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The Brightest Lights of the Christian Tradition St. Augustine, Thomas Merton, Fredrick Buechner, Evelyn Underhill, A.W. Tozer, G.K. Chesterton, Thomas More, Martin Luther King, Jr., Amy Carmichael, Simone Weil, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Hildegard of Bingen, John Milton, Dorothy Day, Leo Tolstoy, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and more. . . From nearly two thousand years of Christi The Brightest Lights of the Christian Tradition St. Augustine, Thomas Merton, Fredrick Buechner, Evelyn Underhill, A.W. Tozer, G.K. Chesterton, Thomas More, Martin Luther King, Jr., Amy Carmichael, Simone Weil, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Hildegard of Bingen, John Milton, Dorothy Day, Leo Tolstoy, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and more. . . From nearly two thousand years of Christian writing comes Spiritual Classcs,fifty–two selections complete with a profile of each author, guided meditations for group and individual use, and reflections containing questions and exercises. Editors Richard Foster and Emilie Griffith offer their expertise by selecting inspirational writings and including their own commentary and recommendations for further guided reading and exploration.


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The Brightest Lights of the Christian Tradition St. Augustine, Thomas Merton, Fredrick Buechner, Evelyn Underhill, A.W. Tozer, G.K. Chesterton, Thomas More, Martin Luther King, Jr., Amy Carmichael, Simone Weil, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Hildegard of Bingen, John Milton, Dorothy Day, Leo Tolstoy, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and more. . . From nearly two thousand years of Christi The Brightest Lights of the Christian Tradition St. Augustine, Thomas Merton, Fredrick Buechner, Evelyn Underhill, A.W. Tozer, G.K. Chesterton, Thomas More, Martin Luther King, Jr., Amy Carmichael, Simone Weil, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Hildegard of Bingen, John Milton, Dorothy Day, Leo Tolstoy, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and more. . . From nearly two thousand years of Christian writing comes Spiritual Classcs,fifty–two selections complete with a profile of each author, guided meditations for group and individual use, and reflections containing questions and exercises. Editors Richard Foster and Emilie Griffith offer their expertise by selecting inspirational writings and including their own commentary and recommendations for further guided reading and exploration.

30 review for Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This book is long. Really, really long. But somewhere in the middle I realized that its length is also one of its greatest strengths. The exposure to so many classic Christian writers was, naturally, amazing and inspiring. But when you hear the word of God time and time again, eventually a part of it starts to sink in. A part about God's presence and God's hope and God's love. This book is powerful and gentle at the same time.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Alley

    Wow, loved this book - especially the entries by Catherine Marshall about "fasting" from criticalness and by GK Chesterton on being "light". Love his quote: "It's easy to be heavy; hard to be light." So many gems in this book - life changing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Agar

    I’ve read through this book a few times and absolutely recommend it. The first time was for a spiritual formations class and I made a mark in the Table of Contents section next to my favorite sections in each of the disciplines. I would then go back and read those sections again. Then I went through the whole book again and was surprised about what I missed the first time reading it. This book is great for exposure to different aspects of each spiritual discipline. The dark night of the soul sec I’ve read through this book a few times and absolutely recommend it. The first time was for a spiritual formations class and I made a mark in the Table of Contents section next to my favorite sections in each of the disciplines. I would then go back and read those sections again. Then I went through the whole book again and was surprised about what I missed the first time reading it. This book is great for exposure to different aspects of each spiritual discipline. The dark night of the soul section was especially helpful for me and I recommend this book to everyone trying to grow in Christ and their pursuit of Him.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Don't get me wrong, this is a wonderful book, but I didn't really use it according to instructions, and honestly I don't know whether I would have liked it more or less if I had. The selected readings from spiritual authors from the late Church Fathers to the 20th Century were ecumenical in scope and generally of great quality and insight. I'd say there were about a third of the readings I just didn't connect with, but that's ok. I have to admit, though, that the readings really aren't intended Don't get me wrong, this is a wonderful book, but I didn't really use it according to instructions, and honestly I don't know whether I would have liked it more or less if I had. The selected readings from spiritual authors from the late Church Fathers to the 20th Century were ecumenical in scope and generally of great quality and insight. I'd say there were about a third of the readings I just didn't connect with, but that's ok. I have to admit, though, that the readings really aren't intended to stand on their own; they're intended to be used as a departure point for our own reflections and spiritual exercises on Mr. Foster's 12 spiritual disciplines (Meditation, Prayer, Fasting, Study, Simplicity, Solitude, Submission, Service, Confession, Worship, Guidance, and Celebration), probably best over the course of a whole year. It's probably proper to think of this book more as a spiritual workbook than an anthology of selected spiritual writings in the ecumenical Christian tradition (which it is, too). Since I borrowed this book from a friend and didn't want to hold onto it for months and months, I just read the readings and the accompanying scripture passages straight through without doing the exercises. The exercises didn't look like the kinds of things I would enjoy, but I didn't give them a chance. I'd recommend that readers take a glance at a few of the exercises accompanying the readings, and if they look appealing, then make a reading plan to to take your time with the book and the exercises over the course of about a year either as a set of self-directed weekly retreats, or as part of a weekly study group. For those that don't realize it, this book's brothers and sisters are the other Renovare resources such as Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth (which I haven't read) and Holy Bible: Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible with the Deuterocanonical Books (which I've glanced at and it looks pretty good; keeping with the theme it uses the fairly ecumencial NRSV translation), and it may well be that this book is even more fruitful when read as a companion to those works.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    A mixed bag for me; it was just harder to connect with certain people in this book, perhaps because of their writing style, or when and where they lived. Those I felt most drawn to were Karl Rahner and Amy Carmichael. In them I felt a reverence for God expressed in such down to earth terms, as though they were writing what I wish to if I could one day attain such a heart for the Lord and for others as they.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ogsball

