cover image Longing for God: Seven Paths of Christian Devotion

Longing for God: Seven Paths of Christian Devotion

Richard J. Foster, Gayle D. Beebe, . . InterVarsity, $25 (364pp) ISBN 978-0-8308-3514-0

Coauthors Foster (Celebration of Discipline ) and Beebe (A Concept to Keep ) have much to say on the variety and history of Christian devotion. They develop seven ways of characterizing methods for spiritual development, and illustrate those methods by classifying major Christian figures according to these paths. The work of Augustine, for example, illustrates “the right ordering of love.” The seven paths are not equally obvious: the meaning of “action and contemplation” is more apparent than “the right ordering of love,” which is more metaphoric but also cryptic. A better balance between the frequently scholastic-sounding treatments of the major Christian thinkers and the warm, informal “reflecting and responding” chapter conclusions – written by Foster – would have broadened the book's appeal. Some who are strongly inclined to devotion may be taken aback by the book's varied tables and lists. On the other hand, this is a meaty, thoughtful book that will satisfy those who want substantive prescriptions for ways to grow spiritually. One bonus is that it includes not only fathers but also mothers of the church. This book puts religion back in spirituality, a good, true home for it. (Apr.)