Book Overview: Learning Humility

Book Overview: Learning Humility

About the Book:

In a society where raging narcissism dominates the moral landscape, the virtue of humility is often dismissed as irrelevant. Not only is humility vanishing from contemporary culture, but we are also witnessing how destructive a lack of humility has become among our churches and ministry leaders. And yet, Richard Foster, the founder of Renovar√©, insists that humility is central to the journey toward character formation and spiritual transformation. For this reason he decided to spend a year studying the virtue of humility. Using the Lakota calendar as a framework, Foster provides us with a look into the insights he gathered from sources ranging from Native American culture to Julian of Norwich to Scripture to personal friends. By engaging with both the spiritual classics and Foster’s own experiences, Learning Humility provides profound insight into what humility can look like in our current cultural climate. Join Richard Foster on the journey toward a life of humility, which he says leads us into “freedom, joy, and holy hilarity.”

My Thoughts:

You might have noticed that I titled this post “overview” instead of “review.” That’s because this book is rich with insight and I am unwilling to rush through it. I can’t actually give you a review of a book that I haven’t read, so I’ll give you my preliminary thoughts based on both the book and a one hour seminar that Richard Foster gave about the book.

I picked this up and started in about a month ago. I was initially a bit confused by the format of the book. What you are reading are journal entries where the author is processing his thoughts. It’s not quite as straightforward as an author arranging his thoughts for an audience of readers. There is, however, a beauty to joining Foster in the curiosity of his exploration of humility.

In the very beginning of the book he refers to a classic work of spiritual literature and it’s thoughts on humility. I ended up setting this book down to dig that book out and re-familiarize myself with that work. Then I went on to engage with Richard’s pondering on the connections. Again, this is why I’m not giving you a review. I’m still only partway along the journey of exploration. Could you read the book straight through? Of course. But I found myself very resistant to the idea.

I think that is because the book is an exploration. You aren’t meant to take away a three point sermon on why humility is important or general knowledge on how to practice it. You are meant to learn, to live, humility.

I’m enjoying the journey. I’m curious as to where it will take me. A couple of year’s ago Jess Ray’s song “Humble Heart” became the theme of my year. One of the lines in the song is “Oh, how I have so much to learn.” I’m sure that will be true for the whole of my life, but I’m thankful for a guide on the journey. If you are ready to engage with a journey of the, mostly lost, gift of humility I think this book might be an excellent place to start.

I received this book for review. All opinions are my own.