Monday, March 5, 2018
Review of a Favorite Lenten Devotional
Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups by Richard J. Foster
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book has been perhaps the most influential book, aside from the Scriptures, that I have ever read. The selections opened my eyes to so many of the great thinkers and mystic believers of the Christian faith--most of whom I had never heard of before.
I read this book as my Lenten devotion first in 2003 when I was first exploring the idea of the catholic (small "c" catholic, as in universal) church, and again for Lent 2007.
In this large paperback, now completely dog-eared and with copious underlinings throughout the text (in two different colors from my two different readings) and even occasional notes in the margins, I met John of the Cross, Bernard of Clairvaux, Brother Lawrence, Saint Benedict, John Chrysostom, Thomas a' Kempis, Julian of Norwich, Thomas Merton, Teresa of Avila, Watchman Nee, and so many others. And I also became reacquainted with C.S. Lewis, John Bunyan, Saint Augustine, Kierkegaard, Martin Luther, John Wesley, and many more people of faith whose works I had read at Point Loma Nazarene University or since in my evangelical faith.
Each short reading (generally two to five pages) is followed by reflection questions and suggested exercises, taking these works of the Christian faith beyond the theological into the practical.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough for every Christian, whether Catholic, Eastern Orthodox (even though it rests almost exclusively in Western Christianity), or Protestant, and especially to evangelicals who may not be aware of the depth and breadth of Christian thought through the two millennia of the Church.
A brilliant book. If I could give it ten stars, I would. Truly.
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With Lenten blessings,