Posted by: gcarkner | August 21, 2012

Appreciating the Six Great Traditions

Richard Foster has done us a great service in his classic 1998 book Streams of Living Water. I heard about it at a spring conference and have not stopped talking about it since. So often we grow up in one kind of Christian spirituality and look at others with suspicion; let’s face it, we can be quite narrow and judgemental at times. This book speaks to the variety of ways in which God works to draw people to himself, the various ways that he seeks to call them into full discipleship: Contemplative, Holiness, Charismatic, Social Justice, Evangelical, Incarnational. Believe me, there is lots to surprise you in this read. I love this book and have been giving it away to friends, faculty, students and recommending it to many others. The book is rooted in a deep historical appreciation of key spiritual leaders; Foster matures our perspective and turns the lights on so that we can realize how rich and diverse is the Christian community. I think he wants us to take responsibility for the Other within that community as well. The book ranks right up there with the mature thinking in Eugene Peterson’s commentary on Ephesians called Practice Resurrection. If we are going to discuss the interface between faith and culture, we need to start with a robust understanding of what we mean by faith. Foster is our guide.

For other devotional materials, see GCU Prayer page:

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