One of the most eye-opening books I’ve read about my faith is Richard Foster’s “Streams of Living Water.” In Streams Foster describes six different ways that Christianity has been lived out over the centuries, each of which he asserts is as biblical and valid as the others. This came as a surprise to me, as I’d grown up in one of the six that seemed to assert that it was the only right expression of Christianity.
But the more I read, the more I could identify people throughout my life who had “dipped their toes” in another stream and had brought back really helpful ways of connecting with God from those experiences. The Christian organization I worked for at the time was trying to bring out the best of each stream, so that we could embrace a more full picture of experiencing God and living for him. I started thinking Foster might be right—that the other five streams were just as valid as the one I’d grown up with.
The six streams of Christianity described by Foster are:
Reading Streams gave me a better appreciation for Christian faith traditions different from my own. I think I am more likely to understand, have empathy for, and adopt new-old ways of relating to God because of it.
If you enjoy historical church context and you are looking to challenge your view of “who’s right and who’s wrong,” give Richard Foster’s Streams of Living Water a try. It just may refresh your soul.