Many of you know that Richard Foster wrote his book Celebration of Discipline while on the pastoral team here at NFC. Back in 1977-78, this community created space for him to embark on this journey that eventually spanned the globe as his writings have touched individuals and communities all across the streams of Christianity and beyond. Calling us all to nurture the seeds of God’s love as we are attentive to the challenge of a disciplined life of faith is the heart of Richard’s ministry that echoes out strong and clear. What you may not know is that a group of NFCers are now engaged in continuing this work as we connect with one of Richard’s sons, Nathan, in support of his own book titled, The Making of an Ordinary Saint – My Journey from Frustration to Joy with the Spiritual Disciplines.
I sat with Nathan in July 2013 and heard him talk about this book he was working on writing. What an exciting conversation we had as he recalled a bit of his process and experiences up to that point! Here is a bit of the intro to his book:
And there it was: my new challenge lay before me. What if I spent an entire year intentionally and intensely working on my spiritual life, following the instructions from one of my father’s books? The project would be to creatively and intentionally work with what he had outlined in his book Celebration of Discipline as twelve historic practices of the Christian faith…. Funny, I had been almost giddy about this idea. It never occurred to me that I might be embarking on something terribly boring and potentially painful. I had a project, something to do with my angst and lost hope for life. I was beginning a journey into modern-day “monkhood,” though of course without the robes or celibacy….”
(Nathan Foster, The Making of an Ordinary Saint, p. 16)
As Nathan and I talked, I felt a stirring within my soul. We at Newberg Friends are going to be a part of this journey once again. I simply asked Nathan, “When will this come out; what about an individual and group guide to go with your book?” His response was, “Do you want to write it?” I knew that the things we have been experimenting with in our Listening Life groups, Sabbath by the Sea, gathered worship, and other settings here at NFC would be perfectly fitted for this task. I told him I would consider this, but it didn’t take long to say, “Yes!”
His book is a compilation of the ups and downs of practicing the spiritual disciplines in the daily rhythm of life, such as parenting, going to work, and even riding a bike through the countryside. Nathan has now handed this book off to us, and the task is before us, the wheels are in motion, and the work is to be done. It is due to be released the first part of October 2014, and a small group of us have already been reading a pre-printed version as a way to get started on the group and individual materials. The hope is that others in the NFC body will come be a part of “testing” these resources on Wednesday nights or other times throughout the week. If you are interested in helping in this grand experiment let me know (email@example.com). We will be aiming to have the rough draft to the publisher (Baker Books) by the first of the year so it can be in the hands of others a few months later.
God has been, is, and continues to be alive and active in our midst. I hope we can continue to find ways to join this activity. May our efforts with Nathan and Richard continue to be life giving to us here at Newberg Friends and to many all around the world as well.