    Take a year to do this book and enter these ancient devotions and practices and it will change your life. I've also done Devotional Classics another Foster compilation of historical writings for devotional purposes.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eric Rodrigues

    A super applicable run through various spiritual disciplines. A large collection of readings from various generations makes it feel more personal than just a textbook, it's like looking into the journal of a spiritual leader and leaving with the insight of their heart.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Barney Wiget

    I don't typically read or enjoy devotionals, this and its companion are the exception. Love the introduction to early writers with whom I was unfamiliar!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Neil R. Coulter

    Richard Foster has given a great gift to Christians with his two volumes of readings from Christian history: Devotional Classics, and this one, Spiritual Classics. Spiritual Classics is organized according to the spiritual disciplines, as Foster outlines them in Celebration of Discipline. Some of the readings fit exactly the discipline theme, while others seemed to have a more tangential connection to the disciplines under which they were grouped. Each reading is short (I think generally shorter Richard Foster has given a great gift to Christians with his two volumes of readings from Christian history: Devotional Classics, and this one, Spiritual Classics. Spiritual Classics is organized according to the spiritual disciplines, as Foster outlines them in Celebration of Discipline. Some of the readings fit exactly the discipline theme, while others seemed to have a more tangential connection to the disciplines under which they were grouped. Each reading is short (I think generally shorter than the readings in Devotional Classics, though I could be mistaken), and is prefaced by an introduction to the author's biography and followed by discussion questions, a commentary by Richard Foster, and a bibliography of recommended readings by or about that author. I've used this book as personal devotional reading, but I imagine it would be great with a book club or small group also. My general feeling is that this book is not quite as fantastic a collection as Devotional Classics--fewer selections that had me immediately going to buy the full book; one reason may be that this collection seems to favor writings by mystics, which I struggle with (again, that may be a wrong impression, but it seems like a larger number of selections here are by mystics). But this is a small criticism in the face of such a beautiful panorama of Christian history. I highly recommend both of Foster's collections to any Christian.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    Thirty years ago I read Richard Foster's "Celebration of Discipline" and he helped me in forming a disciplined life of meditation, self-care, and spiritually-directed thinking. It was an excellent influence on my life. This book, which he and Griffin edit, does not provide the same rich spiritual resource as his older books. Only 3 of the 52 people he reviews find their way into my psyche as guides/friends. And unfortunately some of my old friends, such as G.K. Chesterton and de Chardin are not Thirty years ago I read Richard Foster's "Celebration of Discipline" and he helped me in forming a disciplined life of meditation, self-care, and spiritually-directed thinking. It was an excellent influence on my life. This book, which he and Griffin edit, does not provide the same rich spiritual resource as his older books. Only 3 of the 52 people he reviews find their way into my psyche as guides/friends. And unfortunately some of my old friends, such as G.K. Chesterton and de Chardin are not given the berth their spacious souls deserve. The writing is a bit too rigid and stylized for my tastes. Of the 52 represented, J.B. Phillips understood my human frailty and phrases it well in this quote, "Like many others I find myself something of a perfectionist, and if we don't watch ourselves this obsession for the perfect can make us arrogantly critical of other people, and in certain moods, desperately critical of ourselves. In this state of mind it is not really that I cannot subscribe to the doctrine of the Forgiveness of Sins, but that the tyrannical Super-Me condemns and has no mercy on myself." p.95. If God loves us, who are we to be so high and mighty as to refuse to love ourselves?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robert Day

