Christian Simpllicity There are several


Christian Simpllicity
There are several protestant writers today have an enormous amount to say to all Christians. Dallas Willard is one of them. His books The Divine Conspiracy and The Spirit of the Disciplines are remarkable guides to good Christian Living. (He has a new book which I have not yet read and so cannot comment on--Renovation of the Heart. If you care to, you can sample some of his works here.

Another such writer is Richard J. Foster. His best-known work is Celebration of Discipline; however, I found this survey of various disciplines too cursory to be of much help. It is excellent to understand the underlying theory of much of these writers' work; however, it is simply too brief to be very helpful. My favorite Foster book is his remarkable, Freedom of Simplicity from which I quote below. Foster identifies simplicity and living simply as perhaps the central discipline in Christian life. This makes a certain amount of sense because simple living makes us more like the God whom we adore. For any who have even briefly dipped into the Summa, one of the first questions we examine is the question of whether or not God is simple. (Which leads us to the delightful diversion that Chesterton includes at the beginning of his biography of Aquinas--'A lady I know picked up a book of selections from St. Thomas with a commentary; and began hopefully to read a section with the innocent heading, "The Simplicity of God." She then laid down the book with a sigh and said, "Well, if that's His simplicity, I wonder what His complexity is like." ' The nice thing about blogdom is one need not be quite so disciplined as if one were writing elsewhere--though I suppose it would help.) Back to simplicity--simplicity represents singleness of mind, will, and heart, all directed to the ultimate goal of loving God here on Earth as we will love Him in heaven. An admirable and necessary goal--it may not be possible to attain the degree of perfection we will have in heaven, but it is necessary to try, both for our own sakes and the sake of those around us.

From Freedom of Simplicity Chapter 3 Richard J. Foster

Jesus Christ and all the writers of the New Testament call us to break free of mammon lust and live in joyous trust. Their radical criticism of wealth is combined with a spirit of unconditional generosity. They point to us a way of living in which everything we have we receive as gift, and everything we have is cared for by God, and everything we have is available to others when it is right and good. This reality frames the heart of Christian simplicity. It is the means of liberation and power to do what is right and to overcome the forces of fear and avarice. (p. 62 mass-market Harper edition).

What is most wonderful about Foster's book is that he doesn't leave us stranded in a limbo of theory. The second half of the book is dedicated to practical considerations in living a life of simplicity. Overall, a highly recommended book--if everyone would read this and one out of ten were to practice it, we would be a long way toward saying with Jesus, "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 27, 2002 8:05 AM.

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