Pondering disciplines part 1

Richard Foster "Celebration of Discipline" has three types of discipline, inward, outward and corporate.  Got me thinking.

Inward disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting, and study.

These are the ones I'm not too good at.  Prayer and study are OK, but the other two?  What does biblical meditation entail?  Closest I can imagine is the quiet time plan laid out at the church women's retreat: read a devotional book, write, read the Bible, write, pray, write.  I started with Thomas Kelly's "A Testament of Devotion," using photocopies because it's one of Hubby's textbooks for VLI, now I have Thomas Merton's "New Seeds of Contemplation."  But I can't remember the last time I fasted.  It makes me cranky and headachy and that makes it really hard to pray.  What is the purpose of fasting?  An endurance test, a sacrifice, an offering, what?  What's it meant to do to my relationship with God.  I just don't get fasting.

Outward disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission, and service.

These are much simpler to do, especially solitude.  I've always been comfortable being alone.  Simplicity is also one I'm happy with.  Submission and service are harder.  They require giving things up: time, energy, pride, visibility, money.  All things we like to hold on to, often for all the wrong reasons.  A reward in heaven is better than a reward here, but it's hard to wait.  We want everything now, faster CD drives, cars, planes.  Patience is an alien concept.

Corporate disciplines of confession, worship, guidance, and celebration.

Turn up to an average church on Sunday and you'll see some of these disciplines.  I think celebration is more than just Sunday, I think it involves community and takes place throughout the week.  I think it's the homegroup game nights, worship nights, retreats, house moving crews, meals provided for the sick, visits to friends.  Guidance is more of a homegroup activity in my church.

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