Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Discipline of Celebration

No, that is not a typo in the title. The chapter Dan and I read this week was on Celebration and it was probably my favorite chapter so far. It is the last chapter of the book Celebration of Discipline and it was the last one we planned to read together. We have decided to continue with the rest of the book since it has been such a good experience for both of us.

Finally, a chapter that didn't kick my butt. But the only reason it didn't is because it focused so much on joy it did more to inspire me than to convict me.

I love the way this chapter ties all the disciplines together and challenges you to discover true joy through those disciplines.

Here's a few highlights:

Celebration brings joy into life, and joy makes us strong. Scripture tells us
that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10). We cannot continue long in
anything without it.

Without a joyful spirit of festivity the Disciplines become dull,
death-breathing tools in the hands of modern Pharisees.

Wow, that's pretty strong language!

In the spiritual life only one thing will produce genuine joy, and that is

One of the things that nearly destroys children is being forced to be
grateful when they are not grateful.

How many times have I forced my children to say "thank you" when they were not really grateful? Too many!

Christians are called to be free of care, but we find such a way foreign to

When we determine to dwell on the good and excellent things in life, we
will be so full of those things that they will tend to swallow our

I don't think Foster is saying we won't have problems, just that they will not seem as significant if we are dwelling on the good things.

Of all people, we should be the most free, alive, interesting. Celebration
adds a note of gaeity, festivity, hilarity to our lives. After all, Jesus
rejoiced so fully in life that he was accused of being a wine-bibber and a
glutton. Many of us lead such sour lives that we cannot possibly be accused of
such things.

Have you ever been around "Christians" who are sour? No wonder the world wants nothing to do with church!

Finally, here's the practical steps to celebration:
1. Singing, dancing, shouting.
2. Laughing. (This includes laughing at yourself: "Let go of the everlasting burden of always needing to sound profound")
3. Accent the creative gifts of fantasy and imagination. (In yourself and others)
4. Make family events into times of celebration and thanksgiving.
5. Take advantage of the festivals of our culture and really celebrate.

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