    Over 400 pages of snippets from some of the Christian classics written since Christ popped his sandals. Nice format - introduction to the chosen writer (the best part), snippet of text from one of the writer's books, bible quote relating to the snippet, exercises to strengthen understanding of the snippets (the worst part) and illuminating text about the snippet/writer by the editor. First of all, I got to say that I ain't no Christian so this much Christianity in one place was hard on me. There a Over 400 pages of snippets from some of the Christian classics written since Christ popped his sandals. Nice format - introduction to the chosen writer (the best part), snippet of text from one of the writer's books, bible quote relating to the snippet, exercises to strengthen understanding of the snippets (the worst part) and illuminating text about the snippet/writer by the editor. First of all, I got to say that I ain't no Christian so this much Christianity in one place was hard on me. There are some inspirational pieces here, but most of it rocketed way over my head and landed in the long grass some distance away. I'm sure though that Christians would find this to be a very wholesome and clean meal full of sustenance and delight. God is much more important to me than Jesus - sorry and all that. (muses to self - I wonder what the difference between Christ and Jesus is?)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I haven't actually finished this book, but I borrowed it from a friend and had to give it back because we are moving away. I really enjoyed and was encouraged by this book thus far. I like how each selection is organized: a little bio, a selection of the person's writing, a passage of scripture, some group/individual exercises (which I usually skipped over, honestly) and then a word from the editor about the selection. I particularly appreciated that each selection was paired with a passage scri I haven't actually finished this book, but I borrowed it from a friend and had to give it back because we are moving away. I really enjoyed and was encouraged by this book thus far. I like how each selection is organized: a little bio, a selection of the person's writing, a passage of scripture, some group/individual exercises (which I usually skipped over, honestly) and then a word from the editor about the selection. I particularly appreciated that each selection was paired with a passage scripture, to give it some grounding and legitimacy. I also liked the variety and diversity of the writers/theologians that were represented . There is a good mix of gender, denomination, and historical setting. This is a good book to go through slowly, reading by reading, digesting the wisdom of the mothers and fathers of our faith.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I read this over the last year (1 section for each month) with a group of women. While I didn't always appreciate the excerpts chosen (but often I did), I found the dialogue around it stimulating. And I appreciated Foster's commentary at the end of each entry as well as the author's bio at the beginning. They really helped provide context. Best of all this didn't mandate specific practices so much as ask questions about how to live and grow each of the disciplines identified.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chuck Cova

    Another book that sat on my shelf for years before I was drawn to it in early 2014. Used it as a devotional over several months. The selected readings from each of a dozen or so Spiritual disciples, and authors from many genres and ages, are great, but Richard Foster's thoughts on each make this an extra special book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sherry

    Excellent review of many of the spiritual classical writings broken down into nuggets of thought easily used in small group discussions and personal study. It provides a useful index of the classics which leads to more classical study. Foster, as usual, concisely summarizes the main points of each reading. Thoroughly enjoyed reading these daily.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Seders

    It is difficult to write a review for this book, as it compiles many different writings. Some of the sections were excellent (Chesterton, Hopkins, Augustine, etc.), while others were awful; I am giving the collection two stars based on the overall quality of excerpt selection. This low rating no way reflects the work of the outstanding authors that are included!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Russell Hayes

    Precipitous decline from the devotional classics by the same editor. Many of the selections were abysmal, but there were a few gems. Biographical and reflective sections were too long, and many of the selections were too short.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Apryl Anderson

    mmm, delicious meat to chew, now digested and excreted into my journals!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Excellent book for those wishing to pursue spiritual disciplines in their daily lives.

  20. 5 out of 5

    David Ryan

    Read this book sometime ago, but appreciated the readings and insights that they bring to things such as fasting, worship, prayer, etc.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    What a great devotional!! Not all the devotionals were wonderful, but the good ones made up for them. Excellent add on to The Ceelbration of Discipline.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Karin

    Excellent introduction to some of the greatest spiritual writers and thought-provoking exercises.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Maryann

    Some good stuff.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Auld

    A lot of good devotion/studies, but a few that were not applicable for me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Summisse

    Always reading.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

    Wonderful book for daily devotionals and for group spiritual growth sharing.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Clint

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Owens

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

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