Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
New York: Harper and Row, 1978
Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.
When disciplines degenerate into law, they are used to manipulate people.... Once we have made a law, we have an “externalism” by which we can judge who is measuring up and who is not.
Simplicity is freedom. Duplicity is bondage. Simplicity brings joy and balance. Duplicity brings anxiety and fear.... We decide ourselves if we believe we can possess the inward reality without its having a profound effect on how we live. To attempt to arrange an outward life-style of simplicity without the inward reality lads to deadly legalism.
Simplicity begins in inward focus and unity. We cease from showy extravagance, not on the grounds of being unable to afford it, but on the grounds of principle. Out goods become available to others. Inwardly modern man is fractured and fragmented. He is trapped in a maze of competing attachments. The modern hero is the poor boy who becomes rich rather than the Franciscan or Buddhist ideal of the rich boy who voluntarily becomes poor. (We still find it hard to imagine that either could happen to a girl!) Covetousness we call ambition. Hoarding we call prudence. Greed we call industry.
Freedom from anxiety is characterized by three inner attitudes.... To receive what we have as a gift from god is the fist inner attitude of simplicity.... To know that it is God’s business, and not ours, to care for what we have is the second inner attitude of simplicity.... To have our goods available to others marks the third inner attitude of simplicity.
The Outward Expression of Simplicity
1. Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status
2. Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.
3. Develop a habit of giving things away.
4. Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
5. Learn to enjoy things without owning them.
6. Develop a deeper appreciation for the creation.
7. Look with a healthy skepticism at all “buy now, pay later schemes.
8. If you consent to do a task, do it.
9. Avoid flattery and half truths.
10. Reject anything that will bred the oppression of others.
11. Shun whatever would distract you from your main goal.