meditation

Starting with meditation has always been a stumbling block for me reading Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. It’s a toss up between that and fasting for what’s more difficult for me. I guess these are two that require a lot of discipline.

The reason I find meditation so hard is that I don’t like silence much. My thoughts race; I can’t sit still and listen to God.

Which is exactly why I need to.

For Richard Foster,

Christian meditation, very simply, is the ability to hear God’s voice and obey his word. (21)

 The meditation chapter takes us through the reasons for meditating and the way to meditate.

Some forms of meditation:  

1. Meditating on scripture. This seems like a good way to do it, taking a verse of scripture and ruminating on it. You just have to choose a good verse. The genealogies maybe not so good. He suggests ‘my peace I give to you’.

2. Palms up, palms down. You give over the things that are burdening you to God with your palms down, and then you hold your palms up to receive things from God.

3. Meditating on current events – hmmm, I’m not really ready to try this. I feel too overwhelmed by the world at the moment.

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8 Comments

Filed under book review, Richard Foster, spirituality

8 responses to “Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline #1: meditation

  1. I agree mate, it’s a hard one.
    Although, I do quite like silence, I too am stuck by the inability to get past my distracting thoughts…..but in time hopefully the process will improve.

    I love that there is a large contingent of Christian writers who aren’t afraid of the word meditation, as if it were an exclusively Buddhist term (and even if it were….) We can all learn a lot from the wisdom of Buddhism, no matter what faith system we adhere to.

    p.s.- I’m a mate of Jarrod’s. I was really helped by your simplification of Yoder’s Politics of Jesus…even if I did study theology!!!

    Cheers,

    Thomas.

  2. I agree….meditation is a tough one, getting past all of our own distractions to that still place of listening.

    Love the blog, and really found your simplification of Yoders Pof Jesus useful (even if I am a theologian!)

    p.s.- I’m a pommy mate of Jarrod’s, although I found your site randomly months ago on the good ol’ Google….

    Keep it up,
    Cheers!

    Thomas .

  3. Great to meet you Thomas. Glad someone else struggles to meditate. Jarrod’s reach is far and wide ;)

  4. spenny

    Hey Nathan,
    I just found your blog as I was looking for more info on the book. So far, I’ve come across two reviews that say Foster is a mystic with some serious theological problems and the rest were websites trying to sell the book, so obviously they only had positive things to say.
    Here’s one link: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/celebrationofdisciplinearticleprinter.htm
    I’ve not read the book yet, but now I’m a bit more wary… What did you think?

  5. Hey Spenny, I wouldn’t be wary at all if I were you. Foster is orthodox and biblical. I understand why some people object to him, but I think they need to hear Foster’s challenge to uncover the importance of the spiritual disciplines.
    Shalom, Nathan.

  6. John Arthur

    Hi Nathan,
    Meditation is hard to undertake by people like me who find it difficult to listen to others and to God.
    During the past year, I have taken up the task for 10 minutes to 15 minutes a day and have recently attended 3 quaker meetings. I found the experience uplifting and am gradually learning to listen to others and to God but still find this difficult.
    Richard Foster is a quaker evangelical and his book is uplifting. George Fox (an early quaker) pointed out that we hear God speak to our hearts in the silence and what he says to us is consistent with what he says in Jesus.
    Shalom,
    John Arthur

  7. John, so glad you’ve had some success with meditating. This year I’ve barely even tried. I’d like to visit a Quaker meeting one day too. Thanks for your interesting comment.
    Shalom, Nathan.

  8. Hal

    I too have read Foster’s book and have found it refreshing and vibrant in many ways. The inner disciplines are the hardest for me due to my desire to have non stop activity an noise in my life. I have gone through the book twice and have found nothing unscriptural about it. I do have a bachelors in Bible and 2 masters. one in Theology and the other in Discipleship. they obviously hardly make me an expert in any of this but I have found them to be very helpful in listening to God and others! “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” by Donald S. Whitney (with foreword by J.I. Packer) was also one that I have spent a lot of time in. Again a great help in my seeking a deeper understanding of God. The one thing I believe both would agree on is that the “practice” of disciplines are good for us but are a means to an end. That end is to know God more! Specific disciplines don’t enable us to please God, our growing relationship does. These disciplines assist us in this adventure!!! God bless you in your journey!
    Hal Taylor

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