What at first seems to be a recasting of Richard J. Foster’s twelve spiritual disciplines for late Gen-Xers and Millennials is actually a memoir. In The Making of an Ordinary Saint Nathan Foster traces his attempts through the course of year not only to put the spiritual disciplines into practice but to confront the struggles and failures of his past, which have included substance abuse among other destructive practices. Having read Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth recently, I was surprised to learn that the elder Foster has a son who has struggled so greatly with human frailty.
Having also read Florence Williams’s The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative recently, I was encouraged to read Nathan Foster’s discussion of the therapeutic value of spending time in nature in his chapter on meditation. The Making of an Ordinary Saint is filled with connections like that, simple everyday connections that can help us frail humans find the spiritual resources we need to overcome some of that frailty.
When I read Celebration of Discipline I thought of an acquaintance who attended a private Christian elementary and high school, then went on to an elite Christian college, graduate school, and a career that reflects his own discipline and intelligence. He is comfortable worshiping in churches that draw their members from Manhattan’s most exclusive neighborhoods. Reading The Making of an Ordinary Saint, I can’t help but think of the people who might feel comfortable in Denver’s House for All Sinners and Saints.
If you’re like me, your reading list has gotten filled recently with books and articles analyzing America’s polarized religious and political cultures. If, like me, you’re also looking for some reading that will help you put all of that aside for a moment and figure out how to deal with your own personal baggage and get back in touch with the God who made you, then consider The Making of an Ordinary Saint.
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