I suspect that many who read this blog are familiar with Richard Foster. I suspect many others who read this blog are not that familiar with him.
Foster is a Quaker and a man who has a passion for knowing God. One of his earlier works was quite popular — a bestseller entitled Celebration of Discipline. A number of years ago, he founded RENOVARE, which is dedicated to renewing the church.
The following is an excerpt from his book Prayer:
The offering of ourselves can only be the offering of our lived experience, because this alone is who we are. And who we are — not who we want to be — is the only offering we have to give. We give God, therefore, not just our strengths but also our weaknesses, not just our giftedness but also our brokenness. Our duplicity, our lust, our narcissism, our sloth — all are laid on the altar of sacrifice.
We must not deny or ignore the depth of our evil, for, paradoxically, our sinfulness becomes our bread. When in honesty we accept the evil that is in us as part of the truth about ourselves and offer that truth up to God, we are in a mysterious way nourished. Even the truth about our shadow side sets us free (John 8:32).
There is, therefore, no need to repress, suppress, or sublimate any of God’s truth about ourselves. Full, total, unvarnished self-knowledge is the bread by which we are sustained. A yes to life means an honest recognition of our own evil, but it is also a yes to God, who in the midst of our evil sustains us and draws us into his righteousness.
Through faith, self-knowledge leads us to a self-acceptance and a self-love that draw their life from God’s acceptance and love….
(Foster, Prayer, p. 31)